If the Republican Party takes full control of the U.S. Congress in the midterm election, policy gridlock is likely to worsen, risking a rerun of the damaging fiscal battles that led last year to a government shutdown and almost to a technical debt default. More broadly, the gridlock will prevent the passage of important structural reforms that the U.S. needs to boost growth.
On July 19, Trade Ministers from the G20 group of countries will convene for their annual meeting in Sydney, Australia. The meetings can be used to build consensus toward positions that can be brought back to forums where decisions can be enforced, such as the WTO. And this is exactly what the US plans to do.
The world has kept close watch on the ongoing downward adjustment of China's shadow banking system -- credit intermediation involving entities and activities outside the regular banking system -- with the near-default of a large trust product during the last few weeks being part of the worrisome news coming from the country.
About two years ago, I visited Hong Kong for the very first time and could not believe my eyes. Traveling from the dated, fraying JFK airport in NYC to the shining, efficient airport in Hong Kong, my world view was immediately changed: It was the U.S. that was a third-world country, and Asia was vivid.