Is it culture or economics? That question frames much of the debate about contemporary populism. Are Donald Trump’s presidency, Brexit, and the rise of right-wing nativist political parties in continental Europe the consequence of a deepening rift in values between social conservatives and social liberals, with the former having thrown their support behind xenophobic, ethno-nationalist, authoritarian politicians? Or do they reflect many voters’ economic anxiety and insecurity, fueled by financial crises, austerity, and globalization?
The document can be found here
Oil price trends have shifted since the start of April, with figures set on a range of $70–75, compared with a previous figure of around $67 on average, i.e. higher than figures seen since late 2014. This reflected the impact of demand driven by world growth.
The chart below shows that trend altered after April 6, when the White House implemented sanctions against Russia, with subsequent threats on Iran merely serving to amplify this trend. This morning after Donald Trump’s decision on Iran it is above 75 as shown on the graph. Continue reading
Growth has made a comeback but each country already wants to take its own path. Unity is no longer on the cards and the world economy is fast going down a very different road.
During the recovery in 2016 and 2017, the worldwide situation was relatively stable, with no major imbalances, and the central banks cut some slack when required to make it through any bumpy patches. This approach worked fairly well as the pace across the various areas of the world became more uniform, driving growth and trade momentum, and economists were constantly forced to upgrade their forecasts.
But those days are gone, and this cooperative and coordinated dimension has disappeared. Continue reading
Larry Summers has declined the opportunity to be appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve to replace Ben Bernanke whose term will end on January 31. (The letter is available in pdf format here Summers’ Letter )
This reopens the debate on the successor to Ben Bernanke. Janet Yellen could become a favorite. However if she has a strong support by economists (see the petition here) she does not seem to have a strong support of the White House. Continue reading