Global Economy

admin May 31, 2019

GRIMSTAD, NORWAY, is an unlikely setting for financial-market shenanigans. But the fishing town is home to Einar Aas, a trader who took huge bets on Scandinavian energy markets. His 15 minutes of infamy came in September 2018, when his bets went spectacularly wrong. Unable to cover his losses, he blew a €114m ($133m) hole in […]

admin May 30, 2019

VICTORIA OPAI, a teacher in a remote part of West Kalimantan, Indonesia’s slice of Borneo, is charmed by the new road connecting her school to Putussibau, the nearest town. It is smooth, reasonably straight and cuts through swathes of jungle. It used to take three hours to get into town, she says. Now it takes […]

admin May 24, 2019

OUTSIDE THE headquarters of the German Taxpayers’ Federation in Berlin, a display tracks the public debt in real time. Now displaying a total of just under €2trn ($2.2trn), it has been ticking down since early 2018. Germany’s public-debt ratio, expected to be 58% of GDP in 2019, is as much the envy of other rich […]

admin May 23, 2019

IN 14TH-CENTURY Germany a heretical cult grew up around the figure of Frederick II, a dead emperor. Its adherents believed that the apocalypse was close at hand. “In all countries a hard time sets in,” is how a prophecy from the period begins. “Rapine and arson go hand in hand,” it continues. “Everyone is at […]

admin May 23, 2019

MOST CURRENCIES have snappy names, like yen, won, kip or lek. Some have unfortunate ones: dong or colón. Few have names as cumbersome as Zimbabwe’s Real-Time Gross-Settlement Dollars, also known as RTGS-dollars or “zollars”. Hard to say, the new currency is also hard to price. Last week it lost about 20% of its value against […]

admin May 17, 2019

IT WOULD BE hard to tell a story about America’s stockmarket without mention of at least one company that listed this century—Google or Facebook, say. Europe is rather different. Its bourses are heavy with giants from the age of industry but light on the digital champions of tomorrow. It is telling, perhaps, that its character […]

admin May 16, 2019

EVERY SO OFTEN a right-leaning economist raises the alarm about the apparently parlous state of America’s public finances. The subject gripped Washington in the early 2010s but has since been mostly disregarded. At 78% of GDP, America’s net public debt is high, if not yet huge. Thanks to President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, the federal […]

admin May 11, 2019

CHINA’S PROPAGANDA machine grinds slowly. But its output is nothing if not consistent. It took more than 24 hours for state media to report President Donald Trump’s threats, tweeted on May 5th, to ratchet up tariffs on China. By that time Chinese stocks had already plunged, a foretaste of global market ructions. When the response finally […]

admin May 10, 2019

IN OCTOBER, SENTIMENT on India’s financial markets was bleak. The previous month Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), a Mumbai-based lender with scores of subsidiaries, had defaulted on a series of loans. Stockmarket indices fell sharply (see chart). Investors worried not only that the firm’s losses would directly harm other institutions, but also that similar […]

admin May 10, 2019

THE CLASS of the guests reflects the clout of the hosts. In a posh Washington hotel, two powerful visitors—first Maxine Waters, the Democrat who chairs the House of Representatives’ financial-services committee, and then Mike Crapo, the Republican head of the Senate banking committee—address a roomful of well-breakfasted bankers. After the speeches and a few polite […]