Growth, recessions, fiscal policy, monetary policy, currencies and global business deals. GIS experts provide forecasts and potential scenarios for all of the economic trends that shape geopolitics.
China refreshens old promises to open up its domestic market
China president’s April pledge to allow more foreign competition in the country’s manufacturing and financial services sectors, and to respect western companies’ intellectual property rights, momentarily eased the tension between Washington and Beijing. These concessions, though, even if implemented by China, will not suffice to eliminate the problem of the huge and deepening defict in U.S. trade with the Asian country.
GIS Dossier: The Western Balkans
Of all Europe’s trouble spots, the Western Balkans have a solid claim to being the most troublesome. One hundred years after the end of World War I, the region is finally stable and – save for a violent flare-up or two – peaceful. But plenty of tensions remain, corruption runs rampant and the rule of law is unevenly applied. With all these potential stumbling blocks, the region’s road toward prosperity remains bumpy. This Dossier reviews GIS reports on this region, so critical to Europe’s lasting peace.
Russia’s and China’s quiet contest in Central Asia
While Russia focuses on its geopolitical objectives in Central Asia, China’s primarily interest is in the region’s mineral and energy resources. As recipients of Chinese investments and development aid, the five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are seeking to leverage the two powers’ competition for their own benefit.
Trump’s trade war is poised for a Pyrrhic victory
The flip side of the Trump administration’s drive to reduce the U.S. foreign trade deficit is that it will leave the rest of the world with fewer dollars to finance its budget deficit. President Trump could cut spending drastically or persuade the Federal Reserve to buy more bonds, but neither seems likely. More probably, he will do nothing as domestic rates rise and the dollar strengthens – widening the trade deficit again.
Opinion: A lost opportunity for cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are volatile, but could prove useful by injecting a needed element of competition into the realm of monetary policy and finance. Rather than allow this, however, governments will probably step in to regulate them, perhaps under global supervision. If that happens, we will have missed an opportunity to foster new business and job creation in a healthier monetary environment.
Indonesia moves to assert its maritime interests between two oceans
Indonesia has adopted a maritime development strategy that calls for infrastructure buildup and exploitation of sea-based resources, including offshore oil and gas drilling. Logical as this strategy could be for an archipelagic state with huge development needs, it may easily put the politically cautious Jakarta on a collision course with Beijing.
The effects of U.S. trade policy in the Pacific
The Trump administration has made a big splash with its trade policy. The effects are already being seen in the Pacific region, after Washington’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Whether President Trump’s aggressive approach remains intact or if it is softened by free traders in the administration, the U.S. is likely to be marginalized while China will benefit.
Latin America’s renewable energy challenge
Prices for renewable energy are dropping in Latin America, making decarbonization – once a far-fetched notion – a very real possibility. The question is whether the political will is there. Many of the country's grids are in bad shape and unprepared to handle the change, while legislation, sometimes intended to help renewables, has ended up throwing obstacles in the way. Can countries in the region implement the necessary reforms?
Can India bank on its banks?
As the ratio of nonperforming assets in India’s banking sector rises, there have been loud calls for reform. The condition of loan portfolios at state-controlled banks is now so parlous that it is choking off the availability of new credit and forcing the government into ever more ambitious recapitalization schemes. But for all the smoke and noise, substantive change has been elusive.
Liberia and Sierra Leone: post-conflict, focused on growth
Liberia and Sierra Leone went through painstaking a post-conflict restoration process after civil wars that ravaged them in the last decade of the 20th century. In 2018, newly elected leaders in Freetown and Monrovia face the task of restoring growth in the economies badly hindered by 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic and low commodity prices.