14 August 2019 FT — Articles to Read

14 August 2019


Question: According to MSN: Money, what is the current U.S. government’s debt level?


US delay on China consumer goods tariffs sparks relief rally in equities – Pg. 1

  • The US said it would delay imposing a 10% tariff on a set of consumer goods imported from China – including laptops and mobile phones – until December, in an effort to ease fears over the trade war’s impact on markets and the economy
  • Fresh US-China tension flared this month as Mr Trump threatened to impose 10% tariffs on $300bn of new goods on September 1, on top of the 25% levy in force on $250bn of Chinese imports. The US also labelled China a currency manipulator, inflaming the situation


Consumer price rise fuels Fed debate on interest rates – Pg. 2

  • US consumer prices including airline tickets and fruit and vegetable rose last month, adding further fuel to the debate over how vigorously the Federal Reserve loosens monetary policy
  • The CPI, a measure of growth in prices for common goods such as foods, housing and fuel, rose 0.3% in July, in line with estimates, and higher than June’s month-on-month growth of 0.1%
  • Core CPI, which removes the more volatile costs of food and energy, rose 2.2% over the past year, the strongest increase since December 2018


Sweden’s negative rate prophets struggle for honour in own land – Pg. 17

  • The krona has now depreciated about 15% against the euro since negative rates were introduced in 2015, extending its decline from its post-crisis peak to 24%
  • At a time when the ECB is expected tot send rates deeper into negative territory, the experience of Sweden – the first big economy to experiment with sub-zero rates – might be instructive
  • Negative rates were dreamt up in 1890 by Silvio Gesell, a colourful German businessman who enjoyed a one-week stint as the people’s representative for finance in a commune that styled itself the Soviet Republic of Bavaria
  • His ideas were later championed as a possible solution to the Great Depression with John Maynard Keynes calling Gesell a “strange, unduly neglected prophet”
  • The Swedish central bank has always enjoyed a reputation for innovation – it was a pioneer in inflation targeting, for example – and in July 2009 the Riksbank introduced the first negative rate on deposits held on behalf of commercial banks
  • …research by Gauti Eggertsson, professor of economics at Brown University, and Larry Summers, the former US Treasury secretary now at Harvard, contends that such a policy offers “diminishing returns”
  • While bank profitability remained solid, the limp krona had failed to stimulate exports and the country’s savings ratio is actually rising despite negative rates
  • Because of negative rates, many Swedish companies – especially exporters – have kept more money overseas, particularly in the US
  • Property prices have stabilized after a 2017 dip but have still tripled in real terms since the mid-1990s, lifting the price-to-income ratio to almost 30% above its two-decade average,…


Answer: $22.3tn