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News And Commentary

US may inspire 'new arms race'

Economists worry that Donald Trump is intent on starting a trade war. More attention should be given to the arms race that he may accelerate, writes Brian Reading. Countries have started to spend more on defence. The greatest need is for software, not hardware, to fight terrorism and improve cybersecurity.

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Subbarao says India needs 8-10% growth

India needs growth of an annual 8-10% in coming years to overcome unemployment in a growing population and avoid a 'low income trap', Duvvuri Subbarao, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said at an OMFIF-Japan Center of Economic Research city lecture in Tokyo.

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Renewed sub-Saharan optimism

Sub-Saharan Africa has begun 2017 with renewed optimism, writes Seedwell Hove. The larger economies which dragged down regional growth in 2016 are recovering, but this needs to be sustained. Countries must accelerate economic diversification to build resilience against external shocks.

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Transferring Asia experience to Africa

African countries can learn from Asian experience by maintaining prudent macroeconomic policies and flexible exchange to boost sustainable growth. That was one of the main conclusions from an Asian Development Bank-OMFIF conference in Tokyo on policy for emerging markets.

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Osborne the editor ‘will contest Brexit’

George Osborne, former UK chancellor, apparently plans to use his editorship of the Evening Standard as a platform for opposing Theresa May’s lame acceptance of the UK-EU referendum result, writes William Keegan. Osborne’s editorship may help to persuade those in London who voted ‘Out’ to think again.

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May off guard over Scottish referendum

Theresa May has been caught off guard by the sudden upsurge in support for a new referendum on Scottish independence, writes David Marsh. Her decision that Britain will quit the single market as well as the EU is seen by some SNP members as a breach of her promise to take account of Scotland’s interests.

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Dijsselbloem’s Eurogroup role at risk

Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s role as chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers is in jeopardy after his Labour party lost 29 of its 38 seats in the Dutch election, writes Roel Janssen. He will eventually lose his post as Dutch finance minister. Luis de Guindos of Spain may seek the Eurogroup leadership.

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Witteveen appointed honorary chair

Johannes Witteveen, managing director of the IMF from 1973-78, has been appointed honorary chairman of the OMFIF Advisory Board. Pooma Kimis, OMFIF director, said: 'Johannes brings a wealth of expertise on the creation of the international monetary system. I am very pleased that he has accepted this role.'

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OMFIF marks International Women's Day with a launch event for the GPI Gender Balance Index, which tracks the balance between men and women in senior positions of central banks around the world, weighted by level of seniority.

Gender imbalance in central banks

OMFIF Chart

Gender imbalance in central banks

The world of central banking is highly unbalanced when it comes to gender, and the disequilibrium seems to be getting worse. OMFIF Gender Balance Index tracks the balance between men and women in senior positions of central banks around the world. Gender balance is especially weak for the post of central bank governors – only 6.5% of central banks are headed by women.

Investment Clock: Loose monetary policy fuels growth

OMFIF Chart

Investment Clock: Loose monetary policy fuels growth

The Investment Clock has been in the 'overheat' phase of the business cycle since July 2016. Things have heated up recently in what could potentially be the strongest surge in nominal growth since the financial crisis. Hopes of loose US fiscal policy and deregulation under Trump could add fuel to the fire.

Investment clock: Trump vote could strengthen overheat phase

OMFIF Chart

Investment clock: Trump vote could strengthen overheat phase

The markets had another surprise in November with the election of Donald Trump. His victory has been taken badly by the bond market as it marks a transition from monetary ease towards fiscal ease. This is a positive backdrop for stocks.

Investment clock: Brexit boosts multi-asset returns

OMFIF Chart

Investment clock: Brexit boosts multi-asset returns

Multi-asset performance has been very strong since the UK referendum, rewarding sterling-based investors with exceptional returns for the year to date. Bonds surged globally, while stocks benefited from an increase in the value of overseas earnings in sterling terms.

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GCC countries 'should not question' rate peg

Advisory Board

GCC countries 'should not question' rate peg

In answer to the question, 'With the Fed on a tightening path and with oil under pressure, is it time for Gulf Co-operation Council economies to question the appropriateness of their dollar peg?' almost two-thirds of respondents from the OMFIF Advisory Board believe that GCC states should maintain their pegs to the world's main reserve currency.