News & Commentary:

May 2001 Archives


The U.S. Trade Deficit: A Dangerous Obsession
Foreign Affairs May/Jun 2001
The United States is obsessed with its ever-growing trade deficit. Yet according to Joseph Quinlan of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Marc Chandler of Mellon Financial Corporation, trade is no longer a valid measure of global competition.

World Bank Spring Meetings
World Bank May 2001
This site links to a host of World Bank releases on the meetings held in the Spring in Washington, D.C. between the World Bank and the IMF. Includes background papers.

Advice to Japan
Wanniski, J. (Polyconomics) May 1st, 2001
You may have seen the letter I wrote to the Times concerning your April 25 column, as it ran on Saturday, but to make sure I append it below. It came at a good time, as your advice to Japan's new Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, was extremely well-taken and I was happy to lend my supply-side concurrence to your neo-Keynesian suggestion.

Banana Dispute Resolved As EU-Ecuador Reach Agreement
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 16 May 1st, 2001
The EU and Ecuador on 30 April announced they had reached an agreement to resolve the impasse over the EU's proposed banana import regime, bringing an end to the longstanding dispute over bananas in the WTO.

G-7 Optimism, G-24 Concern At Washington Meetings
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 16 May 1st, 2001
Meeting in Washington, DC on 28 April, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from the G-7 countries - France, Canada, UK, US, Italy, Germany, Japan and the EU - discussed, inter alia, recent developments in the world economy, in particular the implications of slowing global economic growth.

The Growth Habit Is Catching On
Stern, N. (International Herald Tribune) May 2nd, 2001
The sputtering U.S. economy has many investors worried, but such concerns need to be put into perspective by taking a long-term view of the global economy. A new World Bank report, which tracks changes in economic growth and other indicators of human well-being for nearly every nation on earth, provides such a perceptive.

Citigroup Ousts Deutsche Bank, Regains Top of FX Poll
Bloomberg May 2nd, 2001
Citigroup Inc. was the top- ranked foreign-exchange bank in Euromoney magazine's annual market- share survey, reclaiming a title it held for 20 years until Deutsche Bank AG ended the streak last year.

Euro Little Changed; Reports Raise Concern Growth Is Slowing
Bloomberg May 2nd, 2001
The euro, little changed against the dollar, may weaken in coming days after reports showed manufacturing in the 12-nation currency region shrank last month, heightening concern European economic growth is flagging.

Anti-Globalization Effort Beginning to Wilt
Pine, A. (Bloomberg) May 2nd, 2001
The anti-globalization movement that came to flower in the Seattle demonstrations of December 1999 may be starting to wilt.

Malaysia Scraps Last Tax on Gains by Foreigners
International Herald Tribune May 2nd, 2001
Malaysia on Wednesday abandoned the last vestiges of a system designed to control the flow of foreign investors' money leaving the country, scrapping a tax on stock gains that was imposed during the economic crisis in 1998.

Disgruntled Taiwanese target foreign workers
Asia Times May 2nd, 2001
Although Taiwan's nearly 4 percent unemployment rate is still lower than that of industrialized nations, its job market is witnessing some of the symptoms of developed countries, such as long-term unemployment and mass layoffs. Laborers with low technical backgrounds are not the only ones to feel the chill of a cooling economic environment - the numbers of foreign workers will also be curbed.

Tokyo sharpens the knife
Asia Times May 2nd, 2001
New Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who plans to propose structural economic reforms that will spare no sector in his May 7 policy speech, has a stated goal of reducing the value of government bond issuance to below 30 trillion yen (US$246 billion) a year. In pursuit of the target, the government may cut fiscal 2002 general expenditure by 2 trillion yen and local tax grants by 1 trillion yen from current projections, the finance minister has disclosed.

Cavallo struggles to get a grip on Argentina's economy

Greenspan's Dollar Sinks Duisenberg's Euro
Pesek, W. (Bloomberg) May 2nd, 2001
European central bankers arrived here last week exuding confidence that's been absent in recent years. The continent's economies, after years of fits and starts, are on the mend, while the U.S. and Japan struggle to avoid recession. And their single currency, the euro, is getting more respect in foreign exchange markets.
The Economist May 3rd, 2001
Domingo Cavallo, ARGENTINA's economy minister, tried to banish fears of a debt default. He announced tax increases and spending cuts aimed at meeting a target for the fiscal deficit approved by the IMF. The Fund applauded, and said it would speed up aid, if needed.

