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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Remove constraint Publishing Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Political Geography United States Remove constraint Political Geography: United States Publication Year within 25 Years Remove constraint Publication Year: within 25 Years Topic International Trade and Finance Remove constraint Topic: International Trade and Finance
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  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In their April 21 press release following their spring meeting in Washington, D.C., the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors added an important sentence to their usual bland statement that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals: Greater exchange rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur. In their April 21 press release following their spring meeting in Washington, D.C., the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors added an important sentence to their usual bland statement that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals: Greater exchange rate flexibility is desirable in emerging economies with large current account surpluses, especially China, for necessary adjustments to occur. The G7, significantly, also called for an increased role for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help countries, including those in the G7 but also China and others in emerging Asia, meet the macroeconomic and financial policy challenge of globalization. Specifically, the G7 supported the strengthening of IMF surveillance, including through increased emphasis on the consistency of exchange rate policies with domestic policies and a market-based international monetary system and on the spillover effects of domestic policies on other countries. The G7s endorsement of greater exchange-rate flexibility and of an enhanced IMF role in implementing it is important. The IMF, having been founded after World War II to maintain stable exchange rates among major economies, has become an advocate on behalf of the major economies of global exchange-rate flexibility. The lesson regarding the need for G7 currency flexibility was learned after Americas August 1971 abandonment of fixed exchange rates, which was followed by a decade of adjustments to higher oil prices that would have wreaked havoc under fixed exchange rates. The lesson for needed currency flexibility in emerging markets was learned after the disastrous attempt, fostered in part by the IMF, to impose fixed exchange rates during the Asian and Russian crises of 1997 and 1998, which prolonged and exacerbated the market gyrations caused by the crises. Sadly, China response to the G7-IMF call for greater currency flexibility has been both negative and misguided. China's foolishly insouciant attitude, captured in a comment by Zhou Xiao-chuan, governor of the Peoples Bank of China, carries with it serious risks both for China and for the world economy. Zhous remark was quoted on April 24 in the Wall Street Journal: [T]he speed of moving forward (on yuan appreciation) is OK. Its good for China and welcomed by many other countries. China's currency has appreciated only 1.2 percent since its initial 2.1 percent revaluation last July 21. That is less than OK. The total 3.3 percent revaluation against the dollar really represents no adjustment at all in view of the 1 to 2 percent inflation differential (lower in China) that has persisted between the United States and China over the past two years. If China had allowed prices to rise instead of mandating caps on prices of important commodities like gasoline, there would be less pressure for the yuan to rise in value. Both the intervention to cap the yuans appreciation and the capping of domestic prices are building up potentially disruptive inflation pressure inside China, as we shall see below. The most dangerous aspect of China's increased efforts to prevent yuan appreciation, as measured by accelerating reserve accumulation over the past year, is the rising pool of liquidity inside China that has resulted. The level of excess reserves in Chinese banks is now larger, relative to GDP, than the level of excess reserves built up in Japan from 2001 to 2005 during the years of a prolonged, desperate struggle against deflation. China's currency undervaluation, coupled with the massive liquidity buildup in its banking system, has resulted in excessive investment in China's state enterprises that have close traditional ties with the liquidity-sodden banks. The usual Chinese response to excess reserves has been to boost reserve requirements for its banks. But to absorb the huge pool of excess reserves now in place, reserve requirements would have to be boosted by 5 percentage points to 12.5 per-cent, going far beyond previous moves of 0.5 to 1 percentage point, and far beyond what China's shaky, insolvent banks could endure. When the Peoples Bank of China boosted its one-year benchmark lending rate on April 26 by 27 basis points (to 5.85 percent), it took a tiny step that will do little to tighten China's monetary stance.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Concerns over deflation have dominated monetary policy during the past several years in Japan, and also in the United States as recently as 2003. As a result, the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve have been highly accommodative. In Japan, this took the form of a zero interest rate. In the U.S. context, it was manifest in rates at well below normal yardsticks, such as nominal GDP growth that would call for U.S. policy interest rates close to 6 percent rather than at current levels below 5 percent. Unusually accommodative monetary policies and the substantial liquidity flows they have entailed have boosted asset values and compressed risk spreads. Consequently, demand growth has persisted at high levels for long enough to cause modestly higher inflation. The time has come for tighter monetary policy, and central banks in the United States, Europe, and Japan have all begun to apply it.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, January 18, the yield on fifty-year inflation-protected U.K. government bonds (what the British call "indexed-linked gilts") dropped to 0.38 percent, about one-seventh the historical average of just over 2.6 percent for such debt instruments. Just a few months earlier, that yield had been over 1 percent, still extraordinarily low by historical standards, and especially low in an economy that has experienced fifty-three consecutive quarters of positive growth. A yield drop from 1 percent to 0.38 percent on a fifty-year bond corresponds to a 30 percent rise in its price over a period of just three months. That is an annual return of over 100 percent, much higher than the 13 percent annual increase in U.S. house prices at midyear and the 20 to 30 percent gains seen in the stock market before the March 2000 crash. The asset bubble has spread to long-term government bonds, especially those with inflation protection. What is going on here?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Peter J. Wallison
