A tale of two economies

December 2, 2020 08:30 am

This is the best of times and the worst of times. As financial markets celebrate the coming vaccine-led boom, the confluence of epidemiological and political aftershocks has pushed us back into a quagmire of heightened economic vulnerability.

America must mend many fences on trade

November 26, 2020 09:08 am

It is almost impossible to comprehend how much damage Donald Trump’s presidency has done to America’s global standing these past four years.

Helambu to be developed as apple hub

November 4, 2020 08:51 am

KATHMANDU, Nov 4: Helambu, a popular tourist destination, will be developed into an apple hub.

China leads again

November 1, 2020 06:50 am

Just as China led the world in economic recovery in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, it is playing a similar role today. Its post-COVID rebound is gathering momentum amid a developed world that remains on shaky ground.

China and the US will use multilateralism, formal and informal, to protect the system within which they have flourished and to solidify the alliances with which they intend to chart their future course.

Joe Biden has a better chance than anyone of rebuilding the Democratic coalition and winning back the support of disaffected, working-class voters.

Making sense of China’s new plan

September 30, 2020 12:30 pm

If the rest of the world wants to cooperate on developing green products and services, China will oblige. If it doesn’t, China will rely on its own formidable strengths to sustain its growth and development.

‘New normal’ after COVID-19

September 26, 2020 12:21 pm

What do you consider a normal situation for our country? Were we ever normal as a country?

It is sad that despite all the political upheavals and fiery speeches delivered to the public, no serious case has been made to trim the size of parliament and the government.

KATHMANDU, Sept 22: Dhan Bahadur Shah of Kailali had opened an eatery in Kalanki area. But, less than two months after he started the business, the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to close the place in March.

Is the almighty dollar slipping?

August 26, 2020 15:00 pm

NEW YORK – The recent sharp depreciation of the US dollar has led to concerns that it may lose its role as the main global reserve currency. After all, in addition to the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary easing—which threatens to debase the world’s key fiat currency even further—gold prices and inflation expectations have also been rising.

In an email interview with Republica, Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, explains the framework along with other issues like the World Bank’s support to Nepal and how the government should manage its resources during this crisis:

Financial repression revisited?

August 24, 2020 12:13 pm

WASHINGTON, DC – The US federal debt-to-GDP ratio rose sharply during the 2008-09 Great Recession and continued rising thereafter, going from 62 percent in 2007 to 90 percent in 2010. By 2019, it had reached 106 percent, and the Congressional Budget Office was warning that the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare would be exhausted by 2028. Many economists argued that a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100 percent was already worryingly high, and that the future tax increases needed to reduce it would be massive.

KATHMANDU, Aug 13: As COVID 19 crisis is grappling the world economy, signs of recession are also seen here in Nepal. Major shopping hubs in Kathmandu- New Road and old market of Ason have witnessed crisis owing to adverse impact on business.

KATHMANDU, Aug 8: The earnings of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) saw a sharp decline of 43 percent in the last fiscal year 2019/20.

BEIJING, July 16: China became the first major economy to grow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, recording an unexpectedly strong 3.2% expansion in the latest quarter after anti-virus lockdowns were lifted and factories and stores reopened.

BEIJING, July 13: China’s economy is showing steady recovery, but a hard battle still lies ahead as the situation remains severe both at home and abroad, state radio quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Monday.

LONDON – Since March, I have been more open than other commentators to the possibility of a “V-shaped” recovery from the pandemic-induced downturn (though I have also consistently warned of structural challenges facing many economies in the decade ahead). Wherever I have expressed this optimism, I have met with pushback, given the apparent depth and scale of the current crisis. And yet, as we move into July, many classic short-term leading and coincident indicators still point to a V-shaped recovery, as does the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane.

KATHMANDU, June 30: Nepali housewife Shiba Kala Limbu grimaced as she recalled how she went hungry in order to feed her five-year-old daughter after the coronavirus pandemic cost her husband his job as a mason in the Gulf state of Qatar.

KATHMANDU, June 29: Security experts have expressed fears that the prolonged lockdown and restriction measures put in place to contain COVID-19 without any support to ease the life of ordinary people could soon push the country toward a state of social unrest.

