We must put an end to the volatility of the markets and restore confidence to investors if we want the global economy to rest on stable and healthy foundations. The American president could help make this happen.
At the end of last year, the volatility of the financial markets made heads spin. Trade tensions between the United States and its main partners China and the European Union, uncertainties tied to Brexit, the conflict over monetary policy between Donald Trump and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, the likely end to the loose monetary policy in the eurozone and the flight of capital from emergent countries have all played a role in destabilizing investors. Almost all of the main financial centers finished the year in the red.
2019 could not begin under worse auspices. The ghost of recession has returned. Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of wealthy countries, predicted that 2019 would be a dark year. On Monday, Jan. 21, the U.N. released an alarming report on the flow of direct investments in 2018; they fell by 40 percent in the United States in comparison to 2017, and by 73 percent in Europe, comparable to levels in the 1990s.
The Trap of Debt
On Monday, Jan. 21, the eve of the opening of the World Economic Forum, the International Monetary Fund alerted world leaders that the global economy is certainly not as unsteady as one might fear, but that the seeds of a brutal collapse have certainly been planted. In a market economy, accommodative monetary policies cannot sustain activity forever.
Forging ahead, like we are doing now, comes at a cost. The world is once again buried in excessive debt. Without strong, stable, and healthy growth, we will not be able to get out of this trap.
With good reason, Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, has asked world leaders to prepare for the worst. But she also said that alternatives exist. We could revive multilateralism and put an end to the tensions and uncertainties between the United States, China, the European Union and Japan – the world’s top economic powers. One person, Donald Trump, president of the United States, holds the key to making this happen.