The burning question

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Billionaire busts: The men who lost it allA Brazilian businessman has become a "negative billionaire" after his commodity empire collapsed following allegations of insider trading.
Chris Caton, BT Chief Economist

Money Magazine, December edition

What does the US election result mean for Australia?

Barack Obama’s victory means that, on the face of it, nothing has changed. But there are, nevertheless, potentially important implications for Australia.

First, there is what won’t now happen. For some reason best known only to himself, Mitt Romney apparently blames China for some of the US’s economic problems and hence promised to brand China as a “currency manipulator” on Day 1 of his presidency. Leaving aside the fact that he probably couldn’t do this (such naming and shaming is the prerogative of the US Treasury), any such action could have started a trade war between two of our biggest three trading partners.

The next thing to watch is how the White House and Congress now go about negotiating the “fiscal cliff”—the massive tightening of fiscal policy, enough to put the US into recession, scheduled (inadvertently) to take place in early 2013. With the Republicans still controlling the House of Representatives, compromise will be required and that’s never easy for US politicians. But is has to be done; a recession in the US would have massive knock-on effects elsewhere, and we would not be immune.

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05/03/2015 21:22Sydney, Australia. 5 March,2015