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September 14, 2004

United States
The US current account

Q2 current and capital account data came out today. At 166 billion, the Q2 current account deficit was $10 billion or so more than expected. Since the goods and service trade deficit for q2 was alrea…

September 16, 2004

United States
Growing out of the trade deficit

The U.S. government’s spin on the widening trade deficit is that it reflects a growth deficit in the rest of the world. This spin does not hold up well. All parts of the world other than Europe are…

September 16, 2004

United States
U.S. dependence on Asian central banks

One country’s external debt is another country’s asset. The U.S. capital account data leaves little doubt that foreign central banks have been a huge source of financing for the U.S. current account…

September 23, 2004

United States
US Treasury was for a global growth deficit before it was against it

The U.S. Treasury needs to get its talking points straight. It is hard for the Treasury to argue that the world economy is doing very, very well (the IMF forecasts global growth to be at a 30 year h…

September 23, 2004

United States
The currency strategist at Morgan Stanley might want to talk to the chief economist at Morgan Stanley

Steve Johnson’s market insight column in Thursday’s Financial Times keys off Morgan Stanley’s currency strategist Stephen Jen’s argument that "As long as Asia insists on staying inside this dollar ar…

September 26, 2004

Capital Flows
Confronting Iran would be a lot easier if the Saudis had more spare capacity

David Sanger looks at Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in today’s New York Times. Sanger suggests it will be hard to stop Iran’s quest for nukes, no matter what the nature of Iran’s regime -…

October 6, 2004

Capital Flows
Cheney is wrong: $80 billion in debt relief if not equal to $80 billion in cash

Last night, Vice President Cheney claimed that US allies were contributing $80 billion to the war in Iraq by providing Iraq with debt relief. He compared this $80 billion in debt relief to the cash …

October 6, 2004

United States
Why is China running a current account surplus in the middle of an investment boom?

I spent most of the past week in Washington for the IMF’s annual meetings, trying to sell a few books. The focus of the meetings though, was not on emerging markets, but rather on oil, China and the…

October 8, 2004

Capital Flows
Find a way to spend the $18 billion in Iraq!

I have a certain interest in the topic, since in my first and so far only foray into oped writing, I supported the Bush Administration’s call for $20 billion in US grant aid for Iraq (in the end, con…

October 13, 2004

United States
Oil and the US current account deficit

Oil above $50 a barrel is not good for the U.S. trade balance. Higher oil prices are a tax on US consumers, with the proceeds pocketed by oil exporters. If oil stays above $50 in November and Decem…