Thursday 14 December 2017

Governor had a mixed reign

AND like that, he's gone.

Mervyn King made his last public appearance yesterday, appearing before the UK Parliament's Treasury Select Committee before he formally retires as Bank of England Governor at the end of the week.

As leaving parties go it was a relatively sedate affair. Mr King said markets had "jumped the gun" with their sell-off since the US indicated it may start to roll back its quantitative easing measures later this year, while he also voiced his annoyance that some of Britain's banks had lobbied politicians ahead of legislation that will hand the Bank of England back its regulatory powers after 16 years.

Mr King leaves a mixed legacy. He was one of the most skilful economists of his time, but like Alan Greenspan at the US Treasury and Jean Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank, he seemed to believe his own hype that he had helped control both inflation and interest rates.

The "Great Moderation" as it became known, ended abruptly in 2007 with the Credit Crunch and King has been castigated since for being too slow to cut interest rates and flood the UK economy with cheap money.

Few detractors would doubt his huge intellect however. His retirement is well-timed. A cricket fanatic, he leaves Threadneedle Street just before the Ashes test series begins.

The Punt fully expects him to be at Lords for the Second Test in three weeks time, although his seat will probably be a lot better than ours.

Irish Independent

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