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  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The China Securities Regulatory Commission issued rules on June 3 outlining the participation of foreign firms in fund management and securities business. Issued earlier than expected, the rules re-state concessions made in the trade and investment agreement China signed with the United States in November 1999. Modernisation and liberalisation of the sector is a prerequisite to channelling more of China's 1 trillion dollars of private savings to equity investment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Fiat announced a sharp fall in May car sales in Italy on June 5 and its debt is under review for a possible ratings downgrade. The world's sixth-largest car maker is one of many manufacturers facing difficult profitability conditions. Global sales volumes in the industry have remained high, but profits have not followed suit. Mergers, the most rational panacea, are confounded by bitter experience.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week's piece is on the international implications of a weaker US dollar. Seventeen weeks of dollar weakness raise the questions of whether the dollar is on a sustained path of decline, and what the implications are internationally. The 6% nominal effective decline in the dollar since January 31 might be sustained due to US financial and macroeconomic factors. Overall, the effect would be positive for Europe and the United States, and might encourage domestic demand growth in export-oriented Asian economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: First-quarter GDP grew by 5.8%, the US government announced on Friday, 26 April 2002. The high growth figure will provide sustenance for optimists and help support high stock market valuations. However, the contrast with high-profile corporate earnings disappointments, together with a closer look at sources of demand, suggests a far weaker performance in the rest of 2002 and in 2003.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: A textbook approach to economic growth suggests the world is in for a difficult period. However, there are reasons to believe that the global economy will defy convention. The global economy will continue to support US external imbalances for the medium term, barring marked deterioration in certain areas of US weakness. However, European integration and Asian development could provide alternative sources of global demand, relieving the current imbalance of global dependence on the US economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The United States on March 5 announced tariffs on the vast majority of US steel imports. Despite rumours that he would impose moderate duties, US President Bush levied 30% tariffs on the types of steel accounting for about three-quarters of steel imports. Given that these duties follow hundreds of anti-dumping duties imposed on steel products over the past three years, the decision means that virtually no foreign steel will be sold in the United States. It will also have a host of unforeseen international consequences.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The largest US-based pension fund last week listed 13 emerging markets that its fund managers will be allowed to invest in. Investment firms appointed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) will actively manage up to one billion dollars in equity investments in 13 countries and unwind CalPERS' equity positions in markets outside them. As a large institutional investor, CalPERS' decisions have an important signalling role for a variety of institutional funds.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: US trade officials said last week that EU estimates of damages arising from US export subsidies were exaggerated. EU trade officials have asked the WTO to approve 4 billion dollars worth of trade sanctions against the United States, after the latter lost an appeal before the WTO on the tax treatment of foreign-source income — judged to be illegal export subsidies. Washington must amend its tax laws or face the prospect of retaliatory trade restrictions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The government announced yesterday that productivity increased at a 3.5% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2001. The figure, previously available in its component form, has been interpreted as evidence of underlying improvement in productivity in the post-1995 period. Sustainability of productivity growth determines the reliability of fiscal forecasts, growth, inflation and unemployment.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The president this week signed into law a 40 billion dollar emergency appropriations package in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The package forms part of considerable planned spending increases, which in combination with expected tax cuts, will result in the country's fiscal position deteriorating significantly. This will have important implications for Federal Reserve policy, the bond market, and long-term global interest rates.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Despite the continuing fragility of the economy, prompt policy action and the resilience of the US consumer are likely to prevent a full-blown recession, thereby shaping the probable path of the US economic downturn. Therefore, the risk of negative balance sheets and potential inflationary problems could arise from too rapid a recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The US economy is experiencing its longest-ever recorded period of sustained growth. The current expansion, which began in March 1991, is the longest of the 32 which have been registered by the Bureau of Economic Analysis since 1854 and is now in its tenth year and 110th month. Moreover, since 1995, real GDP has grown at an average annual rate of more than 4.25% -- a rate not experienced since the 1960s. The expansion is consistent with the changing pattern of business cycles, insofar as the average length of economic expansions has nearly doubled from about 2.5 years during 1900-53 to about 5 years in the second half of the century (while the average length of contractions has fallen to less than twelve months). However, even allowing for this transformation, the current expansion seems to be exceptional, both for its duration and its strength. The coincidence of a long and inflation-free expansion with the boom in information and communication technologies (ICT) has sparked a debate about their interdependence.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Inflation has begun to accelerate throughout the OECD-area, mainly as a result of higher oil prices. The increase comes from a low base and official forecasts suggest that the price outlook is generally benign. However, a further tightening of monetary policy in order to contain inflation at these low levels is now probably the most important threat to asset market valuations and the continued expansion of the global economy. Product market liberalisation, globalisation and the advent of the internet have brought real and lasting changes in pricing behaviour that will not disappear with a global upturn. These trends have been reinforced by improvements in the operation, credibility and effectiveness of national monetary policies. Nevertheless, historical experience suggests that inflationary pressures could accelerate rapidly as the major economies enter their first period of coincident growth since 1988-90. The result is likely to be tighter monetary policy rather than permanently higher inflation and long-term interest rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The current bubble in 'technology stocks' has led to official concern about over-enthusiasm by investors and the banking consequences of a sudden price collapse. The first signs of the long awaited shift emerged last week, as investors shifted from fashionable technology, media and telecoms (TMT) stock back into traditional 'old economy' blue chips. Capital flooding in from Europe and Japan to the United States has been attracted to booming markets led mostly by these stocks. The rest of the market (misleadingly known as the 'old economy') has risen comparatively little.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The quarter-point increase in the fed funds rate announced at the November 16 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting was accompanied by the adoption of a neutral directive for the inter-meeting period, in place of the bias towards tightening in force since early October. The directive indicates that the Fed intends the rise to be the last of this year. However, the OECD, in its recent Economic Outlook, predicted that another one percentage point increase in the fed funds rate will be needed to restore demand and supply to equilibrium. While the economy will probably not slow sufficiently of its own accord, the incentives to defer action into 2000 mean that rates are likely to remain as they are during 1999, though probably associated with an announced bias towards tightening.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, economic data has produced conflicting signals about the strength of domestic demand within the US economy. A majority within the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) believes that growth will decelerate and that only a small tightening of monetary policy will be necessary in the short term. However, the Federal Reserve has consistently underestimated domestic demand, and there are signs that the economy is still buoyant. Moreover, with improving economic prospects in Europe and Asia, the external forces encouraging lower US interest rates are likely to be reversed. The combination of these factors could put pressure on the Fed to tighten further.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia