Podcast: Macro Waves
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Mobility: rising trend continues as pandemic eases 6/21/2021
Between 8 and 14 June, the number of new Covid-19 cases worldwide continued to decline, dropping 9% from 2.9 million to 2.64 million. This marked the sixth consecutive week of falls. On the vaccination front, more than 1.6 billion people around the world have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or 21% of the global population.
Inflation higher for longer? The interplay between productivity, profit margins and pricing power 6/14/2021
A complex interplay between unit labour costs, profit margins and pricing power will determine whether the current increase in inflation will be longer-lasting. Traditionally, in the early phase of a recovery, unit labour costs decline on the back of increased productivity. This should cushion the impact of higher input prices on profit margins. Subsequently, unit labour costs should increase but this does not imply that margins should decline. Given the strength of the growth acceleration, the fact that alternatives for meeting robust demand often do not exist and that going for market share makes no sense when faced with supply constraints, the conditions seem to be met for a rather significant transmission of higher input prices in producer output prices.
International trade: strong dynamism 6/14/2021
Indicators related to international trade remain very strong. Even though the most recent CPB figures are for March, world trade in volumes (both exports and imports) increased 2.2% m/m, pushing the quarterly rise to 3.5% in Q1 2021. This represents a solid growth that was almost identical to that recorded in the previous quarter.
Mobility: nearly back to normal in many countries 6/14/2021
The easing of the pandemic has continued for the fifth consecutive week across the world. The acceleration of vaccination programmes has allowed a gradual reopening of economies. Visits to retail and leisure facilities continued to rise in the main developed economies, marking a return nearly to normal in the week of 28 May to 8 June. 
Uncertainty declining across the board 6/7/2021
Our different uncertainty gauges are complementary, in terms of scope or methodology, yet, based on the latest readings, they all point towards a reduction in uncertainty. Such a uniform, positive message is quite unique.
Mobility remains on a rising trend in the main advanced countries 6/7/2021
Visits to retail and leisure facilities continued to rise in the main advanced countries. The biggest increase in the week came in France. The improving trend has had a visible impact on the service sector, as can be seen in the latest service sector PMI.
Central bank inflation forecasts: ‘Trust us, we know better’ 5/31/2021
Strong belief in the quality of central bank economic forecasts enhances monetary transmission and hence the effectiveness of monetary policy. In the current environment of rising inflationary pressures, the belief of market participants that central banks have better forecasting skills should limit the rise in inflation expectations. Research casts doubt on whether such a belief is warranted. Although Fed staff projections tend to have lower forecast errors than private sector forecasts, the difference has narrowed since the 1990s. In the Eurozone, forecast errors for inflation of the Eurosystem/ECB staff projections were equal to those of the Survey of Professional Forecasters.
Increased mobility and faster vaccine rollouts in Europe 5/31/2021
With the fall in Covid-19 cases and rising vaccination levels, retail and recreation mobility continues to rise. Only Belgium saw a decrease last week, but its level remains the highest in Europe. In the US, mobility is almost back to normal. However, it is continuing to decrease in Japan, with the seven-day moving average down 22% compared with the reference level.
Supply bottlenecks and the inflation outlook 5/25/2021
In countries where restrictions on mobility are lifted, demand picks up suddenly, causing an imbalance with supply, which takes more time to react, in particular when value chains are long and complex. In recent months, companies have been reporting longer delivery lags and rising input costs, but the historical experience in the US and the euro area shows that the impact on inflation should be temporary and limited. Nevertheless, in bond markets, break-even inflation has increased significantly in recent months, reflecting investor worries about the risk of upside surprises to inflation. Should supply-side pressures ease in coming months, one would expect break-even inflation to decline as well. 
Easing of the pandemic and growth in footfall to retail and leisure facilities 5/25/2021
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to slow around the world. As health protection measures are gradually relaxed, footfall to retail and leisure facilities continued to rise in the main developed economies.

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