The pandemic is amplifying the risk of a world-wide food-price spike, which would trigger outright crises in many developing countries. Governments must therefore work together to address disruptions to food supply chains and prevent food protectionism from becoming the post-pandemic new normal.
Leaders of the world’s largest economies must recognize that a return to “normal” in our globalized world is not possible so long as the pandemic continues its grim march. It is myopic for creditors, official and private, to expect debt repayments from countries where those resources would have to be diverted from combating COVID-19.
The vast uncertainty surrounding the possible spread of COVID-19 and the duration of the near-economic standstill required to combat it make forecasting little different from guessing. Clearly, this is a “whatever-it-takes” moment for large-scale, outside-the-box fiscal and monetary policies.
There is a reason that the US Federal Reserve chair often has a haunted look. Probably to his deep and never-to-be-expressed frustration, the Fed is setting monetary policy in a way that increases the likelihood that President Donald Trump will be reelected next year.
Despite central bankers' concerted efforts, credible price-stability targets have proved elusive in countries like Argentina, where inflation is soaring, and Japan, which can't shake the specter of deflation. What can governments do to influence inflation expectations when central banks’ policies prove insufficient to the task?
Regardless of whether yields in advanced economies rise, fall, or stay the same, core demographic trends are unlikely to change in the coming years, implying that pension costs will continue to balloon. Is there an asset class that can provide yield-hungry pension-fund managers what they're looking for?
A decade after the subprime bubble burst, a new one seems to be taking its place in the market for corporate collateralized loan obligations. A world economy geared toward increasing the supply of ﬁnancial assets has hooked market participants and policymakers alike into a global game of Whac-A-Mole.
China has fueled an unprecedented surge in official lending over the past 15 years. The most remarkable feature of this wave of credit, however, is not its size, but its dangerous lack of transparency.
The rates of US economic growth and especially personal saving have been higher than previously believed, according to revised data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. But it's not all good news, because the largest economic imbalances remain unchanged.
Severe political uncertainty, chronic slow growth, and a sovereign-debt level currently hovering around 160% of GDP already is enough for Italy to trigger a debt crisis. And there is no plausible resolution that would not generate additional risks and complications.
The US will be paying for its current fiscal excesses with the promise of future payments. But inefficient economic stimulus now will not give future generations the productive resources needed to make good on it.
Major central banks’ fixation on inflation betrays a guilty conscience for serially falling short of their targets. It also raises the risk that in fighting the last war, they will be poorly prepared for the next – the battle against too-high inflation.
The decline in the dollar’s exchange rate seems to have gathered momentum, in part because the person who has his signature on US currency, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, seems unperturbed by its weakness. If it continues, will energy costs spiral upward?
As the European Central Bank pursues monetary-policy normalization in 2018, it should proceed with caution. It will need to balance mounting pressure from Germany for faster normalization with a realistic assessment of the durability and breadth of the unfolding recovery.
There are significant differences between Puerto Rico and Venezuela regarding the origins of their economic crises, their political systems, their relationship with the US and the rest of the world, and much else. Nonetheless, some notable similarities are likely to emerge as their debt sagas unfold.
Usually, a sudden stop in capital inflows sparks a currency crash, sometimes a banking crisis, and quite often a sovereign default. Why, then, has the worldwide incidence of sovereign defaults in emerging markets risen only modestly?
Atlantic-hugging policymakers and pundits, buffered by a continent and a large ocean, may not fully appreciate the significant effect on global financial markets that the threat posed by North Korea has had in recent months. But competition for safe assets has clearly heated up.
When the world's leading central bankers gathered at their annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the main focus of discussion was global trade and imbalances. And here, the old adage applies: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last week, the IMF revised upward its growth projections for the eurozone and Asia’s advanced economies, including Japan, with the US Federal Reserve’s ongoing exit from ultra-easy post-crisis monetary policy adding to the growing sense that normal times are returning. But are they?
Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the Nobel laureate novelist most famous for One Hundred Years of Solitude, was native to Colombia. Nonetheless, as a master of magical realism, Garcia Márquez would have appreciated the Republic of Argentina’s recent combination of fact and fantasy.
Many observers have criticized the White House's budget plan for fiscal year 2018, owing to its optimistic assumptions about underlying economic growth. But the budget appears to be unrealistic in another crucial respect: interest rates – and thus debt-service costs – are supposed to remain low, even as full employment is reached.
The IMF is optimistic about the world economy's growth prospects over the next two years. But the Fund is taking too much comfort in the stabilization of economic conditions: beneath the headline numbers, there is little evidence that underlying problems have been resolved.
The global oil market is a volatile place, and the fate of countries that have treated adverse shocks as temporary and reversible, and were then proven wrong, has seldom been encouraging. Gulf producers, by going on a borrowing binge, could be setting themselves up for future pain.
Since the end of World War II, America’s share of global output has fallen from nearly 30% to about 18%, yet the US dollar retains its dominant position as the world’s reserve currency – and by a solid margin. When – and how – will that change?
After a decade of deflationary pressure, central banks will probably not overreact if inflation overshoots their targets in the near term. In fact, there is now growing support for higher inflation targets, to give central banks more space to lower interest rates in the event of a future recession.
While it is quite plausible to expect that Dona'd Trump’s incoming US administration will want to reverse the dollar’s climb, it is equally plausible that no other major economy will help. If the strong dollar prompts intervention in currency markets in 2017, the most likely scenario is one in which the US intervenes alone.
In Italy’s December 4 referendum, voters will approve or reject the country’s most extensive constitutional reforms since the monarchy was abolished at the end of World War II.
Despite the broad global trend toward more flexibility in exchange-rate policy and freer movement of capital across national borders, many countries are lacking dollars. Indeed, in many developing countries, the only thriving market for the past two years or so has been the black market for foreign exchange.