ABN AMRO’s chief economist, Han de Jong, has told an audience of Jersey International Business School (JIBS) students that the world is currently witnessing the biggest monetary policy experiment in history and he thinks the outcome remains uncertain.
Addressing the JIBS students on Thursday 21st November, Mr de Jong said he’s hopeful that the outcome for the global economy will be positive, but only time will tell.
‘Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which triggered the sharpest economic downturn since the depression of the 1930s, the global economy is still looking subdued despite an unprecedented policy response. I believe policymakers have avoided something much worse than what we are going through but the current action is not without risks. You have to take risks in order to recover,’ said Mr de Jong.
‘I’m not sure that we all appreciate that we’re living in unbelievable times and we’ll no doubt tell our grandchildren about the lengths our governments had to go to in order to stimulate the recovery of our economies. In Holland, for example, in 2009 we saw negative growth of around 4%, the last time this occurred in Holland was in the 1870s – that’s how deep this crisis became at its worst point.
‘We learned many lessons from the recession of the 1920s and 30s, primarily not to let the banks fail and to ensure that money supply does not shrink. These two facts have been the benchmarks by which both fiscal and monetary policy have been set in recent years – the rescue of banks and quantitative easing.
‘The main risk of a loose fiscal policy, such as the one currently adopted, is that over a long period of time the credit worthiness of governments will become eroded. However, this is not insurmountable, as our internal models and statistics would indicate that the US economy is on its way towards recovering its AAA rating, which it lost some time ago. If our policymakers had taken this loose approach to both fiscal and monetary policy even 10 years ago, we’d have considered them wholly inappropriate. Despite this, and despite the outcome not yet being certain, risks have had to be taken to assist recovery,’ concluded Mr de Jong.
Mr de Jong is visiting from ABN AMRO’s head office in Amsterdam and as part of his trip he has delivered two seminars for students of JIBS. The presentations were organised as part of JIBS’ on-going programme of creating opportunities for wider learning and development for both professional and degree students.
During his visit to the Channel Islands, Mr de Jong will also meet with a number of clients and intermediaries.
Han de Jong addressing students at the Jersey International Business School