The threat facing the global economy — including the Fed’s role in it — is expected to dominate the conversation next week as economists and government officials convene in Washington for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

In a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday, Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the I.M.F., offered a grim assessment of the world economy and the tightrope that central banks are walking.

“Not tightening enough would cause inflation to become de-anchored and entrenched — which would require future interest rates to be much higher and more sustained, causing massive harm on growth and massive harm on people,” Ms. Georgieva said. “On the other hand, tightening monetary policy too much and too fast — and doing so in a synchronized manner across countries — could push many economies into prolonged recession.”

Noting that inflation remains stubbornly high and broad-based, she added: “Central banks have to continue to respond.”

The World Bank warned last month that simultaneous interest-rate increases around the world could trigger a global recession next year, causing financial crises in developing economies. It urged central banks in advanced economies to be mindful of the cross-border “spillover effects.”

“To achieve low inflation rates, currency stability and faster growth, policymakers could shift their focus from reducing consumption to boosting production,” David Malpass, the World Bank president, said.

Trade and Development Report said.

So far, major central banks have shown little appetite for stopping their inflation-busting campaigns. The Fed, which has made five rate increases this year, has signaled that it plans to raise borrowing costs even higher. Most officials expect to increase rates by at least another 1.25 percentage points this year, taking the policy rate to a range of 4.25 to 4.5 percent from the current 3 to 3.25 percent.

Even economies that are facing a pronounced slowdown have been lifting borrowing costs. The European Central Bank raised rates three-quarters of a point last month, even though the continent is approaching a dark winter of slowing growth and crushing energy costs.

according to the World Bank. Food costs in particular have driven millions further into extreme poverty, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition. As the dollar surge makes a range of imports pricier for emerging markets, that situation could worsen, even as the possibility of financial upheaval increases.

“Low-income developing countries in particular face serious risks from food insecurity and debt distress,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization, said during a news conference this week.

In Africa, officials have been urging the I.M.F. and Group of 20 nations to provide more emergency assistance and debt relief amid inflation and rising interest rates.

“This unprecedented shock further destabilizes the weakest economies and makes their need for liquidity even more pressing, to mitigate the effects of widespread inflation and to support the most vulnerable households and social strata, especially young people and women,” Macky Sall, chairman of the African Union, told leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

To be sure, central bankers in big developed economies like the United States are aware that they are barreling over other economies with their policies. And although they are focused on domestic goals, a severe weakening abroad could pave the way for less aggressive policy because of its implications for their own economic outlooks.

Waning demand from abroad could ease pressure on supply chains and reduce prices. If central bankers decide that such a chain reaction is likely to weigh on their own business activity and inflation, it may give them more room to slow their policy changes.

“The global tightening cycle is something that the Fed has to take into account,” said Megan Greene, global chief economist for the Kroll consulting firm. “They’re interested in what is going on in the rest of the world, inasmuch as it affects their ability to achieve their targets.”

his statement.

But many global economic officials — including those at the Fed — remain focused on very high inflation. Investors expect them to make another large rate increase when they meet on Nov. 1-2.

“We’re very attentive” to international spillovers to both emerging markets and advanced economies, Lisa D. Cook, a Fed governor, said during a question-and-answer session on Thursday. “But our mandate is domestic. So we’re very focused on inflation as it evolves in this country.”

Raghuram Rajan, a former head of India’s central bank and now an economist at the University of Chicago, has in the past pushed the Fed to take foreign conditions into account as it sets policy. He still thinks that measures like bond-buying should be pursued with an eye on global spillovers.

But amid high inflation, he said, central banks are required to pay attention to their own mandates to achieve price stability — even if that makes for a stronger dollar, weaker currencies and more pain abroad.

“The basic problem is that the world of monetary policy dances to the Fed’s tune,” Mr. Rajan said, later adding: “This is a problem with no easy solutions.”

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Kremlin says annexation and retreat are not a contradiction amid Ukrainian successes

  • Putin signs annexation documents
  • Russian forces battle counter-offensive
  • Putin appoints officials to run regions
  • Kremlin: the territories will be returned

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – As President Vladimir Putin completed paperwork for the annexation of four regions of Ukraine on Wednesday, the Kremlin said there was no contradiction between Russian retreats and Putin’s vow that they would always be part of Russia.

In the biggest expansion of Russian territory in at least half a century, Putin signed laws admitting the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region into Russia.

