trade imbalances

Ralph Atkins

In unusually blunt language, the ECB has made clear its fear that governments are not doing enough to put the global economy back on a sustainable growth path – despite international policy initiatives in the past year.

“At the current juncture, global imbalances continue to pose a key risk to global macroeconomic and financial stability . . . The stakes are high to prevent a disorderly adjustment in the future that would be costly to all economies,” it concludes in a special article in its monthly bulletin published on Thursday. Read more on ft.com.

Alan Beattie

Wow. I take my hat off to the combined drafting skills of the US Treasury and the Chinese for this inspired bit of calculated dullness, of almost North Korean calibre. That’s an object lesson in damping down speculation about deals over an end to the renminbi peg, for one news cycle at least. In a cricketing culture, that would be called playing with a dead bat. For the US and China, it’s smothering the ember of news with the wettest of wet blankets.

Americans are again clamouring for a rise in the renminbi. First, the moral argument: keeping the currency pegged at about 6.83 to the dollar lends Chinese exporters an unfair advantage, critics argue, increasing the Chinese trade surplus. Second, the pragmatic argument: China will have to let the yuan appreciate to combat inflation.

Today, the counter-arguments. Read more

Simone Baribeau

Who’s afraid of global growth?

Jürgen Stark, member of the executive board of the ECB, for one. At least, if it’s the wrong kind of growth.

One striking feature of the high global growth rates was the reliance on large and unsustainable global imbalances. In principle, current account imbalances can be desirable, if they channel funds across the world to their most productive use. But in the years prior to the crisis imbalances were a symptom of economic distortions: in some countries asset price bubbles developed and household debt levels rose beyond sustainable levels. Eventually, the rise in the household debt burden resulted in an acceleration of defaults on mortgage and consumer loans, which undermined the stability of the financial system.

In other countries for example, in emerging Asia which held the value of their currencies at artificially low levels to support their export-oriented growth strategies, the vast accumulation of foreign exchange reserves had potentially high opportunity costs. These managed exchange rate regimes may also have contributed to hampering necessary domestic adjustments and distorting the allocation of resources towards export-oriented industries.

His solution (in part): Read more

Chris Giles

I am at a so-so lunch discussing the prospects for long-term economic growth and have just heard the best comment on global imbalances and the worst suggestion for international organisations. Both came from Angel Gurria, secretary general of the OECD.

The words of truth: “I don’t think anything of substance has been done during the crisis to correct global imbalances. It was the crisis itself that reduced imbalances”. Depressing but true. Read more

Chris Giles

Pity the poor finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 leading countries. They have to hike up to St Andrews in Scotland on Friday, with ghastly weather predicted, to hold a pretty pointless meeting writes Chris Giles of the Financial Times Read more

Money Supply, a Financial Times blog, rounds up the top economic news for Tuesday, October 20 Read more

Krishna Guha

Bernanke sounds worried about a resurgence of global imbalances in the quarters ahead, writes Krishna Guha of the Financial Times Read more

Money Supply, a Financial Times blog, rounds up the news of Friday, October 16 Read more

Money Supply, a Financial Times blog, wraps up the news of the day for Thursday, October 15 Read more