Swiss credibility go bye bye

(note: this is an unedited version of my Sunday Business Post column from last week).

Currency trading is not for the faint hearted even at the best of times. At the end of this week, most currency traders are probably a year closer to their first heart attack. Switzerland’s Central Bank removed its currency ceiling against the euro it instituted during the euro crisis and cut its base interest rate to -0.75% in order to avoid deflation. Now not only is the currency going wild on the markets, actually leaving money on deposit with the central bank will cost you money. Negative real interest rates are going to be a feature of central banking for the foreseeable future. It’s a weird time to be a central banker, and a frankly scary time to buy and sell currencies.

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QE, here we come.

(This an edited version of my Sunday Business Post article from last week)

The ECB will start serious asset purchases in 2015, similar to the Securities Markets Programme it ran in 2010, but on a much larger scale.

This process is called quantitative easing—QE for short. QE has been fiercely resisted by hard money fanatics at the Bundesbank and the Finnish Central Bank, but it appears they have lost the battle to stop these purchases from happening. Their objections have been swept aside as fears of an outright deflation have taken hold.

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Frankfurt’s way or Syriza’s way?

(note, this is the unedited version of my piece in yesterday's Sunday Business Post)

Greece has once again returned to the spotlight as the latest coalition has collapsed trying to elect a President. Snap elections held on the 25th of this month may well see the populist Syriza party in power for the first time, most likely as the dominant part of a coalition. If no stable coalition is formed, another set of elections gets triggered, creating the possibility of an anti-Syriza bloc forming.

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Irish journos: there is a style of post crisis communication in this country which needs to be studied in order to be understood. Any crisis generates the same response: The can kicking review/report, pledge to find lessons to be learned, all that stuff, knowing media don't really review these crises with any frequency. So: Study major crises for last 20 years in say Health. You'll find the same pattern, figure out ways to get behind it as it clearly and obviously works for those in power.


We're back to a system that doesn't encourage conservation

Water meters as e-voting machines. Really.

Also, this is my last Irish Independent column. This week I start as a columnist for the Sunday Business Post. I'm delighted to start at the Post and thankful for the years I spent at the Independent, working with Eddie Cunningham, Frank Coughlan, and Liam Collins. Having a column in a major newspaper is a privilege I don't take lightly.

EC4004-Lectures now online

Just a quick reminder that this week's lectures are online already, I'm travelling tomorrow and Friday and so you don't need to come to lectures.