China’s leader Xi Jinping recently laid out the goal of reaching the per capita income of “a mid-level developed country by 2035.” Is this goal likely to be achieved? Not in our view. Continued rapid growth faces mounting headwinds from population aging and from diminishing returns to China’s investment-centered growth model. Additional impediments to growth appear to be building, including a turn toward increased state management of the economy, the crystallization of legacy credit issues in real estate and other sectors, and limits on access to key foreign technologies. Even given generous assumptions concerning future growth fundamentals, China appears likely to close only a fraction of the gap with high-income countries in the years ahead.
Household saving soared in the United States and other high-income economies during the pandemic, as consumers cut back on spending while government policies supported incomes. More recently, saving behavior has diverged, with the U.S. saving rate dropping below its pre-pandemic average while saving rates elsewhere have remained above their pre-pandemic averages. As a result, U.S. consumers have been spending down the “excess savings” built up during the pandemic while the excess savings abroad remain untapped. This divergent behavior helps explain why U.S. GDP has returned to its pre-pandemic trend path even as GDP levels in other high-income economies continue to run well below trend.
A perennial challenge with China’s growth model has been overly high investment spending relative to GDP and unusually low consumer spending, something which China has long struggled to rebalance. As China attempts to move away from credit-intensive, investment-focused growth, the economy’s growth will have to rely on higher consumer spending. However, a prolonged household borrowing binge, COVID scarring and a deep slump in the property market in China have damaged household balance sheets and eroded consumer sentiment. In this post, we examine the impact of recent shocks on Chinese household behavior for clues around the outlook for reviving consumption and economic growth in China.
The U.S. dollar plays a central role in the global economy. In addition to being the most widely used currency in foreign exchange transactions, it represents the largest share in official reserves, international debt securities and loans, cross-border payments, and trade invoicing. The ubiquity of the U.S. dollar in global transactions reflects several key factors, including the depth and liquidity of U.S. capital markets, the size of the U.S. economy, the relatively low cost of converting dollars into other currencies, and an enduring confidence in the U.S. legal system and its institutions.
In this post we summarize the main results of our contribution to a recent e-book, “The Making of the European Monetary Union: 30 years since the ERM crisis,” on the economic and financial crises in Europe since 1992-93, and focus on the spillovers of those crises onto the United States and the global economy. We find that the answer to the question in the title of this post is a (moderate) yes.
The incentives that drive bank runs have been well understood since the seminal work of Nobel laureates Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig (1983). When a bank is suspected to be insolvent, early withdrawers can get the full value of their deposits. If and when the bank runs out of funds, however, the bank cannot pay remaining depositors. As a result, all depositors have an incentive to run. The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank remind us that these incentives are still present for uninsured depositors, that is, those whose bank deposits are larger than deposit insurance limits. In this post, we discuss a policy proposal to reduce uninsured depositors’ incentives to run.
The importance of the U.S. dollar in the context of the international monetary system has been examined and studied extensively. In this post, we argue that the dollar is not only the dominant global currency but also a key variable affecting global economic conditions. We describe the mechanism through which the dollar acts as a procyclical force, generating what we dub the “Dollar’s Imperial Circle,” where swings in the dollar govern global macro developments.
Inflationary pressures—their determinants and evolution—continue to dominate policy discussions. In this post, we provide a simple framework to analyze the determinants of different measures of inflation and use it to lay out a risk-scenario analysis. We find that global supply factors captured by the New York Fed’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) are strongly associated with inflationary developments measured by the producer price index (PPI) and by the c0nsumer price index (CPI). Under the assumption that the GSCPI falls back to its historical average over twelve months, our model would project a substantial easing of consumer price inflation over 2023 to below 4.0 percent. The normalization of the GSCPI would then be consistent with a return of inflation to levels consistent with a soft-landing scenario.
In a January 2022 post, we first presented the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI), a parsimonious global measure designed to capture supply chain disruptions using a range of indicators. The spirit of our index was to isolate supply factors, such as shutdowns in response to the pandemic, that put pressure on the global supply chain. In this post, we describe an auxiliary index, the Net GSCPI, which differs from the GSCPI by not filtering out demand factors. This “net” index is meant to capture global supply chain stress from both the supply and demand sides. Our analysis documents that the net index is currently below its historical average, unlike the original index, due to both the easing of supply constraints and a contraction in global demand.
What types of foreign firms are most affected when the Federal Reserve raises its policy rate? Recent empirical research used cross-country firm level data and information on input-output linkages and finds that the impact on sales and investment spending is largest in sectors with exposure to trade in intermediate goods. The research also finds that financial factors drive differences, with U.S. monetary policy spillovers having a much smaller impact on firms that are less financially constrained.