Covering EBRD annual meetings for Global Markets

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Phil contributed analysis pieces to the coverage of the annual meetings of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in May by Global Markets magazine. The meetings were held in May 2022 as the military attacks by Russia on Ukraine were well into their third month.

One piece looked at the likely negative impact that the conflict would have not only on Russia and Ukraine but on the EBRD’s central and eastern European (CEE) region. A partner piece examines the impact on inflation and interest rates in the region.

A key element of that is the likely disruption to regional and global oil markets which this piece looked at. While oil price rises will cause problems for many CEE countries, Russia and Ukraine’s place in global food markets will cause major problems and misery for countries on the North African fringe of operations. This piece looks at that.

The EBRD is one of many international financial institutions to have offered to increase funding for projects in Ukraine: this piece looked at who has given what, and how much the likely final bill will be.

Finally, there may be some glimmer of hope from the unity that the conflict seems to have inspired within the European Union and NATO. This piece looks at how this might bring together the EBRD’s shareholders and recipient countries 31 years after its foundation in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Focus on Japanisation

Business Life, a Channel Islands-based magazine aimed at the financial sector, commissioned Phil to look at whether Europe was suffering from Japanisation – a structural shift to a low growth, low inflation near-zero interest rates that the Asian superpower has seen for almost 30 years.

He spoke to many analysts including Holger Schmieding at Berenberg Bank who disputed the idea that Japan was “suffering”, Andrew Milligan at Aberdeen Standard Investments looked at the impact on banks and advisers to high wealth individuals and Amit kara at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research highlighted the challenge that investment managers will face to secure higher yields in Europe and other Japanised economies.

The article is here.

How central banks are learning new tricks

The Think.ING website has looked at how central baks have changed how they communicate with the public, drawing from behavioural science to simplify their message and reach more people. Phil looked at how central banks must also ensure their messages are heard in an increasingly noisy media environment where there are many new suppliers of news thanks to the growth of the internet and use of mobile apps.

The article looks at research into how central banks have fine-tuned their messaging and used different channels with different versions of the same message to appeal to a wider range of people.

The premier example was Jamaica where the central bank has issued a series of videos on Twitter and other social media in recent months featuring reggae singers and musicians telling viewers that if inflation is too high “the people have a cry” and “if it’s too low the country nah grow”.

The lesson is that as populism threatens the established order and digital and social media expand their reach, it is only a matter of time before other central banks recognise the need for plain talking. The blog post is here.