37 results found.
Tough Love: Hawkish Contenders for Bank of Italy Governorship Line Up
Mario Draghi appears well-placed to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as the president of the ECB in October, leading to speculation about who will replace him as governor of the Bank of Italy. Four names are floating around: Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Vittorio Grilli, Fabrizio Saccomanni and Ignazio Visco, the deputy director general of the Bank of Italy. Eurozone horse trading could support Bini Smaghi, but domestic politics could help Grilli, and frequently new governors have been sourced from within the Bank of Italy.
What Happens When China Becomes a Net Food Importer?
China is the world?s second-largest producer and largest consumer of grains, and it remains broadly self-sufficient despite rapid urbanization. Increased paychecks mean a smaller share of income goes toward food purchases, and consumers can afford more meat and dairy products. However, since it requires several calories of grains to produce a single calorie of meat for final consumption, China?s total grain consumption has increased about 2% annually on average since 1980. China?s ability to meet its rising grain demand with domestic production is reaching its limit.
Turkey?s Shaky Foundations: Structural Deficit Underpinned by Volatile Capital Inflows
In 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis, a reduction in capital inflows and domestic demand caused a narrowing of external imbalances across Europe. Now, as the region returns to growth and recovers from the crisis, Turkey stands out in terms of the size and speed at which its current account deficit is expected to grow. This is due in part to a more rapid recovery, but also to a shortfall of domestic savings relative to investment. The country is more reliant now than in previous episodes on short-term and historically more volatile foreign capital to finance the deficit.
S&P Outlook Downgrade Reminds Washington to Do the Right Thing
S&P?s decision to cut its outlook for U.S. government debt from stable to negative?a historic first?sent markets tumbling: On April 18, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both recorded their biggest one-day drops in nearly a month (though U.S. Treasurys and the dollar did well). The landmark outlook downgrade reinforces what we have been saying since 2010: The United States is on an unsustainable fiscal path from which it cannot exit without political consensus. The key question is whether the gridlocked U.S. political system can respond in time to avert a bond market revolt.
Japan's Production Shortfall Drags on EM Asia Supply Chain
The amplified shock from Japan?s March 11 earthquake, then tsunami, then nuclear crisis has rippled through the supply chain of its emerging Asia (EM Asia) neighbors. Production shutdowns and weakened demand in Japan began to register in Asia?s trade channels in the weeks following the disaster. As the extent and duration of disruptions to production in Japan become more apparent, the severity of regional supply chain interruptions and the effects on EM Asia's industrial production and export volumes and prices through 2011 can be better anticipated.
Great Speculations: Why China Is So Bubble-Friendly
China can blow bubbles faster and bigger than any other country, but the Extraordinary Salt Mania of March 2011 takes the cake for speed, size and bizarreness. Shortly after radiation was reported to be leaking from Japan?s nuclear plant, rumors spread that China?s sea salt could be contaminated by radiation and that salt could prevent radiation sickness. The apparent demand and a perceived supply shock caused prices to spike upward of 85% in days. Media reported that a Mr. Guo bought 6.5 tons of salt, three days later prices collapsed after word from officials that there was no shortage.
Syria: The Latest Victim of the Arab Spring
Though Syria previously looked relatively sheltered from unrest elsewhere in the region, protests, now in their second week, are shaking the legitimacy of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The violence perpetrated by security forces is likely to undermine promises of reform and political change, putting a question mark over the ultimate survival of the regime. The biggest rallies have taken place in the impoverished southern city of Dara?a. However, the uprising has spread to bigger cities around the country, including Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs and Hama.
Germany's Solid Outlook Anchors Wobbly Eurozone
The German economy is set to power ahead in 2011, as indicated by high-flying business and consumer sentiment surveys and full order books. The initially export-led economic upswing, stands to broaden further given the positive outlook for investment activity and private consumption. Despite the contribution from the moderating external sector, GDP growth will remain above potential, not least due to a sizeable carryover effect from 2010. RGE expects buoyant GDP growth in 2011, boosted by a sharp rebound in construction activity following the weather-related slump at the turn of 2010/11.
