Maybe a recession is looming, or maybe not and we are being misled
Finance-market investors are pessimistic: global stock markets fell around the world last week, prompting headlines such as Recession fears prompt selling in global stock markets.
Weak data from Germany and China on Wednesday helped fuel a rush for safe assets like bonds and gold, the BBC said in the report beneath that headline.
Bond market moves pointed to possible recessions in major economies.
Another BBC report, headed Are markets signalling that a recession is due?, examined the unusual phenomenon known in the jargon as an “inverted yield curve”.
This often comes before a recession or at least a significant slowdown in economic growth.
Continue reading “You could go with the pessimists and brace for a recession – or you could take comfort from Trumpian optimism”
James Shaw must go and be replaced as Minister of Statistics by a woman.
Julie Anne Genter, Shaw’s Green Party and ministerial colleague, hasn’t said so. But here at Point of Order we are confident she would agree.
The case for a woman taking over as Minister of Statistics is raised by a combination of the mismanaged 2018 census and by Genter’s championing of female leadership.
One analysis of the Stats NZ fiasco, by David Williams at Newsroom, says the census was bungled
“ … because of bad leadership, poor oversight, flawed decisions, and a misplaced hope that it’d turn out OK.” Continue reading “James Shaw’s number should be up with the Stats portfolio and (based on a Green colleague’s advice) a woman should take over”
So what, on reflection, are we to make of the Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr last week slashing the official cash rate by half a percentage point to a record low of 1%?
After all, just the day before Orr made his historic move, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was delivering assurances to anyone who might be listening of the NZ economy’s “solid fundamentals” as he celebrated the unemployment rate falling to 3.9%.
Why then would investment guru Brian Gaynor label the OCR cut as a “bizarre decision”?
In his widely read column in the Saturday edition of the NZ Herald, Gaynor wrote:
“Populist politicians and central bank governors are obsessed with taking measures to avoid any form of economic slowdown. This approach, which has been strongly influenced by Trump’s pressure on the US Federal Reserve Board, is unorthodox, because expansions and slowdowns are an integral part of the business cycle. The weird 0.5% rate cut…means our Reserve Bank has more limited options if NZ is confronted by a serious recession”. Continue reading “Lopping the OCR might be a stroke of genius – or an Orr-ful monetary policy blunder”
Michael Reddell, on his Croaking Cassandra blog, has scolded the Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee about its prowess – or lack of it – in the communications department.
His concerns were raised by the committee’s decision – announced yesterday along with the latest Monetary Policy Statement – to lop the Official Cash Rate by 50 basis points to 1 per cent.
As Westpac commentators noted:
“This was a stunning decision – in the history of the OCR, the only times the OCR has been cut by 50bps or more have been after the 9/11 terrorist attack, during the GFC, and after the Christchurch earthquake. We are very surprised that the RBNZ decided to cut 50bps in today’s environment.”
Reddell was surprised, too, and is urging the RBNZ’s board to ask hard questions about just what went on before the announcement. Continue reading “RBNZ board is pressed to put many hard questions about surprise slashing of the OCR”
We propose a meeting between former New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson and Britain’s newly appointed Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to swap notes on good grammar and effective communication. Mind you, we would prefer to steer well clear of any meeting between this particular pair of politicians. Their enthusiasm for pedantry – we fear – would rapidly become tiresome.
Finlayson, it might be remembered, had a passion for avoiding split infinitives and eschewing the use Oxford commas.
He provided his staff with a list of more than 20 banned expressions.
Rees-Mogg’s staff similarly have been directed to avoid using certain words and to address men with the courtesy title “esquire.” Continue reading “Just imagine a meeting of these two minds and the avoidance of split infinitives”
Psychologists, psychotherapists and what-have-you seem to be doing good business from helping players cope with something that – when all is said and done – is sport.
They are helping nerve-shattered fans, too, after the tense Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand, a game ultimately decided by the number of boundaries scored by each side.
On the strength of this, England won the cup.
Would the toss of a coin have been fairer? Or should the title have been shared?
No matter. The fact is a lot of Black Cap fans found their stress levels raised and the NZ Herald fretted:
“Kiwis have been left emotionally bruised today after New Zealand came just centimetres from winning the Cricket World Cup.”
Continue reading “Can’t cope with the pressure of international cricket? Put things in perspective by taking advice from Keith Miller”