In each episode of “Top of Mind at Goldman Sachs,” Allison Nathan, a senior strategist in the firm’s Global Investment Research division and the creator and editor of the GS “Top of Mind” publication, explores macroeconomic issues that are on the minds of Goldman Sachs clients.
What’s In Store For The Dollar
After the US Dollar surged in late March as investors rushed to its safety amid the global onset of the coronacrisis, its value has since declined sharply. As uncertainty about the virus trajectory and the global economic recovery continues to loom large, the key question from here is whether this retrenchment marks the start of a multi-year Dollar down cycle, and, even more fundamentally, an erosion of the Dollar’s dominance in the global monetary system.
In this episode, host Allison Nathan interviews three experts to answer these questions: UC Berkeley’s Barry Eichengreen, Cornell’s Eswar Prasad and Goldman Sachs’ own Zach Pandl. They don’t necessarily agree on the direction of the Dollar ahead, with Eichengreen less convinced than Pandl that the Dollar is set for a period of sustained depreciation. But they do agree that despite economic and geopolitical trends that suggest an eventual erosion of the Dollar’s global role, there’s still a long way to go before potential Dollar substitutes—the Euro, RMB and digital currencies—challenge its dominance.
Beyond 2020: Post-Election Policies
The US presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most contentious and consequential in modern history, making its potential policy, growth and market implications Top of Mind.
In this episode, host Allison Nathan discusses the candidates’ economic policy priorities with Kevin Hassett, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Trump, and Jared Bernstein, economic adviser to former Vice President Biden. For perspectives on US foreign policy, she speaks with Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer, who sees significant alignment between the candidates on many key foreign policy issues—including trade.
Covid-19: Where We Go From Here
Well into the COVID-19 pandemic, countries continue to grapple with managing the virus while restoring economic activity. Where the virus will go from here, what that means for the economy and markets—and how the vaccine outlook might impact everything—is Top of Mind.
In this episode, Allison Nathan speaks to Harvard’s Dr. Marc Lipsitch, who believes that the rising expectation for a resolution of the pandemic in 2021 is a plausible best-case scenario, but one we likely won’t be sure of until at least midyear. Our own Jan Hatzius argues that economic activity should be able to normalize further even if the virus remains an issue, and that a vaccine would only reinforce the economic recovery. Finally, Allison asks CEPI CEO, Dr. Richard Hatchett, if the rise in vaccine optimism is warranted. He’s also hopeful about the vaccine timeline, but cautions vaccines likely won’t be a magic bullet.
Investing in Racial Economic Equality
America appears to be at a point of reckoning with its long history of social and economic racial inequality. How to close the large and persistent Black-white earnings and wealth gaps central to this inequality is not just Top of Mind, but one of the most pressing questions of our time.
In this episode, Allison Nathan interviews Kerwin K. Charles, dean and professor at the Yale School of Management, for perspective on the magnitude of these gaps, their evolution over time, and what these trends suggest for effective policy solutions moving forward. And we dig into racial gaps in healthcare with Dr. John Z. Ayanian, director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan; and access to capital and professional advancement with Margaret Anadu, the firm’s head of the Urban Investment Group. All are core areas that must be addressed if we’re serious about reducing economic inequities. Our key takeaway: overcoming these inequities will require a holistic approach from all areas of society, and coming together to achieve this goal is not only a moral imperative, but also essential for the health and vibrancy of our economy and our nation more generally.
Daunting Debt Dynamics
Government deficits, debt issuance and debt levels are set to surge as countries race to ease the economic impact of the coronacrisis. This raises many questions: who will finance this debt, will it force a market repricing and/or an eventual growth or inflation problem, and would greater use of negative rates help avoid any of these risks? At the same time, whether corporate bankruptcies could derail the economic recovery is a key concern. In short, how disruptive the recent, dramatic shift in debt dynamics might be is Top of Mind.
In this episode, Allison Nathan consults Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff, University of Pennsylvania’s David Skeel, and Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jan Hatzius. Our key takeaways: the benefit of running large deficits today far outweighs any eventual costs; worries about distress in emerging markets and the Euro area are largely warranted; and a likely wave of corporate bankruptcies could prolong—but likely won’t derail—the economic recovery.
Reopening the Economy
With mitigation measures leading to an apparent leveling off of case growth globally at the same time that the economic costs of such measures continue to mount, several countries around the world have begun to plan for—or have already started to implement—economic reopening. But absent herd immunity or a vaccine, such reopenings increase the risk of a resurgence. With this in mind, what a safe reopening might look like, how well-positioned the US is to achieve one and how quickly reopening would really translate into economic recovery is Top of Mind.
In this episode, we consult three experts on these questions: University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Duke University’s Dr. Mark McClellan and Harvard University’s Dr. Barry Bloom. Finally, with more complete economic normalization only likely with an effective testing regime, treatments, or a widely available vaccine, we discuss where we are on all of the above.