The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
By Gordon Brown
The views expressed are his own.
The build-up to the G20 summit has been dominated by the euro's failings. With Europe now the epicenter of the global crisis, its continued weakness will dominate the G20 discussions. Even now, uncertainties about Greece’s future -- and about the real strength of Europe’s commitment to its new stability fund -- has left little opportunity for a focus on the global economy as a whole.
But even if the state of the world economy has featured less than the euro in the preparatory work for the summit, the decisions world leaders will make on the global economy will dictate the mood of the coming two years. President Sarkozy has major global initiatives he will unveil to improve global food security, and may even force his plan for a global financial levy on the agenda. But there is a big choice the G20 must make. Either the world will come together and agree on a coordinated growth plan -- or we will retreat into a new, more acrimonious protectionism.
Already the head of the World Trade Organization is warning of a return to protectionism, and every day we find yet another new country following Brazil, Switzerland, Indian, Korea, and Japan in introducing either new tariffs, currency controls, or capital controls. In response, the draft G20 communiqué assumes a free trade world where each continent steps up what it is doing in order to achieve sustained growth.
But a G20 that was really working would take countries far beyond the current draft communiqué -- which is a set of bland statements about what each country is doing on its own to foster growth. Instead it would focus on coordinated measures under which countries would agree to support and complement each other's contribution. If , under an agreed growth pact, China increased consumer spending and Asia opened its markets, and if this was balanced by America and Europe investing more in infrastructure, then over a three year period -- as the IMF has suggested -- there could be 5 percent more growth and 25-50 million more jobs, with 100 million people taken out of poverty.
Some eye-catching numbers from Standard Bank out today on the influence of BRICs countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- on Africa.
First off, the bank says the global recession and its recovery have been nourishing these so-called South-South ties. But it is all now ready to take off. The bank estimates:
Competitive devaluation is no longer a possible danger – it is already here. Many people are worried that, after global stock market crashes and a collapse of most of the world’s banking system, a war over exchange rates completes a sequence of events that looks awfully like a rerun of the 1930’s. There is however one crucial difference. The Chinese role certainly makes matters more complicated, though it is as yet unclear whether it makes the outlook better or worse.
The key point to understand about the belligerents is this. In the context of purely self-interested beggar-my-neighbour economic policy, devaluation makes good sense for the Eurozone countries as a whole, the British, the Japanese, Swiss, Koreans… for everyone except the Americans. Whether they are deficit countries, like Britain, or surplus countries, like Switzerland, Korea or Japan, devaluation will increase demand for their exports and make their imports more expensive, giving a boost to their output and employment. And if other countries retaliate by counter-devaluation, they can tell themselves that their situation would have been worse if they had not taken the initiative and got their retaliation in first.
The retaliatory China currency bill passed in the U.S. House helps brand this Congress as one of the more protectionist in years. The next one might switch gears and embrace trade by passing several stalled pacts. But Beijing shouldn't expect that to translate into a friendlier Washington.
A companion bill in the Senate also meant to pressure China to allow a faster rise in the yuan is unlikely to succeed. And it would probably be vetoed by President Barack Obama if it did.
By John Foley and Wei Gu
China's plans to make its currency global could change the world -- if they get off the ground. More international use of the yuan might increase China's trade clout, unseat the mighty U.S. dollar and make a lot of financiers very rich in the process. But it can be hard to separate the facts from the fable. Here are some questions answered.
Why are people talking about an international yuan?
China is the world's second-biggest economy. But its currency doesn't nearly match its size. For most international dealings, China relies on the dollar, which leaves it beholden to the United States. Beijing wants more influence on the global stage, so it has been taking baby-steps to turn the yuan into an internationally used currency.
- Paddy Earnshaw is the Director of Customer Relations at Travelex Global Business Payments. The opinions expressed are his own.-
British importers and exporters’ confidence in the economy leapt in July, as positive economic data fuelled hopes for a return to strong economic growth. According to the Travelex Confidence Index (TCI), which jumped 12 points in July to 116, from 104 in June, strong gains were driven by quarter 2′s GDP figure, as it showed the UK grew at its fastest pace in four years.
Last week, on his first Prime Ministerial visit to the United States, David Cameron conceded that Britain was the “junior partner” in the special relationship. Next week, I fear that at the end of the much anticipated visit to India, he may yet again, have to concede that Britain is the junior partner in this ever increasing important relationship.
-Mark Bolsom is head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex, the world’s largest non-bank FX payments specialist. The opinions expressed are his own.-
The final results are almost fully in and despite months of intense speculation the hung parliament outcome has come as an almighty shock to the financial markets.
- Ash Verma is Chairman, Gateway Business Consultants Limited and Founder of Gateway Asia. The opinions expressed are his own. -
London has long had a reputation as a city where entrepreneurs from Asia have come to seek their fortune. From its early 19th century roots when Sake Dean Mahomed opened up Britain’s first Indian restaurant and introduced the city to shampoo, London’s Indian diaspora has now grown into one of the largest communities outside the country. The Chinese community in London, too, is Europe’s oldest and largest.
By Ian Campbell
LONDON, April 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Gordon Brown says his Labour party will “secure the recovery” if it wins the UK election in May. The opposition Conservatives would kill the upturn, he says. Brown is right in one sense: the “recovery” can easily be broken. But only because it is so fragile in the first place.
The UK’s data looks more encouraging than it actually is. The UK needs exports and production to surge ahead. Trade figures released on April 13 might appear to herald that: February’s trade deficit was its smallest since June 2006.