Fukushima vs. Three Mile Island vs. Chernobyl
This year marks Chernobyl's 25th anniversary, and how ironic it is that the world has a new nuclear emergency on its hands: Japan's Fukushima power plant. The situation at Fukushima continues to worsen, with explosions at two more reactors and the radiation released surpassing that of Three Mile Island. The 40-year-old reactors were due for decommissioning at the end of this month. The Fukushima nuclear incident will likely be upgraded from a level 4 to a 5 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Chernobyl was a level 7?the only level 7 event so far.
Jasmine Dreams in China?
The ?days of rage? sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa have raised questions about the possibility of a similar movement erupting in China. At a glance, the ingredients for uprising appear to be present. Online calls for a ?Jasmine Revolution? in China resulted in a massive staging of security forces at the planned protest sites, which could be taken as a sign of the Communist Party?s insecure grip on power. Like several of the governments, China?s ruling elite is plagued by corruption and is preparing for a transfer of power.
Reevaluating ?Chindia?: The Story of the Elephant and the Dragon
The emerging market powerhouse known as ?Chindia? is becoming a focal point of global attention as China and India show themselves to be growth dynamos of the coming Asian Century. But examining these countries? intrinsic differences is more illustrative than listing their similarities?and the two countries are likely to be on a divergent path over the next five years in the areas of growth, economic policy and politics.
Washington Prepares for a New Egypt
The resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will resonate across the Middle East but also in the capital of his most stalwart ally, the U.S., where policy makers are reassessing the ?certainty? that Egypt will continue to act as a ?moderating force? in the region. Having left the Soviet Union?s orbit in 1977 and signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, Egypt came to form the foundation of U.S. diplomacy in the region?a role that seemed so secure that its significance was widely overlooked.
Will New Regulations Bring Continued Rebalancing for Canadian Housing?
Though Canada managed to avoid a U.S.-style housing crash, the Great White North may face its own set of difficulties, as the same ample credit extension, low interest rates and government incentives that helped the housing market rapidly recover the losses incurred during the 2008-09 downturn are contributing to increased household indebtedness.
Unrest in Egypt, Uncertainty in the Region
Egypt?s political direction could have profound effects on regional stability?potentially involving, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to contain Iran?s nuclear ambitions?with broad economic and financial ramifications. The recent economic and political developments do not bode well for Egypt?s debt, and this contagion could continue to spread within the region, leading to the persistent underperformance of local currency debt and equity markets. Regarding wider implications, the oil market remains the key link between instability in the Middle East and the global economy.
Plan C for UK Fiscal Consolidation
The UK government has engaged in a forceful reduction of its fiscal deficit (?Plan A?) to ensure debt sustainability and thereby reduce the risk of a loss of market confidence in public finances. The move has been effectively endorsed by Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, who has said that further quantitative easing could be used to support the economy if necessary (?Plan B?). In RGE?s view, however, the risk to the market was overstated, as the UK has enjoyed safe-haven status while pressures have intensified in eurozone countries.
Question Marks in the Arab World
Two MENA governments have suffered massive blows in the past week. Extended protests in Tunisia forced long-time ruler Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country, while Hezbollah pulled out of the deadlocked Lebanese unity government, causing its collapse. Using a selected group of economic, social and political indicators, we assess the resilience of the region?s institutions in our latest MENA Focus.
Malaysia's Middle-Income Malaise
Malaysia?s policy makers have been forced to confront the factors blocking the country?s rise to high-income status. Facing higher labor costs, the economy has been unable to maintain a growth model based on low-value-added manufacturing that was largely successful for the 30 years prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Things Are Looking Up in LatAm
In our 2011 Outlook, we revised up our growth forecasts for Latin America, in anticipation of resilient domestic demand, improved external conditions and elevated commodity prices. We now envision annual growth rates of 4.7% in 2011 (compared to the forecast of 4.1% we set in September) and 6.1% in 2010 from 5.7% previously. If we are correct, 2010 will mark Latin America?s strongest economic performance of the last decade and its fastest growth since 1980.
