Global economies face various uncertainties: Tharman

There are four major uncertainties facing global economies today, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday morning at the Skybridge Alternatives Conference at Marina Bay Sands on Sept 25, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CH
There are four major uncertainties facing global economies today, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday morning at the Skybridge Alternatives Conference at Marina Bay Sands on Sept 25, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN

There are four major uncertainties facing global economies today, from the problems affecting the United States economy to the growing tension between the younger and older generations with the young needing to support the elderly.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam outlined these challenges on Wednesday morning at the Skybridge Alternatives Conference at Marina Bay Sands, a financial conference taking place over the next three days.

One major source of uncertainty in the world today is the issues facing the US economy, he said. The way markets react to decisions and forward guidance by the Federal Reserve can be destabilising. Further, there is a risk that what started off as a cyclical problem in the US will become structural, with employment and growth settling at a lower level than the economy's previous potential.

Secondly, China's major reforms will have an impact worldwide. China's structural economic reforms have to be accompanied by reforms in its fiscal and social systems too, Mr Tharman noted.

Third, there is the challenge of emerging economies having to enact major reforms so as to attract and encourage private investment and get their economies to grow at full potential, Mr Tharman said.

Finally, the more mature economies in the world face the twin challenges of a stagnating middle class and a growing tension between younger and older generations, he said.

These are problems that do not yet have an obvious way out, and policymakers have to engage in serious discussions to find potential solutions, he added.