Looming world recession likely to hit by next year, Nobel Prize Laureate warns

Economist Paul Krugman says recession likely by next year at the latest. (AFP/File)
Updated 12 February 2019
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Looming world recession likely to hit by next year, Nobel Prize Laureate warns

  • Krugman says there is a major backlash against globalization
  • Policy makers seem unaware of the concerns voiced by people, Krugman warns

DUBAI: The world will likely enter a recession by next year as the backlash against globalization continues to grow, economist Paul Krugman predicted on Monday.

Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Krugman warned that world was witnessing a landscape of stagnant wages, growing inequalities, and a loss of confidence in the world’s business leaders which in turn led to a populist backlash against globalization.

“The result is clear: forward motion on globalization has stopped, but it was slowing anyway,” Krugman said.

And he said there is “quite a good chance that we will have a recession late this year or next year.”

He said there was a general lack of preparedness among economic policymakers.

“The main concern has always been that we don’t have an effective response if things slow down…we don’t seem to have a safety net.”

Krugman said central banks lacked the tools required to protect against market turmoil, and planning for risk has been minimal.

Instead, trade wars and growing protectionism continue to dominate policy agendas, deferring attention and resources from what should be the real priorities.

“I don’t see the iceberg out there, but if we do hit one, I know for sure this liner is not unsinkable,” Krugman said, comparing the global economy to the Titanic.

He said people felt short changed by the previous generation of economic growth, but he said those discussing a solution seemed not to be touching on the issue.

“The question is what they want as the solution…turns out that’s not as clear,” Krugman said, highlighting what he called the gap leaders needed to fill in order to avert another “Great Depression.”

On what many are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Krugman warned that, contrary to popular belief “technological change is actually relatively sluggish right now.”

And he said he doubted the claims that technology was so advanced it would soon change the way we work and live, adding “this is not a transformative revolutionary era.”

Krugman concluded that despite the technological advancements of the last 25 years, the way we work “had not changed all that much.”


Bank lending for ‘real economy’ key to boost China growth: central bank official

Updated 17 min 31 sec ago
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Bank lending for ‘real economy’ key to boost China growth: central bank official

  • ‘The central bank doesn’t wish to use administrative methods to require banks (to lend)’
  • Quantitative easing is neither necessary nor possible at the moment

SHANGHAI: China should encourage its banks to support smaller, private firms in the real economy, rather than forced lending or policies such as quantitative easing, a state newspaper quoted a central bank official as saying on Saturday.
“The central bank doesn’t wish to use administrative methods to require banks (to lend),” Sun Guofeng, head of the monetary policy department at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told the Financial News, a bank publication.
“It wants to establish positive encouragement mechanisms though monetary policy tools to encourage banks to actively increase their support for the real economy, especially toward smaller and privately-owned firms,” Sun said.
The comments come a month after Sun wrote a commentary in which he argued that problems with timely capital replenishment, bank liquidity gaps and poor rate “transmission” are three major constraints on banks’ supply of credit.
In the interview with the Financial News, Sun said monetary policy transmission had “noticeably improved,” showing that steps to enhance transmission mechanisms had been effective.
He said the central bank would increase the strength of innovation in monetary policy tools.
Perpetual bond issuance “is only one breakthrough” in reducing capital constraints on banks, Sun said, adding that “other methods” could be used in the future.
He said that quantitative easing was neither necessary nor possible at the moment, noting that under China’s financial system the significance of the central bank buying Chinese treasury bonds on the secondary market is limited, and that the PBOC is barred from buying the instruments on the primary market.
China’s banks made the most new loans on record in January following a series of moves to boost lending as authorities try to prevent a sharp slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.