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SPI Management Newsletter 23.06.23

U.S.-India Partnership Ushers New Era with Potential for Expanded Tech and Defense Deals

This week marked a significant advancement in U.S.-India relations as President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a series of transformative technology and defense deals during Modi's state visit. Experts from various fields are expressing optimism about this strengthened bond, anticipating it to unlock further collaboration and yield even more accords in the future.

Addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress, Modi underscored the criticality of the U.S.-India partnership not only for the two nations but also for global stability. He emphasized that when the two nations work hand-in-hand on sectors like semiconductors and critical minerals, it contributes to enhancing the diversity, resilience, and reliability of global supply chains. He poignantly pointed out how the U.S.-India relationship in the defense sector has transformed from being practically non-existent at the turn of the century to the U.S. becoming one of India's most important defense partners today.

In a significant development, the nations announced deals including the local production of General Electric F414 jet engines in India, and provisions for repairing U.S. Navy ships in Indian shipyards. These agreements underline a stronger defense partnership between the two nations. However, it's important to note that the nature of U.S.-India relations is unlike traditional ally relationships. Instead, the two countries are equal partners with mutual strategic interests.

An exciting focus area for future collaboration is technology. As the U.S. actively pursues "friend-shoring", a strategic move to diversify away from China and tap into the potential of other countries in the region, the stage is set for the U.S. and India to forge ahead in technology agreements. They have already committed to joint initiatives in space, artificial intelligence, and the securing of resilient critical minerals supply chains, laying the groundwork for future deals. The future of U.S.-India relations seems to hold tremendous potential, with Modi's state visit serving as a significant step forward in this journey.

BoE's Aggressive Rate Hike to Curb Inflation

The Bank of England (BoE) has increased its key interest rate by 0.5%, making it 5%, its highest level since April 2008. This bold step is in response to the persistently high inflation in the UK, the highest among the G7 nations. This aggressive rate hike exceeds recent adjustments by other central banks, sparking concerns of a potential UK recession. While other economies have also experienced stubborn inflation, the UK’s inflation rate has been notably resilient. Despite this, economists and investors initially anticipated a more modest quarter-point rate increase from the BoE.

The actions taken by the BoE indicate that if inflation continues to remain high, there may be additional rate increases in the coming months. Despite predictions of a winter recession, the BoE had raised growth forecasts in May, as the economy proved more resilient than expected. However, rising borrowing costs coupled with high energy and food prices could potentially push the UK into an economic contraction.

Turkey's Central Bank Raises Interest Rates Amid Inflation Woes

In an attempt to curb inflation, Turkey's central bank significantly increased its interest rates to 15% on Thursday, marking its first rise since 2021. The rate hike represents a policy reversal under the country's new economic leadership, as the benchmark one-week repo rate jumped from its previous low of 8.5%.

However, this move falls short of investor and economic experts' expectations, who advocated for an interest rate above the country's current inflation rate of 39%. Following the announcement, the Turkish Lira experienced a more than 4% decline against the U.S. dollar, with yields on Turkey's foreign bonds escalating as investors pulled back.

The rate adjustment follows a reshuffling of Turkish economic leaders by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a narrow re-election victory amid a cost-of-living crisis. In contrast to common global practice, Erdogan had previously insisted on reducing interest rates despite high inflation, asserting this would stimulate economic growth and alleviate inflation. The more modest interest rate hike leaves doubts about the duration of this cycle, with expectations of ongoing pressure on the Turkish Lira.

Adapted from WSJ, FT, NYT, Reuters, Al Jazeera

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