The IMF/World Bank held their Spring Meeting in Washington. The IMF issued the semi-annual updates of its two major reports-the World Economic Outlook (WEO) and Global Financial Stability Report (GSFR). In these reports, the IMF remained upbeat about the short-term outlook for the global economy, but warned about rising downside risks, especially in the medium- to long-term.
Spring has been a bit tardy this year in the US, and I hear many other places, but not in Asia. The title of a recent Brookings meeting at Northwestern University was “Japan, the United States, and the Future of Asia” but the topic was Korea. I posed the question of whether or not we are experiencing a false spring. Talks between the two Koreas, the US and China are certainly a hopeful development, but do they mask fundamental and growing divisions between the major powers in the Pacific? Together, these countries comprise half of global GDP.
The dramas of volatility in the price of bitcoin and scams in "coin"-offering fundraising schemes overshadow legitimate cryptofinance developments.
For nearly the last year, crypto-coins have been developing into an asset class and investment ecosystem. From two conferences I attended this year, one in Chicago and the other in Singapore, it seems to me that the Chicago firms see the opportunities for developing trading infrastructure while the Asian investors and regulators see real possibilities for financial innovation.