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In December, the London Stock Exchange celebrated a record year for foreign company new issues, with 129 new listings by companies from twenty-nine different countries. In contrast, the New York Stock Exchange registered a net gain of six foreign listings (a gain of nineteen and a loss of thirteen) in 2005, and NASDAQ gained a net of fourteen. According to a press report by the London Stock Exchange on its success, “about 38 per cent of the international companies surveyed said they had considered floating in the United States. Of those, 90 per cent said the onerous demands of the new Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law had made London listing more attractive.” By now, it is well-known what harm Sarbanes-Oxley has done to the attractiveness of the U.S. securities markets, but what is not well- known is that the lack of resources available to a relatively obscure accounting group—engaged in the development of a technical-sounding disclosure system called XBRL—may also threaten not only the current primacy of the U.S. financial markets, but also the future competitiveness of U.S. companies.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, London
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The average forecast for 2005 U.S. growth is 3.5 percent, with some prognosticators hoping for 4 percent. This forecast is predicated upon the assumption that the economy is on a sustainable expansion path, where consumption will be supported by steady growth of employment and household incomes. The 3.5 percent growth forecast for 2005 is identical to the mean growth rate of the U.S. economy since 1947. However, there is good reason to believe that the consensus forecast is too high. This possibility has important consequences because U.S. growth must be sustained at least at average levels to avoid a sharp drop in global growth. There are no signs of higher growth in Europe and Asia. Growth in Japan is looking weaker, while Chinese growth is moderating.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The pundits who have been predicting higher interest rates based on large U.S. budget and current account deficits have some explaining to do. Beyond the fact that very little systematic empirical evidence exists of a close link between deficits of any kind and interest rates, many high-profile commentators such as Robert Rubin and Pete Peterson, not to mention Pimco's Bill Gross, have consistently warned that long-term interest rates would rise as America's budget and current account deficits rose. Actually, U.S. longterm interest rates have been falling-from 4.8 percent in early June to 4.1 percent at year-end. Despite this stellar performance, Gross has even gone so far as to suggest that U.S. government liabilities should be downgraded from their top rating of AAA to AA.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Ceremonial gift-giving is an integral part of doing business in China. The value lies not so much in the gift (whose packaging is often more elaborate), but in the possibility of cementing a mutually beneficial relationship. And so it was a few weeks ago with the headline-grabbing announcement that China would revalue the yuan against the U.S. dollar. The modest gesture may make more possible a comprehensive economic dialogue between China and the United States in the interest of both nations. The announcement on July 21 by the People's Bank of China that it would revalue the yuan, abandoning the eleven-year-old peg of 8.28 yuan per U.S. dollar, caught financial markets by surprise. The jolt led market participants to gauge effects of current (and perhaps future) revaluations on currency values and interest rates. And, some U.S. political leaders claimed a victory in the campaign to blame Chinese “market manipulation” for external imbalances facing the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The collapse of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government in Haiti and his unseemly flight out of the country may have come as a surprise to Americans and others who were not watching closely. It could not have been unexpected by those who were. Haitian history tends to repeat itself, and after a long detour, the circle closed once again. Even the sudden occupation of the country by a multinational force headed by the U.S. Marines is not without precedent. The big question is whether this time the cycle of failure will be broken.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America
  • Author: Mark Falcoff
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Probably more than any other Latin American country, the Argentine Republic is susceptible to abrupt changes of spirit and mood. Ten years ago it was apparently hurling itself, pell-mell, into the twenty-first century as South America's great example of economic liberalization and diplomatic alignment with the United States. Today both notions are distinctly out of fashion there, and no wonder—the advantages of both were drastically oversold to the public by the administration of President Carlos Menem (1989-1999). At the end of 2000 the economy virtually collapsed; for a time it appeared as if the country might actually dissolve as a coherent political community. Thanks to the strong hand of Senator Eduardo Duhalde, who took over at the end of 2000 from Fernando de la Rúa, Menem's successor, civic order was restored, though the last three years have been the worst in Argentina's modern history, more dismal even than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina, South America, Latin America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The last big wave of European and Japanese concern about a weak dollar came after the August 1971 breakdown of the Bretton Woods System of fixed exchange rates. At that time European countries feared inflation and, not wanting to support the dollar and thereby import U.S. inflation pressures, they accepted revaluation of their currencies with some misgivings because, as always, a weaker dollar meant more difficulty in competing with vigorous U.S. traded-goods companies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe