En décembre 2010, je sortais d’une librairie du quartier de l’Agdal à Rabat lorsque je suis tombé sur un journaliste d’un quotidien de grande diffusion que j’ai connu comme étudiant de troisième cycle à la faculté où j’enseigne. Les événements de Tunisie battaient alors leur plein. Nous échangeâmes quelques commentaires sur les dernières péripéties du régime de Benali. Le lendemain, à ma grande surprise, sur « la une » du journal, je découvrais que j’avais fait une déclaration sur ce qui se passait en Tunisie, avec ma photo, alors qu’il n’en était rien. Le journaliste me faisait prendre position et même commenter les événements en cours ! Pourtant, à ce stade de la révolution tunisienne, je m’abstenais de tout commentaire, par prudence académique, les faits étaient alors encore confus. Le sens de ce qui se passait était peu lisible.
Sans surprise, le West Texas Intermediate et le Brent, les deux grandes références de prix du brut, ont entamé depuis fin septembre une valse dont les mondes économiques et politiques observent avec attention les différents mouvements. Leurs prix ont bondi d’environ 15% entre le 27 septembre et le 10 octobre, atteignant alors plus de 50 USD/bbl, avant de replonger ensuite sur le mois suivant pour toucher leur plus bas niveau depuis deux mois. Dernier développement en date : un nouveau rebond depuis le 14 novembre faisant repasser le Brent et le WTI au-dessus du seuil des 45USD/bbl (graphique 1).
U.S. assets reacted in a see-saw fashion to Donald Trump’s victory. Stock futures first dove deeply before climbing up to strong gains as investors developed a view on what kind of economic policy president-elect Trump is likely to pursue. They seem to be pricing in an expectation of higher growth and inflation, as well as an earlier Federal Reserve exit from ultra-low interest rates and from holding U$ 4.45 trillion of Treasury bonds.
Africa is endowed with an abundance of renewable (forestry, water, wind, solar) and non-renewable (extractives, oil, gas, minerals) natural resources. It is estimated that the continent accounts for about 7% of global oil reserves, 7% of natural gas, 20% of land area, 9% of renewable water resources and 17% of forests. The continent is also home to the largest or second largest world reserves of bauxite, cobalt, industrial diamonds, manganese, phosphate rock and platinum group metals, among other.
Discussions around large current account imbalances among systemically relevant economies as a threat to the stability of the global economy faded out in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. More recently, some signs of a possible resurgence of rising imbalances have brought back attention to the issue. We argue here that, while not a threat to global financial stability, the resurgence of these imbalances reveals a sub-par performance of the global economy in terms of foregone product and employment.
Brazil’s GDP contraction since mid-2014 has multiple non-fiscal roots - Canuto (2016a; 2014) – but it has morphed into an unsustainable fiscal trajectory (Canuto, 2016b). Dealing with the latter has become a precondition for full economic recovery and the Brazilian government has submitted to Congress a constitutional amendment bill mandating a public spending cap for the next 20 years. This piece considers how the Brazilian landscape evolved toward such a precipice and why additional reforms – particularly on pensions - will have to be implemented to make the spending cap feasible.
Brazil has been suffering from anemic productivity growth. This is a major challenge because in the long run, sustained productivity increases are necessary to underpin inclusive economic growth. Without them, increases in real labor earnings tend to conflict with global competitiveness; collecting taxes in order to fund government expenditures on infrastructure and social policies becomes a heavy burden; returns to private investment becomes harder to achieve; and ultimately citizens will have less access to high-quality goods and services at affordable prices. The focus on urgent fiscal reforms adopted by the new government– public spending cap, social security reform (Canuto, 2016) – must be accompanied by action on the productivity front.
On July 15, Turkey’s tumultuous 2016 took a shocking twist as elements within the country’s military attempted a coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The putsch rapidly snapped at the seams, and a night that began with soldiers blocking bridges yielded a morning with those same soldiers flogged by civilians in the street.
Emerging market economies (EM) as a special class of financial assets have recently been subject to two competing tales. On the one hand, there is evidence of continued financial deepening and further integration within the global financial system, while the offer of higher yields remains hard to find elsewhere. On the other hand, there are frequent bouts of fear of systemic unwinding of positions triggered by investors “exiting” EM that exhibit signs of weak or unclear macroeconomic foundations.
Recent years have witnessed several governments’ discussions about the sustainability and adequacy of the current energy strategies. The latest Conference of Parties (COP) 21, was another occasion to try to move to a binding and universal agreement on climate, with an end goal of maintaining global warming bellow 2°C. The reason is that a large portion of the international community seems to be reaching a consensus that moving from fossil fuels is becoming a pressing necessity. Yet, while many countries have started the process of developing green/renewable energy initiatives, progress is still slow and the full adoption of such energies seems out of reach at least in the short run. In this context, experts have been trying to promote natural gas as another credible and short term fossil fuel alternative. They consider that natural gas (at least at an initial stage) can fit in the energy mix that countries aim for in the context of energy transition. However, while natural gas presents several advantages, there are still obstacles that restrain its mainstream distribution, such as the volatility and asymmetry of prices, the geopolitical nature of the market, the expensive CAPEX requirements, the low number of market players, the logistical difficulties and the regulatory gap/vacuum, among other factors.