On the eve of the September 5/6 G20 meeting of Finance Ministers in London, the OECD published an interim forecast of the macroeconomic and financial performance of the G7 economies. According to the OECD, “Recovery from the global recession is likely to arrive earlier than had been expected a few months ago but the pace of activity will remain weak well into next year.” So is it time to start reversing the various fiscal and monetary stimuli adopted around the world? Or should governments and central banks continue to stimulate aggregate demand in order to maintain the fragile recovery? The following news releases, speeches and articles look at answers given to these questions by various countries and international institutions.
Recovery arriving quicker than expected but activity will remain weak, says OECD OECD News release (3/9/09)
What is the economic outlook for OECD countries? An interim assessment OECD Economic Outlook, Interim Assessment (3/9/09)
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn sees Renewed Stability but remains cautious about Global Economic Recovery, notes need for Continued Policy Actions IMF press release (4/9/09)
Beyond the Crisis: Sustainable Growth and a Stable International Monetary System Speech by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (4/9/09)
Brown urges further G20 spending (video) Gordon Brown on BBC News (5/9/09)
America’s Timothy Geithner says it’s ‘too early’ to withdraw economic stimulus Telegraph (3/9/09)
Finance chiefs warn against early end to state support for eurozone economies Guardian (3/9/09)
Keep spending – Darling warns G20 against complacency Independent (3/9/09)
Brown’s agenda deserves a hearing Financial Times (1/9/09)
Tories join Germany and France in call for exit strategy from G20 bailout Times Online (3/9/09)
UK recession: Why are we lagging our neighbours? Telegraph (3/9/09)
Reflections after the conference:
After the shock, challenges remain BBC News (7/9/09)
The G20 has saved us, but it’s failing to rein in those who caused the crisis Observer (6/9/09)
The world is as one on not endangering recovery Times Online (t/9/09)
- Why is the pace of recovery in the G7 countries likely to be modest for some time?
- Why have unemployment rates risen much more rapidly in some countries than in others (see page 19 of the OECD report)?
- Referring to the OECD report, how would you summarise changes in the global financial situation over the past few months?
- Assess the arguments put forward by France and Germany for reining in their expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.
- Why is the UK economy, according to the OECD, likely to be the last of the G7 countries to pull out of recession?
On 30 August, Japan’s opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), won a landslide victory in the Japanese election. Although there are signs that the Japanese economy is beginning to pull out of recession (see Green shoots as autumn approaches), deep economic problems remain. Unemployment is at record highs; it has the highest national debt as a proportion of GDP of any of the G8 countries (see OECD Economic Outlook Statistical Annex Tables; consumer spending remains subdued; deflation seems entrenched; exports have slumped; bureaucracy is deeply embedded in government; and it has a rapidly ageing population.
So what is expected of the new government and what can it do? The following articles address these questions.
Japan’s Hatoyama sweeps to power (video) BBC News (31/8/09)
New Japanese government seeks a strategy for growth The Nation (Thailand) (1/9/09)
Japan’s new leader faces tough task Radio Australia (1/9/09)
Hatoyama faces daunting economic task BBC News (31/8/09)
DPJ needs to reinvigorate domestic economy of Japan China View (1/9/09)
Analysts worry DPJ’s policies may be a bane to Japan’s economy Channel NewsAsia (31/8/09)
Hamish McRae: Post election, what do the Japanese really want to do with their country? Independent (1/9/09)
Japan’s Government: Five Ways to Fix the Economy Time (1/9/09)
The vote that changed Japan The Economist (3/9/09)
- Paint a brief picture of the current state of the Japanese economy.
- What policies are advocated by the new government and what difficulties lie in the way of achieving the policy goals?
- What supply-side policies would you recommend for Japan and why?
The 2009 quarter 2 statistics on the French, German and Japanese economies show that economic growth has returned. Other countries, meanwhile, such as the UK, USA, Italy and Spain, are still in recession (see the Guardian’s Recession watch: which nations’ GDP is still going down?). Their rate of decline, however, is slowing.
Does this mean that the global economy is now recovering? And why do countries, such as France and Germany, seem to be more successful in pulling out of recession? Is it to do with the structure of their economies, or the macroeconomic policies theory have pursued, or merely that the time path of countries’ move into and out of recession is not totally synchronised? The following articles look at the evidence and the explanations.
France and Germany exit recession BBC News (13/8/09)
France and Germany exit recession (video), (video 2) BBC News (13/8/09)
Why are France and Germany out of recession? BBC News (13/8/09)
Hong Kong emerges from recession BBC News (14/8/09)
China economy shows improvement BBC News (11/8/09)
Japan’s economy leaves recession BBC News (17/8/09)
Japan returns to growth (video) Reuters (17/8/09)
Does Japan offer hope around the world? BBC News (17/8/09)
France and Germany pull out of recession (video) France 24 (13/8/09)
Europe buoyed by returning growth (video) Channel 4 News (10/8/09)
France and Germany beat Britain out of recession The Herald (14/8/09)
Will Germany Beat the U.S. to Recovery? BusinessWeek (14/8/09)
France and Germany Climb Out of Recession Time (13/8/09)
France and Germany lead the West out of recession Telegraph (13/8/09)
Recession over for France and Germany Independent (13/8/09)
Sean O’Grady: Brown must resent France and Germany’s growth Independent (14/8/09)
Hamish McRae: Recession talk is over, now the recovery speculation begins… Independent (14/8/09)
Europe’s economies: Sailing away The Economist (13/8/09)
Listen to the second part (from 11 min 40 sec) of the following podcast , which dicusses whether the recovery in France and Japan is likely to be sustained:
The Business Guardian podcast> (19/8/09)
Data for the OECD countries can be found in GDP in the OECD area stabilised in the second quarter of 2009 OECD Press Release (19/8/09)
- Why was the German economy the hardest hit of the major economies of the developed world?