More than 200 businesses have already left Thamel

China’s economic crossroads

June 21, 2020 15:00 pm

BRISBANE/NEW YORK – Back in 2013, the Chinese government laid out a policy agenda that promised real reforms to an economy laden with debt and distorted by the influence of the country’s large state-owned enterprise (SOE) sector. But instead of seeing that agenda through, China chose to dodge the risks entailed by marketization, and has since reverted to what it knows best: state control over the economy and the semblance of stability that comes with it.

They can make a difference

June 16, 2020 08:00 am

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing to a halt economic and broader development activity around the world, the World Bank has projected that remittances to low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) will fall sharply in 2020—by about 20 percent. Nepal, where remittance contribution to GDP in 2019 was equivalent to 27.3 percent according to the World Bank, has lost nearly 50 percent of remittances in past two months compared to the same period last year according to the Nepal Rashtra Bank, the country’s central bank’s report published in May 2020.

KATHMANDU, June 2: The government is planning to create jobs through irrigation projects for migrant workers who will return home because of COVID-19.

BRI after COVID-19

May 29, 2020 12:35 pm

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, experts have speculated what its long-term effects on global health, the global economy, and social welfare will be. The human lives lost to the pandemic have been colossal. The economic impact of COVID-19 paints a very dreary picture: rising unemployment, crashing oil prices, and increasing risk of recession, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting that the global economy will shrink by three percent in 2020. Bloomberg Economics’ analysis predicts that, in the worst case, COVID-19 could cost the global economy $2.7 trillion in global output, recessions in the US, Euro-area, and Japan, and the slowest growth on record in China.

KATHMANDU, May 27: The government unveiled the Economic Survey of the current fiscal year 2019/20 on Tuesday, its assessment of the performance of the country's various economic and financial indicators. But, reading this report in the end of May will take you back to mid-March, and gives you a false sense that the country's economy has been doing fairly well.

With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing the economy to a standstill, many businesses are in immediate need for financial support. The finance committee of the Parliament has recommended the government include a NPR 188 billion financial package in FY2021 budget to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. The need is urgent, but the economy is in a tight squeeze and a fiscal stimulus may be easier said than done.

WASHINGTON, DC – COVID-19 has confronted the world with a horrific crisis. Because developing a vaccine will likely take at least a year, governments need to buy time to keep health-care facilities from being overwhelmed and to minimize the number of people who fall ill and die, not least by reducing the rate of new infections.

KATHMANDU, May 20: The government has been reluctant to come up with a stimulus package as demanded by the private sector leaders to help the economy regain its footing.

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to form our ideas of a new normal, a daily topic of discussion in most households revolves around speculating about the shape and future of the economy. Theories are rife and forecasting models are being created and shattered on a daily basis, but the fact remains that the world has never witnessed such an unprecedented economic upheaval and therefore there is no accurate way of predicting how the world economies will evolve post-COVID-19.

Recession fears were hovering even before the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. There were lots of predictions about the global recession in 2020. Widespread trade tensions among countries, Brexit uncertainty and slow growth in Eurozone, Asian market slowdown, erratic commodities price were some of the reasons for a global recession in 2020. The argument for and against it was there on its highest altitude. However, once the coronavirus appeared as an unwanted guest, the global economy slid into gloomy states, and the recession ensued.

KATHMANDU, May 5: The chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Kamal Thapa has suggested to the Nepal government to ease some measures of the lockdown, classifying risk zones in order to bring the daily life of people and economy back on track.

KATHMANDU, May 4: Nepal Beverage & Cigarette Industries Association has urged the Nepal Government to allow beverage and cigarette suppliers to operate by easing some measures of lockdown.

There have been many analyses worldwide about the effects and possible effects of Covid-19 in social, economic, cultural, education, and public health sector. Economists have also discussed the multi-dimensional impacts of Covid-19 in Nepal, most of them based on assumptions or available rough data. This article is mainly focused on how this pandemic is going to affect the lifecycle of development projects in Nepal. Generally, large-scale projects pass through five phases: project conceptualization, project planning (feasibility studies), construction, operations, and handover under the project lifecycle.

