Are US interest rates set to rise again?

The Federal Reserve looks set to hike US interest rates in the coming monthsThe Federal Reserve looks set to hike US interest rates in the coming months

It seems increasingly likely that the Federal Reserve will impose further interest rate hikes this year, six months after it increased rates for the first time in almost ten years. At the Fed’s review in April, members voted strongly to keep interest rates unchanged, pointing to fears over the sluggish growth of US economy in Q1, Britain’s potential exit from the EU and uncertainty over China. Four hikes were forecast for 2016, but it’s a figure that’s been revised down to two in the light of flat economic conditions globally. Read more…

Austerity not working, claim IMF economists

International Monetary Fund claim austerity measures aren’t good for global economyInternational Monetary Fund claim austerity measures aren’t good for global economy

Economists from the International Monetary Fund have issued a stern warning that austerity measures promoted by countries such as the UK and Germany aren’t helping to grow the global economy. The IMF article blames the last few decades of neoliberal strategies, arguing that while the expansion of global trade has lifted millions out of poverty and the privatisation of state-owned enterprises has led to the more efficient provision of services, the approach has failed to deliver in other areas. Read more…

Are we heading towards a cashless economy?

Cashless could be on the cards as banks weigh up the pros and consCould cash become obsolete?

We’ve all become more wedded to plastic as advancements in technology allow us to pay for everything from a breakfast muffin to a wide-screen TV with a credit card. But the idea of a cashless economy seems unthinkable. Central banks are evaluating the situation, though, to enable them to exert more control over economic recovery measures. It’s no good establishing QE and negative interest rates to stimulate the economy if people hoard cash instead. Read more…

What’s a Brexit and what would it mean for the US?

How does speculation over Britain’s potential exit from the EU affect the US?British exit from EU could affect US markets

Brexit is a term that may well be unfamiliar to many Americans, although there could be repercussions down the line, should the UK vote to leave the EU in the June referendum. Britain’s prime minister David Cameron has been trying to renegotiate key agreements with the EU to improve its position within the union. But with US interests closely connected to those of the UK and the outcome of the vote far from certain, it’s worth paying attention to proceedings. Read more…

Why are ex-pat Americans giving up their passports?

Why are ex-pat Americans giving up their passports?Growing numbers of Americans are renouncing US citizenship

According the US Treasury, increasing numbers of Americans are renouncing their citizenship. One of the main reasons for this seems to be Fatca (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), a citizen-based taxation system introduced in 2012. The law is aimed at taxing wealthy Americans and requires citizens to file a tax return, no matter where in the world they live. It also means some people are liable to pay US taxes on top of those required by their country of residence. Read more…

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…

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…

Oil prices near a seven-year low

Global oil prices continue to fallGlobal oil prices continue to fall

Crude oil prices have slumped to their lowest levels in seven years, with further losses likely in the coming weeks. On 4 December, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) agreed to continue its policy of seeking market share rather than supporting prices, which saw US crude oil values falling to less than $40 a barrel. Prices are now at their lowest levels since the close of 2008, when crude-oil futures price fell to around $34. Opec’s organisational disarray has promoted renewed selling and is causing widespread concern in the sector. Read more…

What next for the global economy?

Global economy pulling in two directions as Federal Reserve gets ready to raise ratesGlobal economy divided as Federal Reserve gets ready to raise rates

With businesses readying themselves for an interest rate rise in December, the global economy seems to be divided. A slight rise from 0.25% to 0.5% may not seem like a sweeping gesture from the Federal Reserve but it is a game-changer, nevertheless. While Fed boss Janet Yelland feels the US economy can withstand a modest rate rise, some economists are worried that the predicted rise in US interest rates won’t necessarily be the tonic needed to increase the pace of recovery and that the Eurozone, Japan, China and BRIC countries are still far from stable. Read more…