Why AIDS Matters to Global Markets Too
Pesek, W. (Bloomberg) May 3rd, 2001
At a Soweto health clinic last summer, 200 AIDS victims stood singing, crying, holding hands and sharing heart-tugging life stories. Children, many orphaned by AIDS and infected themselves, played in the corner, unaware that few of them will be alive in five years. Yet most extraordinary about the scene was the presence of an American whose own life couldn't have been more different from others on hand: Lawrence Summers, who at the time was the U.S. Treasury secretary.

OECD Says Interest-Rate Cuts Will Boost Global Economic Growth in 2002
Bloomberg May 3rd, 2001
Economic growth in the industrial world will pick up steam next year, led by the U.S., as interest rate reductions stoke a recovery, the OECD said.

Light on the horizon?
The Economist May 4th, 2001
The worst may be over for the world economy, according to the latest outlook from the OECD. But there are some big caveats.

To have and have not
Asia Times May 4th, 2001
Rich countries, the elites of the developing world, and the so-called international institutions seem to be mired in some heavy-metal wishful thinking. They perceive no relation between widening world inequality and poverty even as at least two-thirds of the world population are left out, hurt or marginalized by the globalization process. According to Pepe Escobar, it is no wonder the Institute of Policy Studies goes as far as to portray a new global economic apartheid.

Japan: Krugman v. Koizumi
Asia Times May 4th, 2001
Princeton University professor Paul Krugman thinks reform-minded Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's platform will more likely make him Japan's Herbert Hoover than its Franklin Roosevelt. Krugman's answer to Koizumi's problem? Unconventional monetary expansion, accepting and indeed promoting mild inflation and a weak yen. Asia Times Online Editor Uwe Parpart writes that with all due respect to Krugman's Keynesian wisdom, OUR only worry is that Koizumi will NOT go through with his reform proposals. Koizumi and his advisers would be dead wrong listening to Krugman and untested ideas on the efficacy of monetary-policy induced inflation.

Congratulations Turkey, I Guess, on the IMF Deal
DeRosa, D. (Bloomberg) May 4th, 2001
Turkey is on the verge of wresting $10 billion of new funding from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. I, for one, am surprised. My question is how did Turkey get around the objections of the Bush administration to the IMF's continuing role as the world's lender of last resort?

More Hard Talk From the European Central Bank
DeRosa, D. (Bloomberg) May 6th, 2001
The European Central Bank is blanketing the media with stern pronouncements about its mission in life. Inflation is public enemy No. 1 in the euro-zone countries, and don't you forget it! Never mind that the measured rate of inflation in the Europe is running at only 2.6 percent per year.

Safety in numbers?
The Economist May 7th, 2001
Anxious to avoid a repeat of 1997's contagious currency disaster, East Asian governments are trying to club together to strengthen their defences. But their efforts at co-operation still face many obstacles.

New Economy Is Suffering From Some Old Problems
Baum, C. (Bloomberg) May 8th, 2001
Once upon a time, there was a Brave New World, where productivity and profit growth were open- ended, presumably independent of the business cycle. Brave New Worlders bought into the idea that the two Ps would perform even when GDP didn't.

As Japan Sets, China's Sun Rising in Asia
Pesek Jr, W. (Bloomberg) May 8th, 2001
There's a joke in international economics circles: If you want to scare Tokyo into fixing its economy, threaten to kick Japan out of the Group of Seven and replace it with China.

Was the new economy a miracle, or a myth?
The Economist May 8th, 2001
American productivity fell in the first quarter of this year, the first such fall since 1995. Is this the end of America's much-heralded, and fiercely debated, productivity miracle?

Asia helps itself
The Economist May 9th, 2001
Anxious to avoid a repeat of 1997's contagious currency disaster, East Asian governments are trying to club together to strengthen their defences. But their efforts at co-operation still face many obstacles.

