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On the Same Theme

Covid-19: new cases’ fall around the world 9/13/2021
Global Covid-19 case numbers have started to decline again after a rising trend lasting nearly two months. Some 4.2 million new cases were recorded between 2 and 8 September, a reduction of 6.3% on the previous week. This development was shared between all regions: Africa -25%; South America -16.2%; Asia -7.8%; Europe -2.3%; and North America -2.3%. The total number of deaths also fell over the same period. Meanwhile vaccination campaigns continue to gain ground, with 5.6 billion vaccine doses given by 8 September.
Outlook for the second half of the year: it’s not over 7/23/2021
A combination of positive developments has led in the first half of the year to a broad-based improvement in business and consumer sentiment in advanced economies: successful vaccination campaigns, a declining number of new infections, ongoing policy support and positive international spillover effects. Gradually, the ‘mechanical’ recovery in sectors which previously had suffered from restrictions is expected to lose steam. Supply bottlenecks and certain price increases may end up acting as a headwind. The growth cycle, despite a gradual slowdown, is far from over but neither is the fight against Covid-19. There is increasing concern that new variants would lead to precautionary behaviour, thereby weighing on certain spending categories. This concern has already triggered a significant decline in bond yields, despite concerns that in the US inflation might stay higher for longer. It also means that central bank policy guidance will be a key point of attention in the second half of the year.
Is there a risk of stagflation? 6/25/2021
The 1970s have gone down in history as an era of stagflation, defined as a period of slow or even negative output growth and inflation that is high by historical standards. Two supply shocks in the oil market are considered as a key cause but other factors also played a role. In the course of this year, the lifting of restrictions related to Covid-19 has caused an imbalance between supply and demand, leading to a significant pickup in inflation. There is concern that growth, after being particularly strong, will slow, whereas inflation might stay elevated for longer. This has given rise to comments that stagflation, albeit in a lighter version, could make a comeback. However, this risk seems limited.
PMI: price pressures continue to build, reaching very high levels 6/7/2021
The global manufacturing hardly moved in May, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given its already high level. There was little change in the new export orders at the global level. 
Economic outlook: spring is in the air 4/9/2021
Economic statistics for the first part of this year are better than expected, including in Japan and the euro area. Moreover, this development is broadening in terms of sectors. Looking at business surveys, there is a growing feeling of beginning to “see the light at the end of the tunnel”.
Bitcoin’s buyer beware 3/15/2021
Based on an overview of the functions of a currency, cryptocurrencies should be considered as an investment instrument, rather than as an alternative to fiat money. Since the start of 2020, correlations between bitcoin and copper, equities and, in particular, breakeven inflation have increased. Probably, investors turn to bitcoin when inflation expectations are on the rise. Swings in investor sentiment also play a role. The extent of the change in the bitcoin price suggests that speculative waves are at work, driven by momentum buying and extrapolative expectations of price appreciation. When the fundamental value of an instrument like a cryptocurrency is very hard if not impossible to determine and when short-term price changes are a multiple of those observed in equity markets, caution should prevail when building and managing an exposure.
The bond market turmoil: causes and consequences 3/11/2021
In recent months, US government bond yields increased significantly on the back of higher inflation expectations but more recently, higher real rates have been the key driver. The latter development is in turn related to the prospect of massive additional fiscal stimulus. Unsurprisingly, the dynamics in the Treasury market have had global spillover effects, raising concern about an unwanted tightening of financial conditions.
Does the rise of bond yields call for yield curve control? 3/5/2021
In the US, the prospect of a huge additional fiscal stimulus against a background of a fast pace of vaccination, has recently caused a significant increase in Treasury yields.
The migration of risk in 2021 1/15/2021
Risk and uncertainty never disappear but their nature, intensity and economic consequences evolve over time. 2021 should be the perfect illustration.
Special Edition – 2021: hopes and challenges 1/7/2021
2021 is a year of hope with the arrival of vaccines. Health-related and economic uncertainty should ease significantly, and better visibility will help boost consumer and business confidence and thus drive economic growth. It is also a year of hope for the climate thanks to European initiatives and the prospect of a change of policy direction in the US. But these hopes bring challenges. How will we manage government debt? How might financial markets react if growth surprises on the upside?

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