Monday, 30 January 2012



Bloomberg News

Business Week, January 30, 2012

China held off on a reduction in bank reserve requirements that some economists had predicted would come before a week-long holiday ending Jan. 28, suggesting officials are cautious on more monetary easing.

Barclays Capital Asia Ltd., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Industrial Bank Co. said this month that ratios were likely to fall ahead of the Lunar New Year festival, which boosts demand for cash. The central bank instead used reverse-repurchase contracts to add money to the financial system.

Premier Wen Jiabao seeks to steer the world’s second- biggest economy through a property market slowdown and the weakest export growth since 2009 without re-inflating asset bubbles or driving up consumer prices. The central bank has left benchmark interest rates unchanged for the past six months, while making a single cut to reserve requirements, the first since 2008, that became effective in December.

“The central bank aims to ease policies prudently and pace loan growth at the beginning of the year so as to avoid a replay of the credit explosion in 2009 and 2010 and prevent inflation from rebounding,” said Lu Zhengwei, a Shanghai-based economist at Industrial Bank. Lu now sees a reserve-ratio cut in February to add liquidity and spur growth after the reverse-repurchase contracts expire.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 29 January 2012


The Sunday Times SL


The Synday Times, January 29, 2012

Sri Lanka is the world’s second-best performing economy in the world after China, we are told. According to Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, an IMF study has showed that Sri Lanka was the second-best performing economy in the world, growing at a rate of over 8 %. He also told reporters this week that Sri Lanka is growing this year by 8 % when other countries have reduced growth rates.

However many economists, following these comments, have been ‘Googling’ the web but unable to trace any such report or study from the International Monetary Fund. IMF officials here were also unable to provide any clues to this so-called study.

On the face of it however, Sri Lanka’s GDP growth is comparable to the best in the world. According to the tradingeconomics website (, China, which by 2050 will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, grew by 8.9 % in 2011 and India by 6.9 %. Others – mostly Sri Lanka’s main buyers of garments and other products – slowed down considerably with Canada’s growth being 3.4%, Germany-Australia-France in the 2 to 2.5% range while the US grew by 1.5 % and the UK by a marginal 0.7%.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 28 January 2012


The Japan Times


Kevin Rafferty

The Japan Times, January 28, 2012

HONG KONG — How much does the United States depend on China's willingness to buy U.S. treasuries to pay for American profligacy? How much do spendthrift Americans rely on China to feed their greedy habit for cheap consumer goods? If you were to ask the average American, and probably the average world-aware Chinese, you would probably get a high number, say 40 or 50 percent — surely not below 20 percent.

The correct answers are so low as to make you blink. China, including Hong Kong, holds about 7.5 percent of U.S. treasuries totaling $14 trillion, according to calculations based on U.S. Treasury reports. China's share of U.S. consumption expenditure is just 2.7 percent based on "Made in China" imports. If you think that's low, the actual figure is lower, a paltry 1.2 percent if you strip out the value of the work done in the U.S. to put "Chinese" goods on American shop shelves.

These figures should make politicians and opinion-makers think hard about the implications of the way in which they approach economic relationships. The lessons are that they need to be more careful about slinging mud about unfair trade practices or demanding protection.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 27 January 2012


BBC_WorldNews_Stack_Rev_RGB [Converted]


The Philippines has confirmed that it is discussing ways to "maximise" defence ties with the US amid territorial disputes in the region.

BBC News, January 27, 2012

In a statement, the foreign affairs secretary cited the need for more joint military exercises to protect national interests.

The statement was in response to a Washington Post story alleging a possible return of US bases.

Officials are currently in Washington discussing defence issues.

The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that officials were possibly in the early stages of negotiating the return of US bases to the country, "the latest in a series of strategic moves aimed at China".

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, however, did not address the issue of China in his statement.

"It is to our definite advantage to be exploring how to maximise our treaty alliance with the United States in ways that would be mutually acceptable and beneficial," he said.

He added that in the event of possible threats to national interest, "in terms of, say, territorial disputes", a "minimum credible defence" was needed in addition to dealing with the issues diplomatically.

(...)  [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 26 January 2012




Nick Zieminski

Reuters, January 26, 2012

Slowing growth in China is emerging as a concern in some of this quarter's earnings reports from U.S. multinationals that have long relied on strong growth in China and other emerging markets to drive their profits.

Though China's economic growth is still well above that in other economies, its efforts to cool that growth -- for example, by restricting credit -- are now translating into weaker sales at some U.S. companies that do business there.

The trend is not yet widespread and companies are quick to stress the many advantages of China's market, but the commentary this earnings season has taken a more cautious tone than in the past.
3M Co's Asia-Pacific sales rose 3 percent in the latest quarter, weaker than in recent results, reflecting softer demand in China.