Bush threatens vital Vietnamese trade deal
Asia Times May 9th, 2001
Vietnam's economic strategy is ensuring a smooth transition from a rigid economy into an effective and open economy, according to Ho Chi Minh-based economic analyst Dr Nguyen Xuan Oanh. Hold on, writes Robin Newbold, as progress could be anything but smooth given that a vital trade pact with the United States hangs in the balance as President George W Bush gets tough on Hanoi's human rights record.

Philippine Peso Falls; Political Instability Deters Investors
Bloomberg May 9th, 2001
The Philippine peso fell for a third day this week on concern possible demonstrations before the country's congressional elections next week will turn violent, deterring investors. The peso slid 0.2 percent to 50.725 against the U.S. dollar. Investors swapped the currency for the safety of U.S. dollars before the elections on May 14, fearing political instability in the nation will distract the government from focusing on economic management, driving the peso's value lower, traders said.

I.D.E.A.'s Outlook for Yen vs Euro: Technical Analysis
Bloomberg May 9th, 2001
The following are support and resistance levels to watch today as the yen value's against the euro fluctuates, according to analysts at I.D.E.A.

I.D.E.A.'s Outlook for Yen vs U.S. Dollar: Technical Analysis
Bloomberg May 9th, 2001
The following are support and resistance levels to watch today as the yen value's against the dollar fluctuates, according to analysts at I.D.E.A.

Changing Economies Prompt U.S. Treasury Call for New Way to Measure Trade
Bloomberg May 9th, 2001
This is not your father's economy, and the U.S. Treasury Department wants to ensure that policy isn't being made on the basis of faulty information.

U.S. Will Probably Avoid a Recession This Year, Business Economists Say
Bloomberg May 9th, 2001
U.S. business economists have lowered expectations for growth in 2002 without changing their belief that the U.S. will probably avoid recession this year, a quarterly survey found.

Bond Market's Crystal Ball Senses Rebound   Recommended!
Pesek Jr., W. (Bloomberg) May 9th, 2001
Wall Street firms that employ a small army of well-paid economists would have had more success during the last year if they'd listened to bond traders.

Emerging Markets to Suffer From `Rough' Economic Landing in U.S., IMF Says
Bloomberg May 10th, 2001
Investor concern about the U.S. will weigh on emerging economies throughout the year, making it hard for companies in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe to sell stock or get loans, the International Monetary Fund said.

ECB Joins the Make-It-Up-As-You-Go Policy Club   Recommended!
Baum, C. (Bloomberg) May 10th, 2001
After weeks of digging in its heels, arguing against the need and advisability of lowering interest rates, the European Central Bank had an apparent epiphany, finding necessary and sufficient reasons for the first rate cut in two years.

Conspiracy Theories to Spare
Pesek Jr., W. (Bloomberg) May 10th, 2001
Two and a half years ago, I met with Karl Otto Poehl, former head of Germany's Bundesbank. With Europe's historic economy and monetary integration only weeks way, it seemed appropriate to touch base with one of the architects of the experiment.

ECB, in Surprise, Cuts Rates Amid Dreary Economic Data
International Herald Tribune May 11th, 2001
The European Central Bank lowered interest rates unexpectedly Thursday amid growing signs of an economic slowdown, cheering politicians and stock markets but leaving economists confused about the abrupt reversal in the bank's hard-line stance.

High Tech and New Economy: Big Idea Deflates
International Herald Tribune May 11th, 2001
Ever since high-technology stocks began to plummet last spring, the press has become increasingly disillusioned with the new economy. But this always was a loosely defined concept.

Stanley Fischer leaves the IMF   Economist Subscription Required
The Economist May 11th, 2001
Stanley Fischer, number two at the IMF to Horst Kohler, said that he would step down later this year. Two months ago, Michael Mussa, the chief economist, said he would go. Other senior staff are also said to be thinking of leaving. Mr Kohler's management style has been cited as a possible reason for the exodus.

Bush Asks Congress to Grant Him a 'Fast Track' in Trade Talks
New York Times May 11th, 2001
President Bush began a difficult battle to win Congressional support for broad authority to negotiate new trade agreements.

Europe's bankers change their minds
The Economist May 11th, 2001
The European Central Bank caught the financial markets off guard on May 10th with a surprise cut in European interest rates. Is this a sign of a worsening economic outlook in Europe?