The conclusion of the legalities of the annexation of up to 18% of Ukrainian territory came as Russian forces battled to halt Ukrainian counter-offensives within it, especially north of Kherson and west of Luhansk.

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Asked if there was a contradiction between Putin’s rhetoric and the reality of retreat on the ground, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “There is no contradiction whatsoever. They will be with Russia forever and they will be returned.”

The wording of the laws is unclear about what exact borders Russia is claiming for the annexed territories and Peskov declined to give clear guidance.

“Certain territories will still be returned and we will continue to consult with the population that expresses a desire to live with Russia,” Peskov said.

The contrast between a set of defeats on the battlefield and lofty language from the Kremlin about Russia’s might have raised concerns within the Russian elite about the conduct of the war.

Such is the depth of feeling over the retreats that two Putin allies publicly scolded the military top brass about the failings.

ANNEXATION

Russia declared the annexations after holding what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.

More than seven months into a war that has killed tens of thousands and triggered the biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis, Russia’s most basic aims are still not achieved.

The areas that are being annexed are not all under control of Russian forces and Ukrainian forces have recently driven them back.

Together with Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Putin’s total claim amounts to more than 22% of Ukrainian territory, though the exact borders of the four regions he is annexing are still yet to be finally clarified.

Moscow, which recognised Ukraine’s post-Soviet borders in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, will never give the regions back, Putin said on Friday at a grand Kremlin treaty-signing ceremony which brought the partially controlled regions into Russia.

Russia’s parliament said people living in the annexed regions would be granted Russian passports, the Russian Central Bank would oversee financial stability and the Russian rouble would be the official currency.

In justifying the Feb. 24 invasion, Putin said that Russian speakers in Ukraine had been persecuted by Ukraine which, he said, the West was trying to use to undermine Russian security.

Ukraine and its Western backers say that Putin has no justification for what they say is an imperial-style land grab. Kyiv denies Russian speakers were persecuted.

Now Putin casts the war as a battle for Russia’s survival against the United States and its allies, which he says want to destroy Russia and grab its vast natural resources.

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Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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SWIFT sets out blueprint for central bank digital currency network

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LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Financial messaging system SWIFT has laid out its blueprint for a global central bank digital currency (CBDC) network following an 8-month experiment on different technologies and currencies.

The trial, which for the last month has involved both France and Germany’s national central banks as well as global lenders like HSBC, Standard Chartered and UBS, looked at how CBDCs could be used internationally and even converted into fiat money if needed.

Around 90% of the world’s central banks are now using, trialling or looking into CBDCs. Most don’t want to be left behind by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but are grappling with technological complexities.

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SWIFT’s head of innovation Nick Kerigan said its trial, which will be followed by more advanced testing over the next year, resembled a bicycle wheel where 14 central and commercial banks in total connected spoke-like into its main hub.

The idea is that once scaled-up, banks may need only one main global connection, rather than thousands if they were to set up connections with each counterpart individually.

“We believe that the number of connections needed is much fewer,” Kerigan said. “Therefore, you are likely to have fewer breaks (in the chain) and you are likely to achieve greater efficiency.”

CBDCs are being seen as a step forward as they could effectively be programmed to meet both governments’ and individuals’ specific needs, although they have also raised concerns about privacy and surveillance.

SWIFT’s trial also tested different underlying CBDC technologies known as Distributed Ledger Technologies. The use of various technologies has also been raised as a potential hurdle for rapid global adoption.

There was a separate trial too carried out with Citi, clearing house Clearstream and Northern Trust on ‘tokenised’ assets – traditional assets like stocks and bonds transformed into digital tokens that can then be issued and traded in real-time.

Some countries such as the Bahamas and Nigeria already have CBDCs up and running. China is well advanced with real-life trials of an e-yuan, while central bank umbrella group, the Bank for International Settlements, has also been running cross-border trials.

Central Bank Digital Currencies around the world

SWIFT’s main advantage though is that its existing network is already usable in over 200 countries and connects more than 11,500 banks and funds.

The Belgium-based firm has gone from being virtually unknown outside banking circles to a household name this year after it cut most of Russia’s banks off from its network as part of the West’s sanctions for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kerigan said that kind of move could also happen in a new CBDC system, but doubted whether it would stop countries joining one.

“Ultimately what most central banks are looking to do is to provide us with a CBDC for the people, the businesses and the organisations in their jurisdiction.”

