After the huge monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, many economists were predicting high inflation. Based on historical experiences, I was also expecting higher inflation. This hasn't happened. Why? Click here to read a post by Gerald O'Driscoll Jr of the Cato Institute. He argues that (a) the velocity of money (i.e., how many times a single £1 is spent in a year) is at historically low levels, which acts as a brake on runaway inflation; (b) CPI does not capture all goods and services in an economy and is therefore an inadequate measure of inflation, and it cannot pick up monetary-stimulated inflation; (c) there has been inflation of or a 'bubble' in long-lived assets such as houses, bonds, and maybe even equity, which are not picked up by CPI data; (d) inflation is popping its head up in countries which peg to or track the dollar e.g., China, Hong Kong, and Brazil. In conclusion, O'Driscoll warns that the West can expect higher consumer inflation sometime soon.
As an undergraduate, I was taught about the failure of Herstatt Bank in 1974 and Herstatt risk. This bank was only the 35th largest bank in Germany at the time so why would anyone be interested in studying its failure? Herstatt failed because of its involvement in risky foreign exchange business. When it closed its doors on 26 June 1974, counterparty banks (mainly in New York) had not received dollars due to them because of time-zone differences - this is known as settlement risk. The cross-jurisdictional implications of its failure resulted in the Bank for International Settlements setting up the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Herstatt's failure was a key reason for the establishment of real-time gross settlements systems, which ensures that payments between two banks are executed in real time. The Bank of England's Ben Norman has an interesting post on Herstatt over at the Bank's new blog ( Bank Underground ). As well as giving an excellent overview of