Tuesday 16 Aug 2022 | 05:04 | SYDNEY
People | experts Stephen Grenville
Nonresident Fellow
Lowy Institute
Areas of ExpertiseRegional economic integration; Australia's economic relations with East Asia; international financial flows and the global financial architecture; financial sector development in East Asia

Sympathy for the banker

One of the curious characteristics of globalisation is that financial markets deliver much the same price judgments, despite widely differing circumstances between countries. So the Australian share market has mirrored US equities in responding to the US sub-prime problems and prospective

Indonesia glass is more than half full

In an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that Kevin Rudd's coming trip to Jakarta highlights our opportunity to ride the reformist wave there. Australian Financial Review, 2 June 2008, p. 23

Dealing with a 'normal' Indonesia

With Kevin Rudd visiting Indonesia next week, thoughts are turning to what 'deliverables' he might achieve. As I argue in the AFR today, the visit won’t revolutionise our relationship, but it is important to shift it a notch higher, to reflect Indonesia’s return to being a 'normal&#

Burma: Let offer aid, no strings attached

In this debate about Myanmar's reluctance to open itself up to outsiders, we may do better if we separate the offer of aid from the offer of aid experts. The latter have good intentions, but their own set of priorities, which may not coincide with those of the Burmese, either the regime or the

Past errors can't be rubbed out

In an article in the Australian Financial Review, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that too many proposals to deal with the sub-prime liquidity crisis are based on improving the wrong kind of liquidity. Australian Financial Review, 12 May 2008, p. 23

Grain prices: Who afraid of the US farm lobby?

While Canberra is focused on 2020, a much more pressing problem may go unaddressed: the world grain shortage. For all sorts of reasons (weather, higher living standards, inadequate investment in productive capacity, speculative activity, diversion of grains for bio-fuel production), there is a

BHP-Rio: What might China do?

It is surprising how little serious discussion there has been on the political economy of the proposed BHP take-over of Rio. The commercial negotiations wind their tortuous way forward, and the purchase of Rio shares by Chinalco is seen as a response by China Inc to the threat of an iron ore near-

Crisis reveals need for new regulatory mindset

In this opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville spells out the reforms needed in financial sector regulation. Australian Financial Review, 14 April 2008, p. 25

Overseas financial sector reform: Let join the debate

The Australian financial sector is generally in good shape, but the strains overseas will lead to a rethink of the 'international best  practice' rules for regulating and supervising the financial sector, and this will put pressure on us to adopt whatever international changes occur. The

Australia out of the EBRD

It was only a little news item with an obscure acronym, but Australia has decided to withdraw from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Some might ask why we ever joined in the first place, but its London headquarters was a very pleasant spot to send supernumerary bureaucrats

Central banks and capital flows

Sudden capital outflows were at the heart of the 1997-8 Asian Crisis. Ten years later, capital flows are back on the policy agenda, but in a very different context. The countries of East Asia are now getting more inflows than they can effectively absorb and the upward pressure on exchange rates is

Don't let the Jevons Paradox keep you up at night

There are many thing to fret about in life, but the impact of the Jevons Paradox on oil consumption isn't one of them. If hybrid cars are so spectacularly efficient that we all drive that much more, governments could easily fix this problem by taxing oil more. Come to think of it, even

Sovereign wealth funds only part of the debate

In this opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that Australia should push its own agenda on foreign investment. Australian Financial Review, 11 February 2008, p. 23

Sovereign wealth funds: What good for the goose...

We’ve commented before about the inconsistency of US economic guru Larry Summers, and we wonder afresh after his discussion of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) at the Davos World Economic Forum. He suspects that these SWF investors have 'mixed motives' which will divert them from the pure

Counter-terrorism costs and benefits

Funny thing. In other areas we, as a society, have no trouble finding a reasonably sensible balance between prevention and post-crisis response. On the roads, for instance, we know we could save lives by spending more money straightening curves, and engineers even do estimates of cost-per-life saved

Soeharto, 1921-2008

The death of former Indonesian president Soeharto will trigger another round of debate about his contribution. Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew, whose country was a major beneficiary in the decades of stability after Sukarno’s 'konfrontasi', acknowledged the overwhelmingly positive balance to

Was Soeharto responsible?

In response to my post of yesterday on the killings in Java and Bali under Soeharto, Peter McCawley writes: Stephen Grenville's report that the London Financial Times has carried a story that the number of deaths in Indonesia in late 1965 and early 1966 was 'anywhere between 500,

Judging Soeharto

One of the central elements is assessing Soeharto’s role in history is to judge the extent and causes of the 1965 killings in Java and Bali, and the degree to which Soeharto himself was responsible. The first part is being decided by a form of auction: by whoever dares to name a higher figure (

Climate change: Still more low-hanging fruit

Low-hanging fruit is everywhere, with the juciest in the tropical developing countries. In Jakarta, every business, small or large, and many middle-class households, have their own small electricity generator, to cope with the frequent brown-outs. If the PLN (the state-owner electricity generator

The sovereign wealth fund debate continues

Reader Paul Dickie has this to add to the debate, which started with my post here, and continued with responses from Kerry Duce and Peter McCawley: Investors and policy makers are now up at night worrying about sovereign wealth funds, those in-the-news investment funds controlled by

Sovereign wealth funds: Another reader response

 Reader Peter McCawley responds to my post on sovereign wealth funds in Australia: In his article about sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), Stephen Grenville suggests that it is important for Australian policy-makers and commentators to participate in the growing international debate about

