Over the past few decades, the world's economic and political leaders were spoiled by relatively low inflation and minimal borrowing costs, a supercharged economy in China driving demand and generally modest geopolitical tension. But as we know, all of that has changed. With inflation soaring, Chinese growth slowing and Russia waging war on Ukraine, Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik contends the pillars that long underpinned rising prosperity have shifted.
This week, the podcast is coming to you daily from the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, where corporate and political leaders are discussing vexing issues like sustainability and the fragile supply chain. In today's edition, Orlik shares with host Stephanie Flanders why the current challenges will play out over years, instead of months. First, even if inflation in the US ticks down to 4% by mid-2023, that will still be "way outside the Federal Reserve's comfort zone," Orlik says. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said he'll raise interest rates until inflation subsides, but the risk is he'll ease up if unemployment gets uncomfortably high, Orlik warns, since any improvements in inflation could reverse.
The second pillar, China's previous annual growth rate of almost 10%, may settle in closer to 4%, and even that could be too optimistic, says Orlik. Finally, while Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden lowered the temperature between the two nations on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, left unresolved was the US effort to restrict the sale semiconductors to Chinese customers.
On that note, during one of the forum's sessions Tuesday Senior Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam urged restraint on the part of both the US and China. Tariffs do no one any good, he said, while nations should protect their own national security without trying to limit other nations' economic growth. ``You can't prevent China from emerging as a major player in the global economy and in the global technology space," Shanmugaratnam told Flanders.
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