This Week in The Lens

The Lens is FrontierView’s weekly newsletter published by our Global Economics and Scenarios team. Each week, The Lens features easily digestible content that dives into the business implications of macroeconomics on the market today.

Economic and geopolitical trends and insights from FrontierView’s Global Economics and Research team

“Tariff Man 2: the Sequel”?

When Joe Biden entered the White House in 2021, few expected him to keep most of the tariffs imposed under the Trump administration in place. But that is exactly what happened: trade policy is one of the areas where both Trump and Biden seem to have some common ground. In fact, this week Joe Biden went even further, placing additional tariffs on Chinese products, including quadrupling the levy on Chinese EVs.

One thing has become clear in recent years: tariffs and other trade restrictions are no longer an aberration. What does this mean for multinationals? A more uncertain trading environment, in which they will need to closely monitor geopolitical and policy developments, and ensure they are not caught in the crossfire.

Senior Analyst, Global Economics

And just like that, we are already 40% of the way through 2024. Executives around the world are busy adjusting their plans and strategies for the rest of the year, and even starting to think about 2025. 

Our newly released Global Snapshot is designed to assist them in that exercise. In it, we take a closer look at how the global outlook has evolved since the start of the year, such as improvement in the US’s outlook, the rebound in Chinese industrial production, currency weakness, and the increase in oil prices. We also explore how executives should think about the next 18 months, touching on topics such as the strength of the recovery in consumer spending, where to make the most of falling interest rates, the prospects for the manufacturing sector, and our view on major elections around the globe.

Click  here to read the report.

Senior Analyst, Global Economics

In 2024, we expected most currencies to appreciate against the dollar. But with several currencies, including the Japanese yen, the Indian rupee, and the Chilean peso, nearing multi-decade lows, it seems most of them are doing just the opposite. What’s the story?

The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, the American consumer. Strong demand is putting upward pressure on inflation in the US which, in turn, is delaying the Fed’s timeline when it comes to reducing interest rates. This is keeping dollar-denominated assets, and therefore the dollar itself, attractive. The result? A stronger dollar, and weaker foreign currencies.

MNCs should ensure they are updating their assumptions around FX and input costs: the greenback still has some wind in its sail.

Senior Analyst, Global Economics

This week, US House Speaker Mike Johnson changed his mind, and potentially the tide of history. 

Following months of delays, the House of Representatives finally approved an aid package to Ukraine worth $61bn, which was immediately approved by both the Senate and Joe Biden. Johnson, who had until now blocked a vote on the aid package, made a dramatic about-face, defying some in his own party in order to get the bill passed.

The package will provide much needed assistance to Ukraine in its waning effort against Russia. But several uncertainties lie ahead: it remains to be seen how willing Donald Trump would be to extend these efforts in a second presidency. In turn, this would weaken the security of Europe and embolden others, notably China, to undertake their own territorial conquests, with potentially disastrous consequences for businesses globally. On the US side of things, it makes Johnson’s position as Speaker even more precarious, and could result in even more uncertainty for MNCs both in the US and abroad.

In the short-term, though, the aid package means Ukraine lives to fight another day.

Senior Analyst, Global Economics

This weekend saw a symbolic and ominous “first”: the first direct confrontation between Iran and Israel. Following a strike on Iran’s embassy in Syria, the Iranian regime responded by sending around 300 drones toward Israel, marking what many feared would be the start of a considerable escalation. 

In fact, Iran’s retaliation was swiftly thwarted. Most of the drones were shot down and there were no reported casualties. Investors remained calm: when trading opened on Monday morning, oil prices barely budged.

Still, it remains to be seen if the matter is closed, or if the respective attacks were the opening salvo of further escalation between the two countries. Our newly published  Middle East conflict scenarios  help bring light to this complex and volatile situation.

Senior Analyst, Global Economics

Read our insights from this week:

Policies are likely to focus on major economic issues that are well understood Multinationals can expect some level of stabilization in China’s growth trajectory following the upcoming Third Plenum in July. Leaders will likely offer direction on how they intend to overcome some of the country’s […]
Egypt’s government will remain severely constrained in spending capacity by its large debt load B2G firms targeting Egypt should maintain a conservative risk management approach during the 2024/2025 fiscal year. Pressures to reduce pricing and lengthen payment schedules will remain significant as the state deals with […]
Fiscal pressures will remain across SSA despite debt restructuring progress offering some relief to governments’ spending capacity Multinationals should review their demand assumptions to ensure they reflect potential improvements in opportunities in countries currently in the process of exiting default. Regular market monitoring of the latest […]

The Author

Antoine Bradley

Senior Analyst, Global Economics

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