Robert Kahn

Macro and Markets

Robert Kahn analyzes economic policies for an integrated world.

Tunisia’s Historic Transformation Deserves U.S. Support

by Guest Author Friday, April 4, 2014

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Ukraine and IMF: Step Forward Now

by Robert Kahn Thursday, March 27, 2014

The IMF announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle on a two-year program (stand-by arrangement) with Ukraine. The headline numbers are $14-18 billion of IMF money and overall financing of $27 billion, which is lower than some had hoped, but don’t be fooled. This is a three-to-six month program, designed to meet Ukraine’s critical near-term financing needs and to get reforms going. Both are essential tasks, and rightfully the focus. The program will be revised (and likely boosted) after elections. It will be at that point that thorny issues like debt restructuring will be addressed.

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Sanctions: What’s Next?

by Robert Kahn Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunday’s referendum in Crimea looks set to lead to escalating tensions and an intensification of sanctions. To date, U.S. and EU sanctions proposed or introduced have been modest and targeted, focused on individuals (presumably mostly Ukrainian) regarded as responsible for “infringements on Ukrainian sovereignty,” and do not include measures on Russian corporations, financial transactions or cross-border trade. That could change next week.

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IMF Reform and the Ukraine Package

by Robert Kahn Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The debate over congressional passage of IMF reform has reached a critical juncture. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee  today approved legislation providing loan guarantees for Ukraine and supporting sanctions, and the bill includes language implementing the long-delayed IMF reform. Assuming passage by the full Senate, the debate next moves to conference, where both sides will need to step up and negotiate in good faith. In her companion piece on this blog, Heidi Crebo-Rediker makes a compelling argument that there are significant geo-strategic benefits from this legislation.  There are meaningful economic benefits as well that make it important to reach a deal.

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Ukraine: Economy Matters

by Robert Kahn Friday, February 21, 2014
Value of the Ukrainian hryvnia against the dollar—closely watched by Ukrainians as an economic signal—has sharply depreciated due to recent turmoil in Kiev. (Source: Oanda.com) Value of the Ukrainian hryvnia against the dollar—closely watched by Ukrainians as an economic signal—has sharply depreciated due to recent turmoil in Kiev. (Source: Oanda.com)

A deal that would end the violence in Ukraine appears to be holding. It would produce early elections, a return to the 2004 constitution, and a national unity government. It would also set the stage for an urgent western effort to provide financing supported by an IMF program. Good news on the politics, though, does not equate to good news on the economy.

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