Policy Cures for China?s Post-Stimulus Hangover
Though Chinese policy makers will spend most of 2011 cleaning up after the effects of their fiscal stimulus measures and loose monetary policies, all the while they will be laying the foundation for financial reforms that will lead to increased use of price controls in lending decisions, further internationalization of the RMB and eventually the opening of the capital account.
Will Egyptian Elections Scare Would-Be Investors?
In Egypt, although the National Democratic Party (NDP) has a solid grip on power, the election cycle is adding to policy uncertainty that could worsen prospects for the foreign investment needed to kick-start domestic investment and diversify growth away from consumption. As RGE notes in its 2011 Global Economic Outlook, policy implementation delays in Egypt could add market volatility and restrain inward FDI as investors monitor the country?s political risk.
Assessing the Next North Korean Flare-Up
Claiming insight into what Pyongyang will do next is self-delusion. Judging from recent revelations by WikiLeaks, this frustration and confusion goes right up to the highest levels in China and the U.S., leaving their respective intelligence agencies to make educated guesses. The current heightened tensions between North and South Korea are unlikely to erupt into an all-out military confrontation, given the inherent human and economic costs as well as the shared interest of China and South Korea in avoiding a collapse of the North?s dictatorial regime.
No Comfort in November for U.S. Employment
November data clearly calls for caution. The stall in the improvement in wages and the average workweek is especially concerning. Sustainable growth in aggregate consumption will be driven by wage growth, which needs to improve from its severely depressed levels. Most importantly, it is quite clear that future employment gains will be well below the levels required to make a meaningful dent in the unemployment rate, which will continue to be just shy of double-digit territory for some time.
A Spanish Inquisition
Spain shares some of Ireland's key vulnerabilities, including a housing bubble more pronounced than that in the United States and large nonperforming loan overhang in the banking sector. Though Spain's housing bubble is less severe than Ireland's, and though the Spanish banks' commendable loan-loss provisioning system is providing a buffer, a comparison of price-to-rent ratios shows that the bulk of the housing price correction and loss recognition has not yet come. Thus, the pressure on the banking system is bound to increase going forward.
Rescuing the Emerald Isle: A Q&A on the Irish Debt Crisis
RGE considers the extent of public and bank debt held by non-residents, as well as the external balance sheet of other sectors of the Irish economy, as these factors will influence negotiations and the ultimate burden sharing between domestic and foreign creditors.
Shifting Politics, Tightening Policies in China
The Central Economic Work Conference in early December should signal an end to the 'moderately loose' monetary policy that has allowed the long cycle to dominate the short since late 2008. There will likely be little commentary about renminbi (RMB) flexibility at the conference; nevertheless, we expect that technocratic control of China's monetary policy should marginally increase the rate of RMB appreciation against the USD.
Will GOP Gains Mean Ethanol Producer Losses?
Following the Republican Party?s capture of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, U.S. policy on the use of biofuels for transportation could be about to change. Current policy is based on the use of "blender credits" to encourage the mixing of biofuels with gasoline and a US$0.54/gallon tariff levied on imports of ethanol, the most widely used biofuel. These policies are due to expire at the end of this year, and Republican deficit hawks do not want them renewed, though the ethanol industry generated US$2 billion-3 billion in tax revenues (net of subsidies) in 2009.
Uncertainty Now, Stability Later for Argentina
The sudden death of former president Nestor Kirchner, widely considered Argentina's most powerful politician, has called into question the sustainability of the current administration's mandate. In the short term, Kirchner's death will fuel political uncertainty, especially regarding who will represent the Peronist Party in next October's presidential elections. In the medium term, however, the death of the man widely thought to be the power behind the current president - his wife Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - opens the door to greater political stability.
What's Ahead for the Fed?
