William De Vijlder

Group Chief Economist BNP Paribas

A different look

William De Vijlder takes an original approach to economics. Whether through metaphors, comparisons or the analysis of striking financial or economic texts, the economy becomes an inexhaustible source of inspiration and food for thought.

Diary: Week 6 – 2014

Monday 10 February 2014  London  Several internal meetings to prepare tomorrow’s investment committee meeting. Japan is on the agenda. The newsflow has disappointed as of late. Confidence indicators have weakened, the Bank of Japan doesn’t seem inclined to provide further stimulus and as a consequence the yen is locked in a tight range. Unsurprisingly, the […]

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Diary: Week 5 – 2014

Monday 3 February 2014  Paris  We have a conference call with the heads of our investment teams. It’s early afternoon in Europe which allows Asia and the Americas to participate. The discussion focuses on the emerging markets turmoil. The mood of our teams in India (current account deficit has narrowed and growth seems to have […]

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Diary: Week 3 – 2014

Monday 20 January 2014  Vienna  Client presentation in Hotel Sacher, a hotel with a very warm atmosphere. I start my talk with references to two newspapers. Over the weekend, the Financial Times ran a big article on valuations under the heading “Is this nuts?” Turning the page, the editorial discussed two challenges for the world […]

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Diary: Week 2 – 2014

Monday 13 January 2014  Brussels  In our monthly call, the CIO of our Russian joint venture explains that the Russian retail sector is rather subdued. In another call, our China strategist doesn’t see an imminent catalyst for a rising stock market and he expects more sideways moves. In the evening, I fly to Geneva and […]

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Diary: Week 1 – 2014

Monday 6 January 2014 Ghent  Exams at the university. The list of questions for the written part is quite long, in order to make it representative of the course and to reduce the impact of good or bad luck. One question deals with ‘the resolution of uncertainty’. This is an important concept: long-horizon investors who […]

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Diary: Week 49 – 2013

Monday 2 December 2013  Brussels  The latest release of the ISM index in the US comes as a cold shower for markets: the surprisingly strong figure has re-ignited worries that the Federal Reserve might scale back QE in December after all, rather than in March next year. We are definitely back in a “good economic […]

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Diary: Week 48 – 2013

Monday 25 November 2013  Brussels  Early afternoon, I’m chairing a call to all of our investment teams across the globe. It has a nice geographical reach: the Asians have already finished dinner, the Europeans are finishing their lunch and in the US and Latin America they have just had breakfast. Inevitably, part of the discussion […]

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Diary: Week 46 – 2013

Monday 11 November 2013  Armistice Day Yesterday my wife and I went to see a film. The trailer turned out to be better than the film itself! What was interesting though was an ad shown before the film started. It was from an insurance company trying to make people aware of the need to save […]

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Diary: Week 45 – 2013

Monday 4 November 2013  Brussels With a colleague based in New York, I discuss the situation in the euro area over the phone. Having taken him through the numbers, he concludes by saying the market seems a bit less upbeat than a few weeks earlier when we met in New York. It's a fair statement: confidence […]

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Diary: Week 44 – 2013

Monday 28 October 2013  Tilburg, the Netherlands  I am at the University of Tilburg in the evening. I have been invited to talk to students who follow the CFA programme on the topic of emerging equity investing. The other speaker had to cancel his contribution due to weather-related train problems. This suits me well: I […]

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Diary: Week 43 – 2013

Monday 21 October 2013  Ghent in the morning.   I'm teaching at the University. I discuss with my students Sean Campbell and Francis Diebold’s paper on "Stock Returns and Expected Business Conditions: Half a Century of Direct Evidence". Though written in 2007, the paper is still very much relevant today. Based on empirical research, it demonstrates […]

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Diary: Week 42 – 2013

Monday 14 October 2013  Brussels No real progress on the debt ceiling in the US. Though the VIX has spiked and equities have weakened a little, there is no comparison with market developments in July 2011 – the last time the US was heading towards a default: complacency or a feeling of "we know, we've […]

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Diary: Week 41 – 2013

Monday 7 October 2013 Paris I participate in a discussion with our fixed income team on the US government shutdown and debt ceiling issues. One-month US Treasury bills are trading at the same price as bills maturing in about six months, so it seems investors do not expect payment for the very short-dated bills until […]

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Diary: Week 40 – 2013

Monday 30 September 2013  Brussels  I have a discussion with our head of emerging equities. He emphasises the role of improving Chinese data in explaining the rebound in emerging equity markets, especially the more cyclical ones. I also have a call with our head of US equities in Boston. She thinks sell-side expectations for 2014 […]

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Diary: Week 39 – 2013

Monday 23 September 2013  I am at Ghent University in the morning, where I teach. In the afternoon, I have a meeting in Paris with our business partners from Chile, Banco Estado. I present the outlook for the remainder of the year and what 2014 may bring. Despite the noise about it, tapering is becoming […]

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Diary: Week 38 – 2013

Monday 16 September 2013  Paris  I participate in a panel debate in the morning but opinions don’t diverge too much. Government bonds are still unattractive, despite the uptick in yields. European equities are interesting and participants are pleased that the rest of the world is discovering Europe (at the cost of a strong euro). Emerging […]

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