Linking regionalism and globalism

A post-script to Malcolm Cook’s Incoming Government Brief on East Asian regionalism: for Australia, there are some important issues in the way the international economic architecture is evolving. In the region, it is clearly in our interests that more of the action goes to the East Asia Summit (

Sovereign wealth funds: A reader responds

Reader Kerry Duce responds to my post on sovereign wealth funds in Australia:  The article rightly played down sovereign wealth funds but to me raised much more important policy issues that are driving the current debate. The article correctly identifies that the name can obscure the

We must add voice to sovereign funds debate

In an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville writes that the growth of state-run investment giants raises issues for Australia. Australian Financial Review, 3 December 2007, p. 23

Sovereign wealth funds in Australia

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are the topic-du-jour in financial circles (especially among the big finance houses that want to earn fees from managing them), and it seems that every self-respecting country needs to have one. Some people even want to include Australia’s Future Fund, although it

Economic tough love at home and abroad

Consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but it certainly doesn’t constrain great ones. Larry Summers is former US Treasury Secretary, former Harvard President, one of the smartest economists of his generation, and was a member of Time Magazine’s 'committee to save the world'

Rethinking travel advisories

While the new government is thinking about the big things it might do on foreign policy, what about a little change that would be a good signal to our near-neighbour Indonesia: what about relaxing the travel advice that you should 'reconsider your need to travel' to Indonesia? This has not

More on China rise

Sam Roggeveen's short post on China, arguing it is no longer rising but is risen, brought this response from reader Julian Rowberry: China have risen a great deal.  They still have a great deal further to rise.  But the only conclusion I can gather from Petrochina is that their

When the going gets tough, rules start going

In this opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Stephen Grenville argues that there are some urgent lessons to be learned from the sub-prime problems. Australian Financial Review, 29 October 2007, p. 23

All talk and very little effectual global action

It's time for the IMF to admit its mistakes and trim back its mission creep, writes Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville in an opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review. Australian Financial Review, 15 October 2007, p. 27

Lack of liquidity is not the sub-prime problem

In this opinion piece, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that there is more at stake in the so-called liquidity crisis than its popular description might lead us to believe. Australian Financial Review, 2 October 2007, p. 25

G-20 the right tool to balance world books

In this article in the Australian Financial Review, Stephen Grenville writes that the sub-prime crisis in the United States could lead to a risky realignment of the global economy.Australian Financial Review, 10 September 2007, p. 25

Ten years after the Asian Crisis

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Dr Stephen Grenville looks back at the decade-old Asian financial crisis in search of insights on current vulnerabilities. 

Wednesday Lunch at Lowy - Dr Stephen Grenville presentation

On 11 July at the Wednesday Lunch at Lowy, Dr Stephen Grenville addressed the questions: As international capital flows back into the Asian region's economies, is the region now seeing old vulnerabilities re-emerge? And has the IMF learned the right lessons from history?His presentation was

RBA Grenville says Asia poor await recovery

In this opinion piece for the The Australian Financial Review, Stephen Grenville writes how crisis countries of 1997 are growing more slowly, investing less and running surpluses. The Australian Financial Review, 25 June 2006, p. 63

Asians must spend more on basic infrastructure

In this opinion piece for The Australian Financial Review, Stephen Grenville discusses how ASEAN nations are still hurting in the aftermath of 1997's economic crisis. The Australian Financial Review, 18 June 2007, p. 23

China tipping scales of global imbalance

In this opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review, Stephen Grenville argues that China's trade, currency and interest rate regimes are not sustainable.Australian Financial Review, 4 June 2007, p. 21

Deciding the 'property rights' of emissions

In this opinion piece, Stephen Grenville writes that the Business Council has been quick to outline its policy on carbon emissions, but we need to consider the equity implications of greenhouse emissions trading. Australian Financial Review, 21 May 2007, p. 23

IMF needs much more than a nip and tuck

In this opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review, Stephen Grenville argues that the International Monetary Fund is still a long way from being reformed. Australian Financial Review, 23 April 2007, p. 27

Loose use of liquidity just confuses the issue

In this opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that the concept of international liquidity is frequently used loosely, and in too many different ways, to be analytically useful. Australian Financial Review, 26 March 2007, p. 23

International liquidity

In this new paper in the Perspectives series, Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that the term 'liquidity' has too many meanings for it to be analytically useful

Thailand shows wisdom in restraining the herd

In this opinion piece, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Stephen Grenville argues that it is time to revise and apply an important lesson from the 1997 Asian crisis. Australian Financial Review, 12 February 2007, p. 22

Globalisation and capital flows

In this Lowy Institute Perspective, Stephen Grenville argues that volatile international capital flows are once again becoming a problem for emerging market economies.These countries would be in a stronger position to manage these flows if the “international financial architecture” – the rules

Macroeconomic policy challenges for New Zealand: monetary policy

New Zealand is a small open economy in a globalised world. The close linkages with international financial markets present challenges for domestic stabilisation policy, which are explored in this paper in the Lowy Institute Perspectives series. There may be lessons, too, for Australia as financial

Reform first requires recognition of a wrong

In this opinion piece, Stephen Grenville reflects on the saga of the International Monetary Fund and Indonesia and says the IMF misdiagnosed the problem from the start. Australian Financial Review, 16 October 2006, p. 26

Regional and global responses to the Asian crisis

In this Lowy Institute Perspective, Dr Stephen Grenville asks how economic policymaking changed as a result of the Asian crisis of 1997-8, in the countries affected, in the region, and at the global level. It is perhaps surprising how little change has occurred in the broad approach to economic