Syrian refugee crisis has economists sharpening their pencils

Global turmoil and geopolitics can throw a spanner into the works for investors – but one economist has put a price tag on it

Can you put a price on the effects of geopolitics? For one chief economist, it is $25.

“You have relatively limited ability to forecast that with any accuracy,” says Martin Murenbeeld, chief economist, Dundee Capital Markets. “We have geopolitics as a factor, and we have allowed at least $25 in the price for geopolitics.”

That number may seem arbitrary to some, but for Murenbeeld, it makes sense once the market settles itself.

“You may say, ‘only $25?’ but if gold goes up $100, but then it comes down,” he says, “it averages out to be $25. But you’ve got other problems to consider too.”

Those other problems include quantitative easing around the world, the U.S. economy “not firing” and a presidential debate on whether the greenback should go down in value.

“This was an issue to Mitt Romney when he wanted to force the U.S. dollar lower,” Murenbeeld told WP, “as the lower dollar would help the economy. But there remains the very fundamental problem of global debt levels being high.”

The Syrian refugee crisis has expanded beyond the borders of Europe, as both Canada and the U.S. have committed to taking in thousands of refugees.

While some critics fear it will present too much of an economic burden, others – like Matthew La Corte, a research associate at the Niskanen Center – sees the long-run costs being neutral, and if anything, should trigger a “modest economic stimulus.”