"The Chinese government successfully slowed activity to stem inflation," 3M Chief George Buckley said on a conference call with analysts. "Our China team anticipate continued below trend growth in the first half of 2012."

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 25 January 2012




Toru Fujioka, Andy Sharp and Eleanor Warnock

Bloomberg, January 25, 2012

Japan’s first annual trade gap since 1980, driven by an energy-import surge as nuclear plants shut down and by a shift of manufacturing overseas, threatens to undermine the nation’s status as the world’s largest creditor.

A third straight monthly merchandise trade deficit in December capped an annual shortfall of 2.49 trillion yen ($32 billion), the finance ministry said in Tokyo today. The data reflect the impact of the record earthquake in March, which sparked a nuclear crisis that shut most reactors, as well as longer-term shifts such as Nissan Motor Co.’s decision to move some production to lower-cost Thailand.

“This is more than hollowing out -- the government hasn’t found any solutions to electricity and at this point I don’t see that we’re going to have nuclear power back again,” said Masaaki Kanno, chief economist in Tokyo at JPMorgan Securities Japan Co. The deficit will “expand in coming years,” he said.

Money flowing out through trade may erode investors’confidence that Japan’s creditor status makes it a haven for investment, complicating the government’s efforts to manage the world’s largest public debt. Policy makers have said the country’s shrinking population means it will need to turn increasingly to foreign investors to buy its bonds.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


The Telegraph


Kim Jong-nam, the oldest son of North Korea's late leader, is being protected by China as a fallback option if the regime of his half-brother, Kim Jong-un, collapses.

Julian Ryall

The Telegraph, January 24, 2011

The elder Kim, who lives in exile in Beijing and Macao, said in interviews for a book released on January 20 that he feels "suffocated" in the Chinese capital because he is never alone.

"If there is trouble anywhere near him, he said that suddenly a number of people appear around him," said Yoji Gomi, a journalist and author of 'My Father, Kim Jong-il, and I: Kim Jong-nam's Exclusive Confession'.

"Even when nothing is happening, he feels their presence," Gomi added. "He said he does not know if he is being protected or monitored, but it is always like that."

It appears that China is taking care of him for its own aims, he added.

"Having the son of the former leader of a neighbouring country under their protection could be a political card that the Chinese could use at some time in the future," he said.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 23 January 2012


Forbes India


The time is right for India to make dramatic and continuous improvements in health, education and public services to keep pace with the high GDP growth rate

N. S. Ramnath and Udit Misra

Forbes India, January 23, 2012

In the late 1950s, Ved Mehta, a blind writer from Oxford, spent a summer in India, a good part of it going around the country with the poet Dom Moraes. One of the high points of his trip was a meeting with the then prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. He had lunch with Nehru and his family (his daughter Indira Gandhi and his ‘two quiet grandsons in their teens’) and a long chat later on. His account of that conversation—published in a book Walking the Indian Streets—is marked by youthful optimism. “I am left feeling that the problems we are facing are of epic proportions, and that men who wish to do their duty must measure up to the heroic possibilities. While heroism seems to be playing out in the West, it is just beginning in the East.”

Mehta was not the only one to see the heroic possibilities those days. India seemed to be a huge canvas and a giant laboratory—coaxing people to think big. It was in this spirit that Milton Friedman, in 1955, wrote a memo at the invitation of the Indian government. “The great untapped resource of technical and scientific knowledge available to India for the taking is the economic equivalent of the untapped continent available to the United States 150 years ago,” he wrote and went on to prescribe policies that would yield a higher growth rate, and to criticise the path India seemed to be taking.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Taipei Times



Taipei Times, January 22, 2012

China’s economy will slow this year, prompting policymakers to reduce interest rates and loosen lending restrictions, said Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the 2008 financial crisis.

“It’s going to be a significant growth slowdown this year,” Roubini, co-founder of Roubini Global Economics LLC, said in a Bloomberg TV interview yesterday.

“Housing is deflating. Export growth is slowing down. If they don’t do something — stimulus in monetary and fiscal credit — the risk is that the growth will slow down well below 8 percent,” he said.

China’s GDP increased 9.2 percent last year, matching the slowest pace since 2002, as the housing market cooled and the European debt crisis eroded export demand.

The central bank cut the amount banks must keep in reserve last month for the first time in three years and the government has allowed its five biggest banks to boost first-quarter lending and may relax capital requirements, people with knowledge of the matter said this week.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 21 January 2012


The Wahington Post


Associated Press

The Washington Post, January 21, 2012

BEIJING — Caving to public pressure, Beijing environmental authorities started releasing more detailed air quality data Saturday that may better reflect how bad the Chinese capital’s air pollution is.
The initial measurements were low on a day where you could see blue sky. After a week of smothering smog, the skies over the city were being cleared by a north wind.

