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Tonight I got the very sad news that British-Catalan economist Edward Hugh has passed away.
For the last couple of months I have been writing a weekly column for the Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið. I enjoy it a lot. First of all it keeps me in contact with Iceland - a country that since 2006 has been an important part of my professional and personal life. Second, it is a good alternative to my blog where I mostly focus on monetary policy.
Yesterday Azerbaijan's central bank gave up its pegged exchange rate regime and floated the Manat. The Manat plummeted immediately and was essentially halved in value in yesterday's trading.
I have for sometime argued that the quasi-currency union 'Dollar Bloc' is not an Optimal Currency Area and that it therefore is doomed to fall apart.
The continued drop in the oil prices have caused the Bank of Canada to reconsider whether it should cut it key policy rate - the Overnight rate - and in a speech earlier this week BoC governor Stephen Poloz said that he would not rule out negative interest rates in Canada even though he did not expect it and he also voiced some worries about negative rates in general.
I recently came across two indices, which are measuring two on the surface unrelated things - property rights and environmental standards across different countries.
I am trying very hard not to become alarmist, but I must admit that I see very little positive news at the moment and I continue to see three elements - monetary policy failure/weak growth, the rise of extremist politics (Trump, Orban, Erdogan, Putin, ISIS etc) and sharply rising geopolitical tensions coming together to a very unpleasant cocktail that brings back memories of the 1930s and the run up to the second World War.
I have been lucky to be very busy since I resigned from Danske Bank back in May - both with my advisory business (Markets & Money Advisory), my commentary and my speaking engagements and all indications are that I will continue to be busy for the rest of the year, but there is still a bit of space in the calendar in Q1 2016 - so if you need me to speak at a seminar or at a conference you might still be able to book me.