Interview on the Coronavirus Recession

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Interview by Economychosun, South Korea, March 24, 2020

  1. Q: I’d like to know your opinion on the global economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.  Do you think the recession is a fait accompli?

JF: We are already in a global recession, even though it will take a bit longer for the most relevant economic statistics to confirm that. It is exceedingly rare that economists can make such a pronouncement in real time with any degree of confidence. But it is clear enough in this case.

  1. Q: How long do you think the recession will last? How big would be the recession impact?

JF: The onset of the recession is very rapid, by historical standards.  The loss in output will probably be deep. However, it is not inevitable that the recession should last a long time.  If countries are able to fight the coronavirus with very aggressive public health measures — as some East Asian countries have done — so that the rate of infections peaks later this year, there could be a V-shaped recovery. read more

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Will the Coronavirus Lead to Global Recession?

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February 27, 2020 —  At the start of the year, the economic mood was tending toward the optimistic.  True, growth had slowed a bit in 2019. US GDP grew 2.3 % in 2019, down from 2.9 % in 2018.  World growth was weak in 2019 as well: 2.9% according to IMF estimates, down from 3.6 % the year before.  Still, there had been no recession.  And forecasts as recently as January called for world growth to rebound in 2020.

Global recession?

Now, just since January, there is new reason for pessimism.  Recessions are exceedingly difficult to forecast and the wise economist avoids trying.  But the odds of a global recession have risen dramatically.  The reason is the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, technically named COVID-19. read more

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Carbon Prices, not Monetary Policies, Are the Tools to Fight Climate Change

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January 23, 2020 —  Everyone agrees that Climate Change is at the top of the list of most important policy issues that we face – everyone, with a few exceptions such as Trump supporters who call it a hoax.  Identifying the problem, however, is not much use unless we also identify the appropriate tools to address the problem.

Financial institutions

In my own field of specialization, central bankers have caught Climate Change fever.  Perhaps the first was Governor Mark Carney — recently departed from the Bank of England.   Christine Lagarde – newly arrived at the ECB from the International Monetary Fund —  has declared the global environment to be “mission critical” for her institutions. read more

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