US Midterm Election Already Under Way

The US midterm election on 6 November is rapidly approaching. Voting is already under way as most states conduct extensive absentee voting either in person or via posted ballots. Early indications point to a very strong turnout, thus confirming the trend from the primary elections earlier in the year. Turnout could reach the highest level…

Spain’s fiscal policy is moving left

In June, when the center-left PSOE gained power in Spain after ousting the conservative PP-government in a no-confidence vote, the new government inherited a booming economy. Spain has recovered from a deep recession, but for the young and long-term unemployed in particular headwinds remain. The fiscal situation has slowly improved, but with the public debt…

More European political turmoil

Uncertainty remains the only constant in European politics. In Germany, both governing parties are weakened by internal strife and setbacks at the polls. In France, President Macron’s popularity has reached new lows. The Italian government is pushing ahead with its budget plans, despite the EU-Commission’s open hostility. The immigration issue remains unresolved. And above all,…

IMF: There Are Clouds On The Horizon

Where is my umbrella? Unsurprisingly, IMF lowered the projection for global economic growth in its latest World Economic Outlook. IMF’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, had already warned about the revised forecast. IMF now assess that “there are clouds on the horizon,” which stands in contrast to the message from April 2018 that “the time to…

Nafta is now USMCA

Hours before the self-imposed deadline at midnight on 30 September, it was announced that Canada had joined the framework for an updated Nafta-agreement. This was not unexpected. Although pressure publicly had been piled on the Canadian government, President Trump needed Canada onboard to maintain some hope of getting the update through Congress.   The devil…

Rome throws down the gauntlet

On 27 September, the Italian government presented the updated budget framework. The event had long been seen as pivotal in the assessment of whether the new populist government would stick to its election promises or abandon pledges once in power as Italian governments regularly have done.   Somewhat surprisingly, financial markets had come to expect…

Federal Reserve not hesitating

As widely expected, Federal Reserve on 26 September raised the main policy rate by 0.25% to 2.0-2.25%. The monetary-policy committee, FOMC, did not change anything in the assessment of the economy, but dropped the wording used for year that “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative.” At the press conference, Chairman Powell emphasized that this…

Trade war to affect US consumers directly

On 17 September, President Trump took another step in the escalating trade war with China. The US has now added 10% tariffs on additional USD180-200 billion of imported goods from China with effect from 24 September. The tariffs automatically increase to 25% from 1 January 2019, if a deal is not reached before then or…

US midterm election could change power balance

The US midterm election in November is fast approaching. The primary season is now over, and candidates for federal, state and local offices have been selected. Both parties have seen a surge in voter participation and are fielding a record number of candidates; safe seats preeviously uncontested are now on the line.   Democrats have…

Sweden waits

After a hectic and quite substantive campaign, Swedish politics have gone somewhat quiet after the inconclusive election on 9 September. The election was double-inconclusive: it produced a hung parliament with extremely few options for forming a solid governing majority, and the difference between the two traditional blocks was so small that all sides ended up…