“So a solution that’s fast and efficient and that gains access to as many other countries as possible would seem to be an attractive one.”

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Additional reporting by Tom Wilson Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Mark Potter

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A Strong Dollar Is Wreaking Havoc on Emerging Markets. A Debt Crisis Could Be Next.

The average household in Ghana is paying two-thirds more than it did last year for diesel, flour and other necessities. In Egypt, wheat is so expensive that the government has fallen half a billion dollars short of its budget for a bread subsidy it provides to its citizens. And Sri Lanka, already struggling to control a political crisis, is running out of fuel, food and medical supplies.

A strong dollar is making the problems worse.

Compared with other currencies, the U.S. dollar is the strongest it has been in two decades. It is rising because the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates sharply to combat inflation and because America’s economic health is better than most. Together, these factors have attracted investors from all over the world. Sometimes they simply buy dollars, but even if investors buy other assets, like government bonds, they need dollars to do so — in each case pushing up the currency’s value.

That strength has become much of the world’s weakness. The dollar is the de facto currency for global trade, and its steep rise is squeezing dozens of lower-income nations, chiefly those that rely heavily on imports of food and oil and borrow in dollars to fund them.

But much of the damage is already behind us.

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  • “We are in a fragile situation,” Mr. El-Erian said. “Country after country is flashing amber, and some are already flashing red.”

    Many lower-income countries were already struggling during the pandemic.

    Roughly 22 million people in Ghana, or a third of its population, reported a decline in their income between April 2020 and May 2021, according to a survey from the World Bank and Unicef. Adults in almost half of the households with children surveyed said they were skipping a meal because they didn’t have enough money. Almost three-quarters said the prices of major food items had increased.

    Then came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war between two of the world’s largest exporters of food and energy led to a big surge in prices, especially for importers like Ghana. Consumer prices have gone up 30 percent for the year through June, according to data from the research firm Moody’s Analytics. For household essentials, annual inflation has reached 60 percent or more this year, the S&P data shows.

    To illustrate this, consider the price of a barrel of oil in dollars versus the Ghanaian cedi. At the beginning of October last year, the price of oil stood at $78.52 per barrel, rising to nearly $130 per barrel in March before falling back to $87.96 at the beginning of this month, a one-year increase of 12 percent in dollar terms. Over the same period, the Ghanaian cedi has weakened over 40 percent against the dollar, meaning that the same barrel of oil that cost roughly 475 cedi a year ago now costs over 900 cedi, almost twice as much.

    Adding to the problem are large state-funded subsidies, some taken on or increased through the pandemic, that are now weighing on government finances.

    Ghana’s president cut fuel taxes in November 2021, losing roughly $22 million in projected revenue for the government — the latest available numbers.

    In Egypt, spending on what the government refers to as “supply commodities,” almost all of which is wheat for its long-running bread subsidy, is expected to come in at around 7 percent of all government spending this year, 12 percent higher — or more than half a billion dollars — than the government budgeted.

    As costs ballooned throughout the pandemic, governments took on more debt. Ghana’s public debt grew to nearly $60 billion from roughly $40 billion at the end of 2019, or to nearly 80 percent of its gross domestic product from around 63 percent, according to Moody’s.

    It’s one of four countries listed by S&P, alongside Pakistan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, where interest payments alone account for more than half of the government’s revenues.

    “We can’t forget that this is happening on the back end of a once-in-a-century pandemic in which governments, to try and support families as best they could, did borrow more,” said Frank Gill, an analyst at S&P. “This is a shock following up on another shock.”

    In May, Sri Lanka defaulted on its government debt for the first time in its history. Over the past month, the governments of Egypt, Pakistan and Ghana have all reached out to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout as they struggle to meet their debt financing needs, no longer able to turn to international investors for more money.

    “I don’t think there is a lot of appetite to lend money to some of these countries,” said Brian Weinstein, co-head of credit trading at Bank of America. “They are incredibly vulnerable at the moment.”

    That vulnerability is already reflected in the bond market.

    In 2016, Ghana borrowed $1 billion for 10 years, paying an interest rate of just over 8 percent. As the country’s financial position has worsened and investors have backed away, the yield — indicative of what it would now cost Ghana to borrow money until 2026 — has risen to above 35 percent.

    It’s an untenable cost of debt for a country in Ghana’s situation. And Ghana is not alone. For bonds that also mature in 2026, yields for Pakistan have reached almost 40 percent.

