News / Economy

Top Economic Stories of 2010

Multimedia

The tide from the global recession has ebbed, but economists say the world is still feeling turbulence in its wake:  continuing high unemployment, the European debt crisis and a lopsided, uneven recovery. Mil Arcega spoke with economists about the big stories that shaped the global economy in 2010.

A snapshot of the world economy in 2010 shows the globe weathering the worst financial crisis of this generation.

But more than two years after the downturn, it remains a fragile, uneven recovery - one that World Bank economist Hans Timmer says is largely driven by growth in developing nations.

"By far the most, the biggest story is the very strong performance of the emerging economies especially in Asia, but increasingly also in Latin America," said Timmer.

But the rapid expansion in countries such as China, India and Brazil underscored a growing imbalance.
By the mid-point of the year, stubbornly high unemployment in the United States, and the threat of insolvency within the 16-nation eurozone had become another reminder that the recovery would neither be smooth nor easy.
Uri Dadush is the director of Carnegie's International Economics Program.

"I think the biggest story in 2010 was the continuation of the recovery which was actually quite rapid, but the other big story of 2010 was the emergence of the European debt crisis which is continuing to simmer and represents the biggest risk for the global economy in 2011, " said Dadush.

Amid a storm of protests in Greece over austerity measures that were preconditions for a European bailout, worried investors lost confidence in the euro. The dollar wasn't doing much better. A week before a crucial meeting of G20 leaders, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a new plan to buy $600 billion in government securities.  The policy was meant to lower interest rates and bolster the U.S. economy.  

But G20 leaders accused the U.S. pumping dollars into world markets to make U.S. exports cheaper.  

The policy fanned protectionist sentiments and, says Domenico Lombardi at the Brookings Institution, undermined the U.S. argument against currency manipulation by China.

"The timing of that announcement was a little bit unfortunate because it sort of jeopardized in a way the chances of having a full cooperative meeting because then emerging economies reacted to that announcement," said Lombardi.

Without the urgency that had characterized previous meetings, G20 leaders managed only a commitment in principle against currency manipulation.

But the G20's inability to find more common ground was soon eclipsed by fears of a larger European crisis.  Faced with a banking crisis and the prospect of not being able to repay its debts, Ireland became the second eurozone country to ask for a bailout.

Without a bigger fund, economist Desmond Lachman at the American Enterprise Institute says other high-debt countries will fall.

"The country that is very likely to be next is Portugal, and after Portugal, we'll get Spain," said Lachman.

Spain poses the biggest challenge yet for the European Union.  As the third largest economy in Europe, many consider Spain too big to fail.

"You know my view is that countries like Portugal, Spain, Ireland, that they simply can't stay within the rigors of the euro," explained Lachman.

But the World Bank's Hans Timmer says talk of the euro's demise is greatly exaggerated.

"He [referring to Lachman] underestimates the determination by the European policy makers to stick to the euro and to do everything to defend it," he said.

Economists say a stable Europe is critical to the global recovery. Domenico Lombardi at Brookings says that's especially true in Africa, where European donor money represents a significant chunk of the overall budget of some countries.

"If the prospects for Europe improve then clearly Africa is going to benefit from that," he said.

Adding to the inter-connectedness of the global economy is growing consensus among experts that rapid expansion in some emerging markets is unsustainable without balanced growth in the West.  
Again, the World Bank's Hans Timmer:

"Part of the problem is that increasingly unemployment becomes structural in the United States," he said. "It's concentrated in sectors that were unsustainably large during the boom period before the crisis, so you need to create employment in new sectors."

But as the old year makes way for the new one, a late but noticeable surge in U.S. consumer confidence is helping to reduce the prospects of another downturn.  Still - even the most optimistic analysts say a realistic forecast for the world economy in 2011 is for more of the same - painfully slow but steady growth - amid rapidly rising debt.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.