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CURRENCIES GET CRUSHED ACROSS THE WORLD

CURRENCIES GET CRUSHED ACROSS THE WORLD

Over the past few weeks, half a dozen countries around the world have seen their currencies collapse in the worst self-off in more than 5 years. In fact, it’s becoming a bit of a thing these days. Argentina’s peso has shed more than 10 percent against the dollar in the last week despite a cabinet reshuffle and recent deal between the country and the IMF aimed at calming investors’ concerns. So far this year, Turkey’s lira had plunged 30 percent before the government reluctantly moved to let the central bank stop the bleeding. Brazil, already mired in economic and political crises, has also taken it lumps, as a recent nationwide truckers strike tipped its currency and stock markets into freefall.


What’s going on here? Take it away Gabe: Since the global financial crisis in 2008, many countries known as “emerging markets” (who are in the middle of the global pack when it comes to per capita GDP) saw huge growth because of a few important things: the European and US central bank were practically giving away free money, which many investors threw into fast-growing (riskier) economies; global trade was humming along, helping lower-wage countries that export manufactured goods; and oil prices were generally low, a problem for petro-states but a good deal for most other countries which import the stuff.

Now, all of those things are changing: The US is raising interest rates, which means investors are pulling money out of emerging markets; trade wars loom, making people uncertain about what they can export, to whom, and at what price; and oil prices are on the rise. All of this is creating trouble for emerging markets whose social and political vulnerabilities have been papered over by favorable external winds.

Enter politics: Against this backdrop, major elections loom in Turkey, Pakistan, Mexico, and Brazil. In Mexico, an anti-establishment frontrunner could upend decades of economic policy. In the others, uncertainty about the electoral outcome itself is the story. On the far side of votes that will themselves be shaped by tougher economic times, politics may yet make things worse.

Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?

After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:

It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

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Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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