    “We have concerns where any country has yields that calls into question their ability to refinance in public markets,” said Charles Cohen, deputy division chief of monetary and capital market departments at IMF.

    The risk of a sovereign debt crisis in some emerging markets is “very, very high,” said Jesse Rogers, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. Mr. Rogers likened the current situation to the debt crises that crushed Latin America in the 1980s — the last time the Fed sought to quell soaring inflation.

    Already this year, more than $80 billion has been withdrawn from mutual funds and exchange-traded funds — two popular types of investment products — that buy emerging market bonds, according to EPFR Global, a data provider. As investors sell, the United States is often the beneficiary, further strengthening the dollar.

    “It’s by far the worst year for outflows the market has ever seen,” said Pramol Dhawan, head of emerging markets at Pimco.

    Even citizens in some of these countries are trying to exchange their money for dollars, fearful of what’s to come and of further currency depreciation — yet inadvertently also contributing to it.

    “For pockets of emerging markets, this is a really challenging backdrop and one of the most challenging backdrops we have faced for many years,” Mr. Dhawan said.

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    On Portugal’s ‘Bitcoin Beach,’ Crypto Optimism Still Reigns

    LAGOS, Portugal — The Bam Bam Beach Bitcoin bar, on an uncrowded beach in southwestern Portugal, is the meeting place.

    To get there, you drive past a boat harbor, oceanside hotels and apartment buildings, then park near a sleepy seafood restaurant and walk down a wooden path that cuts through a sand dune. Yellow Bitcoin flags blow in the wind. The conversations about cryptocurrencies and a decentralized future flow.

    “People always doubt when to buy, when to sell,” said Didi Taihuttu, a Dutch investor who moved to town this summer and is one of Bam Bam’s owners. “We solve that by being all in.”

    melted down, and crypto companies like the experimental bank Celsius Network declared bankruptcy as fears over the global economy yanked down values of the risky assets. Thousands of investors were hurt by the crash. The price of Bitcoin, which peaked at more than $68,000 last year, remains off by more than 70 percent.

    But in this Portuguese seaside idyll, confidence in cryptocurrencies is undimmed. Every Friday, 20 or so visitors from Europe and beyond gather at Bam Bam to share their unwavering faith in digital currencies. Their buoyancy and cheer endure across Portugal and in other crypto hubs around the world, such as Puerto Rico and Cyprus.

    Sifted.eu.)

    In beach towns like Ericeira and Lagos, shops and restaurants show their acceptance of digital currencies by taking Bitcoin as payment. Lisbon, the capital, has become a hub for crypto-related start-ups such as Utrust, a cryptocurrency payment platform, and Immunefi, a company that identifies security vulnerabilities in decentralized networks.

    “Portugal should be the Silicon Valley of Bitcoin,” Mr. Taihuttu said. “It has all the ingredients.”

    news outlets covered his family’s story, Mr. Taihuttu’s social media following swelled, turning him into an influencer and a source of investment advice. A documentary film crew has followed him on and off for the past 18 months. This summer, he settled in Portugal and quickly became something of an ambassador for its crypto scene.

    He has goals to turn Meia Praia, the beach where Bam Bam is located, into “Bitcoin Beach.” He is shopping for property to create a community nearby for fellow believers.

    “You prove that it is possible to run some part of the world, even if it’s just one,” said Mr. Taihuttu, with a Jack Daniel’s and Coke in hand. He has shoulder-length black hair and wore a tank top that showcased his tan and tattoos (including one on his forearm of the Bitcoin symbol).

    Ms. Bestandig was among those who Mr. Taihuttu drew to Portugal.

    collapse of Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based virtual currency exchange that declared bankruptcy in 2014 after huge, unexplained losses of Bitcoin.

    If cryptocurrency prices do not recover, “a lot of them will have to go back to work again,” Clinton Donnelly, an American tax lawyer specializing in cryptocurrencies, said of some of those gathered at Bam Bam.

    Even so, Mr. Donnelly and other bar regulars said their belief in crypto remained unshaken.

    Thomas Roessler, wearing a black Bitcoin shirt and drinking a beer “inspired by” the currency, said he had come with his wife and two young children to decide whether to move to Portugal from Germany. He first invested in Bitcoin in 2014 and, more recently, sold a small rental apartment in Germany to invest even more.

