Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Financial markets have started doing European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s job for him. The euro hit three-year highs and government bond yields rose after euro zone rate-setters hinted they may change their tune on how long monetary policy will stay ultra-loose. These market moves amount to a tightening of monetary conditions. That buys Draghi some time to phase out negative rates that are increasingly at odds with accelerating growth.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Germany’s biggest trade union and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi share a common cause. The former wants a big pay rise for industrial workers in Europe’s largest economy. The latter wants euro zone wage growth to pick up so that he can stop worrying about inflation being too low. Teutonic workers have a strong hand but may still disappoint Draghi.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Stocks are proving they can rally on U.S. markets regardless of whether government bond yields rise or fall. But over the past 30 years, the two have never risen in tandem for more than four consecutive quarters. If that pattern holds, either equities or yields will slide within six months. It’s more likely to be equities.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - In some parts of the financial market, it’s as if the euro zone debt crisis never happened. The gap between benchmark French and German bond yields this week shrank to its smallest since 2009, before the countries that share the single currency were hit by financial shocks that threatened monetary union itself. Such indiscrimination is premature, and stores up fresh problems.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Good sometimes comes from bad. The collapse of German coalition talks on Monday, after the Free Democrats (FDP) walked out of discussions led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, definitely looks inauspicious. Prolonged political uncertainty in Europe’s biggest economy will delay reforms that would better protect the euro zone against the next downturn or crisis. But a wholesale revamp of the single currency area will in the end be easier if Merkel doesn’t have to pander to a party that opposes regional fiscal integration.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Honesty is often touted as the best policy. It may be the hardest one for central bankers to adopt. Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane this week told a conference of global rate-setters to speak simply and truthfully to the general public. His advice is laudable but difficult to follow in its entirety.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Theresa May’s misery risks infecting the UK economy. The British Prime Minister faces growing challenges to her leadership from her Conservative party’s pro- and anti-European Union factions. Political disarray increases the risks that quitting the bloc will inflict serious harm on the economy. A softer Brexit is becoming harder to deliver.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Doing the right thing is its own – and sometimes only – reward. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s hints that policy interest rates may soon rise can be justified by higher inflation. But he is in a no-win situation. The central banker will be criticised for hurting a slow-growing economy if he hikes and accused of playing fast and loose if he delays.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - British Prime Theresa May’s energy plan has few political merits and even fewer economic ones. Her government said on Thursday it will cap the most commonly used energy prices until 2020 to ensure consumers pay less. The intention is laudable, but the biggest intervention since Britain privatised its energy industry three decades ago may do more harm than good.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - On paper, Catalonia looks viable as an independent state. The region which accounts for around a fifth of Spain’s economy has gross domestic product roughly comparable to Finland’s. Its residents are on average richer and more likely to have a job than other Spaniards. Nevertheless, the economic odds are stacked against the secessionists.
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