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  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Former IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer expressed support for regional currency arrangements in a speech at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on May 21. East Asian nations continue to discuss swap arrangements and other forms of cooperation in the hope of defending local currencies. Fischer endorsed the swap plans while throwing critical light on currency 'management' schemes. Such schemes could result in perverse consequences for regional economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, Hong Kong
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week's piece examines the impact of the economic crisis on the Argentine banking sector. The collapse of the peso-dollar peg dealt a serious blow to the already weakened Argentine banking system, which now faces a significant restructuring process.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Argentina, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This week's piece examines the World Social Forum that opens today in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The forum is the 'anti-globalisation' counterpart to this week's World Economic Forum being held in New York. The outcome of this year's meeting will set the theme for the anti-globalisation movement and may include aggressive lobbying for a cross-border currency tax.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar on November 15 threatened widespread destruction in the United States. Mullah Omar's ambiguous threat of large-scale destruction and Osama bin Laden's explicit claim to possess nuclear weapons raise questions about the likelihood of nuclear terrorism and highlight the importance of protecting sources of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Technical barriers need not be considered sufficient to prevent the use of nuclear devices by terrorist groups. Nuclear weapon standards are much lower for terrorist groups than for states, potentially making their production less challenging. Acquisition of sufficient qualities and quantities of fissile material is the most formidable obstacle to nuclear terrorist capabilities. Therefore, stringent guarding of access to such material is the best defence against nuclear terrorism.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Taliban
  • 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: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: This piece examines the prospects for the WTO Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha beginning November 9. The central issue for the Qatar meeting is whether WTO members can agree to launch new negotiations, and in so doing restore confidence in the WTO itself. In the background are the September 11 terrorist attacks and the worsening global economic outlook, all of which simultaneously raise the stakes at the meeting and improve prospects for success. The outlook for the Qatar summit has improved, and agreement by WTO members in favour of wide-ranging trade negotiations is now on balance the most likely outcome. However, failure remains a real possibility, unless members can resolve remaining differences on agriculture, implementation of WTO agreements, environmental goals, US anti-dumping practices and pharmaceutical patents.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Qatar
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: OPEC President Chakib Kelil yesterday expressed confidence that the cartel can bring prices back to 25 dollars per barrel through production cuts implemented from January 1. Kelil's remarks follow a recent meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers to secure non-OPEC support for a production cut at OPEC's November 14 meeting. The moves take place against a backdrop of falling oil prices and an outlook for even lower prices as global economic growth deteriorates and oil producers fail to implement earlier output cut decisions. Significant uncertainties cloud the oil market and make micro-management extremely difficult. OPEC's apparent failure to secure non-OPEC cooperation for production cuts undermines market credibility for OPEC cuts at its November meeting. Unless the cartel can develop a plausible response, there is a real possibility that it will face an oil price collapse reminiscent of 1997-99.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy, International Organization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The real is stabilising against the dollar following the announcement of the latest draft agreement between Brazil and the IMF on August 3. The provision of additional resources by the Fund is designed to support the value of the real and prevent the Brazilian economy from sliding into recession.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In response to regional instability and two years of recession, Uruguay's government has taken measures to stimulate economic growth.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: At the Gothenburg European Council on June 15-16, EU leaders set themselves the objective of starting eastward enlargement by 2004. Small but significant changes in the wording of commitments on enlargement were agreed after intensive diplomacy by the Swedish EU presidency. The EU now has a very tight timetable for concluding negotiations with the front-runner candidates for membership. Although the candidates have made good progress, many political obstacles must be surmounted during the next 18 months, with the Irish referendum result creating further complications. However, the most important negotiations will not be those with the candidates, but those between the member states.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The prime ministers of nine East European states seeking membership of NATO will meet in Bratislava this week, to maintain pressure for a 'big bang' enlargement of the Alliance. Enlargement will be conditioned to a greater extent than before by concerns over the cohesion of Alliance decision-making and, particularly, by the military contribution new members can make. Despite Alliance aid, applicant states and new members have struggled to develop balanced and sustainable defence plans, while the NATO-19 have yet to resolve the problems posed by Russia's attitude to enlargement.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: There has been a large differential in foreign direct investment receipts between the front-runners in the Central European applicant countries and laggards. The accession process itself has exacerbated this bifurcation, raising questions over EU policy towards the applicants and the implications for the region's long-term stability. Accession prospects appear to induce virtuous cycles for the front-runners while potentially trapping the laggards. Moreover, the latter are faced with difficult choices between long-term EU conditionality and more immediate transition imperatives, which are not always compatible
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • 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: 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