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How Iran oil, currency ripples and election shocks rocked the world economy

Emerging markets face the biggest test and that's the central theme in our weekly wrap-up of what's going on in the world economy.

Michelle Jamrisko | Bloomberg 

International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund

Oil prices, the dollar, sanctions, trade tensions, and shock election results.

Take your pick and financial markets felt turbulence this week with ramifications for the

face the biggest test and that’s the central theme in our weekly wrap-up of what’s going on in the

Iran and Oil

President Donald Trump’s announcement to pull out of the Obama-era deal and reinstate on Iran sent ripples through markets, pushing oil further above $70 a barrel. Minimizing the economic damage will be key to the country’s efforts to ensure domestic stability. $200 billion in potential energy deals for Iran now hang in the balance. Higher crude prices will likely hit economies elsewhere.

Emerging Markets

are facing perhaps their biggest stress test since the Federal Reserve’s 2013 “taper tantrum” episode. Currency volatility and capital flows are among the worries on the horizon in Asia, while central banks across are being put on the spot to manage fresh stresses, particularly in India. Almost two dozen key EMs will decide on interest rates over the next two weeks, but Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell says he’s confident these markets can handle policy normalization in advanced economies.

Argentina, Malaysia and Turkey

It’s back to the future for and Malaysia. this week asked the International Monetary Fund for help to stem a five-month rout in the peso, but locals are unlikely to be happy given their troubled history with the lender. Malaysia is dealing with fresh uncertainty about the economic and monetary policy outlook after a stunning election result returned Mahathir Mohamed to power. Meantime, Turkish officials are vowing to take necessary measures to reduce pressure on exchange rates as central bankers met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

U.S., China, and U.S.-China

Ongoing drama between the world’s two biggest economies kept up momentum, even as seemed to soften its tone on trade over the weekend after the Trump team went home without much progress to report from meetings. A reported Trump-Xi phone call Tuesday previewed a top Chinese economic official’s visit next week to Washington. There was less harmony in Geneva, where the two powers have clashed at a World Trade Organization gathering. Nafta negotiators continue to struggle on a revised deal.

Central Banks Wobble

Central banks are wobbling on the exit ramp from a decade of easy money. The Bank of England was the latest to leave interest rates on hold, weeks after officials signalled a hike was likely. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand signalled no plan to raise rates until late 2019, while Serbia stayed on hold after two surprise cuts. At the Federal Reserve, a high-ranking official said the central bank's balance sheet will never return to its pre-crisis level.

First Published: Fri, May 11 2018. 14:06 IST
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