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Silvia Dall'Angelo responds to the BoE meeting The Bank of England kept policy on hold at today’s meeting, as widely expected. It has nudged up its Q3 GDP expectation, yet, by warning that Brexit uncertainty has increased even since August, the MPC could stay put on rates in the near future, as Brexit negotiations approach a crucial stage – including a soft deadline for a withdrawal deal in mid-November. Yet, the Bank has maintained a mild tightening bias, suggesting that a “gradual and limited” hiking cycle is appropriate under most circumstances going forward. Having increased rates at its August meeting, the Bank is likely to hike once again over the next year, provided Brexit negotiations proceed smoothly. Justifying higher rates has been a sober take on the supply side of the economy: in a context of sluggish potential growth, the limited spare capacity left in the economy is quickly disappearing, and excess demand is building. In order to avoid a last minute overreaction to inflationary pressures likely to emerge down the road, and taking into account the fact that monetary policy works with a lag, the Bank look still to be eyeing around three rate hikes in the next three years. That would take the Bank rate up to their estimate of short-term equilibrium, currently seen between 1.5% and 2%. This equilibrium rate (r*), defined as that needed to keep the economy on an even keel, is expected to rise to 2-3% thereafter. The logic being that faster productivity growth spurs wages, and leveraging continues to pick-up. 13/09/2018 - Silvia Dall’Angelo
Italy and Europe – the integration dilemma While Italy’s short-term economic outlook includes some positive elements, material downside risks loom amid high policy uncertainty. In her latest Ahead of the Curve, Silvia Dall’Angelo, Senior Economist at Hermes Investment Management, argues the Italian situation is a symptom of deep-rooted malaise and requires a credible and concerted response. Italy’s recent political imbroglio reignited the debate over the European Union’s (EU) future and the viability of the European single currency within its current institutional framework. While the situation has normalised, the landscape in Italy remains fragile. It is emblematic of the challenges the Eurozone is facing in a new political era. This new political backdrop emphasises national sovereignty, has an inward-looking approach and favours centrifugal forces, posing hurdles to European integration. Effects of the crisis Italy’s double-dip recession – the global financial crisis in 2008, followed by the European Sovereign Debt Crisis in 2012/13 – was particularly severe, as the country was ill-equipped to deal with it in the first place. The typically short-lived political cycle – with 65 administrations at the helm since World War II – has favoured wasteful public spending and quick fixes, rather than long-sighted structural reforms. In this context, public debt grew quickly, thereby reducing the fiscal space available at times of crisis. 13/07/2018 - Silvia Dall’Angelo
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