Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Mark Thirlwell

One of Australia’s leading commentators on the international economy, Mark has been tracking global economic trends since he joined the Bank of England’s International Divisions in 1990 where he worked as part of the Whitehall Economists Subgroup, coordinating the forecasting of major emerging markets across the Bank, Treasury, the FCO and other stakeholders. Mark subsequently joined J P Morgan as a Vice President in Economic Research with responsibility for Central Europe. Before joining Lowy, he served as Senior Economist at Australia’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, working on sovereign risk with a particular focus on East Asia. Mark’s work at Lowy concentrated on the forces shaping globalisation. He has written major papers on the Indian economy, the state of the international trading system and the future of globalisation. Recent work has included publications on the post-crisis world economy, geo-economics and global governance, with the latter including participation in Think-20. Mark has degrees in economics from Cambridge and Oxford Universities and a postgraduate qualification in applied finance from Macquarie University.

Articles by Mark Thirlwell (19)

  • Farewell to my own turbulent decade

    When I joined the Lowy Institute a little more than a decade ago, the price of iron ore was below A$30 per tonne; the Australian dollar was worth around US$0.65; the cash rate stood at 4.75%, a little way into a gradual tightening phase that would take it up to 7.25% by early March 2008; Australia's GDP per capita was still a bit below 70% of US levels; and less than 9% of our exports went to a Chinese economy, which back then had an overall GDP of about US$1.6 trillion.  A bit more than 10 yea
  • In 100 words: The most important issue of this campaign

    Short posts from Lowy Institute experts on what they regard as the most important international policy issue of this campaign. See the Election Interpreter 2013 archive for the whole series. How we plan to steer the Australian economy and the expectations that help shape it between the Scylla of unfounded complacency and the Charybdis of excessive pessimism. Sometimes we seem to suffer from a kind of economic bi-polar disorder.
  • Farewell, consensus future?

    Back in 2010, I wrote a piece called Our Consensus Future, which tried to set out what I thought represented a fairly broad consensus forecast for the global economy over the medium term. It was a view of the world underpinned by the idea of the Great Convergence, and which was reflected in range of publications and policies, including the recent Asian Century White Paper.
  • A more expensive Chinese lunch for Australia?

    Last week, the IMF made its contribution to the ongoing debate over Chinese economic performance. The growth forecasts included in the Fund's latest Article IV Staff Report on China – which see growth this year at around 7.75% and at 7.7% in 2014 – are right up at the optimistic end of current forecasts, most of which see the government struggling to hit its 7.5% target this year.
  • Global economy: Experimental fallout

    The global economy is in the midst of an unprecedented macroeconomic policy experiment based on unconventional monetary policy marked by a combination of high public debt, near-zero interest rates and aggressive quantitative easing. As a recent IMF policy assessment pointed out, the initial deployment of those policies appears to have been quite successful in restoring market functioning and reducing tail risks.
  • A new WTO boss: Brazil 1-0 Mexico

    So Brazil has triumphed over Mexico in the contest to provide the next Director-General of the WTO. Roberto Azevedo (pictured) beat Herminio Blanco to take over from Pascal Lamy, who will step down on 31 August after serving two terms as DG. Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff declared that Azevedo's win was 'not a victory for Brazil, nor for a group of countries, but a victory for the World Trade Organization.' But as I noted last week, there are several possible ways to characterise the result:
  • Can a new DG save the WTO?

    And then there were two. The process of selecting a new Director-General for the WTO is heading to a conclusion, with the third and final round of consultations with members scheduled to start today. After the previous two rounds, the original nine-person shortlist has been whittled down to just two candidates: Mexico's Herminio Blanco and Brazil's Roberto Azevedo, meaning that a Latin American will get the top job for the first time. None of Asia's candidates, including Indonesia's Mari Pangest
  • Thatcherism: Up North and Down Under

    A quick addendum to my earlier post. In that piece, the penultimate para is my best go at an objective (or at least as close as I can manage) assessment of the economic legacy of Thatcherism. It's also a classic economist's two-hander. My own personal opinions on Thatcher's legacy have been shaped both by where I grew up and by where I live now. I did a fair bit of my growing up in what used to be a steel town in the Northeast of England.