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Economic Perspectives

Global Economic Outlook April 2015

PDF 121kApril 10, 2015

Global

US

Discretionary Consumer Spending Bounces Back

PDF 235kApril 17, 2015
Senior Vice President and Director—Global Economic Research

March retail sales rose 0.9%, a tad below consensus estimates of 1.0%. This suggests that the widely expected consumer rebound is not occurring as quickly as planned. Yet the details show relatively healthy gains in discretionary expenditures—frequently a harbinger of a stronger consumer spending cycle. At this point, we remain upbeat on consumer spending and still expect a gain of more than 3% in 2015.

Europe

is sterling about to meet its waterloo?

PDF 270kApril 17, 2015
Senior Vice President and Senior European Economist

A collapse in investment income has pushed the UK’s current account deficit to record peacetime levels. We think the 2014 deficit may overstate the country’s external vulnerability. But the UK still needs to attract large amounts of foreign capital, mainly to finance government spending, making the pound vulnerable to anything that calls fiscal vigilance into question—like an uncertain election.

Asia

Thailand: Stagnant Growth calls for Further Monetary Easing

PDF 391kApril 17, 2015
Senior Vice President and Global Economic Research Analyst

Although Thailand’s economy may have bottomed, it appears likely to remain weak for some time, requiring a further monetary easing. Domestic demand is sluggish, exporters have yet to regain competitiveness, and government spending is semi-frozen amid political uncertainty. The bond markets are pricing in a bleak outlook, while the baht is being supported by positive balance of payment dynamics.

Latin America

Mexico: Keeping an Eye on Currency Depreciation

PDF 270kMarch 13, 2015
Senior Economist—Latin America

With its plan to curb currency volatility, Mexico hopes to shore up financial stability and prevent a weaker currency from pushing up domestic prices.

Japan

BOJ’s Inflation Target Still Out of Reach

PDF 348kMarch 13, 2015
Senior Vice President and Senior Economist–Asia Pacific

Over the next three months or so, the extent of the fall in Japanese consumer price inflation will be laid bare for all to see. It will no doubt lead some to conclude that “Abenomics” has failed. The underlying story, however, is more nuanced—and still consistent with an ongoing rise in core inflation.

Australasia

Australia: Stability Worries and Policy Dilemmas

PDF 302kMarch 27, 2015
Senior Vice President and Senior Economist–Asia Pacific

Like many other smaller developed-market central banks, the Reserve Bank of Australia is grappling with a dilemma, one that is becoming more difficult as time passes: in an environment of ultra-low global interest rates, is it possible for monetary policy to achieve inflation and unemployment objectives, whilst at the same time maintaining financial and exchange-rate stability?