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Jun 10, 2011
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Hillary Clinton wouldn’t suit the World Bank

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, may want the top job at the World Bank in 2012, though officially she doesn’t. That’s probably a bad idea. But even if it’s just an early trial balloon, it reveals the jockeying surrounding the big vacancy at the International Monetary Fund.

May 27, 2011
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Multinationals propping up U.S. economic growth

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. multinationals are propping up the nation’s economic growth. While annualized first quarter GDP growth was a sluggish 1.8 percent, much of it inventory buildup, the private sector expanded more strongly, as did returns from overseas investments. With the government now reining in outlays, America’s biggest companies are providing the economic stimulus.

May 24, 2011
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Only China can tackle its own dodgy accounting

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

WASHINGTON — Serious reporting shenanigans have hammered several U.S.-listed Chinese companies — most recently Longtop Financial Technologies. However, American investors and regulators have little redress across the Pacific. They should practice healthy skepticism until China opens and polices its own markets.

May 18, 2011
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IMF should use crisis to toughen itself up

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund has a chance to toughen itself up. Under Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director currently imprisoned in New York after being accused of sexual assault, the IMF’s lending has multiplied, largely to basket cases like Greece. But recent loans have failed to force change while damaging other lenders’ standing.

May 12, 2011
via Newsmaker

Global commodity craze should be good for Africa

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

In theory, high commodity prices should be a bonanza for Africa’s many emerging economies. Soaring prices for the continent’s major exports bring higher revenues to cash-strapped states. The trouble is, for economic development to take place these funds need to be usefully converted into private sector activity. Africa’s endemic corruption, poor infrastructure and bad policies make that a tall order.

May 5, 2011

Poorest at most risk from 10 bln world population

– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By Martin Hutchinson

WASHINGTON (Reuters Breakingviews) – There may be 10 billion mouths to feed within a few generations. The United Nations sees the world’s population hitting that landmark by 2100. Without efforts to change the pattern, the poorest countries will face the worst effects of the demographic drain.

May 1, 2011

A royal wedding would do U.S. economy some good

— The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By Martin Hutchinson

WASHINGTON (Reuters Breakingviews) – The last two top-tier royal weddings provided lifts to consumer and business spirits that arguably helped pull Britain out of recessions and produced some growth. America long ago traded the monarchy for a republic, but a similar tonic would do it some good – it’s a lot cheaper and less damaging than fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Apr 28, 2011
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U.S. GDP data starts to spell stagflation

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

WASHINGTON — It’s starting to feel like stagflation in America. Gross domestic product rose just 1.8 percent in the first quarter, despite the injection of additional fiscal stimulus in December. At the same time, the Fed’s chosen measure of inflation — the personal consumption expenditures deflator — rose 3.8 percent. If the trends aren’t temporary and oil prices don’t retreat, the Fed may find itself scrambling.

Apr 15, 2011
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Five years from U.S. housing peak, still no bottom

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

WASHINGTON — Five years on from their peak, there’s still no bottom in sight for America’s house prices. After rising from a trough in 2009, prices are falling again and market activity is very thin. It’s another complexity for monetary policymakers with an eye on inflation: hiking interest rates could further squash housing.

Apr 5, 2011
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Stopping hot money is a dangerous soft option

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

WASHINGTON — The IMF for the first time has endorsed the idea of stopping hot money. It may sound like a good idea with so much of it sloshing around these days. But such capital controls impose large and opaque costs on the global economy and encourage fiscal indiscipline. Emerging market authorities should resist the temptation.

    • About Martin

      "Martin Hutchinson is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist and writes about emerging markets, particularly in Latin America, and monetary and macroeconomic issues. He is a former merchant/investment banker with 27 years of experience."
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