Daily insight on the hottest topics in the global economy, central bank policymaking and international trade flows, putting developments in their perspective for a China-oriented audience.
Without legally binding governance standards, the foundation of modern AI systems will remain dangerously susceptible to abuse. A multipronged approach drawing from diverse fields, including ethics, is needed to bring accountability to AI systems.
The West’s efforts to split the world into rival economic blocs will spark a new wave of global protectionism which will leave everyone poorer. Whether the West calls it de-risking or decoupling, the underlying impulse is still a desire to maintain US and European supremacy.
Emerging market stocks have had a lacklustre year so far compared with developed markets. However, the Chinese economy is still on the path to recovery, with policy easing looking increasingly likely, while growth risks loom for the US.
In the past few weeks, concerns about the unevenness and durability of China’s post-Covid recovery have turned to despair. This says more about inflated expectations at the beginning of the year than it does about the tepidness of China’s recovery.
In spite of enduring a period of falling earnings, forecasts of recession and rising geopolitical tensions, the technology sector is leading global returns. Drivers of performance include the US pursuing more tech investment, increased focus on supply chains and the explosion of interest in artificial intelligence.
Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, but it also arguably occupies a unique position in the global fight against it. While the financial sector will play a critical role in supporting countries on their journey towards greater sustainability, companies in the region also need access to know-how and technology.
An amendment to the Swiss constitution obliging the federal government to balance its budget brought down the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio. Given the size of the US national debt, similar legislation could ensure elected officials are more accountable to the citizens they represent.
Markets should be relieved Biden and Congressional Republicans have struck a deal ‘in principle’, but the debacle was wholly unnecessary. While the US dollar is not going to fade away, more crises like this one will erode its standing and ensure the yuan becomes more appealing.
The media frenzy around India overtaking China as the world’s most populous country has led to questions about what it means for the global agricultural market. The confluence of four distinct factors suggests India’s trade trajectory will diverge and that China’s standing is likely to remain unmatched.
Policy must be eased further to kick-start other growth engines and reignite investment and consumer confidence, as the external growth environment continues to look weak.
Japanese stocks have had many false dawns in recent years, but the latest upswing comes as several factors suggest this time may be different. Japan is also the only market in Asia big and liquid enough to offer an alternative to China.
China’s growing clout makes the Belt and Road Initiative and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ideal platforms to push for yuan internationalisation, aided by Hong Kong’s financial centre strengths.
All three major American agencies have neither changed their outlook nor altered their rating of the US, implying a near-zero probability of default – tantamount to a dereliction of duty.
Recent events suggest several major developing economies are eager to move away from the US dollar, but evidence of a widespread shift is lacking. If the US dollar is going to be dethroned, it will be because America falls behind in economic heft and competitiveness, not by geopolitical manoeuvring.
It is clear to everyone except US lawmakers that the latest stand-off over the US debt ceiling will have sweeping repercussions. Washington’s actions will do more than reputational damage to the US dollar, acting as a catalyst for badly needed global monetary reform.
The all-powerful American consumer will be tested in an uncertain economy – but the capital expenditure of companies may end up being the determining factor.
Any other economy would have been punished far more severely by markets for its politicians’ brazen willingness to play fast and loose with the nation’s financial system and creditworthiness, but US monetary hegemony gives its politicians too much leeway to endanger national and global stability.
Southeast Asia is becoming a vital alternative to Chinese supply chains and manufacturing. Its massive need for renewable energy, coupled with huge reserves of critical minerals and resources, also means huge opportunities
Pilot programmes, full launches and other initiatives by China, Nigeria, Japan and Singapore show the appeal of central bank digital currencies outside the West. The impact of digital currencies on African and Asian economies will be significant as they provide greater convenience, lower transaction fees and more.
‘Godfather of AI’ Geoffrey Hinton has raised the heat on the AI debate amid fears over godlike technology. But AI’s benefits far outweigh the risks – as long as we develop protocols and rules to ensure its ethical use.
Questions about global financial risks and the unipolar dollar system should be high on the G7 and G20 summit agendas, but they are not.
Businesses might use similar ‘de-risking’ rhetoric to some governments, but their priorities are different as they try to stay connected to a critical market. Many foreign firms already derive a large part of their revenue from China, and the country’s infrastructure lets them produce at scale and deliver on time.
China’s domestic consumption-led recovery means that the spillover effects on the rest of the world are less pronounced. The bleak US outlook has put China’s performance under close scrutiny, and Western business expectations are running ahead of reality.
Reform of global economic governance has been slow amid US hegemony and industrial subsidies. China is now forging a better path with new banks and initiatives that secure the voices of the majority.
Sustained US-China tensions and other internal and external challenges have pushed South Korea to speed up diversifying its trade and investment. Despite significant hurdles to doing business, India has emerged as an attractive destination for Korean firms such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai.
De-dollarisation is gaining momentum as more countries voice concerns about the US currency’s dominance in the global financial system and its use as a tool for exerting influence.
The Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific will leverage lending on mutual guarantees, a first for a multilateral development bank, boosting the pot for climate finance.
The convergence of AI and cryptocurrency could bring out each other’s strengths and drive the next generation of the internet. This is a dynamic, rapidly evolving field with enormous potential for growth and innovation for investors and entrepreneurs.
While it is true that losses in real estate markets led to a global crash in 2008, recent concerns about US commercial property may be misplaced. Other shocks, such as the outcome to the game of chicken over the US debt ceiling and the prospect of Trump as president, could prove more damaging.