Via email, this is a guest post from Steen Jakobsen, chief economist of Saxo bank.
Debt - The Elephant in the Room
'Interest on debt grows without rain' – Yiddish proverb
This proverb explains most of what goes on in policy circles these days. We are now watching Extend-and-Pretend, Episode VI: Promises for improvement amid ever growing debt levels.
Short put, we're still working with the same dog-eared script we were introduced to all of five years ago, when markets had stabilized in the wake of the financial crisis: maintain sufficiently low interest rates to service the debt burden. Pretend to have credible plan, but never address the structural problem and simply buy more time. But while we were able to get away with this theme for an awfully long time, the dynamic is now changing as the risk of low inflation (and even deflation) is a brick wall for the extend-and-pretend meme.