Negative interest rates deployed by Bank of Japan

Negative interest ratesBank of Japan introduces negative interest rates to boost economy

In a bid to shake the economy out of its stalemate, the Bank of Japan has introduced negative interest rates. In theory, the 0.1% rate should encourage lending and begin to turn the tide of deflation. In practice, because banks and other lenders will, in effect, be charged for hoarding deposits, they ought to be more inclined to lend to businesses and consumers and, in turn, promote spending and business investment. It’s the latest in a raft of initiatives designed to boost commercial confidence and support Japan’s plans to move inflation towards its 2% target. Read more…

How much tax is enough?

How much tax is enough?Large corporates face stiffer tax penalties as governments crack down on avoidance

Benjamin Franklin’s twin certainties – death and taxes – are becoming things to avoid in the 21st century, at least by large corporations who use every trick in the book to reduce their tax liability. Legal it may be, but consensus is gathering, in Europe at least, to overhaul the international tax system, in the wake of several prominent cases in which multi-national companies are felt to be dodging their tax obligations to member states. Google is in the firing line at the moment. After years of negotiation, the company has finally agreed a £130m deal with British tax authorities to pay some back taxes and bear a greater tax burden in future. But is it enough? Read more…

Not-so-happy new year for global markets

Markets in turmoilMarkets in turmoil as World Economic Forum ends

As 2016 gets underway, global markets are already experiencing turmoil. Markets in Europe and the US endured some of their steepest losses for decades in the first few days of the New Year, sparked by fears over continued problems in the Chinese economy where trading was temporarily suspended to try to stem the haemorrhaging yuan. Many markets seem to be edging dangerously close to ‘bear’ territory – indicating a fall of 20% or more from their most recent peak. Read more…

US economic recovery slows

Economic slowdown New figures show the US economy slowed at the end of 2015

Fresh Commerce Department figures show that the US economy slowed significantly in the final three months of 2015 amid signs of a global economic slowdown. Spending by businesses and customers alike was cut and US exports reduced. The disappointing 0.7% growth rate raises concerns about the resilience of the US economy against the backdrop of global stock market turmoil which, in turn, is fed by fears of continued economic slowdown in China and plummeting oil prices. Read more…