However, it should be noted that monetary policy tends to act with a lag. Therefore, it may take some time before results are seen. It mostly focused on microeconomics, analyzing how buyers and sellers in a given market act when there is a paucity of information. It examined the impact on output, demand, pricing, and investment.
As a student focused on macroeconomics, I found the class to be interesting but not especially relevant to the topics that interested me. Boy was I wrong! Today, uncertainty is arguably the dominant factor driving the global economy and the principal factor creating the risk of recession. Imagine you are a US-based technology company that produces goods in China. If you know with metaphysical certainty that the United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on all Chinese imports next week, that those tariffs will remain in place for a decade, and that the United States will not impose similar tariffs on other countries, you might not be happy, but you can make an informed decision.
You might decide to invest heavily in shifting production from China to Vietnam or you might invest heavily in technologies meant to reduce your costs. You could even decide to do nothing, hoping that US consumers will not be especially price sensitive. The point is that with a degree of certainty, you can decide on an action. This, by the way, describes the current environment, and it that has already caused countless companies to put major investments on hold.
And, finally, this uncertainty has contributed to the slowdown in economic growth around the world.
These are the biggest risks to the global economy in 12222
It can be argued that the uncertainty about tariffs has done more damage than the tariffs themselves. However, the tariffs have only recently risen to a level that will be onerous to consumers and businesses. Thus, the direct impact of tariffs is likely to be much greater in the months ahead than was true in the past year.
Lately, uncertainty has become greater. Amid this, investor sentiment has gone back and forth, with asset price volatility being relatively high. Many business leaders have started to express frustration. They are extremely averse to uncertainty and would most likely prefer the certainty of onerous tariffs to uncertainty about everything. Where does this end? Finally, uncertainty extends beyond the realm of trade. The uncertainty about how trading relations will evolve has created uncertainty about how central banks will react.
But fitting trade policy uncertainty into this framework is a new challenge. We can, however, try to look through what may be passing events, focus on how trade developments are affecting the outlook, and adjust policy to promote our objectives. When the United States announced it would impose new tariffs on China, the Chinese central bank allowed the renminbi to depreciate.
It did this by not intervening in currency markets in order to prop up the value of the renminbi. The central bank simply stopped intervening in the market, allowing market forces to determine the value of the currency. In fact, the IMF now agrees with this assessment. The IMF has not.
Globalization’s Wrong Turn
Rather, the IMF has issued a report saying that China ought to allow the value of its currency to decline in the face of increased trade restrictions. That is what exchange rates are for. In principle let the market decide. It sets the stage for the United States to impose sanctions. Yet the tariffs already implemented are far more onerous than any sanctions that could be introduced.
Still, the label shook Chinese officials, leading to a quick stabilization in the value of the currency. Now, with the IMF backing up China, it becomes more likely that China will feel it can let the currency fall further with impunity. In August, the renminbi fell 3.
The only thing that has changed is that the central bank has not intervened to prop up its value. A further decline in the value of the renminbi is expected to partly offset the impact of rising tariffs and help to improve the competitiveness of Chinese exports. China has responded by imposing new tariffs on imports from the United States. The Chinese tariffs, combined with a rising value of the US dollar, will significantly hurt US export competitiveness.
The dollar has lately been strong despite an easing of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. In Argentina, a crisis is brewing largely because of the results of the recent primary election—incumbent President Mauricio Macri, who is held in esteem by the investment community, was defeated by the Peronist candidate, Alberto Fernandez. Fernandez is expected to return Argentina to populist policies if he wins the general election later this year.
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The election result led to a very sharp drop in the value of the peso as investors sought to take money out of the country. While investors were not pleased, many indicated that this helps to reduce default risk and buys the government time. It also alleviates stress in anticipation of the election.
Fernandez has criticized the austerity plans of Macri but has not offered an alternative. That is why investors tend to be wary of Argentine debt, pricing it accordingly. The current default came about because Argentina was not able to sell a sufficient volume of short-term paper to fund repayment on maturing debt. Argentina subsequently chose to postpone repayment. This constitutes default under our criteria. If investors expected the economy to grow at a reasonable pace, then there would be greater optimism about the ability to service debts.
It is the lack of growth, driven in part by a lack of investment, that continues to spook investors. View in article. Trading Economics website , accessed September 17, John T. Nicholas R. Data sourced from the Trading Economics website , accessed September 10, Trading Economics website , accessed September 10, Bonds , Trading Economics , accessed September 3, The Deloitte Global Economist Network is a diverse group of economists that produce relevant, interesting and thought-provoking content for external and internal audiences.
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Trade uncertainty hangs over the global economy. This new index explains what that means for you
View in article Data sourced from the Trading Economics website , accessed September 10, View in article Trading Economics website , accessed September 10, View in article Ibid. View in article Bonds , Trading Economics , accessed September 3, View in article Show more Show less. Deloitte Global Economist Network The Deloitte Global Economist Network is a diverse group of economists that produce relevant, interesting and thought-provoking content for external and internal audiences.
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