The readings of PM2.5 — particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size or about 1/30th the average width of a human hair — were being posted on Beijing’s environmental monitoring center’s website. Such small particulates can penetrate deep into the lungs, so measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods.

It is the first time Beijing has publicly revealed PM2.5 data and follows a clamor of calls by citizens on social networking sites tired of breathing in gray and yellow air. The U.S. Embassy measures PM2.5 from a device on its rooftop and releases the results, and some residents have even tested the air around their neighborhoods and posted the results online.

Beijing is releasing hourly readings of PM2.5 that are taken from one monitoring site about 4 miles (7 kilometers) west of Tiananmen Square, the monitoring center’s website said Saturday. It said the data was for research purposes and the public should only use it as a reference.

The reading at noon Saturday was 0.015 mg/m3, which would be classed as “good” for a 24-hour exposure at that level, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. The U.S. Embassy reading taken from its site on the eastern edge of downtown Beijing said its noon reading was “moderate.” Its readings are posted on Twitter.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 20 January 2012


Business Espectator logo


Andrew Shearer

Business Spectator, January 20, 2012

Dr Ken Henry and his team are busy preparing the federal government's White Paper on 'Australia in the Asian Century', due to be released in the middle of this year.

In Australian academic, business and media circles there is breathless excitement about the rise of China (and the US decline they assume as its inevitable corollary). But one of the points I would make to the White Paper team is that it would be a major error to write out the US (as the White Paper's title seems to imply), and that we may yet prove to be living in the Asia Pacific century, or indeed the Indo-Pacific century.

Following President Obama's November visit and his historic address to the Australian parliament, a number of influential academic, business and political figures expressed concern about moves (supported by both the major parties) to further strengthen the Australia-US alliance.

In essence, their concern was that stationing a relatively small number of US Marines in Australia's north for half the year might feed the concerns of our largest trading partner that we are part of a US-led strategy to 'contain' it.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Asia Sentinel


The Wukan event reveals the mounting challenges to China’s authoritarian resilience

Asia Sentinel, January 19, 2012

During the last few weeks of December, the Guangdong village of Wukan, located some 200 miles northeast of Hong Kong, earned a place in the history books. Outraged by the death of a local leader in police custody following angry protests against land grabbing and corruption, villagers drove out Communist Party and government officials, refusing to yield unless their demands were met.

In a sense, there is nothing unique about the Wukan event – one of the tens of thousands taking place in China – but it catches in a microcosm multiple elements of China’s evolving drama and is a serious reminder of the widening gap between the CCP and the people. As the protests spread to other towns and with the whole world watching, the party had no choice but to negotiate a compromise and Guangdong’s reform-minded Party Secretary Wang Yang, dispatched his immediate deputy to reach an agreement with elected protest leaders.

After a deal was reached, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing declared: “We can no longer sacrifice farmers’ land ownership right to reduce urbanization and industrialization costs.” The prime minister was touching a raw nerve in the system. According to recent estimates, land grabbing may generate 40 percent of local government incomes, in addition to being a major source of corruption. The problem has grown more serious as construction has expanded to levels rarely seen anywhere in the world. Recent estimates put China’s property construction at 13 percent of GDP.

As a consequence, land prices have been rocketing, as developers have acquired ever more land for investments, creating their own land banks. However, during the last few months the bubble has begun to burst as housing and land prices have fallen, leaving land auctions without bids. For local government, a major source of income is threatening to dry up.

In sum, the Wukan incident and the ad hoc manner in which “mass incidents” are handled raise fundamental questions about accountability and governance.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


South China Morning Post


Tom Holland

South China Morning Post, January 18, 2012

All the attention yesterday was focused on the modest slowdown in the mainland's economic growth rate towards the end of last year

But dig a little deeper and there was far more interesting information to be found in the slew of economic data released by Beijing.

Despite the reams of comment and analysis devoted to the mainland's headline figure, in truth the moderation in growth to an 8.9 per cent rate in the fourth quarter of last year from 9.1 per cent in the third quarter doesn't tell us much.

Some slowdown in the year-on-year numbers was only to be expected given the wilting demand for China's exports in Europe and the United States, coupled with Beijing's relatively tight monetary stance and the government's determination to bring down property prices.

But don't read too much into it. The authorities have already begun easing policy, and according to the economists at Goldman Sachs, growth actually accelerated towards the end of the year on a quarter-on-quarter basis, rising to an annualised 9.1 per cent rate from 8.5 per cent in the previous quarter.

