Stephen King: Does the Bank of England know something the rest of us don't?

They can prevent the worst economic outcomes. They cannot create the best

Stephen King: The emerging world deserves to catch up – and we must grow up

On either side of the Atlantic, housing markets are no longer in free-fall. On Friday, we discovered that US housing starts had unexpectedly risen in June, posting the highest number in seven months. Building permits, which indicate future homebuilding activity, also picked up smartly.

Stephen King: China takes small steps towards breaking the sway of the US dollar

For nations sitting on piles of dollar assets, the fall in the dollar's value is hardly good news

Stephen King: The perils of learning from the past

High hopes dashed. No, not Andy Murray's unsuccessful quest to win Wimbledon this year. I'm thinking of last Thursday's US employment report for June. It was hardly the best news ahead of the July 4th Independence Day celebrations.

Stephen King: Who will end this financial insanity?

Mervyn isn't happy with Alistair because Alistair's housekeeping doesn't quite add up. Adair isn't happy with Mervyn because Mervyn wants to play with Adair's regulatory toys. Alistair doesn't trust Mervyn because he suspects Mervyn is sneaking off to tell George all of Alistair's secrets. Mervyn is irritated because Alistair refuses to show Mervyn his new White Paper. But George is full of cheer because he thinks Mervyn is his new best friend. That, I think, is the human aspect of the rumpus that's unfolded over the past few days. Personalities aside, the row reveals obvious tensions in the UK's monetary, fiscal and regulatory framework.

Stephen King: Good luck, not good providence, was at the core of happier times

It is now difficult to talk with a straight face of the so-called era of stability

Stephen King: The housing market is one of the main unknowns in any upturn

The flexible labour market may mean tremendous downward pressure on wages

Stephen King: The economic mess began when profligacy replaced prudence

The UK economy had been suffering fiscal neglect long before the credit crunch

Stephen King: Runaway growth was a sign of excess credit and risk-taking

The Bank of England never properly dealt with inflation shocks from abroad

Stephen King: Spring is in the in the air, but not all green shoots make it to summer

Like swine fever, economic buds seem to be turning up all over the place

Stephen King: The Chancellor's golden goose is no more and the cash has run out

A rebalancing of the economy may leave the Treasury permanently short of money

Stephen King: Economic forecasters could learn something from meteorologists

Forecasters got their projections badly wrong – the Treasury's were particularly misleading

Stephen King: Domestic demands may scupper a worldwide economic solution

How much will the financial crisis eventually cost? I'm not talking about the billions of pounds or the trillions of dollars being spent to rebuild the world's financial system. These numbers are now so big that, in thinking about them, I feel decidedly numb. Moreover, the asset purchase and insurance schemes launched by governments may not cost that much over the longer term: not all the assets being purchased or insured against will prove toxic and a recovery in economic activity would probably leave governments and taxpayers nursing only modest losses. Indeed, with any luck, they might even make money.

Stephen King: Experiments that could blow us up

It is bad enough explaining to people what quantitative easing is, let alone what it actually does. Part of the problem lies with the different approaches adopted by central banks on either side of the Atlantic. The Bank of England deliberately intends to increase the supply of money, whereas the Federal Reserve has, so far, made no such commitment. Both central banks are, though, supposedly engaged in quantitative easing.

Stephen King: The rest of the world still has a lot to learn from the Japanese

What, today, counts as economic policy success? The G20 finance ministers, pictured, promised over the weekend to "take whatever action is necessary until growth is restored." That, though, is a rather weak formulation. Even after the Great Depression, growth eventually made a welcome return. The bigger concerns surely relate to the length and depth of the current downswing and, importantly, the likely pace of growth once the world economy bottoms out. Merely promising a restoration of growth at some unspecified future point doesn't quite do the trick.

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