Liberal Shenzhen reveals protectionist spots
Asia Times May 11th, 2001
Only limited copies of the Nanfang Metropolitan News have been available this week in Shenzhen after being banned by city authorities on a number of broad charges. The real reason, though, is more likely jealously on the part of local officials, whose papers lag way behind the sales of the Nanfang, which is published by Guangdong provincial authorities. This, writes Wong Kwok Wah, is almost unthinkable. The success of Shenzhen has been a story of China's opening-up policies. Now it is resorting to what amounts to protectionist measures.

China struggles for leverage in Latin America
Asia Times May 11th, 2001
China's strategy to expand its influence in Latin America can barely be described as a strategy. Its efforts to nurture new security and trade alliances have been an inch deep and a mile wide. Unless it backs up its rhetoric with hard cash and can offer the region the same or more than the United States, Europe and others, it will gain only a marginal influence in Latin America. This is a Global Intelligence Update from Stratfor Inc.

Taiwan eases foreign equity investment rules
Asia Times May 11th, 2001
With an eye to generating US$20 billion in foreign investments in the local financial market by the middle of next year, Taiwan's finance ministry has announced plans for several market-opening measures, as well as a world-wide roadshow to publicize them. In other developments, Taiwanese officials have had a fruitful business meeting in Australia, 10 banks will be allowed to set up mainland offices, and the government has responded in detail to an American Chamber of Commerce report on Taiwan.

When Central Banks Sing "We Are the World"
Pesek Jr., W. (Bloomberg) May 11th, 2001
Wim Duisenberg isn't known as a touchy-feely guy. Even so, it's tempting to picture the European Central Bank president standing in a circle with his counterparts from the U.S. and Japan, holding hands, swaying back and forth and singing "We Are The World".

Despite European Unity Efforts, There's No Country Like Home
New York Times May 12th, 2001
For the young and the highly educated, Europe's borders mean little. But for the vast majority, the right to work and live anywhere in the European Union is rarely exercised.

Africans' Camel Cheese Meets EU Bureaucracy
International Herald Tribune May 14th, 2001
Global trade has surged more than 60 percent in the past decade; yet it has declined in the least developed countries because of the mounting debt burden and high tariffs and technical barriers on the very products - textiles and agricultural goods - where they could have an advantage.

For Cocooned Cambodian Village, an Online Metamorphosis
International Herald Tribune May 14th, 2001
Funded by a U.S. aid organization, Rovieng's on-ramp to the information superhighway is one of several electronic construction projects around the world that aim to bridge the "digital divide" - the ever-growing discrepancy in access to information technology between rich and poor nations.

No Time for Frugality on AIDS
The New York Times May 14th, 2001
President Bush has pledged only $200 million to a global AIDS fund.

An old-fashioned price war
The Economist May 14th, 2001
On top of all the other problems facing technology companies, chip makers and personal-computer manufacturers are now embroiled in a price war. The consequences could be far reaching.

ECB Rate Cut Leaked to Futures Traders, Paper Says; ECB Refuses to Comment
Bloomberg May 14th, 2001
The European Central Bank and a U.K. market regulator declined to comment on a newspaper report citing unidentified Liffe futures traders as saying there was a 'leak' before the ECB's rate cut Thursday.

Signs in China and Taiwan of Making Money, Not War
New York Times May 15th, 2001
As the social and economic integration between China and Taiwan grows, tension between the mainland and the island has ebbed considerably.

Federal Reserve Cuts Overnight Rate to 4%; Cites Risk of Further Weakness
Bloomberg May 15th, 2001
Federal Reserve policy makers lowered benchmark interest rates a half percentage point in the fifth such reduction this year and suggested another is possible to spark a rebound in U.S. business investment.

Dollar Falls for 2nd Day vs Euro on Fed Rate Cut to 7-Year Low
Bloomberg May 15th, 2001
The dollar fell for a second day against the euro as the Federal Reserve yesterday cut its benchmark interest rate to a seven year low, widening the gap between borrowing costs in the U.S. and the 12-nation euro region.

