BREAKING the ice. U.S. President Donald Trump describes his first phone call with China’s President Xi as a “very, very good conversation”, and that they are in the process of ‘getting along very well” . . .
HONG KONG – Hong Kong and Shenzhen are to jointly develop a 97-acre site at Lok Ma Chau, on the Hong Kong-China border, into an innovation and technology park focussing on robotics, biopharmaceuticals, smart cities and fintech.
POLITICAL risks in emerging countries are higher than ever, driven by social discontent and heightened security concerns, says credit insurer Coface, in as assessment of the outlook for 2017 . . .
THE Chinese Government implemented new restrictions on outbound investments and further tightened capital outflow from China at the end of 2016 and seems likely to formalise these . .
FROM self-drive cars to fintech and so much in-between, including biomed, data storage and robotics, Singapore has set the pace in the testing and commercialising of new technologies . . .
VICTOR FUNG, one of Asia's best-known internationalists, says the economy has stopped responding to monetary stimulus, and that it is time to go back to fundamentals to stimulate manufacturing and cross-border trade. Expanded aggregate demand has to come from the developing economies . . .
THE CHALLENGE is for India to meet massive unmet needs for basic services – water, sanitation, energy, healthcare — and to address the red tape that makes it hard to do business . . .
AMONG professional economists, Pippa Malmgren is a visionary outlier. Her stated tactic is to shift the language of economics from maths to plain English, because she says, people are afraid of economics . . .
THE prospect of exponential growth in e-commerce in Indonesia has seen a huge influx of capital from private equity groups and large
established companies . . .
IN today’s market, big data can forecast probable demand before orders come in, and traders can make smaller and smaller runs to serve niche markets – in retail parlance, the ‘long tail’. The supply chain has become more complex and nuanced, and local 3D manufacturing will come into its own as individual markets become smaller . . .
CHINA is rolling out a US$630 billion infrastructure budget over three years. Japan has just committed US$61 billion to tourism infrastructure. The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore and Vietnam are committing to mega-projects. India is to lift infrastructure spending by 23%. In the US, both Presidential candidates are pledging hundreds of billions of dollars to infrastructure. Old-fashioned pump-priming is seen as the new economic panacea . . .
WHERE NOW for Hong Kong? China is willing to help when it comes to Hong Kong’s economy, but there is a direct link, says business, between economic growth and basic rights, freedoms and rule of law. Take these away and Hong Kong becomes just another Chinese city . . .
TSAI ING-WEN faces a number of domestic economic and social challenges — and a hostile Communist Party leadership in China determined that she will be a one-term President . . .
IN a climate of low global growth and low inflation, some of Asia’s ‘surplus’ currencies may find it more difficult to resist appreciation pressures as they seek to deploy their excess savings abroad
THE Coface global average of country ratings, which measure the average company credit risk in 160 countries, is at a peak not seen since the early 2000s, when the ratings were first created.
Reason 1: Sluggish world economic growth — The global economy remains stuck in a “Japanese-style” trap of sluggish growth, with few improvements even likely in 2017, which Coface believes may be the sixth year in which the global economy grows below 3%. Continuously sluggish global growth has been and is expected to continue to dampen business investment and consumer spending sentiment, weighing on demand.
Reason 2: Low world inflation — Consumer prices worldwide on average are expected to increase only 2.8% this year and by 3.0% in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This would probably reduce the pricing power of companies, squeezing profit margins.
Reason 3: Sluggish energy and metal price recovery — While the rise in the price of a barrel of oil between February and June 2016 (from less than US$30 to around US$50) offers hopes to the economies that are not very
export-diversified, the price remains 55% below that of June 2014 and does not enable companies to increase profitability in this sector worldwide.
“WE have to be careful not to slip into accidental confrontation,” says Pippa Malmgren. “Right now, opposing fighter jets and spy planes are flying within 20 feet of each other. We could have an accident very
Malmgren, a respected consultant to governments and business, is former policy adviser to U.S. President, George W Bush. She lists some of the key geopolitical risks she sees today – the rise of China; breakup of the European Union; inflation; and the outcome of the US election . . .