For all the importance of China’s subpar recovery, the country's woes are notably absent from the plethora of projections and commentary that flow from the Federal Reserve these days. Judging from recent remarks, there's either no problem or nothing sufficiently grave to prod Chair Jay Powell to hint at switching gears. Give it time.
If this is what a bad year for the dollar looks like, I'll take it. Widespread predictions of a significant retreat after a bumper 2022 haven't come to pass.
Paul O’Neill, a former US Treasury secretary, said that if America ever dropped the strong-dollar policy, he would hire a brass band at Yankee Stadium to mark the proclamation.
In a year of unpleasant surprises from China's economy, here's a development we should have foreseen: The central bank lowered interest rates. With growth disappointing and prices declining, Tuesday's easing from the People's Bank of China ought to have been a no-brainer.
From China comes a discouraging new language. Leaders described their faltering economy as showing a “wavy pattern” with “bumps during progress.” Put politely, the message is that the country won't provide the lift for the global economy that was widely anticipated six months ago.
It seems 2023 is arriving early. The race to raise interest rates to levels that have a hope of quelling inflation is entering a less punishing phase.
As policy makers vie to claim the mantle of hawk-in-chief, spare a thought for what we like to think of as the recovery.
Hanging tough against Vladimir Putin was never going to be cost free. Energy prices are soaring, firms are pulling out of Russia and those that stay are at risk of nationalization. There’s concern about global food supplies. Recession chatter has started, even as the world economy is still mopping up from the last one.
Central banks have been a powerful tool to steady the global economy in crises past. Their ability — and willingness — to do so now is constrained. The terrain is tougher and the costs of a rescue are higher.
What once looked overzealous now appears prudent. Central banks that moved early to pare back stimulus and hike interest rates may have made the right call after all.
When it comes to inflation accelerating around the world, don't count on a swift response from the two most important economies. The U.S. and China are trapped by their own policy choices and domestic priorities. Neither has much appetite for an assault on price increases. Germany's calls for a clampdown are too late.