In other words, the numbers released yesterday don't tell us whether the mainland economy is slowing or not.

But they do tell us other things. For example, they tell us there is no sign that the long-awaited rebalancing of the economy away from investment and towards private consumption is under way.

That might sound like a strange assertion, given that we are constantly being bombarded by stories of slowing construction and of booming consumer demand.

What's more, China's current account surplus with the rest of the world - widely regarded as a key indicator of excessive domestic savings and weak consumer demand - has dropped steeply since the start of the global financial crisis.

As the first chart shows, the surplus has contracted from a massive 10.5 per cent of gross domestic product in mid-2007 to less than 2 per cent in the last quarter of 2011.

But although its external imbalances have shrunk, yesterday's data indicates that the mainland economy's internal distortions are as pronounced as ever.

It's true that private consumption is growing rapidly. Retail sales grew by 17 per cent last year, and growth in overall consumption, from both the government and households, accounted for a higher share of the mainland's total growth than at any time in the past 10 years.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


The Telegraph DEF


China's economy expanded at its weakest pace in two-and-a-half years in the final quarter as slowing Western demand for its exports and government efforts to curb inflation held back growth.

The Telegraph, January 17, 2012

GDP grew 8.9pc in the fourth quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said, slower than in the third quarter, but still beating analyst expectations.

"It's slowing, even though it's not particularly aggressive. The economy seems to be surprisingly resilient so far," said Stephen Green, regional head of research for Greater China at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong.

Beijing had set a growth target of around 8pc for 2011.

Annual growth was 9.2pc suggesting the world's second largest economy could avoid a hard landing despite falling demand from key export markets in the US and Europe, analysts said.

The figure, down from 10.4pc the previous year, also meant that the Chinese central bank was less likely to ease credit in the short-term to boost the world's second-largest economy.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 16 January 2012




Michael Forsythe and Tim Culpan

Bloomberg, January 16, 2012

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was re-elected emphasizing his success easing tensions with China. Now comes the hard part: building on those gains in his final four-year term without diluting the island’s autonomy.

After signing economic deals in his first term, Ma will face more difficult issues such as China’s military buildup and Taiwan’s political status with the mainland, which claims sovereignty over the island, said Abe Denmark, a former China desk officer at the U.S. Defense Department.

“There is some concern that the progress between the mainland and Taiwan has been low-hanging fruit,” said Denmark, now with the Washington-based National Bureau of Asian Research. Addressing the military buildup and Taiwan’s status “will be harder for both Taiwan and Beijing.”

Continued success in building links with the mainland keeps the relationship from infecting ties between the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest economies, and may bolster financial markets as improved relations draw investors. Ma must balance that progress against concerns voiced by the Taiwanese opposition that many of the island’s 23 million people don’t want cooperation with the mainland to infringe on their sovereignty and economy.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Economic Times logo OK


The Economic Times, January 15, 2012

NEW DELHI: Weeks ahead of the nuclear security summit in Seoul, India has been dealt a blow on its famed nuclear reputation. In the first-ever index of security of nuclear materials, India almost brings out the rear - just above Iran, Pakistan and North Korea.

The index, compiled by a US nuclear think-tank Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), "is the first Nuclear Materials Security Index, a rating and ranking of the security framework in 32 nations that possess one kilogram or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials."

In its summary, the study says this index "is not a facility-by-facility review of "guns, guards, and gates". Instead, the authors of the study say they assessed each state on "publicly available indicators of a state's nuclear materials security practices and conditions". The index is an embarrassment as India is hosting the sherpas for the nuclear security summit in New Delhi on Monday. India takes a leading position on nuclear security issues, and is also scheduled to establish a centre of excellence for nuclear security in Haryana.

While many in the Indian nuclear sector may scoff at the index, it is being used as a pressure point - the think-tank is even asking Australia to reconsider its decision to sell uranium to India because of New Delhi's score. Australia and the UK have the highest scores in the index.

Countries were scored on the following indicators: quantities and sites, which included material production and transportation; security measures, particularly on-site protection; accession to global norms, including taking on voluntary commitments; domestic commitments and capacity.

The last may prove to be a trifle controversial because it judges countries on "societal factors", which include political instability and corruption.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 14 January 2012


The Japan Times


Brahma Chellaney

The Japan Times, January 14, 2012

NEW DELHI — The launch of trilateral strategic consultations among the United States, India and Japan, and their decision to hold joint naval exercises this year, signals efforts to form an entente among the Asia-Pacific region's three leading democracies. These efforts — in the world's most economically dynamic region, where the specter of a power imbalance looms large — also have been underscored by the Obama administration's new strategic guidance for the Pentagon. The new strategy calls for "rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific" and support of India as a "regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region."

