Opening Address: Where is the world economy going?
Prof. Andrea Boltho, Emeritus Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford
World economic prospects are not particularly encouraging. Growth in China and in the other BRIC economies has slowed down in the recent past and this deceleration may well reflect, in part at least, structural factors (e.g. demography or reform fatigue). In the United States unnecessarily restrictive fiscal policies are dampening activity; over the medium term, however, the country’s prospects remain favourable. One possible source of buoyancy may come from Japan which is experimenting with a set of radical, if risky, new policies.
By far the greatest sluggishness is to be found in the Europe. Widespread austerity is clearly having a negative impact on growth, particularly in the Southern countries of the Eurozone. Some recovery is expected over 2014-15, but similarly optimistic forecasts have, in the recent past, been regularly belied by events. Despite all this, financial markets have remained relatively buoyant. Share prices are high in many countries; bond yields are at record low levels. This may reflect a more optimistic outlook than the one here suggested. Equally, it may reflect myopia
Prof. Andrea Boltho is Emeritus Fellow of Magdelen College, Oxford. He was educated in Italy and at the Universities of London (LSE), Paris and Oxford. From 1966 to 1977 he was at the OECD's Department of Economics and Statistics and for one year (1973-74) was Japan Foundation Fellow at the Economic Planning Agency in Tokyo. From 1977 he was Fellow and Tutor in Economics in Magdalen College, Oxford, where he specialised in international and applied macroeconomic issues.
His publications include Foreign Trade Criteria in Socialist Economies, Cambridge 1971; Japan, An Economic Survey, Oxford 1975; The European Economy: Growth and Crisis (ed), Oxford 1982, as well as numerous academic articles. At various stages he has acted as a consultant to the World Bank, the Bank of Italy and is a past member of the Academic Council of the IFO Institute in Munich.