The Fed Has a Cheap Router It Wants to Sell You
Baum, C. (Bloomberg) May 15th, 2001
Wall Street has so much invested in the New Economy and the technology boom, now gone bust, that it often forgets there's more to life than servers and routers and semiconductor chips.

Bush Presents International Trade Agenda To US Congress
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 18 May 15th, 2001

Trade And Sustainable Development On The Agenda At EC
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 18 May 15th, 2001

Fed Trims Rates and Hints at More Cuts
Inernational Herald Tribune May 16th, 2001
The American central bank reduced short-term interest rates by half a percentage point on Tuesday, the fifth easing this year, and warned the economy remained under pressure, raising speculation of another cut late in June.

Still going down
The Economist May 16th, 2001
America's Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a further half-percentage point on May 15th, amid continuing uncertainty about the economic outlook. Still more cuts may be on the way.

Turkey's real crisis
The Economist May 16th, 2001
Turkey's accident-prone government has grudgingly pushed through enough economic reforms to secure a new loan from the IMF. But the roots of the country's problems remain political, not economic.

Asia's slowing economies
The Economist May 16th, 2001
Just when they hoped to be celebrating sustained recovery from the financial and economic crisis of 1997-98, East Asian leaders are fretting about a new economic downturn.

ECB President Duisenberg Maintains ECB's Main Task Is to Control Inflation
Bloomberg May 16th, 2001
The European Central Bank's main task remains keeping prices under control, ECB President Wim Duisenberg said, even though the central bank reduced borrowing costs last week in the face of rising inflation.

Euro Zone, And ECB, Are Stalked by Inflation
International Herald Tribune May 17th, 2001
Inflation in the euro zone increased in April to its highest level since November, figures showed Wednesday, intensifying the pressure on the European Central Bank six days after it cut interest rates while citing an outlook for lower inflation.

U.S.-British Plan Seeks to Restore Trade With Iraq
The New York Times May 17th, 2001
Britain, backed by the United States, will propose next week that the United Nations lift the 11-year ban on international trade with Iraq.

Las Vegas Casinos Shift Stand, Backing Internet Wagering
The New York Times May 17th, 2001
In a sharp reversal, several of Las Vegas's most powerful casinos no longer want to ban Internet gambling, and some are exploring technology for gambling in cyberspace.

EU acts to integrate Least Developed Countries into world trading system
EC Press Release May 17th, 2001
Building on the EU's recent decision to open its market completely to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) LDC exports through the groundbreaking "Everything But Arms" initiative, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy today outlined further concrete and immediate trade measures to help integrate the LDC's into the global economy in the context of the 3rd UN-LDC Conference held in Brussels this week. In addition to commitments to help bring LDCs further into the system through technical assistance, capacity building and investment promotion, the EU has worked hard to secure their "fast-track" accession to the WTO.

Turkish Bailout Is Joined to a Political Overhaul
The New York Times May 18th, 2001
Turkey's leaders have won promises of $16 billion in new loans for their ailing economy, but now confront the infinitely tougher task of reforming a bankrupt political system.

Turkey's real crisis
The Economist May 18th, 2001
Turkey's accident-prone government has grudgingly pushed through enough economic reforms to secure a new loan from the IMF. But the roots of the country's problems remain political, not economic.

Cappuccino crisis
The Economist May 18th, 2001
Coffee is more fashionable than ever. And yet many coffee growers are facing ruin because of soaring production and a worldwide glut. Exporters are meeting in London to try to establish a cartel to push up prices. In fact, such efforts are unlikely to work. A better bet would be to move upmarket by branding coffee more like wine.

EU urges Russia to swap dollar for euro
Asia Times May 18th, 2001
European Union leaders have made an audacious bid to lure Russia away from its reliance on the greenback, calling on Moscow to start accepting euros instead of dollars for its exports. Robin Newbold reports that some economic experts believe a significant switch from dollar contracts by Russia's big energy producers could see the fledgling European currency finally become a force in world trade at the expense of its US counterpart.

US trade vote on China: Will money talk?
Asia Times May 18th, 2001
The US Congress votes next month on whether or not to renew Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. It comes at a time of rising political tensions between the two countries, a split in the US on how to deal with China, and a faltering global economy. As one of the only vibrant economies in the world at present, Francesco Sisci writes that it's in no one's best interests to derail China's economic growth and the trade decision will be a clear indicator of Washington's de facto China policy.