    Mr. Roessler was concerned about the drop in crypto values but said he was convinced the market would rebound. Moving to Portugal could lower his taxes and give his family the chance to buy affordable property in a warm climate, he said. They had come to the bar to learn from others who had made the move.

    “We have not met a lot of people who live this way,” Mr. Roessler said. Then he bought another round of drinks and paid for them with Bitcoin.

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    Europe Looks at Italy’s Giorgia Meloni With Caution and Trepidation

    BRUSSELS — The victory in Italian elections of the far-right and Euroskeptic leader Giorgia Meloni, who once wanted to ditch the euro currency, sent a tremor on Monday through a European establishment worried about a new right-wing shift in Europe.

    European Union leaders are now watching her coalition’s comfortable victory in Italy, one of its founding members, with caution and some trepidation, despite reassurances from Ms. Meloni, who would be the first far-right nationalist to govern Italy since Mussolini, that she has moderated her views.

    But it is hard for them to escape a degree of dread. Even given the bloc’s successes in recent years to agree on a groundbreaking pandemic recovery fund and to confront Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the appeal of nationalists and populists remains strong — and is spreading, a potential threat to European ideals and cohesion.

    said in a Twitter message: “In these difficult times, we need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe’s challenges.”

    Europe’s concerns are less about policy toward Ukraine. Ms. Meloni has said she supports NATO and Ukraine and has no great warmth for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, as her junior coalition partners, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, have evinced.

    Still, Mr. Berlusconi said last week that Mr. Putin “was pushed by the Russian population, by his party, by his ministers to invent this special operation.” The plan, he said, was for Russian troops to enter “in a week to replace Zelensky’s government with a government of decent people.”

    Italian popular opinion is traditionally sympathetic toward Moscow, with about a third of seats in the new Parliament going to parties with an ambiguous stance on Russia, sanctions, and military aid to Ukraine. As the war proceeds, with all its domestic economic costs, Ms. Meloni may take a less firm view than Mr. Draghi has.

    Mr. Kupchan expects “the balance of power in Europe will tilt more toward diplomacy and a bit less toward continuing the fight.” That is a view more popular with the populist right than with parties in the mainstream, but it has prominent adherents in Germany and France, too.

    “These elections are another sign that all is not well with mainstream parties,” said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and spell a complicated period for the European Union.

    Even the victory a year ago of Olaf Scholz in Germany, a man of the center left, was ensured by the collapse of the center-right Christian Democrats, who had their worst showing in their history, while in April, France’s long-dominant center-right Republicans fell to under 5 percent of the vote.

    “People in Brussels are extremely anxious about Meloni becoming an E.U. prime minister,” Mr. Leonard said. “They’ve seen how disruptive Orban can be from a small country with no systemic role in the E.U. Meloni says she won’t immediately upend the consensus on Ukraine, but she could be a force for a much more virulent form of Euroskepticism in council meetings.”

    One or two troublemakers can do a lot of a damage to E.U. decision-making, he said, “but if it’s five or six,” it becomes very hard to obtain coherence or consensus.

    When the leftist, populist Five Star Movement led Italy from 2018 to early 2021, before Mr. Draghi, it created major fights inside Brussels on immigration and asylum issues. Ms. Meloni is expected to concentrate on topics like immigration, identity issues (she despises what she calls “woke ideology”), and future E.U. rules covering debt and fiscal discipline, to replace the outdated growth and stability pact.

    But analysts think she will pick her fights carefully, given Italy’s debt mountain — over 150 percent of gross domestic product — and the large sums that Brussels has promised Rome as part of the Covid recovery fund. For this year, the amount is 19 billion euros, or about $18.4 billion, nearly 1 percent of Italy’s G.D.P., said Mujtaba Rahman, Europe director for the Eurasia Group, with a total over the next few years of some 10.5 percent of G.D.P.

    “Draghi has already implemented tough reforms to satisfy Brussels, so there is no reason for her to come in and mess it up and agitate the market,” Mr. Rahman said. But for the future, there are worries that she will push for an expansionist budget, looser fiscal rules and thereby make the more frugal countries of northern Europe less willing to compromise.

    For Mr. Rahman, the bigger risk for Europe is the loss of influence Italy exercised under Mr. Draghi. He and President Emmanuel Macron of France, “were beginning to create an alternative axis to compete with the vacuum of leadership now in Germany, and all that will be lost,” Mr. Rahman said. Italy will go from a country that leads to one that Europe watches anxiously, he said.

