Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Brexit: US-China trade spat and its possible fallout in an uncertain global economy

Brexit
The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) known as Brexit and the trade war between the United States and China are today among the top issues concerning the global economy.
Brexit and its aftermath

The sole question of 'Brexit' has consumed the United Kingdom for two and a half years. The yes, how and when of its impending exit from the European Union, after decades of belonging, has displaced any other debate and does not augur well for the global economy. The economic consequences will be felt more sharply in the UK than in the EU. Even so, political and economic systems are undergoing profound structural changes driven mainly by technology as well as trade and climate change. We can also find examples of high inequality leading to growing political unrest.

In addressing these crucial issues, politicians around the world should understand the lessons learned from 'Brexit.' Since you cannot replace something for nothing, there was no immediate break in trade between the UK and the EU. In the absence of any clear idea about what kind of 'Brexit' would end up materializing, the economic and trading relationship simply followed the previous model and any disruption was avoided.

Soft Brexit or short term? 


In making macroeconomic and market forecasts for the 'Brexit' and its effect on the global economy so far, short term versus long term has been far more important than soft or hard Brexit. Hard option is the total withdrawal of the UK from the European common market and customs union. The question being asked is not if the UK will face a significant economic reckoning, but at which point in time. Anyway, UK economy is already undergoing a structural change at a slow pace. There is evidence of fall in foreign investment in the British economy in general. This trend has brought the challenges associated with less than notable productivity growth, and there are signs that companies with operations in the UK have started implementing their contingency plans for the 'Brexit' after a prolonged period of waiting for clear signals from the political establishment.

Possible implications


Businesses will not only shift investments out of the UK, but they will also begin relocating jobs to mainland Europe. This will probably accelerate even if British Prime Minister Theresa May succeeds in getting the exit agreement she proposed passed in some way with few amendments. The exit of the United Kingdom from EU will be a poignant moment in the global economy. Earlier this months the British Prime Minister, Theresa May’s plan failed to pass the Parliament, and she faced a vote of no confidence.

Investors are focusing attention on the Davos World Economic Forum which is ongoing in Switzerland. It is hoped that the US presidents, Donald Trump, and Chinese, Xi Jinping will smoothen out trade frictions between two global giants. On the whole, it is hoped that the world economy will be on track during the rest of 2019, but issues remain that need careful attention from policymakers.

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