The global economy’s dire and deteriorating prospects, together with the scale of the climate challenge, have apparently opened world leaders’ eyes to the risks that deglobalization poses. But it remains to be seen whether this realization will be followed by the action needed to reverse course.
With a storyline full of celebrities, politicians, sex, and drugs, the future looks bright for producers of feature films and documentaries about the astonishing collapse of FTX.
Gone are the days when China could point to soaring real-estate prices and rising incomes to justify endless new construction.
After enjoying a long period of deflationary conditions, the global economy is being pushed by a wide range of forces toward a new and more difficult equilibrium.
The World Bank should be a major vehicle for crisis response, post-conflict reconstruction, and, most importantly, for supporting the huge investments necessary for sustainable and healthy global development.
The Great Moderation has given way to the Great Stagflation, which will be characterized by instability and a confluence of slow-motion negative supply shocks.
After previously eschewing interest-rate hikes, the US Federal Reserve has been tightening monetary policy at an unprecedented rate.
Despite August’s disappointing inflation numbers, the US economy is uniquely equipped to mitigate and overcome the current price surge, owing to its relative energy and food independence, abundance of immigrant labor, strong production capacity, and the capital needed to boost domestic manufacturing.
According to conventional economic thinking, incoming British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s economic experiment with borrowing and spending will produce disaster.
Some earlier big run-ups in the US currency’s value, including in the mid-1980s and the early 2000s, were eventually followed by sharp declines.
The outcome of next year's world championship chess match will likely hinge as much on technological superiority as on individual human ingenuity.
For decades, relative global stability, sound economic-policy management, and the steady expansion of trade to and from emerging markets combined to keep costs down.
The longstanding argument that go-go Keynesian fiscal stimulus is the answer to every imaginable economic shock has been exposed as bankrupt.
There is much debate about the effectiveness of Western sanctions, the Ukraine war’s implications for markets and the global economy, and what the West’s next steps should be. While there are few good options, some are clearly worse than others.
In the longer term, oil and gas prices look set to rise unless investment picks up sharply, which seems unlikely given current policy guidance.
There is ample reason to worry that major economies like the United States are heading for a recession, accompanied by cascading financial turmoil.
The most recent change on the supply side of the global oil market has involved Saudi Arabia suddenly and dramatically regaining its swing-producer role.
Absent a crisis, stiffer regulation of cryptocurrencies could take many decades, especially given that major players are pouring huge sums into lobbying.
With “Team Persistent” having clearly prevailed over “Team Transitory” in the debate over the nature of today’s surging inflation, the question now is whether prices can be tamed without also causing a recession.
Rich countries have shown impressive unity in helping Ukraine counter the Russian invasion.
The US Federal Reserve certainly bears its share of responsibility for the great inflation of the 2020s.
The debt moratoria introduced early in the pandemic provided temporary relief for private borrowers, and may have limited the fallout of the economic disruption.
With luck, the risk of a synchronized global downturn will recede by late 2022.
While recent shocks have made the current inflationary surge and growth slowdown more acute, they are hardly the global economy’s only problems.
The International Monetary Fund’s significant downward revision to its 2022 World Economic Outlook, just one quarter into the calendar year, has generated headlines and hand-wringing around the world.
Although inflation has risen sharply for multiple reasons, increased demand is by far the most important factor.
Many academic studies suggest that sanctions on China or a break in Sino-American economic ties probably would have a smaller quantitative impact than one might think, at least over the medium to long term. But that is a theory better left untested.
Like the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's war in Ukraine has contributed to the stagflationary pressures in the United States and other advanced economies.
While the Russian and Ukrainian economies are being hit the hardest by Russia's invasion, the economic consequences of the war will not be confined to the countries fighting it.
One hopes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon realize that his Ukraine invasion has been a spectacular miscalculation.
The US Federal Reserve’s series of suboptimal decisions in the last 12 months regarding inflation means that its next policy decision also is likely to be suboptimal.
It is tempting to think that the war in Ukraine will have only a minor economic and financial impact globally, given that Russia represents merely 3% of the world economy.
Today's inflationary surge is being felt not just by the advanced economies but also by the majority of emerging markets and developing economies.
From the pandemic and geopolitical tensions to broader macroeconomic developments, new obstacles to "normality" seem to be cropping up everywhere.
It is not difficult to fathom why the United States’ central bank is especially resistant to any quantum change in the existing financial system.
The longstanding negative correlation between stock and bond prices is an artifact of the low-inflation environment of the past 30 years.
Much like the US Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund has subtly expanded its own remit even as it has failed to adjust to changing economic circumstances. And, as with the Fed, higher inflation could deliver a blow to the IMF's reputation – and to the economies the Fund is meant to help.
Although major economies and markets fared well in 2021 despite all of the uncertainties surrounding new variants of the coronavirus, 2022 will bring new challenges. In addition to central banks shifting toward policy normalization, geopolitical and systemic risks are multiplying.
The later the US Federal Reserve is in reacting properly to inflationary developments, the greater the likelihood that it will have to hit the policy brakes hard, causing market turmoil and unnecessary economic pain. The Fed must now do two things quickly.
To reappoint US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, President Joe Biden had to resist strong pressure from the left wing of his party for a shakeup. By choosing continuity, Biden accomplished several things at once.
With its poor track record of managing EU funds, Italy’s recovery plan will be a major test for the future of EU policymaking more generally. While it is widely agreed that Prime Minister Mario Draghi must remain on the scene to oversee the plan’s implementation, in what capacity would he be most useful?
Some respected economists are talking as if the US economy is in serious inflationary trouble. But the current uptick in price growth is highly likely to be a largely benign consequence of the post-pandemic recovery.
When forecasts are not specific enough to be actionable, the supply response cannot adjust in a timely or efficient manner. And because there is relatively little slack built into global supply chains, large deviations from normal patterns produce delayed responses, shortages, backlogs, and bottlenecks, like those today.
Locked in a low-growth trap, South Africa's fiscal and macroeconomic situation is unsustainable, not only economically but also politically. To salvage the country's democratic project, the government must offer a credible, comprehensive economic reform strategy.
Limiting global warming to 1.5º Celsius remains just about attainable, but the path to this target is formidable. The United Nations climate summit now underway in Glasgow will indicate whether political efforts to achieve this goal are likely to heat up as fast as scientists tell us the planet is.
While all politicians exaggerate, US President Joe Biden’s claim that his proposed $3.5 trillion spending package “costs zero dollars” rises to a higher plane, and Americans aren’t buying it. Even if the legislation was fully covered by tax increases, the costs for the economy would be significant.
Even at currently elevated US home-price levels, buying still makes sense for those who are set on ownership. But buyers need to be sure that they can accept what could be a rather bumpy and disappointing long-term path for home values.
Policymakers should not have been caught off guard by surging prices and shortages of goods and labor. Practically the entire post-pandemic agenda is built around policies that stoke demand and discourage work, making supply-side constraints entirely predictable.
As price increases accelerate, policymakers at leading central banks are slowly starting to move away from the narrative of “transitory” inflation that has already cost them the policy initiative. But the needed pivot is far from complete and not nearly quick enough, particularly at the US Federal Reserve.
The Chinese government may yet succeed in insulating the broader market from the financial crisis at real estate giant Evergrande. But the larger challenge is to rebalance an economy that has depended for far too long on the bloated housing market for jobs and growth.