ECB quantitative easing: Question everything

first_imgAmazingly, it has taken us more than four years to get here. Perhaps even more amazingly, the QE has arrived long after the apparent crisis point for the euro-zone has passed – the hair-raising weeks of 2012 when Greece looked to be on its way out of the single currency and peripheral bond yields were rocketing skywards. Today, Spain’s 10-year bonds barely yield 1.5%, and the euro has weakened enough to generate a healthy current account balance.The ultimate and most politically controversial of emergency monetary measures comes not in response to impending crisis but in pursuit of the central bank’s core mandate of price stability. Some have said today’s decision is the logical conclusion of current president Mario Draghi’s promise, at the height of the crisis, to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the single currency’s integrity. But, in fact, it is simply the logical and possibly the only way the ECB can pursue its core mandate as deflation takes hold and its interest rates bump up against the zero bound. (While the Swiss National Bank has recently shown a possible way forward into the strange world of deeply negative rates, it is notable the ECB kept all of its rates unchanged today).Does deflation represent a threat to the integrity of the single currency? Given the indebtedness of some members, it certainly could, if left to fester, Japan-like, for a long time. Does the market anticipate such an outcome? Looking at the way it has been pricing things over recent weeks, one would have to conclude that it does.Not only have bond yields and inflation breakevens been plummeting – while the oil price has halved, gold has been getting a bid for the first time in ages, which suggests investors have started thinking about it as a currency without a counterparty again, rather than just another commodity, and are no longer turned off by the thought of holding an asset that generates zero income.This is why the way markets responded to today’s news is so important. The central bank came out with a slightly stronger package than expected, and all of the pro-QE plays that had been selling-off over the last couple of days caught a bid: yields were back down, slightly, and the euro sold off modestly. Gold headed back through $1,300/oz. It was looking like we would get a classic case of buying the rumour and selling the news – which, by the way, is precisely what we saw around the QE decisions from the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve. That would have been a comforting sign that a lot of the positioning taken up over the past month or so has been technically rather than fundamentally driven: speculators on the margins making sure they caught the up-draught into the increasingly inevitable ECB QE decision, rather than hunkering down for a long haul of falling consumer prices and stagnating growth.Should we revisit that thesis in the light of today’s moves? Not necessarily. The modestness of those moves suggests they are not reflective of market disappointment but rather of appreciation that the central bank really is serious this time. The open-ended nature of the programme Draghi described in the press conference was notable, for example. The response of stock markets back this interpretation up.It’s early days, but if this more optimistic take on things sticks over the next days and weeks, we could be seeing the beginnings of what could be a powerful bull market in European risk assets – but perhaps not the long-overdue and much-needed correction in safe-haven rates. IPE’s Martin Steward analyses today’s long-awaited European Central Bank announcement“We are not running money printing presses,” said the president of the ECB.That was in the early summer of 2010, the man in charge was Jean-Claude Trichet, and he was reassuring French radio listeners that the recent decision to begin sterilised secondary-market purchases of private and government bonds was not the prelude to US and UK-style QE. He needed to do so because the central bank was running desperately low on credibility. Days earlier, Trichet had insisted this big step had not even been discussed; and the ECB had previously broken its promise that “no state can expect special treatment” on collateral eligibility requirements in order to try and get on top of the worsening Greek debt crisis.In my opinion column for IPE at the time, I made the fairly unsophisticated argument that the losses of the financial crisis were in the process of being socialised through the ECB, and that this would happen either through defaults on debts that were now held at the ECB, or through the soft default of “runaway inflation” as the euro was trashed with a massive programme of all-out QE.last_img read more