    There was a sign of that anxiety just before the election, when Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, warned that Brussels had “the tools” to deal with Italy if things went in a “difficult direction.” It was seen as a hint that the European Commission could cut funds to Italy if it were deemed to be violating the bloc’s democratic standards.

    Mr. Salvini, seeing an opportunity, immediately responded: “What is this, a threat? This is shameful arrogance,” and asked Ms. von der Leyen to “respect the free, democratic and sovereign vote of the Italian people” and resist “institutional bullying.”

    Instead, Mr. Stefanini, the former diplomat, urged Brussels to be patient and to engage with Ms. Meloni. “The new government should be judged on facts, on what it does when in power,” he said. “The real risk is that by exaggerated overreactions the E.U. makes legitimate concerns self-fulfilling prophecies.

    “If she’s made to feel rejected, she’ll be pushed into a corner — where she’ll find Orban and other soulmates waiting for her, and she’ll team up with them,” he continued. “But if she’s greeted as a legitimate leader, democratically elected, it will be possible for the E.U. to do business with her.”

    Luuk van Middelaar, a historian of the bloc, also urges caution. European leaders know two things about Italian prime ministers, he said. First, “they are not very powerful at home, and two, they tend not to last very long” — since World War II, an average of about 18 months.

    “So they will wait and see and not be blown away,” Mr. van Middelaar said. If she lasts longer, however, she could energize other far-right Euroskeptics in other big countries like France, he said, “and that would make a real difference.”

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    Strong Dollar Is Good for the US but Bad for the World

    The Federal Reserve’s determination to crush inflation at home by raising interest rates is inflicting profound pain in other countries — pushing up prices, ballooning the size of debt payments and increasing the risk of a deep recession.

    Those interest rate increases are pumping up the value of the dollar — the go-to currency for much of the world’s trade and transactions — and causing economic turmoil in both rich and poor nations. In Britain and across much of the European continent, the dollar’s acceleration is helping feed stinging inflation.

    On Monday, the British pound touched a record low against the dollar as investors balked at a government tax cut and spending plan. And China, which tightly controls its currency, fixed the renminbi at its lowest level in two years while taking steps to manage its decline.

    Somalia, where the risk of starvation already lurks, the strong dollar is pushing up the price of imported food, fuel and medicine. The strong dollar is nudging debt-ridden Argentina, Egypt and Kenya closer to default and threatening to discourage foreign investment in emerging markets like India and South Korea.

    the International Monetary Fund.

    Japanese yen has reached a decades-long high. The euro, used by 19 nations across Europe, reached 1-to-1 parity with the dollar in June for the first time since 2002. The dollar is clobbering other currencies as well, including the Brazilian real, the South Korean won and the Tunisian dinar.

    the economic outlook in the United States, however cloudy, is still better than in most other regions.

    loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

    A fragile currency can sometimes work as “a buffering mechanism,” causing nations to import less and export more, Mr. Prasad said. But today, many “are not seeing the benefits of stronger growth.”

    Still, they must pay more for essential imports like oil, wheat or pharmaceuticals as well as for loan bills due from billion-dollar debts.

    debt crisis in Latin America in the 1980s.

    The situation is particularly fraught because so many countries ran up above-average debts to deal with the fallout from the pandemic. And now they are facing renewed pressure to offer public support as food and energy prices soar.

    Indonesia this month, thousands of protesters, angry over a 30 percent price increase on subsidized fuel, clashed with the police. In Tunisia, a shortage of subsidized food items like sugar, coffee, flour and eggs has shuttered cafes and emptied market shelves.

    New research on the impact of a strong dollar on emerging nations found that it drags down economic progress across the board.

    “You can see these very pronounced negative effects of a stronger dollar,” said Maurice Obstfeld, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of the study.

    central banks feel pressure to raise interest rates to bolster their currencies and prevent import prices from skyrocketing. Last week, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Norway raised interest rates.

    World Bank warned this month that simultaneous interest rate increases are pushing the world toward a recession and developing nations toward a string of financial crises that would inflict “lasting harm.”

    Clearly, the Fed’s mandate is to look after the American economy, but some economists and foreign policymakers argue it should pay more attention to the fallout its decisions have on the rest of the world.

