OPINION

Will Facebook's Libra turn into a cancer?

WHEN it announced its plans to launch a cyber currency, Facebook emphasised that its Libra will benefit "people with less money (who) pay more for financial services", especially in developing countries. But when one compares Facebook's current blueprint to those same countries' experience,...

COMMENTARY

If experts know so much, why don't people trust them?

IN the midst of the debate on the most crucial decision the United Kingdom has faced in a generation, then-minister for justice Michael Gove exclaimed: "I think the people in this country have had enough of experts." That statement received almost as much media attention as his recent admission...

Clean floating is out, dirty is in for emerging markets

Say one thing and then do something else. That pretty much sums up current orthodoxy in emerging economies regarding exchange-rate management. Countries are supposed to use the interest rate to achieve an inflation target and let the exchange rate float freely. In practice, Asian and Latin...

Britain's new political parties: 'them' and 'us'

HAVING just moved to London from Latin America, I recently told British dinner companions that the local politics - with its grandstanding politicians, overheated rhetoric, rampant populism, and leaders who put party over country - makes me feel right at home. Their obvious discomfort suggested...

COMMENTARY

The challenge of monetary policy independence

THE United States Federal Reserve has done it again. In 2018, the prospect of higher US interest rates sent emerging markets into a tailspin. But so far this year, indications of a more relaxed Fed stance have boosted emerging-market currencies and stock markets, despite concerns about a...

COMMENTARY

Venezuela shatters the myth of non-intervention

NICOLÁS Maduro's term as president of Venezuela ended on Jan 10. Following the Venezuelan constitution, Juan Guaidó, head of the democratically elected National Assembly, declared himself interim president....

COMMENTARY

Pass on the gas tax - even Super-Macron could not pull it off

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron is not the first politician to run into trouble over gas taxes. Early last year, striking truckers brought Brazil to a standstill and helped elect uber-rightist Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency. The "Dump the Pump" movement in 2000 looked like it might...

Taming volatility of capital flows

"TODAY it is a sin to run a current-account deficit, and that is crazy," lamented Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the annual gathering of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Bali this month. Ministers could boast of their balanced...