Opinion: Cryptocurrencies – fears and opportunities
After a few years of hype, experts are now tamping down expectations for cryptocurrencies. Indeed, several concerns about security and regulation need to be addressed. But cryptocurrencies – and the blockchain technology they are based on – also offer tremendous room for innovation and efficiency. By competing with traditional fiat currency, they could help profligate governments and central banks become more disciplined
The euro and the promise to end monetary profligacy
As the European Central Bank winds down its quantitative easing program, none of its future policy options look especially promising for the euro. While investors would welcome a more neutral monetary stance, that could spur political tensions in the euro area that could roil financial markets. Meanwhile, regulation is on the rise and growth could suffer, with unpleasant consequences for the single currency.
The false end of quantitative easing
In June, the European Central Bank made the fateful announcement that it would phase out its bond-buying program – called quantitative easing, or QE – by the end of this year. But putting an end to net bond purchases is not the same thing as ending the ECB’s ultra-lax monetary policy. By leaving the door open to rolling over its massive balance sheet of bonds as they mature, policymakers could keep oxygenating the euro area’s economy for years to come.
Dark clouds gathering over the global economy
We are probably coming to the end of a global economic recovery. But with interest rates still hovering around zero, central banks will have no ammunition to fight a recession. Meanwhile, debt is high and more trade barriers are going up. The underlying causes of global economic imbalances, and not just the symptoms, must be addressed.
GIS Dossier: Trumponomics
Eighteen months into his presidency, Donald Trump has already implemented several major economic initiatives, including big tax cuts and rewriting American trade policy. Neither the disaster foreseen by his critics nor the miracle envisioned by his supporters has materialized. Instead, there has been a mix of positives and negatives for the U.S. economy, just as GIS experts had predicted since the election. This GIS Dossier reviews the unexpected consequences of “Trumponomics” and the impact it is likely to have in the future.
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.
The consequences of prolonged low interest rates in Europe
Monetary policymakers are becoming preoccupied with the risks of persistently low interest rates to Europe’s still fragile economic recovery. Ultra-easy credit is creating growing economic distortions and asset bubbles, while reviving volatility and risk in financial markets. The European Central Bank realizes it must “normalize” rates, but it worries that sudden tightening could precipitate a financial crisis that could be as bad or worse than 2008-2009.