Coping with the Global Economy

Professors Videla and Estrada address alumni in Miami

25/01/2013

estradavidela_MEI1_IESE_072945

Miami was the setting for a special Continuous Education session, led by faculty members Pedro Videla and Javier Estrada, on January 23. During their presentations, the professors shed light on the latest global economic trends, as well as how companies and investors can make profitable investment decisions in today's context. Some 80 IESE alumni and invited guests attended.

Prof. Videla opened the session, describing how the global economy is growing slowly, despite some trouble spots (e.g. Europe and the United States). Growth continues to be driven primarily by different emerging economies in parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia. Using compelling data, he showed how the recession that began in 2008 has been one of the most protracted recessions in recent history, with growth in the U.S. occurring at a snail's pace - quite unlike the usual, relatively quick rebounds after most recessions in the U.S. over the past 30 years.

Sluggish job growth in the U.S. is harming Americans without college and high school degrees the most, he said. Many people have left the U.S. workforce all together and stopped looking for work. This has kept the official unemployment rate down at around 8 percent, instead of a high 12 percent unemployment, had they remained looking for work, he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Estrada discussed the impact of low interest rates and bond yields. With bond yields remaining lower than inflation rates, people are paying to have a loss in real terms - locking in small losses to avoid bigger ones. The stock markets, on the other hand, continue to offer better, albeit riskier, opportunities for investors to earn positive returns in real terms. As always, it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen, so he advised the audience to maintain a diversified investment portfolio - not only in stocks and bonds, but also in alternative instruments tied to commodities and real estate, for example.

Alumni and guests at the session reflected diverse companies such as Microsoft, L'Oreal, Citi, HJ Heinz, Telefonica, Santander, Volkswagen, UBS, Techint, Gamesa, Heineken and BBVA.