Bedrijfs­wetenschappen en Economie

Profcast #49 | Elsa Leromain

about international trade, global shocks and inflation

In our podcast-series ‘Profcast’, we talk with the professors of the Faculty of Business and Economics. This week, our guest is Elsa Leromain.

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The international trade climate has been unstable the past few years, to say the least. Just think of Brexit, the pandemic, the Ukraine war, trade relations between China and the US. According to Prof. Leromain, all these events are, in a sense, intertwined and impact us all in a way.

Elsa: "All these events, or 'shocks', have created a complex web of economic and political impacts, affecting global trade dynamics, supply chains, and market stability. 

Brexit for instance still has ongoing effects today, including currency fluctuations, price increases due to the depreciation of the pound, and disruptions in supply chains. The Ukraine-Russia war also had a substantial global impact on international trade. It disrupted Ukraine's exports, caused shortages in agricultural products, and triggered sanctions affecting trade between Western countries and Russia. These events led to a significant reduction in global trade, impacting specific products and causing fluctuations in global financial markets."

This has had quite a big impact on inflation... 

Elsa “All these shocks have long-lasting, global effects, and they accumulate on top of each other. The first big inflation in the UK was due to the referendum. Then there were the trade barriers, and Covid-19, now the war in Ukraine…

I think it's unlikely that there is going to be no inflation at all, meaning no changes in prices for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we will eventually see a reduction in inflation, but saying that there will be none is hard, because there truly was a big paradigm change in the past few years."

Prof Leromain has had a quite an international career. She worked in Paris, London and now here, in Antwerp.

Elsa: “I would definitely recommend anyone to have these kinds of international experiences. You get to learn from lots of different people, and work in a dynamic, multicultural environment. This ultimately gives you a broader mindset.

There are of course always challenges to working in a different country. Trying to learn Dutch for instance… I would say my favorite word so far is ‘alez’. It has a lot of suggestive meaning.”