EconoGraphics

At this year’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, the trade dispute between China and the United States took center stage. Chinese President Xi and his US counterpart President Donald Trump agreed to avoid further escalations of the ongoing bilateral trade war for the next 90 days. The temporary deal does not assuage the escalatory measures already taken, leaving the existing tariffs in place. This edition of the EconoGraphic explores how the brewing trade conflict is impacting manufacturing supply chains, soybean cargo routes, and trade flows of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) among the United States, China, and the rest of the world.

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With the snapback of significant US sanctions against Iran fast approaching on November 5th, speculation is mounting over how the Trump Administration will enforce the sanctions, and how its European allies might attempt to bypass them. The previous EconoGraphic outlined how a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) may facilitate trade between European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Iran after US sanctions go back into effect. This edition of the EconoGraphic provides a primer on the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and explains why sanctioning the financial messaging service would likely cause more harm than good. 

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The European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, recently announced that the EU will set-up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) “to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran.” In response, our visiting senior fellow, Samantha Sultoon, argued that this SPV will not provide a reliable path around US sanctions, and may undermine the effectiveness of US and EU sanctions in the long-run. This edition of the EconoGraphic explains how the SPV would work in practice and outlines why this mechanism is unlikely to offer Iran enough economic upside to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) alive. 

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With the strengthening of the US dollar in the wake of continued interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve and brewing pressures in a number of emerging market (EM), portfolio flows into EM countries slowed from $13.7 billion in July to just $2.2 billion in August. Companies and banks in both Argentina and Turkey borrowed heavily in dollar denominated debt while interest rates were low and are now faced with mounting debt burdens, which, if not backed by sufficient reserves puts them at risk for default if investors lose confidence. The Turkish lira has fallen over 40 percent in 2018. Its sharp decline in August raised concern of contagion to other markets, as the Indonesian rupiah, the South African rand, and the Indian rupee have also come under pressure. This edition of the Econographic compares situation in Turkey with the Asian financial crisis in 1997, analyzes root causes of the current pressures in Turkey, and assesses the broader implications for EM economies.

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While President Trump is pursuing a protectionist trade agenda – halting negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and threatening trade wars against adversaries and allies – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been doing just the opposite. As part of Abenomics’ third arrow, the Prime Minister is forging global partnerships between Japan and other leading economies to foster economic growth. Case in point, the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) signed on July 17, 2018. This edition of the EconoGraphic will review this ambitious bilateral free trade agreement, assess its impact on the US economy, and explore the consequences of the United States’ retreat from its role as the global leader for free trade.

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The Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure” approach against Iran to reduce Iranian crude oil exports to zero as soon as possible is expected to rattle markets and could undermine the credibility and effectiveness of US sanctions. This edition of the EconoGraphic outlines how re-imposed US sanctions against Iran will affect the global oil market, the price of oil, US consumers, and the American economy. In addition, we explore how Beijing might retaliate, if the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is hit with secondary sanctions. 

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Economists consider tariffs a tax on consumers. Case in point, President Trump’s former chief economic advisor Gary Cohn. He recently warned that the administration’s twenty-five percent tariff on steel and ten percent tariff on aluminum combined with threatened duties on Chinese goods could cancel out the 2017 tax cut. This edition of the EconoGraphic provides an overview of how the Trump Administration’s steel tariffs might impact the US economy. 

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On May 25, the European Union’s (EU) sweeping new data privacy regulation came into force. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides EU residents with more control and protection of their data.

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Africa Embraces the Promise of Free Trade

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