All posts by Ed Conway

The most unaffordable property in Britain

There is no such thing as a perfect measure of housing affordability – after all no two homebuyers are the same. Some will be taking out enormous mortgages to part-finance their dream  home. Others will be lucky enough to pay in cash. Some are buying as investment, others to live in the home. However, perhaps the most broadly used measure is what’s known as the house price-earnings ratio. Very simply, you … Continue Reading ››

Can Osborne find the feelgood factor?

Here’s something to dwell on: back in 2010, at the time of George Osborne’s first Budget, the Government was predicting that by this stage, midway through 2013, the economy would be almost 3% bigger than it was at the start of the economic crisis. Instead, today Britain’s economy is still over 3 percentage points smaller than it was before the crisis. If you compare the shortfall to trend growth (in other … Continue Reading ››

Mark Carney’s joke book

One thing became clear pretty soon into Mark Carney’s big speech today: the Bank of England Governor is much better when he ad-libs than when he reads from the script. The speech was a bit dry, a touch monotonous, and full of central-bankerese; but when it came time for questions from the floor, the Governor’s wisecracks had the audience here at Nottingham laughing and applauding – if not quite rolling … Continue Reading ››

Forward guidance: the real poison pill

I promised that yesterday's blog would be my last on forward guidance. Alas it is not to be, because a friend has pointed me towards a detail which, up until now, I hadn't quite appreciated. It is this: even if the collective judgement of the Monetary Policy Committee is that the inflation "knockout" will not be reached, any of the nine individual MPC members will still be able to make their … Continue Reading ››

Carney proved he’s a central banker after all

The fallout of the past few days following the unveiling of Britain’s forward guidance policy calls to mind something a senior policymaker whispered to me shortly after Mark Carney was appointed. “Don’t forget,” this person said mischievously, “when push comes to shove he’s still a central banker.” The point being that hope as some might that Carney would unleash a one-way torrent of printed money at the British economy, his natural instincts … Continue Reading ››

Minutes away from a new Bank of England

A few quick thoughts before I head into the Bank of England lock-in on forward guidance. 1. The Inflation Report will never be the same again. Consider it - up until now, these quarterly reports have been hinged on the Bank's inflation projections. Yes, they have been broad assessments for how the rest of the economy's doing too but in the end the big question was always whether the Bank … Continue Reading ››

More than forward guidance?

The bold new world of UK monetary policy is drawing close – excited yet? The nine men who make up the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee have been meeting yesterday and today to decide not just this month’s interest rate/QE decision but also, more significantly, the precise kind of remit they will follow in the future. In case you’re new to the issue, here’s a quick recap: since 1997 the Bank … Continue Reading ››