Bush Administration Rewriting National IT Protection Plan
ComputerWorld May 19th, 2001
At a forum in Washington, Bush administration officials said they've started rewriting the federal government's plan for protecting critical technology infrastructures in the U.S. after deciding that the current one is flawed.

Commerce Department Close To Approving ICANN-VeriSign Deal
ComputerWorld May 19th, 2001
The U.S. Commerce Department said it has almost finished reviewing a proposal by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers that would extend VeriSign's right to manage the .com domain name registry through at least 2007.

Attack on the International Court
New York Times May 20th, 2001
The Bush administration and Congress should not try to get Washington to pressure other countries to reject the global treaty creating an international criminal court.

Dead Metals' Society Convenes Millennium Summit
Baum, C. (Bloomberg) May 21st, 2001
Gold does strange things to strange people. After Friday's $14 spurt in the price of gold to an 11-month high of $287.80, members in good standing of the Dead Metals' Society (all 14 of them) were alternately defensive and contrite. After all, with a couple of false starts, gold has been dead for years, signaling to them a disinflationary environment.

UN Conference Mandates 10-Year Programme For LDCs
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 19 May 22nd, 2001

WTO Agriculture Negotiations Proceed Amicably
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 19 May 22nd, 2001

New World Trade University Launched
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 5, Number 19 May 22nd, 2001

Price of Gold Rockets on Fears of Inflation
International Herald Tribune May 22nd, 2001
Gold posted its biggest gain in 20 months Monday amid concerns that interest-rate cuts in the United States could spur inflation.

Euro Seen Weakening as Reports to Show Region's Economy Slowing
Bloomberg May 22nd, 2001
The euro, little changed, may fall for a fourth day on speculation reports today on German business confidence and French household spending, will show the region's economy is slowing, discouraging investment.

Singapore Dollar Rises; Central Bank May Not Permit Weakness
Bloomberg May 22nd, 2001
The Singapore dollar rose for the first day in three on expectation the central bank is prepared to buy the currency to stem any weakness, deterring speculators from betting the currency will fall, analysts said. The Singapore dollar gained 0.1 percent to S$1.8102 against the U.S. dollar, reversing yesterday's fall. The Monetary Authority reiterated its policy of a ``gradual and modest appreciation'' of its currency, the Business Times reported yesterday, citing a Dow Jones report.

EU Succeeds in Promoting Market Acces in Favour of LDCs
EC Press Release May 22nd, 2001
At the conclusion of the 3rd United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, the international community for the first time ever adopted the objective of duty-free and quota-free market access for all products originating in the LDCs. This agreement responds to a key objective for the EU for the Conference, which was hosted in Brussels last week.

Price of Gold Rockets on Fears of Inflation
International Herald Tribune May 22nd, 2001
Gold posted its biggest gain in 20 months Monday amid concerns that interest-rate cuts in the United States could spur inflation.

German Confidence Plunges While Inflation Surges
International Herald Tribune May 23rd, 2001
Germany's economic prospects darkened Tuesday as a raft of reports showed waning business confidence, slowing growth and rising inflation - a gloomy combination that knocked the European single currency to its lowest level in six months.

Online music grows up
The Economist May 23rd, 2001
Once it was rebellious and free. But the takeover of by the media giant Vivendi is one more step towards the big music firms taking charge of the provision of online music on the Internet. Two huge groups in competition with each other are set to dominate.
International Herald Tribune May 23rd, 2001
Germany's economic prospects darkened Tuesday as a raft of reports showed waning business confidence, slowing growth and rising inflation - a gloomy combination that knocked the European single currency to its lowest level in six months.

A new chance for world trade?
The Economist May 23rd, 2001
The annual report of the World Trade Organisation shows that global trade grew by 12% in 2000, the fastest rate in more than a decade. But the slowdown in the world economy will mean slower trade growth this year, adding to pressure for a new round of international trade negotiations.

