A fresh rate hike on the horizon?
It’s thought that the Federal Reserve will signpost more interest rate hikes this year, six months after it increased rates for the first time in almost ten years.
In their April meeting, Fed members voted overwhelmingly to keep interest rates unchanged amid concerns about the sluggish growth of US economy in the first quarter, Britain’s potential exit from the EU and uncertainty over China. After the Fed raised rates in December, it was expected to repeat the process four times this year, a forecast which has since been adjusted to two hikes.
Have neoliberal economic policies had their day?
In a recently released report, economists from the International Monetary Fund have issued their strongest warning to date that the austerity measures promoted by countries including the UK and Germany aren’t helping to grow the global economy.
The IMF article contains a strong critique of the neoliberal strategies that have been a dominant force for the last 30 years. It argues that while the expansion of global trade has saved millions from poverty and the privatisation of state-owned enterprises has inevitably led to more efficient provision of services, at the same time reducing the fiscal burden on governments, the approach has failed to deliver in other areas.
Google facing charges of financial fraud
Since the leak of the Panama Papers earlier this year – and in the wake of recent revelations regarding high-profile sweetheart tax deals – the pressure has been on governments across the world to crack down on multi-national corporations who are employing elaborate strategies to avoid paying tax and so depriving their host economies of much-needed revenues.
So the news that French investigators have raided Google’s Paris headquarters as part of its long-running enquiry into the internet giant’s tax affairs, stating that the company is under investigation for aggravated financial fraud and organised money laundering, should come as no surprise to those of us watching from the sidelines.