Michael Wickens's picture
Affiliation: 
Cardiff Business School & University of York
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

Bitcoin and the City

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Question 2: Do you agree that the regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies needs to be increased?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Although regulation may not be required yet, any asset whose price and use is rising at the current rate of Bitcoin ought to monitored carefully by the financial authorities. The focus should be on the risks of financial institutions that hold bitcoins and the unregulated supply of bitcoins.

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Question 1: Do you agree that cryptocurrencies are currently a threat to the stability of the financial system, or can be expected to become a threat in the next couple of years?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Bitcoin use is still too small to be a risk to the financial system at present. Although it is unlikely to present a systemic risk in the next two years, if its price contunues to rise at the present rate it could become a major risk to holders. The main concern is that its attraction is now largely as a speculative asset rather than as a vehicle currency or an inflation hedge.

House Prices and the UK economy

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Question 2: Do you agree that a more widespread weakening of the UK housing market will slow UK GDP growth significantly?

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Make sure to save each question separately

Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Would but not necessarily will. The attempt to increase the supply of housing would "weaken" the housing market but would generate output and not slow output growth. One problem with interpreting correlations between the two is reverse causation: slower growth would weaken housing demand. A big unknown factor in housing is monetary policy. If the Bank continues to raise interest rates (as it should) then this will weaken the housing market. This is all to be set against the background of an excess demand for housing in much, but not all, of the country which will make the housing market strong for some time to come.

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Question 1: Do you agree that the phenomenon of declining house prices will ripple out from the London property market leading more UK regions to experience falling prices?

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Answer:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Declining London house prices is almost certainly due to Brexit, both the movement of people back to the continent and the negative effect of Brexit on the economy of London. The effect on the regions is less clear. Apart from the South East, which will be similar to London, they will be much less affected by either the movement of labour or any decline in the regional economies. The regions will probably see an increase in house prices relative to the South East and London.

Global risks from rising debt and asset prices

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Question 2: Is the loose monetary policy of major central banks responsible for the recent increase in global leverage or asset values?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
The rise in equity prices is almost entirely due to loose monetary policy through low interest rates and QE. The irony is that the financial crisis was caused by the failure of asset prices to correctly price risk. Monetary policy since then still prevents risk from being correctly priced. As a result, the risk is being borne by banks, asset holders and the tax payer.

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