European expansion hits some snags
The Economist May 23rd, 2001
The European Union has promised to admit the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe when they are ready for EU membership. But meetings this week in Brussels have cast doubt on whether the EU itself will be ready to let them in.

Europe's Downturn Is 'Right Now'
International Herald Tribune May 24th, 2001
For months, Europe's central bankers and politicians fostered hopes that the region's economy was vigorous enough to muscle its way through the global economic slowdown. But mounting evidence of declining growth and escalating inflation suggests that not only is Europe joining in the global malaise but also that a rapid remedy in the form of an interest-rate cut is increasingly unlikely.

A Monetary Policy Fairy Tale
Pesek Jr., W. (Bloomberg) May 24th, 2001
We've all heard the fable about the tortoise and the hare. Just not the way economist Jeremy Fand is telling it these days.

Strange Moves in Yen Against Dollar and Euro
DeRosa, D. (Bloomberg) May 25th, 2001
Between Tuesday and Thursday the Japanese yen rose by approximately 6.5 yen against the euro and 3 yen against the dollar. This unwelcome development for Japan appears to have come from changes in the Japanese view of the euro and also from confusing statements from the Bank of Japan and the Ministry of Finance.

Europe's monetary confusion
The Economist May 28rd, 2001
As Wim Duisenberg, the much-criticised president of the European Central Bank, prepared for his appearance before members of the European Parliament on May 28th, he may have been asking himself why the bank seems unable to do anything right.

Euro-Med Trade Ministers Give Boost to Partnership
European Commission May 29th, 2001
Ministers who gathered in Brussels for the first EURO-MED meeting on Trade on 29 May pledged to intensify efforts they hope will result in a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. They stressed the need to make progress on regional integration. The EU confirmed its willingness to provide technical assistance to this end. Ministers called for a Working Group of trade and customs officials on rules of origin, and asked for it to report to them by end-December. They also stressed the need to agree an agenda for a new round of trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They plan to meet again in a year's time under the Spanish presidency of the EU. The 12 so-called EURO-MED countries are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus and Malta.

A Head-in-Sand Approach to Inflation
Baum, C. (Bloomberg) May 29th, 2001
One of the issues the markets and central bankers are wrestling with right now is inflation, or the lack thereof.

Japan in recession
The Economist May 29th, 2001
New figures published on May 29th showed that Japanese industrial production fell in April and unemployment rose. Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's new prime minister, faces a daunting task—solving his country's economic problems.

What can be done about Africa?
The Economist May 29th, 2001
The annual meetings of the African Development Bank take place in Valencia, in Spain, from May 29th-31st. They are a reminder of the enormous problems faced by African countries, the world's poorest. But there is hope.

Membership Increases In Africa's Overlapping Quilt Of Economic Blocks
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest Vol. 5, Number 20 May 29th, 2001

EU Pushes Pharmaceutical Industry to Deliver Medicines to Poor Countries at Lowest Price
European Commission May 30th, 2001
EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy met EU pharmaceutical industry leaders to discuss how to implement the EU Action Programme on major communicable diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria) adopted by the Council of Ministers on 14 May. In this context, the EU seeks the support of the pharmaceutical industry for the implementation of a "tiered-pricing" system in order to make essential medicines available to developing countries at the lowest possible price. This meeting, which both sides agreed should now take place on a regular basis, aimed at reviewing progress of the global and EU efforts in favour of increased access to health and medicines in developing countries, and, in particular, proposals to implement such a system.

Thailand Brazen Over Central Bank Dismissal
DeRosa, D. (Bloomberg) May 30th, 2001
Here's a story that can be filed under the 'stranger than fiction' category. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand on Monday fired Bank of Thailand Governor Chatumongkul Sonakul for keeping interest rates too low.

Asia in the crosshairs of US trade policy
Asia Times May 31st, 2001
Trade policy is quickly moving to the top of the political agenda in Washington. Over the next month, the US Congress will consider a raft of trade issues that, directly or indirectly, will affect Asian economies and exports for years to come.

ECB's Duisenberg Says Euro's Decline Does Not Pose an Inflation Risk
Bloomberg May 31st, 2001
European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg said the euro's decline is no threat to prices in the 12 nations sharing the euro, suggesting the bank won't buy the currency to support it anytime soon.

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