What is US trade policy to be? Who cares?


Naked Capitalism also points to the underlying inattention to US trade policy and our financial wizards.

Last night, we reported that the International Institute of Finance was calling for a global GDP contraction for 2009. The IMF today, while not going as far as the IIF, got about as downbeat as one could expect them to be, predicting a marked contraction in advanced economies. From the Financial Times:

[T]he International Monetary Fund increased its estimate of credit losses on US-based assets from $1,400bn to $2,200bn. It also said world output, measured at market exchange rates, would fall in 2009 for the first time since the second world war. Weighted by purchasing power, growth would be very slightly positive.

The new growth forecasts mark a huge revision – down by more than 1.5 percentage points – from the IMF’s previous forecast for the year in spite of the inclusion of the fiscal stimulus efforts by governments into its predictions for the first time. Advanced economies, the IMF predicted, would contract 2 per cent in 2009 with the UK hit hardest.

In Geneva, the International Labour Organization said the global recession would lead to a “dramatic increase” in unemployment this year, which would certainly lead to 18m-30m additional unemployed and more than 50m “if the situation continues to deteriorate”.