Global economic data releases have surprised to the downside in recent months, particularly in Europe. While some of this appears to be noise (data were unexplainably strong in the last quarter of 2017), higher oil prices pose further downside risks.
On the face of it, Donald Trump has proven to be an aggressive and erratic US president. Yet academic research shows 'good cop, bad cop' works as a negotiating technique. Although we're seeing a lot of 'bad cop' Trump at the moment in the trade war, is this just a negotiating tactic?
The ‘yield curve’ has flattened significantly. This is worrying both investors and some Fed members given its track record of anticipating recessions. But has the yield curve become a less timely predictor in recent cycles?
What happens when babyboomers retire? Have we saved enough for retirement or are we living beyond our means? Academics argue high savings by prime-aged babyboomers in their 'summer' have depressed real interest rates in recent decades. But the community is split as to what happens next as 'winter' comes.
For decades, demographers were too pessimistic on life expectancy and had to revise up their forecasts. Are they now too optimistic? Recent data suggest that UK ‘death rates’ have stopped improving. If sustained, life expectancy projections would need to be revised down. This would have profound implications for government and pension finances.