At a time when Asia is in transition and troubled by growing security challenges, the U.S., India, and Japan are seeking to build a broader strategic understanding to advance their shared interests. Their effort calls to mind the pre-World War I Franco-British-Russian "Triple Entente" to meet the threat posed by the rapid rise of an increasingly assertive Germany.

This time, the impetus has been provided by China's increasingly muscular foreign policy. But unlike the anti-German entente a century ago, the aim is not to contain China. Rather, U.S. policy is to use economic interdependence and China's full integration into international institutions to dissuade its leaders from aggressively seeking Asian hegemony.

Indeed, the intention of the three democratic powers is to create an entente cordiale without transforming it into a formal military alliance, which they recognize would be counterproductive. Yet this entente could serve as an important strategic instrument to deter China's rising power from sliding into arrogance. The three partners also seek to contribute to the construction of a stable, liberal, rules-based regional order.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 13 January 2012




Joe Thomas Karackattu

Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses , January 13, 2012

Taiwan President Dr. Ma Ying-jeou is seeking a second four-year team and is running against his main opponent DPP Chairperson Dr. Tsai Ing-wen. Even though the polls post a three-way contest, it is largely a two-way one as the PFP candidate, Dr. James Soong, would likely be engaged in a tug-of-war with the KMT electoral base (pulling away a lot of undecided voters), rather than hurting the decidedly DPP-camp voter. Ma Ying-jeou’s campaign is largely driven on the plank of economic gains promised to the people of Taiwan, chiefly through the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in July 2010 (tariff reductions beginning w.e.f. January 2011) between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan. It is true that Taiwan, like many other countries, has faced the double-dip recession in the US and Europe with creditable success, and the ECFA was responsible for some of this economic gain. Taiwan’s real GDP grew by 10.72 per cent in 2010 (believed to be the highest GDP growth rate since 1987), and the growth rate for the first half of 2011 was 5.54 per cent. Steps such as permits to Mainland tourists brought in over $2 billion into Taiwan in tourism alone. Despite lagging global recovery, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics projects the economic growth forecast for 2012 at 4.19 per cent, with per capita GDP at $20,472.

However, the implementation of the ECFA early harvest programme in the last year has included only a limited set of products, and the real effects of the agreement would only be realised in the second stage which commences this year (tariffs on 94.5 per cent of listed items would be reduced to zero by the end of the year involving 437 of the 500 Taiwan product categories). Also, the 2010 growth figures belie the low baseline of the 2009 growth statistics from a post-recession year and hence should not be overhyped. Recent surveys such as the one by Commonwealth Magazine indicate that 45.5 per cent of Taiwan’s top 1000 CEOs surveyed believe that the ECFA has not yet had any influence on Taiwanese companies but is expected to help in the future; 34.9 per cent said ECFA has had no impact on gains for Taiwan. With or without the ECFA, there have been no noticeable gains on gathering more economic and political space internationally - relations with ASEAN, and with other countries outside the region have been in the ‘business as usual’ mode.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 12 January 2012




Ruth Fremson

The New York Times, January 12, 2012

Malnutrition in India is worse than in many African nations, stunting the growth of children like this girl in Shivpuri, photographed in November 2008.

“It is unrealistic to expect any major breakthroughs in dealing with the diets of impoverished Indians,” a correspondent wrote in The New York Times in an article on Oct. 23, 1981.

While the words were written thirty years ago, they might have been written this week.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday that India faced “national shame” because 42 percent of children below the age of five are underweight. The survey he referred to also found that India has failed to significantly improve the diet of almost half of its children, despite two decades of economic growth, because of everything from lack of coordination between government departments to continued lack of maternal education.

Just as it did thirty years ago, malnutrition looms large in India, and by some measures seems to be getting worse. In the twenty years preceding 1981, “per capita intake of calories has dropped from 93 percent of daily requirements to 91 percent,” The New York Times wrote. At the time, India’s population was 680 million.

Despite the recent boom years of the 1990s and 2000s, there has been little improvement in overall nutrition in India, according to United Nations data. About 20 percent of India’s over 1 billion population remained “undernourished” during that time, meaning their “food intake regularly provides less than their minimum energy requirements.” The most recent “Global Hunger Index” shows that two-thirds of the 122 developing countries studied had reduced hunger levels in recent years, but that hunger levels in India have increased.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Reuters DEF


Jeremy Laurence

Reuters, January 11, 2012

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's young new leader Kim Jong-un will likely order a third nuclear test or another missile launch later this year to boost his military image and consolidate his grip on power, a government think-tank in Seoul said on Wednesday.

