China’s Coming Debt Crisis

China’s Coming Debt CrisisThe problem of debt in China is not the bursting of a bubble. It is much worse. As the Middle Kingdom approaches the worldwide record of accumulated debt, productivity losses are becoming increasingly apparent. That is very bad news. Every economy relies of a certain amount of debt. That is an empirical fact. But China’s…

Historic Climate Pact Endangered

Historic Climate Pact EndangeredUS President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel the Paris Agreement” is one step closer to reality after leaders from the Group of 20 richest economies backtracked on pledges to allocate $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate change response. The trend will hit hardest in countries that are not only vulnerable to climate…

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too Late

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too LateDonald Trump is encountering a fusillade of criticism alleging that his approach to Asia is creating a vacuum that will be eagerly filled by Beijing.  But those making this argument would be much more honest if they acknowledged that part of the blame lies with Trump’s predecessor as well. That Barack Obama deserves some censure…

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?The year 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for commercial airplane makers. Boeing and Airbus, makers of the “big jets,” will introduce new models this year, as will the two big makers of “regional” airliners Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. Into this busy mix come two Asian aircraft manufacturers, one in China…

A New Asian Great Game Gets Underway

A New Asian Great Game Gets UnderwayNot one but two new Silk Roads are being born from the ashes of the ancient trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent. In effect, a new Great Game – a term used to describe the 19th-century contest for political and diplomatic primacy between Britain and…

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian Visit

The Real Reasons for the Saudi King’s Asian VisitModerate Muslims and non-Muslims alike may worry that the high-profile visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Malaysia and Indonesia signals another Saudi Salafi assault on traditionally more flexible Southeast Asian interpretations of Islam. But the royal tour, which also includes official visits to Japan and China as well as holidays in non-Muslim Bali, and…

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail Project

China Starts Controversial Lao Rail ProjectOn Christmas Day last year, work officially started on the China-Laos high-speed railway, a major engineering feat snaking from Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan Province, to Vientiane in Laos. Beijing hopes the track will form part of a larger transportation system, dubbed the Pan-Asian Railway, which one day may carry passengers and goods all the…

Indonesia Warns US Mining Giant in Fresh Dispute

Indonesia Warns US Mining Giant in Fresh DisputeThere is rising concern among business sources in Jakarta that tension between the Indonesian government and the US-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, Indonesia’s oldest foreign investor, which has been in a months-long deadlock over future mining, could affect relations between Washington and Jakarta. In addition to taking off a huge share of Freeport’s profits, business sources…

Hong Kong Rewards the Property Oligarchs

Hong Kong Rewards the Property OligarchsHong Kong is supposed to have an open economy and be governed by rational economic policies. The reality has progressively become very different, not least in the past two years. This has seen swingeing taxes on many real estate transactions in a supposed effort to halt rising housing prices, now about the highest in the…

Infosys and Tata Damaged by Boardroom Squabbles

Infosys and Tata Damaged by Boardroom SquabblesTwo of India’s most iconic and respected companies have been hit by damaging publicity caused when their previous chairmen objected to the way the businesses were being run by their successors. In both cases, the main accusations have been that the new managements were breaking established traditions and ethics. This has led to questions not…
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