globalEDGE Blog

Even though global market trade has been in a bit of disorder lately, great advances are expected in trade between Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe by the year 2020. Currently, China's trade is growing, just not at margins seen in the past. With only an expected annual growth rate of 5% over the next five years, China's slowing trade growth comes at a cost from weaker growth among emerging markets. This slowing of China's trade will lead to new trade expansion in the global market.

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The ECB is still struggling to keep Greece above water, while China is dealing with its market crash. The surprise yuan devaluation has agitated global markets further. When the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) decided to weaken its currency to get back on the right track, the USD, JPY, and EUR have been forced to adjust accordingly. Anytime a nation deliberately interferes with its currency, ripples are sent through the markets. China, with its 1.9% devaluation, has made waves. Last year, it was Europe in this position, and in 2013 it was Japan’s Abenomics with a weak yen at the helm of its policy that took center stage. With China’s recent move, countries all over are engaging in competitive devaluations to protect currencies. With an increasing number of countries being involuntary drawn in and a few apparent losers already, this is shaping up to be quite a turbulent currency war.

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Earlier this summer, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced a $70 million commitment to bring in one billion dollars in public-private investments for developing countries. This plan will take place over the next five years, and the grant money given to Africa is expected to generate $750 million in investments from the private sector. The MCC is heavily investing in the continent’s energy sector, and the ultimate goal is to reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and attract more investors to countries such as Malawi, Benin, Lesotho, Liberia, Tanzania, Ghana, and Morocco. According to Kyeh Kim, the Deputy Vice-President of Compact Operations for the MCC, “these are countries that have a good track record in terms of good governance and democracy, have made strong efforts toward anti-corruption and are investing in their social sectors: education and health, as well as creating an enabling business environment through things like good fiscal policy, trade policy.”

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Greece's woes have been a well-publicized global topic over the past year. Between its staggering debt, its default on these debts, and discussion of its exile from the European Union, Greece has struggled with pulling its way through an web of economic troubles. There is, however, a glint of optimism for the country. On August 14th, Eurozone finance ministers approved Greece for a new bailout package, its third such deal in five years. The package was agreed upon after a half-year's worth of negotiations between Greece's government, the Eurozone, and the IMF. While not all Eurozone countries have yet given approval, the bailout is considered a relief for a situation that threatened to break the Eurozone apart. It is yet to be seen how it will affect Greece and the rest of the Eurozone in the long run.

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There are presently many different happenings all across the globe that are affecting emerging market (EM) currencies. A lessening demand for commodities, a devaluation of China's currency, stalled global trade, and an expectation that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates are all bearing down on EM currencies. Some of the countries on the more drastic end of this are Russia, Colombia, and Brazil, whose currencies have fallen more than 30% over the past year, according to Bloomberg Business. Currently, emerging market currencies are in a "free fall" and according to Stephen Jen, a former International Monetary Fund economist, we should expect "a violent sell-off in some emerging market currencies in the second half of this year".

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File under: United States, Oil

To say the global oil industry has had a turbulent year would be an understatement. The industry has been thrown into a violent tailspin, which has culminated in oil trading for under half the price it was fourteen months ago. While the initial cause of the crash was oversupply, several recent international developments, including the Chinese market downturn and the proposed Iran nuclear deal, have only accentuated the demise. More information about the underlying causes and the current state of oil prices can be found in previous globalEDGE blog posts containing the Oil tag.

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File under: Currency, Central Banks, China

The fire may have died down in China, but the burns it left in its wake are still raw, as the Chinese government attempts to bring back some stability by weakening the yuan. Devaluing its currency is proving to be rather injurious for Australian, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwanese dollars, as they took a rough tumble earlier this week. Luckily for America though, this drop has proven successful for the USD, as investors are getting bullish on its outcome in coming weeks. But this move on behalf of China’s bank is not to be overlooked or underestimated, since it is being hailed as a one-time fix.

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As far as regional trade agreements are concerned, the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is constantly being compared to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). United States citizens in particular are concerned as to whether free trade is actually beneficial to the U.S. economy and its workers. When NAFTA entered into force in 1994, tariffs were cut and laws were changed in order to allow free trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. While many proponents of the agreement believe that NAFTA has stimulated the economies of these countries, others believe that the framework for the agreement can serve as a warning of what could potentially go wrong with the TPP. 

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