The foreign ministry institute warned of "military adventurism" by the young Kim, and predicted the tests in the second half of this year or early 2013 around the time of the South's presidential election.

"North Korea could raise tension by test-launching a missile and conducting a third nuclear test as Kim Jong-un needs to demonstrate his leadership and consolidate his grip on the regime," the Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) said in the report.

The young Kim, named the "great successor" after his father Kim Jong-il's death last month, has focused quickly on promoting a hardline image to win the backing of the military.

Analysts say Kim is intent on proving he will stick by his father's "songun," or military-first, doctrine, which steers most of the country's limited finances toward running the 1.2 million-strong army, even as much of the rest of the population goes hungry.

On Sunday -- a day believed to be Kim Jong-un's birthday -- state television broadcast a 50-minute documentary showing the new "supreme leader" mixing with generals and ordinary soldiers, driving a tank and brandishing a rifle.

In the video the then leader Kim Jong-il lauded his son's outstanding military strategies. He is quoted as describing him as a "genius among geniuses."

The footage of the young Kim directing and mingling with military figures dated back to at least 2009, and coincided with a long-range rocket launch and second nuclear test in that year. Analysts say those tests were in some part planned by the young Kim and designed to shore up the military's support for his succession.

Video showed him shaking hands with officials at the launch site, and quoted him as saying he would have waged "a real war if the enemies" had shot down the rocket, which the North said was carrying a satellite.

Japan had threatened to shoot down any down any debris heading towards its territory.

The outside world viewed the launch as disguise for a test of a long-range missile, designed to reach Alaska States. It failed to enter orbit.

Washington warned last year that North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States and could develop an inter-continental ballistic missile within five years.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Reuters DEF


Koh Gui Qing

Reuters, January 10, 2012

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's exports and imports grew at their slowest pace in more than two years in December as foreign and domestic demand ebbed, data showed on Tuesday, bolstering expectations of more policy action from Beijing to support the world's number two economy.

Annual export growth of 13.4 percent in December was in line with expectations, albeit the slowest since November 2009 except for a February distortion caused by Lunar New Year holidays.

But it was a big downside surprise for import growth that caught investor attention, sinking to a 26-month low of just 11.8 percent year-on-year versus the 17 percent forecast by economists in the benchmark Reuters poll.

"We thought imports would surprise quite a bit on the downside and generally the implication is negative. Domestic demand is slowing down very quickly," Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong, told Reuters.

Zhang said the scale of drops in annual import growth for domestic consumption, at 13.5 percent in December versus November's 27.4 percent, and imports for processing trade at 6.2 percent versus about 11 percent in November, were crucial.

"That means going forward for the next couple of months exports will decline with a very high certainty," he said. "This trade data basically confirms our view that the first quarter is going to be very tough."

The December trade data is a key link in a series of activity indicators to be published by China over the next two weeks, including fourth-quarter gross domestic product that is likely to show the world's second-largest economy suffering its worst quarter in 2- years.

Financial markets took the data in their stride, with hopes that it will prompt a relaxation of monetary policy offsetting fears over slowing growth.

Gains in Chinese stocks accelerated modestly after the data, with Shanghai's main index up around 1.6 percent by 0515 GMT, broadly in line with other Asian markets outside Japan, while the yuan strengthened to 6.3122 per dollar.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 9 January 2012


WashPost logo3


Robert J. Samuelson

The Washington Post, January 9, 2012

Even China? Could the world’s economic juggernaut, having grown an average of 10 percent annually for three decades, face a slowdown or what for China would be a recession? Does it have a real estate “bubble” about to “pop”? What would be the global consequences? Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner visits China and Japan this week. These questions form a backdrop. With Europe’s slump and America’s sluggish economy, a sizable Chinese slowdown would be bad news.

China inspires ambivalence. Its policies — especially its undervalued exchange rate — are skewed to give it an advantage on world markets. This has cost jobs in the United States, Europe and developing countries. Still, China is now such a powerful economic force that an abrupt slowdown would ripple beyond its borders. Trade would suffer. China’s protectionism might intensify to offset job loss. If surpluses of steel and other commodities were dumped on world markets, prices and production elsewhere would fall.

There are warning signs. Economist Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute cites three. First, Europe’s slump has weakened China’s trade; Europe buys about a fifth of its exports. Second, housing is showing signs of a bubble and is deflating. Finally, China’s government will have a harder time deploying a stimulus than during the 2008-09 financial crisis. Government debt rose from 26 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 to 43 percent of GDP in 2010.

