As of late, there has been a lot of talk of whether the United States Federal Reserve Bank will raise interest rates in September. Typically, the Federal Reserve would raise its benchmark interest rate when the economy is growing too fast to encourage people to spend less and save more. This slows the economy down, thereby reducing inflationary pressure. A raise in interest rates signals a perception that inflation is rising and that the economy is healthy and growing.
The last six years of economic crisis have taken a huge toll on Greece’s fishing industry, with fish being the country’s second largest agricultural export. Diminishing household buying power has stifled the demand for fish domestically; a problem that has been exacerbated by a weakened banking sector that is unable to provide sufficient cash to customers. Exporting fish to countries in a more stable economic position could revive this industry, yet even this solution is laden with problems.
On Monday, August 24th, Chinese stock markets fell by 8.5%, creating a major crash in the Shanghai Composite. Investors have called this day China's 'Black Monday' because of the dent it has left in China's business as well as the consequences it has caused for the global economy. The crash was caused by many factors including the staggering amount of people investing in the Chinese stock market, suffering businesses with high stocks and prices, margin calls, and the sudden selling of stocks by these same investors. The stock market crash has had damaging effects on billionaires and global markets. Although some markets seem to be in recovery, the crash could be seen as a sign of a bigger problem in China.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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".