Barbarians too strong for Ireland

first_img The Leinster loosehead was sin-binned by referee Greg Garner after a video review in the first half of Ireland’s non-cap international clash at Thomond Park. Ireland slumped to defeat in Limerick with Alex Cuthbert claiming two tries and Leinster full-back Zane Kirchner landing the Barbarians’ killer blow over many of his club-mates. Craig Gilroy and the returning Chris Henry claimed scores for a scrappy Ireland outfit. Paddy Jackson’s late converted try handed Ireland a sniff of victory, but the BaaBaas held out. Fly-half Ian Madigan escaped censure for stamping on Georgia lock Mikautadze when a maul collapsed in the 32nd minute, but McGrath was handed a yellow card for his actions at the same breakdown. The 25-year-old front-rower could face further retrospective punishment, however, and any eventual sanction could threaten his World Cup participation. France lock Pascal Pape was handed a 10-week ban for kneeing Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip in the back during this year’s RBS 6 Nations. Any suspension for McGrath would not start until Ireland’s World Cup warm-up games in August. There is no suggestion McGrath’s actions equate to those of Pape, but a ban of four or more weeks would leave his World Cup participation in doubt. Ireland boss Joe Schmidt showed his immediate feelings on the matter by choosing not to send McGrath back into the fray at the end of his 10-minute sin-bin. While the BaaBaas entertained, Ireland were meant to be experimenting, blooding the young and untested and ushering experienced men requiring matches back towards full steam. Jack McGrath could be facing a ban to jeopardise his World Cup participation after kneeing lock Konstantin Mikautadze in the back during Ireland’s 22-21 defeat to the Barbarians. Uncapped centre Colm O’Shea, with just four Leinster appearances to his name, struggled but never folded, while flanker Henry impressed in his first international outing since November. The Ulster openside scragged and scrapped at every breakdown, exhibiting all the tenacity that drove him into Ireland’s starting side before his mini-stroke in the autumn. The 30-year-old even claimed a second-half try, and must surely have done enough in Limerick to convince head coach Schmidt he is ready for the World Cup. The Barbarians launched into free-spirited custom from the off, Wales wing Cuthbert coasting home after Ireland debutant O’Shea drifted too far infield. Ireland levelled the scores through Craig Gilroy’s smart finish, the Ulster wing cutting a tight line off a five-metre scrum. Madigan’s conversion handed Schmidt’s men a two-point lead, but probe as they might, Ireland could not increase that advantage before the break. McGrath’s yellow card stymied solid build-up at the death of the half, allowing the BaaBaas some respite, though the world-famous invitational outfit did suffer a sin-binning of their own. Prop Roberto Tejerizo was given his short-term marching orders at the end of the half, for persistent scrum infringement. The Barbarians reclaimed the lead after the turnaround, former All Blacks wizard Joe Rokocoko always to the fore with a flick here and a trick there. Leinster’s Zane Kirchner outsmarted O’Shea before chipping the cover to slide home in style. Jimmy Gopperth converted before slotting a penalty – with the crowd booing the pragmatism – to set the BaaBaas 15-7 to the good. Ireland rallied through Henry’s driving-maul score, but even with Madigan’s conversion still trailed by a point. The Barbarians fired another riposte, Cuthbert burrowing home with a good flanker impression for his second score of the night. Ireland pulled a last-gasp try out of the hat thanks to replacement fly-half Paddy Jackson, and Madigan slotted the drop-goal conversion to allow the game to restart. Ireland again trailed by one point, with the game sliding into its final minute as the Barbarians restarted the action. The BaaBaas were able to run out the clock, however, and claim a victory as much morale-boosting for their part as galling for Ireland. Press Associationlast_img read more

Jake Arrieta injury update: Phillies pitcher had knee surgery during offseason

first_img Phillies, Aaron Nola agree to new 4-year contract “There were no structural issues,” Kapler said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s already been off the mound a couple of times. We’re just going to be smart about his running and cutting progression.“Arrieta is right on track to start. We may slow several guys down, and we might not come out with our five-man rotation at the start. But it’s not going to be due to injury. It’s going to be our progression plan.” Related News Arrieta, 32, tallied a 10-11 record with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts during his first season with Philadelphia. He struck out 138 batters and walked 57 in 172 2/3 innings on the mound.center_img Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta underwent knee surgery just before spring training but is expected to be ready for opening day. Manager Gabe Kapler revealed Arrieta injured his knee during an offseason weight-training workout. He called the surgery “just a meniscus cleanup” and revealed Arrieta has already thrown off the mound.last_img read more

Survey Finds Most Police Officers Support Medical Marijuana

first_img Survey Finds Most Police Officers Support Medical Marijuana 3 min read February 9, 2017 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Add to Queue Green Entrepreneur Podcast Next Article Cannabis Image credit: Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images –shares Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Guest Writer Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. Listen Now Softening attitudes among police lags general public acceptance but seems to confirm an inexorable social trend. In a sign of the continuing shift in attitudes about legal marijuana, a new survey finds that a majority of police officers now favor allowing the use of medical marijuana.However, the number drops significantly when it comes to the legalization of marijuana for personal use. And one-third of officers surveyed said they still support an outright ban on the use of marijuana for any purpose.Pew Research released the information recently as part of a survey of police officers on a number of issues.Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.For those thinking of investing into marijuana businesses, the survey provides a glimpse into how law enforcement might battle any new legalization efforts. Despite being legal under state laws for a majority of the US population, marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law.Related: 5 Tips for Breaking Into the ‘Budding’ Marijuana IndustryPolice officer surveyThe survey found that, overall, about seven in 10 officers think marijuana should be legalized for at least medical use. The numbers were as follows:37 percent of police officers supported legalizing marijuana for medical use32 percent of police officers supported legalizing marijuana for both personal and medical use30 percent of police officers support a ban on marijuana for any useYounger officers took a more favorable view toward marijuana, with 37 percent saying they support both medical and recreational marijuana.Related: How Cannabis Ecommerce Challenges Are Driving Web InnovationGeneral public surveyWhile the trend toward supporting legalization among law enforcement officers reflects what has happened with voters across the country, the numbers for law enforcement remain below that for the general public.In the same study, Pew reported the following numbers on the same questions asked of adults who do not work in law enforcement. The findings:35 percent supported legalizing marijuana for medical use49 percent supported legalizing marijuana for both medical and personal use15 percent supported a ban on marijuana for any use63 percent of those under the age of 45 support legal marijuana for both personal and medical usePew conducted the study between May and August 2016. They interviewed 7,900 officers in both police and sheriff’s departments. Each department had at least 100 officers. For the general public portion of the survey, Pew interviewed 4,500 adults in August and September of 2016.Related: 4 Cannabis Business Ideas from the Frontier of the Legal Weed IndustryWhile law enforcement attitudes toward legalizing marijuana seems to have relaxed, the nation’s top justice officials have not changed their stance on marijuana as an illegal drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency had two chances to review petitions on the legal status of marijuana in the summer of 2016. However, DEA officials decided not to make any changes.To stay up to date on the latest marijuana related news make sure to like on Facebook.last_img read more