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Country Report United States October 2017

Country Report United States October 2017

  • October 2017
  • ID: 359763
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

Table of Contents

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Outlook for 2018-22



  • The president, Donald Trump, will resist attempts by senior staff to manage him too closely. Consequently, any improvement in the governance provided by the administration in the coming years will be limited.
  • The investigation commissioned by the Department of Justice into potential links between Mr Trump, his advisers and the Russian state will dominate the presidential term and prevent major policy achievements.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit believes that there is moderate risk of Mr Trump being forced from office through impeachment as a result of the investigation. The loyalty of congressional Republicans remains crucial.
  • We expect the Federal Reserve (Fed, the central bank) to increase the policy rate once more in 2017, three times each in 2018 and 2019, and once in 2020. This pace of monetary tightening will keep inflation contained.
  • We expect the economy to grow by 2.2% a year in 2018-19. In 2020 indications of a faster pace of monetary tightening by the Fed will trigger a technical recession. However, the economy will recover in 2021-22.
  • We expect the dollar to appreciate gradually in 2018-19, supported by tighter monetary policy, reaching US$1.15: EUR1 by end-2019.


Review



  • The schisms in the Republican Party were on show at a special election in Alabama. Mr Trump's favoured candidate for a permanent Senate seat, Luther Strange, was easily beaten by a firebrand religious conservative, Roy Moore.
  • Mr Trump cut a deal with Democratic leaders to suspend the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months. Dismayed Republicans had wanted an extension that would last until after the 2018 mid-term elections.
  • A gunman killed at least 59 people and injured a further 520 at a country music festival in the city of Las Vegas on October 1st. Gun control measures will be discussed again, but we expect Congress to remain unmoved.
  • Mr Trump published a document on Republican tax reform plans, which include fewer (and lower) income tax bands and a cut to the corporation tax rate. Difficult questions on funding remained unanswered, however.
  • At its meeting on September 19th-20th the Fed's interest-rate setting committee chose to leave interest rates on hold, but announced that a reduction of its balance sheet would begin in October.
  • Core inflation (which excludes food and energy) increased by 0.2% month on month in August, from 0.1% in July. Any indications of faster inflation support the Fed's case for regularly tightening monetary policy.


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