- Why are the French and German economies recovering while the UK and US economies are still in recession?
- What will determine whether the recovery in France and Germany will be sustained?
- What will be the economic implications of a divergence of the growth rates of the economies of the eurozone?
The global economy has been in a recession since December 2007, but have we now passed the worst of it? Whilst companies are still going bankrupt, unemployment is still rising, the housing market is still looking pretty gloomy and government debt surely can’t go up anymore, there are indications that we’ve reached the bottom of the recession. There are murmurs that the economy may start to recover towards of the end of the year.
But, of course, economics wouldn’t be economics if there wasn’t considerable disagreement. Many still believe that the worst is yet to come. According to the OECD, the recession is ‘near the bottom’. Yet, output in the UK is still set to decline by 4.3% in 2009, and by 2010 the budget deficit is predicted to have grown to 14%. Unemployment is at its highest since November 1996, but US consumer confidence is said to be rising and the pound is climbing. Read these articles and make up your mind about the state of the UK and global economy!!
Business and Consumer Surveys (After following link, click on chart) European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs (29/6/09)
Pound climbs against euro as King sees signs recession easing Bloomberg, Lukanyo Mnyanda, Gavin Finch (20/6/09)
Bank says banking crisis easing BBC News (25/6/09)
First signs of optimism returning to some parts of financial services CBI PRess Release (29/6/09)
Darling and King agreed on tentative recovery Guardian, Ashley Seager (17/6/09)
Sharp contration for UK economy BBC News (30/6/09)
Housing market knocked by price falls Moneywise (22/6/09)
OECD says recession ‘near bottom’ BBC News, Steve Schifferes (24/6/09)
US Federal Reserve says recession is ‘easing’ Telegraph, James Quinn (24/6/09)
Public borrowing at record levels BBC News (18/6/09)
Leading index suggests recession easing UPI.com (18/6/09)
US consumer confidence up in June BBC News (26/6/09)
Blow for housing market as prices fall The Independent, David Prosser (22/6/09)
Most UK businesses freeze pay as recession bites, CBI says Telegraph, Peter Taylor (23/6/09)
- What are the typical characteristics of a recession? Do the current statistics of the four main macroeconomic objectives fit in with what economic theory tells us?
- Which policies would governments normally implement to get a economy into the expansionary/recovery phase of the business cycle and how do they work?
- Why is consumer confidence so key to economic recovery?
- What type of banking regulation is needed to prevent a similar crisis happening again?
- Movements in the housing market are often seen as indicators of the state of the economy. Why is this?
Even in the current gloomy economic climate, there is something else that has grabbed media attention – the outbreak of swine flu. This is of particular concern, given the WHO’s announcement that we are in an H1N1 flu pandemic. The symptoms and health risks have been widely broadcast, but it is not just this that governments are concerned about. The economies of some countries, in particular Mexico, have been suffering. ‘Swine flu has dealt a major blow to Mexico’s already battered economy’. Many countries have issued advice to businesses on dealing with a potential pandemic and some countries are facing trade restrictions. It’s important to consider the economic consequences of this outbreak in a time of global recession. How will some of the worst hit industries cope and what are the costs that firms could face if the situation gets worse? The following articles explore the issues.
Economic impact of swine flu BBC News: World News America (4/5/09)
Advice to businesses on swine flu BBC News (4/5/09)
Swine flu nations make trade pleaBBC News (3/5/09)
WTO protectionism report to feature swine flue bans The Economist (12/6/09)
Mexico economy squeezed by swine flu BBC News (30/4/09)
Swine flu fears hit travel shares BBC News (27/4/09)
Swine flu: Four ETFs to watch Seeking Alpha (12/6/09)
Employers have to pay for swine flu quarantines Scoop Business: Independent News (12/6/09)
- Which industries are the most affected by the outbreak of swine flu?
- What are some of the costs that businesses will face following the WHO’s announcement that we are in a flu pandemic?
- Some of the articles talk about possible trade restrictions. What are the arguments (a) for (b) against protectionist measures in these circumstances?
- How will this flu pandemic add to the global crisis we are currently facing? What will happen to share prices, to tourism, to people’s expectations?
- Do you think that firms have a social responsibility to deal with this pandemic?
- Will there be additional health costs and who should bear them? What do you think will be the impact on the NHS, given its method of provision and finance?
- Do you think that this pandemic will affect the global economy’s ability to recover from this recession?