Economics & Global Affairs

688 Items

Narvikk/Getty Images

Narvikk/Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Globe and Mail

The Currency Manipulation Game Is Afoot – but That’s Better Than a Trade War

| Aug. 13, 2019

The trade war between the United States and China is heating up again, with U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly announcing plans to impose a 10-per-cent tariff on the US$300-billion worth of imports from China that he had so far left untouched. The Chinese authorities then allowed their currency, the renminbi, to fall below the symbolic threshold of seven yuan for every U.S. dollar. The Trump administration promptly responded by naming China a “currency manipulator” – the first time the U.S. had done that to any country in 25 years. Pundits declared a currency war, and investors immediately sent global stock markets lower.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

RMB Reaches 7.0; US Names China a Manipulator

| Aug. 12, 2019

The US-China trade war heated up in the first week of August.  On August 1, Donald Trump abruptly announced plans to impose a 10 % tariff on the remaining $300 billion of imports from China that he had not already hit with earlier tariffs.   The Chinese authorities then allowed their currency, the renminbi (RMB), to fall in value below the highly visible line of 7.0 RMB/$.  The US Administration promptly reacted on August 5 by naming China a “currency manipulator” — the first time any country had been given that designation in 25 years.   Pundits declared a currency war, while investors responded by immediately sending stock markets down.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Let’s Forget about 2% Inflation

| July 29, 2019

The Fed has some reasons for cutting interest rates at its meeting July 31, or subsequently if the US economy weakens. (And there are some good arguments on the other side as well, if growth remains as strong as it has been over the last year.)  But I find less persuasive one argument for easing: a perceived imperative to get inflation up to 2.0% or higher.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke set a 2% target for the US inflation rate in January 2012.  Some other countries had already done the same.  Japan followed suit a year later. Indeed Shinzo Abe’s successful accession to prime minister in late 2012 was predicated on the promise that monetary policy would raise inflation (Japan having previously suffered from negative inflation).

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Analysis & Opinions - Globe and Mail

Central banks should forget about achieving 2 per cent inflation

| July 28, 2019

The United States Federal Reserve has some reasons to cut interest rates at its July 31 meeting, or subsequently if the U.S. economy weakens. (There is also a case for holding rates steady, if growth remains as strong as it has been over the past year.) But one argument for easing is less persuasive: a perceived imperative to get U.S. inflation up to or above 2 per cent.

Dollar bills

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The Consequences of Weaponizing the U.S. Dollar

| July 22, 2019

Should INSTEX itself be sanctioned, it would be a powerful signal to the rest of the world. In this scenario, critical dollar-denominated trade not currently facing sanctions, but at potential risk of being sanctioned in the future, could migrate to third party currencies, transferred through sanctions-resistant entities to an INSTEX-like body.

The European Central Bank by the river Main in Frankfurt, Germany.

AP Photo/Michael Probst

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Too Big to Evade: The Costs of Europe Sticking with Iran

| Feb. 20, 2019

In spite of initial hopefulness, the Europeans will eventually face a reckoning with the facts: Washington’s financial leverage over Brussels has, arguably, never been greater since the establishment of the euro in 1999. The power of the U.S. Dollar and weaponization of the U.S. financial system cannot be challenged successfully by Europe at this moment.