How all this affects China’s growth is controversial. “Most likely, China will have a soft landing,” says Justin Yifu Lin, the World Bank’s chief economist. “Growth goes to 8 percent or 8.5 percent.” That’s down from about 9 percent in 2011. Government debt is still low enough to permit ample stimulus, Lin thinks. Many forecasts agree.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 8 January 2012


The Diplomat


From slowing economic growth, to inflation and mass incidents, China faces some big challenges in 2012.

Andrew S. Erickson & Gabe Collins

The Diplomat, January 8, 2012

China enters the New Year confronting challenges and opportunities that will be shaped in turn by how its government and populace respond to them. Here outlined are twelve key items and issues that will help define 2012 for China, both at home and abroad. 2012 will be a “two-level” year in which internal and external factors are linked ever-more-clearly. As a new generation of leadership prepares to govern China, millions of citizens and netizens and their foreign counterparts will be watching Beijing’s actions more closely than ever before.

1) The run-up to Beijing’s once-in-a-decade political transition in October 2012 is likely to generate intensified clampdowns internally and assertive rhetoric abroad as China faces rising domestic challenges, and finds itself constrained internationally. Fearful neighbors may further strengthen ties with the United States. Pariah/failed state “allies” North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran will likely experience problems that affect China’s own interests. Externally, China is likely to be more intransigent than before. Internally, Beijing will resist making difficult decisions about economic reforms, particularly reforms that might harm key state-owned enterprises and monopolistic/oligopolistic concerns connected with families of political elites. Domestically and internationally, Chinese leaders will attempt to postpone difficult policy decisions until after the transition.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 7 January 2012


The Japan Times


Hanscom Smith

The Japan Times, January 7, 2012

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba's recent visit to Beijing included a stop at the Japan Animation Festival, part of the government's ongoing series of public events designed to showcase Japan's popular culture. Since 2007, the Foreign Ministry has established an International Manga Award and named an Anime Ambassador, among other initiatives designed to capitalize on foreign interest in Japan's vibrant cultural scene. There is certainly nothing wrong with Doraemon, Super Mario, and other "Made in Japan" pop icons.

The use of cultural exchange to improve Sino-Japanese relations, in particular, should be welcomed by everyone in the region. And increasing the exposure of Japanese products is definitely good for their corporate parents' bottom line. A heavy official emphasis on "Cool Japan", however, risks diluting the potency of the "Japan Brand" hip factor — while at the same time distracting attention from the real source of Japan's attraction.

You can't capture "cool" in a bottle. When governments try to identify themselves with trends prevalent among youth, they may inadvertently undermine the counter-culture ethos that so often sparks creativity.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 6 January 2012




China's economy is entering a period of slower growth and the government should heed the lessons of other countries

Liu Shijin

China Daily, January 6, 2012

China's economy has enjoyed an annual growth of 10 percent over the past 30 years, but how long can such high-speed growth last?

According to studies by the Development Research Center of the State Council, China's growth pattern is similar to that of Germany, which experienced a slowdown in the late 1960s, Japan, which experienced a slowdown in the early 1970s: and South Korea, which experienced a slowdown in the late 1990s. There are already signs emerging that China's growth rate will slow in the next few years.

First, infrastructure investment, the most important engine of growth, is declining as a proportion of total investment. In 2006, it was more than 30 percent, while it dropped to around 22 percent in 2011. As China's high growth rate is mainly driven by its huge investment in infrastructure, if infrastructure investment drops, growth rate will slow.

Second, in the last three years, the growth rate of the provinces and municipalities with good economic performance along the southeast coast, whose total GDP accounts for more than half of the national GDP, has lagged behind other regions.

Third, people are worried about potential risks in local governments' financing platforms and in the real estate market. To be more specific, people are concerned whether their investments in these areas will pay off. According to our research, the potential gains in these areas are not particularly great.

Taking all these signs into consideration, it seems the transition from high-speed growth to intermediate-speed growth may have already begun.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 5 January 2012




Shyam Ponappa

Rediff, January 5, 2012

The welter of confusing pulls and pushes on India's political economy makes finding the way forward really difficult.

The government apparently cannot sustain economic reform initiatives, and does not have the finances for a stimulus package.

The private sector is sitting on cash, but cannot invest because it is facing slowing growth and reducing margins. Known problem areas in infrastructure cannot absorb investment despite critical shortages in output - power generation and distribution is an example.

Is there really nothing that can be done but to wait and watch while everything slowly grinds down?

The circumstances are formidable: a cantankerous Opposition using scorched-earth tactics, an anarchic citizenry usurping law-making functions after the abdication by the government and the Opposition, and an administration stupefied by the CAG phantom and other witch-hunts, with media Rottweilers searching through the carnage for the scandal-of-the-day.

This article identifies critical factors at the heart of the matter, and suggests remedial action. Slowing growth is the primary problem, and can be reversed without political manoeuvring.

