Wednesday, February 19, 2020

China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia

Its financial markets may be even more dangerous than its wildlife markets.

By Walter Russell Mead

Feb. 3, 2020

A Chinese woman wears a protective mask in Beijing, Feb. 3.Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The mighty Chinese juggernaut has been humbled this week, apparently by a species-hopping bat virus. While Chinese authorities struggle to control the epidemic and restart their economy, a world that has grown accustomed to contemplating China’s inexorable rise was reminded that nothing, not even Beijing’s power, can be taken for granted.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Commentary: How much damage will COVID-19 inflict on China’s economy?

The key factor in assessing the economic impact of the coronavirus will not be the outbreak's range or severity, but rather its duration, says an observer.
By Zhang Jun

15 Feb 2020 

SHANGHAI: Just five days before the Chinese New Year, the authorities in Beijing finally declared the coronavirus epidemic that originated in Wuhan to be a major public health emergency.

Because Wuhan’s municipal government had initially withheld information and failed to control the virus effectively, about 5 million residents and temporary workers left the city for the Lunar New Year holidays before the city was officially closed off on Jan 23.

As a result, the virus spread rapidly throughout China and beyond, leading to the current high-profile international health emergency.

Unsurprisingly, China’s economy is slowing down. The services sector, which includes retail, tourism, hotels, and transportation, and accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP, is suffering severely.

Disruption in this sector will in turn affect manufacturing. And growing international concern at the continued spread of the virus might further strain trade and limit the movement of people.

But the key question is whether we believe it will last longer.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

By 2050, 90 countries will have an ageing population. Here’s why such demographic figures matter

By Joseph Chamie

12 February, 2020

Governments, businesses and investors find regular demographic reviews of the world population to be useful as considerable variations exist across regions – rich and poor, young and old, good health care or not, secure climates or not – that create enormous push-pull forces behind increased international migration flows.

An understanding of world population levels, trends and projections constitutes an essential ingredient in strategic planning, policy development and programme implementation for addressing global challenges and emerging issues.

The world population now stands at 7.8 billion inhabitants, having reached the 7 billion milestone in 2011.

Demographers expect the 8 billion milestone in 2023, with global population projected to reach 9 billion by 2037 and 10 billion by 2056. This growth is slightly faster than projections from just a few years ago.

Airbus unveils 'blended wing body' plane design after secret flight tests

A view of models of Airbus' MAVERIC and E-Fan X aircraft at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

11 February, 2020

SINGAPORE - Airbus on Tuesday unveiled a curvaceous aircraft design that blends wing and body, designed to slash carbon emissions by some 20%.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Commentary: Novel coronavirus outbreak weighs heavily on global economy

The novel coronavirus is testing the robustness of global supply chains, says the Financial Times’ Chris Giles.
By Chris Giles

10 Feb 2020

LONDON: Two weeks after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, carmakers began to halt production lines on every continent as they ran short of a specialised paint pigment that allowed their cars to glisten.

It was manufactured in just one factory near the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

Companies in complex manufacturing industries vowed never to be so geographically exposed again.

But a week after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency, the robustness of global supply chains is once more being tested.

Fiat Chrysler warned this week that one of its European plants could be forced to halt production within a fortnight and Chinese copper traders have delayed imports of the commodity from Chile to Nigeria, highlighting how the economic consequences of the outbreak are extending worldwide.

The Coronavirus and Xi Jinping’s Worldview

Feb 8, 2020 

Kevin Rudd
No matter how bad the coronavirus epidemic gets, the crisis will not change how China is governed under President Xi Jinping. Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has strengthened the Communist Party's hold on power and developed a comprehensive national agenda from which all else – including domestic crisis management – must follow.

MUNICH – The coronavirus crisis represents the single biggest challenge for Xi Jinping since he became general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012. Individuals and families across China are living in fear. Multiple Chinese provinces are under virtual lockdown. The virus has brought significant parts of the economy to a grinding halt, as firms instruct their employees to work from home. Politically, the blame game bounces between local authorities in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and the central government in Beijing, with both sides mindful of the eternal principle of Chinese politics: When disaster strikes, someone must be seen to pay the price.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Commentary: Wuhan virus compounds challenges facing China

The Year of the Rat looks set to get off on a rocky start, says the Financial Times' James Kynge.
By James Kynge 

23 Jan 2020

HONG KONG: The “year of the pig” has gone from bad to worse for the Chinese Communist party and China’s President Xi Jinping.

Months of vituperative protests in Hong Kong and a landslide election in Taiwan have been followed by the scourge of a deadly SARS-like virus.

So far, there is little cause to expect the year of the rat, which starts on Saturday (Jan 25), will turn out any better.

The outbreak of viral pneumonia, which has spread from mainland China to Japan, Macau, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US, might seem like mere bad luck.

But allegations of official incompetence and cover-ups are threatening to besmirch the Communist party’s image.