What’s wrong with the renminbi exchange rate?
Prospects for a U.S.-China trade deal now seem to be hanging by a thread. Even before the most recent disagreement, however, the Trump administration had already begun drawing attention to a new question: whether China had been engaging in protectionism by manipulating its currency. But the administration’s argument reveals confused ideas about what exactly it wants: a dominant role for the dollar as an international reserve currency or an appreciated renminbi to please American producers.
GIS Dossier: Argentina digs itself out of a hole
Nearly 20 years after its historic default, Argentina is still trying to climb back to economic equilibrium. Years of corruption and mismanagement frittered away profits from natural resource exports, while a “gradualist” approach to reform still ended in Latin America’s largest-ever bailout from the IMF. This GIS Dossier reviews our predictions and analysis for one of South America’s largest countries, trying to regain economic stability and influence on the international scene.
Breaking through zero: New options for monetary expansion in the EU
After dropping interest rates close to zero and pumping 2.6 trillion euros into Europe’s economy through debt purchases, is the European Central Bank out of ammunition? Not necessarily. Through its “targeted longer-term refinancing operations” (TILTROs), the ECB is planning to use negative interest rates to pay commercial banks to make loans. And economists at the IMF have come up with even more radical proposals to eliminate or restrict cash to allow deeply negative interest rates.
Equity markets and the global economy
Company earnings are a traditional gauge of economic health and a powerful driver of financial markets. Recently, however, they have been sending contradictory signals. One reason could be the expansionary credit policies of the past decade, which have distorted balance sheets and weakened competition. The most likely outcome of this process is not necessarily a sudden market meltdown, but rather a steady erosion of corporate finances and economic growth.
2019 Global Outlook: Another year near zero
It has been a decade since global interest rates reached the zero lower bound, where monetary policymakers lose their ability to stimulate the economy using conventional policy tools. Among the largest global central banks, only the United States Federal Reserve has set its benchmark above 2 percent. Will this anomaly end in 2019?
A year of change for the European Union?
The European Union, which still lacks a post-Brexit vision of itself, will be changing the leadership of almost all its leading institutions over the next few months. Candidates are already jostling for position to take over at the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and surprises could be in store. With non-mainstream parties likely to gain seats in the May European Parliament elections, the EU-27 seems headed for even less harmony and more dissension.
2019 Global Outlook: The economy we left behind
2018 was not a bad year for the world economy, and 2019 should be only a little worse. Consistent with our forecasts, last year brought no disasters: no recession in the West, no major slump in China, no public finance crisis in Europe or global trade wars. Instead, there was satisfactory growth and a long overdue cleanup on financial markets. 2019 will be more sluggish as China keeps slowing and the U.S. administration spurs commercial tensions. Yet the biggest brake will be applied by the world economy’s silent actor – lagging productivity growth.
U.S. interest rates: Where will they take us?
U.S. President Donald Trump worries that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates too quickly. In fact, the Fed has engaged in only moderate tightening so far. By mid-2019, it is likely to end the cycle and hold rates steady, since the U.S. central bank is probably focusing on restricting the money supply rather than reaching an interest rate target. At that point, Mr. Trump will no longer be able to blame the Fed for any fiscal trouble and will have to implement reforms if he wants to spur growth.
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.