Some underlying factors that drive everything else need to be recognised and dealt with. For India at this stage, growth is all-important. This is the issue to be recognised and addressed.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 4 January 2012




Fin24, January 4, 2012

Sao Paulo - A slow but steady shift in the global balance of power toward the China-led Brics club of emerging nations was confirmed in 2011, but it will take some time before its members can speak with one voice, experts say.

The Brics - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - now account for roughly 18% of the world's GDP, 40% of its population, 15% of global trade and hold 40% of global currency reserves.

With a combined GDP totaling nearly $14 trillion, their economies have accounted for 30% of global economic growth since Goldman Sachs coined the BRIC acronym in 2001.

Intra-Brics trade, which stood at $230bn in 2010, now amounts to 8% of global trade.

The London-based Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said in a report last month that Brazil has supplanted Britain as the sixth largest economy behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany and France.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 3 January 2012




The greatest challenge to India is that its political class seems oblivious to the challenges of the big picture and national security does not receive the attention it warrants in Parliament

C Uday Bhaskar

Rediff, January 03, 2012

For India, the year that has dawned will have to address a complex set of security and related strategic challenges. Appropriate lessons will have to be astutely gleaned from the tainted year that has ended which has been one of great contrast for India.

A series of scandals involving high-profile public figures had rocked the country over the last six months and December witnessed the Indian political establishment in great tumult, even as Parliament remained locked in a bitter, arid, struggle over the issue of corruption and the most appropriate way of dealing with it, as symbolised by the ruckus over the Lokpal Bill.

The last sitting in the Rajya Sabha reveled in cynical legislative obfuscation and at year-end, Indian democracy was diminished.
Yet 2011 began with India being hailed as an island of political and economic stability even while other nations and regions were in ferment -- from the Arab Spring to fiscal convulsions in Europe, turbulence in the Af-Pak region and Iran and the growing social unrest in China.

However, notwithstanding the current domestic political contestation between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, it may be reasonable to suggest that India's political stability is not in dire danger -- this government is unlikely to be toppled in a hurry -- though the ignominy of poor and corruption-tainted governance will be a cross that the United Progressive Alliance II will have to bear till the next general election in 2014.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 2 January 2012


Economic Times


A Moody Analytics report looks at how the global slowdown will impact the Asian economies.

The Economic Times, January 2, 2012

Asian economies enter 2012 in the middle of a global economic slowdown due to tighter domestic monetary conditions and weaker export demand from Europe and the US. However, according to Moody Analytics, Asia-Pacific economies will grow in 2012, especially in the second half. This is because the region's fundamentals are sound and its policymakers have ample ammunition to support growth.

The major driver of the growth in Asia is China, as it is the number one export destination for regional countries. Though recent Chinese data confirm that the economy is slowing, it is a government engineered one. The stiff monetary conditions, fiscal tightening and property restrictions are slowing the economy at a manageable rate. Moody Analytics expects the country's GDP growth at 8.7% in 2012 driven by public infrastructure spending and firm domestic demand.

However, Asia's small export-led economies remain vulnerable. Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong are among the most trade-exposed and will tip back into recession if the global economy slows significantly in 2012. South Korea is in the unique position of producing what fast-growing emerging markets want and at a price point they can afford. For Thailand, the fourth quarter floods knocked out autos and electronics production, which could have an impact on the Japanese economy. This is because many flood-affected firms are suppliers for Japanese industry.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 1 January 2012




Kevin Yao

Reuters, January 1, 2012

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's big manufacturers narrowly avoided a contraction in December a survey showed on Sunday, but downward risks persist and suggest the world's second's second-largest economy will need fresh policy support to counter a slowdown in growth.

The official purchasing managers' index, complied by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing on behalf of the National Bureau of Statistics, rose to 50.3 in December from 49 in November.

That indicated a slight expansion in business activity in China's vast factory sector, but the reading was barely above the flatline of 50 that demarcates expansion from contraction which the index fell below in November for the first time since early 2009.

Analysts had expected the official PMI to be at 49.1 in December.
"The rebound in the December PMI shows that there will be no big slowdown in the Chinese economy," Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Centre of the State Council, wrote in the CFLP statement.

The economy faces downward pressure but there are positive elements that could underpin growth, Zhang said.

The new orders sub-index rose to 49.8 in December from 47.8 in November while the sub-index for new export orders rose to 48.6 from November's 45.6.

A similar survey on Friday by HSBC and UK-based data provider, Markit, which captures data from smaller factories, inched up to 48.7 in December from a 32-month low of 47.7 in November but still signalled a modest contraction in activity on the month, reinforcing the case for pro-growth policies.

(...) [artículo aquí]