Global Expectations: Predicting Economic Trends in an uncertain Global Environment – implications for Jamaican Companies.
Integration and globalization have made it impossible for countries to avoid the effects of changes in the international environment. An example of this is the recent and commonly referred to 2007-2008 financial crisis which affected majority and possibly all the world. The breakdown within the global environment within the two years has encouraged countries and particularly businesses to take key note of the economic trend within the uncertain global environment.
International markets fluctuate frequently and Jamaica, being a developing economy, is at risk of being greatly affected by any severe negative shock in the global environment. Careful monitoring of global activities can help the country alleviate the impact of negative externalities and reap the benefits from positive externalities.
There are a few concerns that is taking place on the international scene which has been of concern to developing nations such as ours. Over the past two years events such as Brexit, decisions made by the Trump Administration on international relations, Venezuela’s crisis and the never-ending conflicts in the middle east have increased concerns globally.
On 23 June 2016, The British government held a referendum on the issue of Brexit of which the majority voted to leave the European Union.
The UK’s sudden decision to leave the EU came as a shock to many. The United States as well as other countries were concerned about the possible shock waves that may stem from the exit. Due to the linkages of banks across the world, there were concerns about the expected instability it may have caused in the market. Some critics said that this loss could push Britain into a recession. The initial effect was a loss of about 9 percent in the value of the British pound one week following the vote. It is expected that Britain could experience more fallout as time progresses. The area of most concern is in trade and trade policies. The EU is UK’s biggest trade partner, however, with their decision to leave, it is expected that new policies will be drafted. Caribbean nations, such as Jamaica, are eagerly watching the international scene to see any further impact that Brexit will have as a nation and on us as a region.
When the United States elected the Donald Trump administration it initially resulted in uncertainty, which caused leaders worldwide to think about the possible global consequences of his policies based on his views expressed during his election campaign.
In the Caribbean, many have wondered how his decision on immigration and globalization would impact the countries. The US is the largest trading partner in the Caribbean and remittance contributes significantly to the foreign currencies in the region, hence any decision relating to trade policies and migration will have some amount of impact regionally. On January 25, Donald Trump signed an executive order that reinstates the Secure Communities Programme to target undocumented immigrants. The order also directs the State Department to withhold visas or take other measures to ensure that countries take back their undocumented immigrants. What this means is that illegal Caribbean migrants will be sent back to their homeland, which could possibly lead to a large amount of deportees, which many countries cannot at this time facilitate. The Trump administration has also proposed a repatriation plan that is expected to bring in approximately US$2.6 trillion. US corporation taxes are expected to be lowered, which may have a significant impact on US investments in other countries.
It goes without saying that oil is an essential element in an economy. Hence the price of oil will affect significantly utility, services and commodity prices. The recent Venezuelan crisis and the continuing war in the Middle East has raised concern about their impact on exports. Of the top ten world oil exporters two are middle eastern countries which are, Saudi Arabia at number one and Iraq at number three while Venezuela is at number nine.
Above is graph reflecting the movements of the US$ per barrel prices of Dated Brent and the West Texas Intermediate over the period January 2016 to June 2017. There was a noticeable increase moving from November 2016 to December 2016 and prices have generally have been relatively higher that the prices in the early months of 2016. An upward movement like this could cause oil prices to surge resulting. One recommendation is to continue with the oil hedge as oil prices can increase at any time. BM