The dilemmas of Pravin Gordhan

• On 22nd February, Finance minister Gordhan presented his annual budget to the national assembly.
• Gordhan faced a painful trade-off between managing South Africa’s eye-watering debt situation, supporting stagnant private consumption and political sustainability in the most unequal country in the world
• We simulate South Africa’s debt/GDP path under different assumptions, and argue that the economy still has a long way to go to achieve fiscal sustainability

What next if negative rates fail

In response to almost a decade of QE and with little discernible effect, central bankers have resorted to negative interest rates. What is the zero lower bound and will below zero rates have the desired effect?
If negative interest rates fail to halt deflationary momentum, could more extreme options such as ‘helicopter money’ be a viable next step?

Agreekment: Mapping out the flows

• The initial details of the bail-out suggest that over the next three years, Greece’s hard-line creditors could be largely ‘paid-off’, leaving the door open to debt renegotiation further down the line.

• While Greece is required to make further sacrifices in the form of asset privatization, the deal postpones economic and humanitarian consequences of Euro exit.

• As always, there are significant uncertainties surrounding long run feasibility including primary surplus and asset sale revenue assumptions.