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October

Tue 4 Oct 2016 / Europe

What the Conservative party wants

It is what she didn’t say that has been the most interesting aspect of Theresa May’s Conservative party conference performances. This is a woman in love with her party and its activists, which was never the case with David Cameron or Tony Blair. We forget at our peril that, from her early schooldays, May was a Conservative party ‘geek’. This week May was not speaking to the world, or even the nation and its elected representatives, but rather to her beloved Tory party rank and file.

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Tue 18 Oct 2016 / Asia Pacific

Renminbi SDR boost to global liquidity

This month’s much-heralded entry of the renminbi into the special drawing right could generate a little-noticed boost to global liquidity, adding further to China’s arsenal of international financial instruments outside of established western-guided policies. The main significance of the Chinese currency’s introduction into the International Monetary Fund’s composite currency unit on 1 October has been to enshrine the renminbi as a reserve currency alongside the dollar, euro, sterling and yen.

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Thu 27 Oct 2016 / Asia Pacific,North America,Latin America Caribbean,Middle East,Africa,Europe

Questions over emerging market rally

Emerging market investors were upbeat at September’s IMF-World Bank meetings, and their optimism at first sight appears justified. Almost all performance benchmarks for the diverse bond and stock asset classes are showing double-digit annual gains. However, the bullish argument for emerging markets should only be applied to a subset of countries and asset classes. An across-the-board spike has historically signaled that both fundamentals and valuations are overdone.

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Mon 17 Oct 2016 / North America,Europe

Cornwall, Brexit and globalisation

When I was a child, my Cornish grandmother would try to stop my brother and me from horsing around by threatening to send us to the most far-away, isolated place she could think of. ‘If you don’t calm down, I’m going to send you to Mevagissey,’ she threatened, citing an old fishing village far out on the county’s coast. Since then, the world has drawn closer together. Now even Mevagissey is integrated into a tightly woven series of high speed IT connections which are reconfiguring the globe.

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Fri 21 Oct 2016 / North America

US politics on a sexual battlefield

Politics is always a battle between haves and have-nots. When the haves don’t share with the have-nots, the battle becomes personal and nasty – the Roman plebeians against the patricians, the people against the establishment. Nowhere was this more paradoxical than in the vile debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. A rich businessman was fighting for the aggrieved against an establishment politician on a sexual battlefield.

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Thu 13 Oct 2016 / Africa

Cementing banks' role in African development

A sound banking sector is critical for sustained growth in Africa. Despite notable progress since the 1990s in terms of the sector's depth, access and stability, policy and institutional gaps must be addressed to cement its developmental role. We must maintain sociopolitical and macroeconomic stability, along with expansive financial sector reforms. The banking sector is a key part of Africa’s future. Building a sound, stable and efficient banking sector will be crucial to Africa's economic growth.

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Fri 28 Oct 2016 / Europe

Saving pensioners from penury

Life expectancy almost everywhere has increased. More people will live longer after their earning years are over. They depend on pensions. Many will grow old in penury. Increased longevity and negligible, even negative, bond interest rates undermine both state and private pension provision. Both are diminishing as the dependency rate rises. Is there a solution? One answer is to remember King William, who came to the British throne with his wife Queen Mary following the 1688 ‘Glorious Revolution’.

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Fri 7 Oct 2016 / North America,Europe

TTIP, protests and the lessons of history

On 17 September, a reported 80,000 people gathered in Berlin to protest against the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US, and the Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement between Canada and the EU. There were similar demonstrations in other German cities. On the same day bombs exploded in New York and New Jersey, in rubbish bins, with injuries but no fatalities. Both developments show how protests, both peaceful and lethal, have become commonplace.

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Mon 10 Oct 2016 / Europe

Compromises for higher inflation

The European Central Bank is moving closer to raising issuer and issue limits for sovereign and agency bonds acquired under its €80bn-a-month quantitative easing programme, in bid to maintain the momentum of its efforts to raise euro area inflation well into next year. No decision has been taken. But, in a probable hard-fought compromise on the ECB’s governing council, a continuation of the ECB’s asset purchase beyond the present March 2017 cut-off date seems virtually certain.

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Thu 20 Oct 2016 / Europe

Hard realities for a hard Brexit

A hint by a UK government lawyer this week that a final deal with Brussels on the UK's departure from the European Union would require parliamentary approval was enough to rally the pound to $1.23. But the hard reality is that, once invoked by March 2017, Article 50 will be irreversible. A vote in 2019 would come too late to refuse to ratify it. This leaves Prime Minister Theresa May in full control of choosing the coordinates on the free movement-free trade nexus that will define the UK’s path towards Brexit.

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