ISET

ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Oct
25

Borrow in Dollar or Lari? That Is the Question!

The Georgian lari’s depreciation against the dollar has been a pressing issue for everyone: economists and policymakers, students, housewives and even the good-for-nothing “birzhavik’s”. The weaker lari may be good news for Georgia’s export competitiveness and trade balance, yet it also pushes up the prices of anything we import. This may include some luxury items we can do without, but also many things that are absolutely essential for the Georgian economy: primary commodities, production inputs and machinery, foodstuffs and medicines. And by raising th...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3158
2 Comments
Write a Comment
Oct
15

The New Silk Road Chain is Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

Speaking at the opening of the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum, Georgia’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgi Kvirikashvili evoked electric circuitry as a metaphor to describe the future of rail and road connections between Europe and Asia. A graduate of the prestigious math and physics Komarov School, Kvirikashvili explained that a sequential circuit – a simple chain – crucially depends on each and every one of its links. A parallel circuit, on the other hand, allows to redirect electricity flows (or cargo and passengers) through alternative routes.  Th...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2342
0 Comments
Write a Comment
Sep
14

Georgia’s Currency is Much More Than the GEL/USD Exchange Rate

It is easy to understand what it means for an economy to be weak or strong. We know that a strong economy is characterized by low unemployment and high growth rates. Other desirable traits are, for example, low levels of poverty and income inequality, when all citizens enjoy reasonable standards of living.  Things are less clear when we think about our national currencies.  When designating currencies as “weak” or “strong”, we usually think of the exchange rate against the dollar or the euro. Having a “weak” currency sounds like a bad thing, wh...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
5638
3 Comments
Write a Comment
Sep
07

Un-Muzzling the Persian Panther: Where Georgia Stands to Gain from an Iran without Sanctions

There is a distant rumble in the regional economy – one with a particularly Persian flair. Iranian commerce and exports are about to enter an unrestricted world market as part of the deal negotiated between Western partners and Iranian leadership over its nuclear enrichment program. If Iran can meet the terms of the agreement, sanctions on its exports and imports will be lifted within the next year. When such a large energy-producing economy goes from near autarky to free trade, this is bound to send ripples through the world economy. Georgia and the Sou...
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2975
0 Comments
Write a Comment
Jul
24

Exclusive Interview with Professor Matthias Matthijs: Greece and the Eurozone Crisis

Today I’m sitting down for a conversation across a continent and an ocean. Our guest is Professor Matthias Matthijs of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is the editor of the renowned and timely book “The Future of the Euro,” and two-time recipient of the Max M. Fisher award for excellence in teaching at SAIS. We will be talking about the Eurozone crisis and the lessons other small-state economies and their policymakers can learn from Greece’s unfortunate situation. Q. Professor Matthijs, thank you for sitting down...
Tags:
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3817
0 Comments
Write a Comment

Our Partners