Forgotten folks

May 3, 2020 15:00 pm

Crises have a differential impact depending on pre-existing vulnerabilities. The Covid-19 pandemic-triggered lockdown in Nepal has hit daily wage workers or informal workers the hardest. It is instructive to understand the pre-existing vulnerabilities that have caused this extreme impact on informal workers as they constitute 85 percent of Nepal’s workforce.

WASHINGTON, April 29: The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate last quarter as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country and began triggering a recession that will end the longest expansion on record.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, April 29: In cities around the world, public transit systems are key to getting workers back on the job and restarting devastated economies, yet everything from trains and buses to ferries and bicycles will have to be re-imagined in the coronavirus era.

NEW YORK – After the 2007-09 financial crisis, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute. Unfortunately, even if the Greater Recession leads to a lackluster U-shaped recovery this year, an L-shaped “Greater Depression” will follow later in this decade, owing to ten ominous and risky trends.

PARIS, April 28: France and Spain, two of the worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, were laying out separate roadmaps Tuesday for lifting their lockdowns, while signs emerged the virus has been all but vanquished in New Zealand and Australia.

KATHMANDU, April 28: Daraz online has launched the Daraz Seller Sahayatri Program with a subsidy of Rs 5.5 million to minimize the impacts of the pandemic on small and medium enterprises in Nepal.

Hi everyone, my name is Nepal. COVID-19 has forced me to take sick days. I am on my 35th sick leave, and it has been extended to May 7th.

NEW YORK, April 24: Unemployment in the U.S. is swelling to levels last seen during the Great Depression of the 1930s, with 1 in 6 American workers thrown out of a job by the coronavirus, according to new data released Thursday. In response to the deepening economic crisis, the House passed a nearly $500 billion spending package to help buckled businesses and hospitals.

LONDON, April 23: Coronavirus hit Britain’s economy in April with more force than even the most pessimistic forecasters had feared as businesses reported a historic collapse in demand during a nationwide lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely engulfed the world. The United States is now the epicenter of the crisis. The worldwide shutdowns necessary to contain the spread of the virus has been quite detrimental to the global economy. What is good for public health has been devastating for economies around the world. In the United States, about 17 million people, more than 10 percent of the labor force, filed for unemployment claims during the month of March. Canada sheds more than one million jobs in March, which represents almost five percent of the country’s labor force. The statistics are unavailable for Nepal but if it were, it would be damning for the economy. Since there is no public provision for lost income in Nepal, there are no estimates to rely on to quantify the labor market effects of the economic shutdown.

Labor migration post-COVID-19

April 12, 2020 09:05 am

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting society, economy and politics in almost all parts of the world. Every country is likely to bear the brunt of such upheaval. Nepal is no exception. In this article, we look into its potential impact on foreign labor migration and its trickle-down effects on the macro as well as micro levels.

KATHMANDU, April 4: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has projected that Nepal's economy will grow by 5.3% in the current fiscal year 2019/20, down from the growth rate of 7.3% in 2018/19.

Capitalism’s Triple Crisis

April 2, 2020 09:18 am

LONDON – Capitalism is facing at least three major crises. A pandemic-induced health crisis has rapidly ignited an economic crisis with yet unknown consequences for financial stability, and all of this is playing out against the backdrop of a climate crisis that cannot be addressed by “business as usual.” Until just two months ago, the news media were full of frightening images of overwhelmed firefighters, not overwhelmed health-care providers.

A greater depression?

March 29, 2020 08:51 am

NEW YORK – The shock to the global economy from COVID-19 has been both faster and more severe than the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) and even the Great Depression. In those two previous episodes, stock markets collapsed by 50 percent or more, credit markets froze up, massive bankruptcies followed, unemployment rates soared above 10 percent, and GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 10 percent or more. But all of this took around three years to play out. In the current crisis, similarly dire macroeconomic and financial outcomes have materialized in three weeks.

KATHMANDU, March 27: The "7th episode of Barbara Adams Talk Series" was held on Friday focusing on the issues of COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in crises in health, economy and almost every aspect of society in over 170 countries across the globe, resulting in thousands deaths to date.

Arab world's perfect COVID-19 strom

March 28, 2020 11:50 am

BEIRUT – Middle Eastern and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are heading toward a recession in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, collapsing oil prices, and the unfolding global financial crisis.