Pulse: International Trade and Investment
Has the “new Cold War” between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America began? Pessimists argue that the tough speech on China made by US Vice-President Mike Pence at the Hudson Institute on October 4, 2018 was the dangerous sign.
The G20 leaders gathering on November 30 in Buenos are meeting at a time of rising global challenges to the global economic and financial system: slowing global growth, rising trade tensions, attacks by the Trump administration on the global financial architecture, financial markets meltdown, regional disputes among key G20 members.
I know some people abhor social media. The sector has certainly taken a beating lately in the markets, but I really love Twitter. It gives me the ability to hear the (curated) voices of people I know, don’t know, and in some cases hope I never know, but who make me think. I follow the newspapers and journals I used to have to login to separately, read other media from all around the world I didn’t even know existed, and get into impromptu conversations with real experts.
The expansion of Chinese commercial activities in Latin America and the Caribbean raises questions.
As everyone knows, October has been a terrible month for equity markets. Some market participants feel that this did not just coincide with higher interest rates, but was caused by flawed Fed monetary policy and comments on overshooting. Like the humming chorus in Madama Butterfly, there has been a steady rise in the number of voices supporting a Fed pause in December. These include members of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee itself, such as Neel Kashkari, and leading economists such as Jason Furman.
President Xi JinPing of China recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), the centerpiece of China’s global projection of economic, political and financial power. However, the BRI project is meeting significant obstacles and seems in urgent need of a reboot. Significantly, the main sources of criticism and reevaluation come from some of the major beneficiaries of the project.
I returned to Europe this week to hear views from the other side of the pond, as US trade policy continues not just to pivot, but to spin. There is no doubt that a major reset of key trading relationships is now underway with implications for currencies worldwide. As the US economy seems to be outpacing growth everywhere except in China and India, will US monetary policy have unintended global spillover effects, especially for emerging markets? And more direct effects from trade policy in developed nations? European PMI figures announced today are down to 2-year lows.