Recently, Standard & Poor downgraded Netherlands' sovereign debt from a coveted AAA rating to a AA+ rating. The downgrade came as S&P sees a weak growth outlook, even though the Netherlands is seen as part of Europe’s healthy economic core. Also, S&P raised its outlook on Spain from negative to stable, showing that some of the struggling southern European countries may be recovering. As many southern countries continue to improve economically, some of the northern countries are suffering from poor growth prospects.
globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: economics
Recent financial figures have shown that several countries around the globe have experienced some of their lowest inflation rates in years. Normally this would be the goal of the nations' central banks, but in the economic states of these regions, this low inflation could be the source of several problems. Now the issue facing many of the world's richest nations is to avoid extremely low inflation and to try and raise prices. The proposed processes to achieve these goals have the potential to lead to some intense competition.
Major changes could be coming to China, after officials released plans to reform economic and social policies. China’s president, Xi Jinping, unveiled reform plans after a four-day conclave of Communist Party leaders in hopes that the economic changes will increase economic growth, which has slowed since the world-wide recession. Along with the economic reforms, plans were made to relax the one child policy and close labor camps, both infamous in the international community. The reforms, if implemented, could have wide-ranging impacts on society and business in China, improving human rights and opening new sectors of the economy to private companies.
Pensions have become an increasingly talked about topic of late. With bankruptcies of cities, and most notably of Detroit, it is unsure whether people who worked their entire lives with the promise of a retirement will actually receive such. The trick with pensions is how does a company or city adequately plan for retirement costs decades into the future?
In his recent article, Michael Burda, a Professor of Economics at Humboldt University Berlin, suggests the European Central Bank (ECB) should be redesigned with regional rather than national central banks. The column proposes that instead of each country having a national bank, boarders should be drawn to create regional banks. The United States, which has 12 regional banks, is a country that uses this central bank system.
Last week, the City of Detroit became the largest city to file for bankruptcy in the history of the United States. The once vibrant city, whose roots came from automobiles and music, fell-victim to its financial situation, which includes between $18 to $20 billion in debt. Along with a large amount of debt, Detroit has encountered problems with underfunded pensions, diminishing population, and poor public services. As a result of the bankruptcy, Detroit could experience large legal fees and cuts in its public services and bondholders will be left with pennies on the dollar. Is Detroit just the tip of the iceberg for cities that may file for bankruptcy?
Foreign direct investment has a large effect on the economy of countries. It can increase production, employment, exports, imports, and economic growth. Over the past five years, emerging markets have seen an increase in foreign capital from investors in search of higher yields. Three popular emerging market countries among foreign investors that have experienced political instabilities in the past month are Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt. The political instability could prove to be detrimental to emerging market financial growth in the short run, but investors should be more worried about the slowing economies of these countries.
One of the most significant trends of the past several years has been austerity measures taken by governments all over the world in order to try to keep their budgets in control. Much of the support for these actions came from a 2010 paper by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard entitled Growth in a Time of Debt.
In 2002, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics, which isn’t all that unusual until one realizes that Kahneman isn’t an economist at all, but rather a psychologist. The reason that Kahneman won the Nobel is because he has dedicated his life (along with his partner Amos Tversky) to attempting to disprove the rational agent model that is a major underlying assumption of modern economics. The rational agent assumption assumes that all people are entirely rational and make the decisions that maximize utility for them (the people in this case are popularly called Homo Economis). Kahnemen thinks this isn’t true due to innate biases inside people and lays out why in Thinking Fast and Slow, which is an overview of his life’s work.
As the U.S. has just released that its GDP has grown only 0.1% in the 4th quarter of 2012 and that trend of low growth is persistent in every economic headline for seemingly every country, the question of whether this is a temporary phenomenon or the new reality is very relevant. Personally, I am of the opinion that this zero growth environment may be unavoidable.
In the last decade, Argentina has undergone a rapid ascension from widespread poverty and a huge budget deficit towards economic prosperity and stability. The government of Argentina, only ten years ago, defaulted on a $100 billion budget, sending over half its population into poverty. Following this economic catastrophe was a period of contraction. This, however, would last only three months and would then give way to economic growth.
The Euro has popped up many times in the news recently. Because of the debt crisis in Europe, many countries were left unable to fulfill the convergence criteria to have the Euro as a currency, leading to many problems throughout Europe. It wasn’t just the current crisis that brought about these issues; they have been rooted in the Euro ever since it was created. So what exactly are a few of these issues and how can they be solved?
Pecans have long been a steady source of income for farmers in the United States. Southern farmers produce two-thirds of the world’s supply and U.S. consumers have been the main source of their business. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the current price of $2.14 per pound for pecans is nearly twice as high as three years ago. What has caused this sharp spike and what does the future hold for the pecan industry?
Two weeks ago, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised its benchmark interest rate from 1 percent to 1.25 percent, putting it at odds with its counterparts in the United States and Britain. This move has sparked a debate as to whether the ECB jumped the gun with the interest rate hike.
With articles starting to surface saying that the recent Japanese earthquake could cost the Japanese people over $300 billion in economic damage, I thought it would be pretty interesting to try to put that number into focus. In other words, while $300 billion is a lot of money no matter how you put it, is it really that much damage if a typical hurricane does about $350 billion in damage? Thankfully, the people at The Economist have created this graph that shows the world’s costliest natural disasters so we can put the Japanese earthquake into perspective. What the graph shows is very intriguing.
Everyone has been hearing about it lately. Look at any news site and it will be the top story if not many of the top five stories. Ever since Mohamed Al Bouazizi set himself on fire in December to protest Tunisia’s economic situation, revolution has been spreading across the Middle East. These conflicts are demonstrating how some of the world’s smallest countries can have great effects on the rest of the planet.
Last week we talked about microfinance, and specifically ways to help alleviate poverty in the poorest of areas. A topic that’s closely related to microfinance, but in some ways a better option is micro-franchising. It’s basically business ownership training. It is not only for developing counties however, it can be used for the poor in cities of developed countries as well.
There has been much hype recently about rising inflation rates around the globe. The euro zone had an inflation rate of 2.2% in 2010, while China's rose 5.1% from November 2009 to November 2010. Many people fear that a surge in inflation could have an adverse effect on the recovery efforts of many economies. But what exactly is inflation and how does it affect an economy?
While just about everyone in the world knows that in aggregate the world has been going through a so-called “Great Recession,” not nearly as many people understand how it has impacted the different regions in the world. Now, thanks to a new study called the Global MetroMonitor produced by The Brookings Institute and the London School of Economics, they can.
Just recently, on November 8, 2010, gold reached its non-inflation adjusted high of $1,400 per ounce. As shown in this chart by Kitco, gold has been increasing at a very rapid pace in the past year. This has prompted many investors to say that gold could potentially be the next “bubble,” or a security that has a huge increase in price only to suddenly “pop” and decrease rapidly in price. However, there is evidence to contradict these fears, especially in the U.S. bond markets.
Is it possible that corporate social responsibility, one of the most popular trends in modern business, is an irresponsible goal for any profit-driven organization to pursue? Is the pursuit of the triple-bottom-line (people, planet, profit) contrary to the value that corporations provide for society? Ann Bernstein, the leader of the Centre for Development and Enterprise in South Africa argued in her new book that it is more valuable for companies to focus solely on profit while leaving people and planet to fend for themselves, especially in developing nations.