Today and tomorrow I'll be hosting the Institute of International Finance's annual membership meeting (in the afternoon today and in the morning tomorrow). Drop by and say hello.
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Slowing global growth and stagnating investment returns have created a fertile environment for a novel idea: gender equality. It has been front and center at the autumn IMF-World Bank meetings — now framed not as an altruistic appeal, but as an economic imperative.
Why it matters: New IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva looks to be bringing that imperative to the economic policy focused Fund rather than the philanthropically minded Bank, a major change for how issues of diversity and equality are viewed.
Why now: "Gender inequality hampers global growth and causes women to take on more debt, have lower pensions and higher poverty risk," State Street Global Investors senior managing director Amlan Roy declared in a presentation during the National Association of Business Economists conference earlier this month.
By the numbers: A study by S&P Global presented at the World Economic Forum this year found that by increasing women's numbers in the labor force the U.S. could contribute $4.5 trillion in market value, and that could have ripple effects that reach around the world.
There is a clear message being sent. Not only was the first session Georgieva took part in as managing director titled "Women, Work, and Leadership" (and "not by chance" she told attendees), there has been an assortment of IMF presentations and panels dedicated to promoting women's opportunities.
What's next: A session this afternoon called "Unleashing the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Through Finance and Markets" will feature the sole public appearance by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon at the meetings along with Santander Bank executive chairman Ana Botín and World Bank President David Malpass.
A Twitter debate about the veracity of an economic study projecting the outrageously low tax rates of billionaires turned into a verbal street brawl at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington Thursday.
Background: Criticism has been heaped on a Washington Post op-ed by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman purporting to show that for the first time in U.S. history billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class.
What happened: Economist Larry Summers tore down the study and its co-author Saez, who was in attendance, like a disrespectful step-daddy during a presentation and panel discussion.
The former Treasury Secretary and head of the National Economic Council was far from finished.
Between the lines: Summers seemed to "take it really personally," Saez told Axios after the panel discussion.
Of note: Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw, who served in the administration of President George W. Bush presented a 12-minute lecture that lent support to Andrew Yang's universal basic income proposal.
The British pound jumped to a fresh 5-month high on news that a Brexit deal had been reached between U.K. and European Commission negotiators, but petered out nearly as quickly after Northern Irish party the DUP said it would not vote for the deal.
The big picture: Sterling fell back below $1.28 before steadying again, closing closer to its highs on the day than its lows as investors retained some optimism.
The Turkish lira strengthened against the dollar on Thursday after Turkey agreed to pause its offensive in Syria for 5 days to let Kurdish forces withdraw from a “safe zone" Turkey has established.
The big picture: Neither the ceasefire nor the bullish run that Turkey's bonds and currency have seen recently is sustainable, Petar Atanasov, co-head of sovereign research at emerging markets asset manager Gramercy, tells Axios.
The big economic risk is that the removal of the threat of sanctions from the U.S. will give Turkey's central bank cover to continue cutting interest rates to a level below inflation, stamping out a meaningful recovery in its current account and leading to another pickup in inflation.
Details: The lira has fallen by more than 10% so far this year, despite efforts by the central bank and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to hold it steady.
Companies have been more "super excited" during earnings calls over the last few years. Unfortunately, the excitement looks to be fading in 2019.