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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: 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: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The IMF's major shareholders have shown little willingness to provide new funds to Argentina. In deferring further assistance, the United States and other G7 shareholders have set limits on the international financial community's role in resolving a major emerging market financial crisis. The slowing global economy could provide an early test of these limits as it exposes weaknesses in other emerging markets — particularly those with larger geopolitical profiles than Argentina. Argentina's predicament highlights the Fund's paradox in wanting, on the one hand, to facilitate orderly resolution of crises (and prevent calamitous social impacts) and, on the other hand, to encourage markets to appropriately price risk by proving that non-optimal outcomes are possible. The risk of such outcomes is the basis upon which investors demand higher premiums from emerging market borrowers.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Argentina
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This piece focuses on the performance of and prospects for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programmes. The number of employees and employers who have benefited from programmes designed to counter the effects of certain trade agreements has expanded dramatically during the past few years. Such trade adjustment assistance is likely to be included in future legislation implementing new WTO and other trade agreements, largely to garner support for further trade liberalisation.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and China's Prime Minister Zhu Rongji this month held talks in Beijing to discuss China's accession to the WTO. Beyond opening up commercial opportunities to US firms, the award of permanent normal trade relations status to China, and its prospective accession to the WTO, should in theory add predictability to the bilateral trade relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The White House has loosened export restrictions in a number of high-technology sectors, setting a trend which is likely to be followed by the next administration. Tight export controls on high-tech products have become an expensive luxury that the United States can no longer afford. The liberalisation of remaining controls is therefore set to continue, whatever the partisan composition of the next Congress and the next administration.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: WTO members are unlikely to reach agreement on radical changes, at least in the short term. At most they may conclude an accord which reaffirms both the principle of consensus and the need for Green Room meetings, and which gives the director-general a role (possibly informal) in ensuring that efficiency is balanced by other considerations. However, an agreement on institutional changes will have little impact on prospects for launching a new trade round. Such prospects will continue to depend on whether members can develop an agenda that all believe will serve their national interests.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • 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