The economics of Asian geo-political stability

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands after giving opening remarks before the Australia–China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue on 7 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Hubbard, ANU

What can economics tell you about the geo-political challenges in Asia? Many strategic thinkers focus on defence capabilities, ideology, politics, environmental threats or history to envisage strategic futures. Economics provides a lens to focus on the fundamental drivers of regional power relations. National income limits a country’s capacity to mobilise resources for power projection, and hence influence the regional security order. Read more…

BRICS, banking on development

Night view of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Shanghai, China, 30 July 2014. Shanghai will host the headquarters of the BRICS New Development Bank that will challenge for the first time the US postwar dominance of multilateral lending institutions. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Keshav Kelkar, UBC

The creation of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging economies is a landmark achievement. Developing nations have lost faith in the current system with its strict conditions on development finance and its inability to insulate countries from financial shocks. International observers have however expressed mixed views about the creation of the bank and what it represents for the nascent multilateral BRICS bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Read more…

Does a global growth target make sense for the G20?

G20 trade ministers from industrialised and emerging economies gather for a one-day meeting in Sydney, Australia, 19 July 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: David Vines, University of Oxford

The global recovery is strengthening but remains weak. A global growth target, pursued by the G20, could significantly strengthen this recovery process. But such a macroeconomic target needs to be supported by microeconomic reforms.

In advanced economies, demand is now growing more rapidly than in the previous three years, but output remains below potential. And the growth of potential output itself is low, due to reduced investment, low profitability and low demand. Read more…

China’s slower growth trajectory

A worker cleans the promenade in Lujiazui Financial District, Shanghai on 24 July 2014. Chinese growth accelerated in the second quarter, but long-term growth cannot occur via fiscal stimulus. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

 China’s growth outlook is the focus of analysts and economic policymakers all around the world. Nobody can afford now to ignore the scale of the economy and its impact on the global growth outlook. China already accounts for more than 12 per cent of world output in nominal terms and that share continues to grow steadily. Read more…

Can the G20 deliver new direction?

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey looks back to US Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen center, while delegates pose for an official photo at the Opera House during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sydney in February 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The G20 summit in Brisbane in November this year will be held, almost to the day, on the sixth anniversary of the first summit in Washington in 2008. The leaders’ level meeting was born in a time of crisis and panic, with the world economy facing the danger of a total collapse of the financial sector in the United States and its inevitable spread to the rest of the world. While there are still deep problems in the industrial economies of Europe — with massive unemployment levels, especially among the young, and most economies barely on the mend — the United States is steadily moving out of recession and global economic confidence is on the mend. Read more…

Time for strategic leadership in the G20

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping before their bilateral meeting in St Petersburg in 2013: leaders can add value to the G20 proceedings by asking the big questions. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Kemal Derviş, Brookings Institution, and Peter Drysdale, ANU

The leaders-level G20 was born at a time of crisis and panic. In early October 2008, when the United States issued the invitation to the G20 heads of state or government to assemble in Washington DC on 15 November, the world economy was facing the danger of a total collapse of the financial sector in the United States. Panic is contagious. A financial sector collapse in the largest economy and the financial centre of the world would have brought down with it the entire global economy. Read more…

A new crisis for Asia’s emerging economies?

Chinese migrant worker labours at the construction site of a real estate project in Shandong province, China on 1 May 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hiro Ito, Portland State University

Countries around the globe have been nervously paying attention to the world’s advanced economies. Many have still not been able to embark on a sustainable path of recovery since the global financial crisis.

The United States, the euro zone, the United Kingdom and Japan essentially exhausted conventional monetary policy measures by guiding their policy interest rates to almost zero. Read more…

Dog days for Australia after the boom

Ross Garnaut speaks at launch of his new book - Dog Days, Australia after the Boom - with Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the National Press Club in Canberra, 15 November, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne

Australia is enjoying its 22nd year of economic growth without recession — an experience that is unprecedented in any other developed country. For the first decade of expansion, growth was based on extraordinary increases in productivity, attributable to productivity-raising reforms from 1983. In the early years of this century, reform and productivity growth slowed sharply and then stopped. Read more…

Five years after the global crisis, the world is no safer

A man looks at an electronic stock board outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pradumna B. Rana, RSIS

The Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 led to calls for the reform of the international financial architecture. A large number of policies were proposed for crisis prevention and crisis resolution, but with the faster-than-expected recovery of the Asian countries, complacency set in and reforms were abandoned. Read more…

What happens when the US no longer has moral authority?

President Barack Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September 2013. Revelations about US spying abroad present the most damming evidence of the American moral collapse (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Van Ness, ANU

President Obama’s recent failure to attend the APEC meeting in Bali and the East Asia Summit in Brunei was only symbolic of the US decline.

The reality is more profound. Over the past 30 years, the United States as the predominant power has provided a public good in East Asia, enjoyed by allies and adversaries alike — including China — by maintaining political stability in the region. Read more…

A new G20 strategy for development cooperation

Heads of the G20 leading economies posing for a family photo at the convention center in Los Cabos, Mexico on 18 June 2012. (Photo. AAP)

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

In late 2008 the policy failures of Western economies created a global problem which they could not fix by themselves.

The G7 was forced to bring other emerging economies to the table to help deal with the global financial crisis. The new grouping — the G20 — was able to agree quickly on policies that limited the potential damage of the crisis. Read more…

The ‘new normal’ of Chinese growth

The Shanghai Tower is under construction in the Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, 11 October 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Yiping Huang, Peking University and ANU

Growth of Chinese GDP decelerated to 7.8 per cent in the first half of 2012 from 9.6 per cent a year ago.

But the government has remained relatively calm, taking only measured steps to stabilise growth. Read more…

The Australian dollar: a safe haven asset?

Close-up of Australian one dollar coins photographed in Melbourne, Wednesday, 13 June, 2012. (PHOTO: AAP)

Author: Huw McKay, Westpac Bank

In the post-float era the Australian dollar has built a reputation as a volatile currency by developed country standards. It was prone to sharp bouts of depreciation when investor sentiment toward global growth was weak and commodity prices were low. But since the end of the Great Crash of 2008 the Australian dollar has become noticeably more resilient during phases of risk aversion and more responsive during risk seeking phases.

Read more…