The series of ‘Voices’ pieces for The Independent

Phil was asked to reprise his role as economics and business comment writer for the Voices section of The Independent platform to cover an absence in the summer, starting on 14 June. The first piece looked at the long-term economic implications of the latest G7 summit held in Cornwall on the previous weekend.

The first piece looked at the economic elements in the communique – rather than the shorter-term political arguments over the North Ireland protocol that tarnished the mood between the UK, the US, and European leaders. It looked at the importance of their decisis on vaccines and taxation.

While the promises of a billion vaccines to be donated by the rich countries, this is well short of the 11 billion that the World Health organization has highlighted. The modest response ignores the economic reality that the International Monetary Fund has explained – that a $50 billion investment in vaccines now to ensure the world is vaccinated would deliver a dividend of $9 trillion by 2025.

On the idea of a minimum corporate tax rate regime, this time there was little detail where the devil is the detail. Issues such as which companies this would apply to and the tax base that would be covered were not discussed. But, on a positive note, at least the an economically literate US president attended the talks. The piece is here.

The second piece looked at the latest inflation figures and the reinvigorated debate over when interest rates will next rise. It points out that will be a sterile debate unless there is a focus on ensuring that the recovery if based on highly productive and well-paid jobs. Otherwise people emerging from furlough will only find low-page insure work that will provide little protection as process and borrowing costs rise. The piece is here

Impact of President-elect Biden on multilateral banks

The imminent departure of Donald Trump from the White House has raised the question of the role that Joe Biden will play as the leader of the single largest shareholder in the multilateral financial institutions. These include the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group and the regional development banks. Leading analysts told me there are grounds for optimism over enhanced debt relief for the poorest countries, recapitalisation of many IFIs and further action on the climate change agenda. The article is here.