    In 1998, Alan Greenspan, a five-term Fed chair, argued that “it is just not credible that the United States can remain an oasis of prosperity unaffected by a world that is experiencing greatly increased stress.”

    The United States is now facing a slowing economy, but the essential dilemma is the same.

    “Central banks have purely domestic mandates,” said Mr. Obstfeld, the U.C. Berkeley economist, but financial and trade globalization have made economies more interdependent than they have ever been and so closer cooperation is needed. “I don’t think central banks can have the luxury of not thinking about what’s happening abroad.”

    Flávia Milhorance contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

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    Analysis: After feverish week, global investors lick wounds and brace for more chaos

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    NEW YORK/LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Global investors are preparing for more market mayhem after a monumental week that whipsawed asset prices around the world, as central banks and governments ramped up their fight against inflation.

    Signs of extraordinary times were everywhere. The Federal Reserve delivered its third straight seventy-five basis point rate hike while Japan intervened to shore up the yen for the first time since 1998. The British pound slid to a fresh 37-year trough against the dollar after the country’s new finance minister unleashed historic tax cuts and huge increases in borrowing.

    “It’s hard to know what will break where, and when,” said Mike Kelly, head of multi-asset at PineBridge Investments (US). “Before, the thinking had been that a recession would be short and shallow. Now we’re throwing that away and thinking about the unintended consequences of much tighter monetary policy.”

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    Stocks plunged everywhere. The Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly joined the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in a bear market while bonds tumbled to their lowest level in years as investors recalibrated their portfolios to a world of persistent inflation and rising interest rates. read more

    Towering above it all was the U.S. dollar, which has rocketed to its highest level in 20 years against a basket of currencies, lifted in part by investors seeking shelter from the wild swings in markets.

    “Currency exchange rates … are now violent in their moves,” said David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors. “When governments and central banks are in the business of setting the interest rates they are shifting the volatility to the currency markets.”

    For now, the selloffs across asset classes have drawn few bargain hunters. In fact, many believe things are bound to get worse as tighter monetary policy across the globe raises the risks of a worldwide recession.

    “We remain cautious,” said Russ Koesterich, who oversees the Global Allocation Fund for Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, noting his allocation to equities is “well below benchmark” and he is also cautious on bonds.

    “I think there’s a lot of uncertainty on how quickly inflation will come down, there’s a lot of uncertainty about whether or not the Fed will go through with as an aggressive tightening campaign as they signaled this week.”

    Kotok said he is positioned conservatively with high cash levels. “I’d like to see enough of a selloff to make entry attractive in the U.S. stockmarket,” Kotok said.

    The fallout from the hectic week exacerbated trends for stocks and bonds that have been in place all year, pushing down prices for both asset classes. But the murky outlook meant that they were still not cheap enough for some investors.

    “We think the time to go long in equities is still ahead of us until we see signs that the market has bottomed,” said Jake Jolly, senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon, who has been increasing his allocation to short duration sovereign bonds.

    “The market is getting closer and closer to pricing in this recession that is widely expected but it is not yet fully priced in.”

    Reuters Graphics

    Goldman Sachs strategists on Friday lowered their year-end target for the benchmark U.S. stock index, the S&P 500 (.SPX), to 3,600 from 4,300. The index was last at 3,693.23.

    Bond yields, which move inversely to prices, surged across the world. Yields on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury hit their highest level in more than 12 years, while Germany’s two-year bond yield rose above 2% for the first time since late 2008 . In the UK, five year gilts leapt 50 bps — their biggest one-day jump since at least late 1991, according to Refinitiv data.

    “At some point, the fears will shift from inflation to growth,” said Matthew Nest, global head of active fixed income at State Street Global Advisors, who thinks bond yields have moved so high they are starting to look “pretty attractive.”

    Reuters Graphics

    Investors fear things will get worse before they get better.

    “The question is now not whether we are going into a recession, it is how deep will the recession be, and might we have some form of financial crisis and major global liquidity shock,” said Mike Riddell, a senior fixed income portfolio manager at Allianz Global Investors in London.

    Because monetary policy tends to work with a lag, Riddell estimates the renewed hawkishness from central banks means the global economy will be even weaker by the middle of next year.

    “We are of the view that markets are still massively underestimating the global economic growth hit that is coming,” he said.

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    Reporting by Davide Barbuscia, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and David Randall in New York and Dhara Ranasinghe in London; Writing by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili, Megan Davies and Daniel Wallis

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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