Fiscal stimulus and the effects of the inventory-restocking cycle in 2010 will not only fade by next year, but will become a drag on growth. House prices are projected to correct downward in 2011, and consumer spending will remain anemic as consumers continue the process of deleveraging and repairing their balance sheets and the slack in the labor market depresses growth in wages. These factors point to slow growth and easing inflation in 2011.
The Fed Debates: Is Unemployment Structural or Cyclical?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke weighed in on the unemployment debate in an October 15 speech, stating that the current elevated jobless rates are probably due more to the continued shortfalls in aggregate demand than structural reallocation of workers across industries and regions. With this pronouncement, along with the FOMC's reiteration that it will continue its efforts to return inflation to levels consistent with its mandate, Bernanke underscored the Fed's belief in additional monetary accommodation, and raised expectations for Fed actions as early as November.
Currency Wars Heat Up as Growth Chills
As global growth stagnates, governments are increasingly focusing on monetary policy as a last resort to prop up ailing economies. The U.S. Federal Reserve recently signaled that it will refocus away from eventual exit strategies and toward the possibility of further intervention in the ailing U.S. economy. Between the Fed's second round of quantitative easing, the European Central Bank's stubbornness, and a new round of currency wars as countries fight each other for export growth, the path out of the recession remains unclear.
Discounting China's Demographic Dividend
China's population will reach an inflection point in 2011: The increase in the number of retirees will start to outpace the growth of the labor pool. Roubini Global Economics projects that the rising cost of labor should translate into a higher Chinese inflation rate of 4 percent, which in turn will push up the cost of capital. As investment gradually decelerates, China's GDP growth rate should decline by about two percentage points over the next five years, with potential growth down to about 8 percent in 2015.
Multiple Risks From a Multispeed Eurozone Recovery
Although the euro zone's recovery from recession has been better than initially envisaged, there are still external and domestic pressures - some persistent, some new - as potential threats to 2011 growth. The standout performance of the core and Northern European economies, particularly Germany, alongside renewed weakness in the periphery is giving rise to a multi-speed recovery. This adds a new set of risks - such as the implications of one-size-fits-all monetary policy - to the existing list.
Too Soon to Call for Asian Decoupling
Even without a double-dip, weak U.S. and EU recoveries will cause export-dependent Asian economies to grow below their 2003-07 trends in the coming years. Nonetheless, widening growth differentials with the G7 countries and healthy public- and private-sector balance sheets - along with rising incomes and expanding middle classes - will drive economic growth and foreign investment in Asia and increase intra-Asia and EM trade and investment.
A Balancing Act For the Bank of Canada
The Bank of Canada adopted a hawkish tone at its September 8 policy meeting, despite signs of slowing growth. Less need for balance sheet repair should indeed allow Canada to continue to outgrow most of the G7. The country cannot decouple from U.S. growth, however, in part because most Canadian exports are U.S.-bound. These dynamics and a moderate core inflation rate call for the Bank of Canada to maintain the current, accommodative interest rates for the rest of 2010, despite its concerns about excessive debt practices.
Brazil's Economy Exhales
Brazil's cooling economic growth in the second quarter resulted from the withdrawal of excess accommodation, a less benign global backdrop and a high base. Looking into the second half 2010, the country's growth could temper further if July's industrial output figures and the purchasing managers' index for August are any indication. Although demand drivers such as labor conditions, credit and consumer confidence remain resilient, they are easing, which suggests economic activity will keep settling into more sustainable levels.
The Greek Picture Complicates Further: Is the IMF the Solution?
A credible IMF program that combines financial support with the progressive achievement of fiscal and structural reform goals, though risky, may be the right solution to the Greek debt crisis. Such a program may also minimize the moral hazard presented by guaranteed loan programs.
Global Trade in Recovery Mode
In an update to its Q1 2010 global economic outlook, Roubini Global Economics says that world trade will grow by between 4.5 percent and 5 percent in 2010, led by fiscal stimulus spending, inventory restocking and slight improvements to global demand. Global trade volumes shrunk by an estimated 13 percent in 2009 in the first decline since 1982 and the sharpest in the post-war period.
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