Please see below selected recent emerging markets-related change. (Until mid-2018 the focus was primarily on Africa.)
Please see below key recent developments concerning trade:
Will the increased trading opportunities in non-tangible commodities such as data and services create new opportunities for global trade growth, asked Chatham House? Will technologies such as blockchain be able to streamline trading processes or will regulatory barriers halt technological adoption and resultant trade volume? And will the rules governing trade be able to adapt?
Please see below selected recent food-related change.
See also: Halcyon Food Headlines
Fundamental shifts in the world of work are eroding traditional social safety nets. Could a universal basic income (UBI) be the solution? UBI isn’t a new idea, according to the Basic Income Earth Network, which says it was originally ignored, but growing fears surrounding job automation have stoked an interest in basic income.
Please see below selected recent basic income-related change.
Asserting that money must connect to your soul, activist Lynne Twist sought the truth of her relationship with “scarcity” and “sufficiency” in a series of encounters with people at the extremes of poverty, wealth, fame and anonymity. She found inspiration and resistance in the scenarios she shares from her 50 years as a global activist and a fundraiser for the Hunger Project.
Please see below selected recent intelligence about China. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
Q3 (July-August-September) 2016
- The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund warned that a slowdown in China is the greatest threat to the global economy, claiming that a "hard landing" for one of the main engines of global growth could not be ruled out.
- However, China’s industrial profits jumped the most in three years. They rose 19.5% from a year ago to 534.8 billion yuan ($80.2 billion), according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The data suggests further stabilisation in manufacturing and a greater ability of companies to pay off debts.
- Indeed, China’s economy grew by 6.7% in the second quarter, the same as in the previous three months and a healthier pace than many had expected given the country’s stock market crash and depreciation of the yuan. Investment in infrastructure has surged and personal consumption has been strong.
- Although there is some suggestion that Chinese private sector is losing confidence in economic prospects, China’s producer price index was its least bad in four years. Government data tracking the cost of manufactured goods out the factory gate showed prices declined just 0.8% through the month of August, indicating that the flagging economy might be stabilizing. Consumer price inflation climbed 1.3%, slightly below July’s increase.
- Yet China’s July economic data provided more evidence of a slowdown. Investment grew at its slowest pace in more than 16 years in the January-July period. Retail sales in July increased 10.2%, versus a forecast 10.5% and down from 10.6% in June. Industrial output for the month rose 6% from a year earlier, slowing from 6.2% in June and missing the forecast of 6.1%.
- China’s “One Belt, One Road” project aims to make central Asia more connected to the world, yet even before the initiative was formally announced China had helped to redraw the energy map of the region. However, China is not the only investor in central Asian connectivity. Multilateral financial institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank have long been investing in the region’s infrastructure. The Kazakh government has its own $9bn stimulus plan, directing money from its sovereign wealth fund to infrastructure investment. Other countries, including Turkey, the US, and the EU have also made improving Eurasian connectivity a part of their foreign policy.
- China wants a role at the global economic governance table, commensurate with its size and trajectory. Existing bodies have been slow to reform. In a new paper, the Royal Institute for International Relations, argued that “In areas where the overhaul of existing bodies proves difficult, China has begun to back the creation of parallel nstitutions tailored to the needs of emerging powers.”
Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about China. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- In 2016 China will once again be hugely important in determining the path of the world economy and the direction of capital flows. But this time the story will not be about a slowing economy. As recent industrial production numbers indicate, measures to stimulate the economy are having an impact. Investment is picking up in response to stronger infrastructure investment, especially from local governments, reflecting the easing of financing constraints on them. State-owned enterprises have also been investing more heavily.
- Equities across the globe were undermined by losses in mainland China after a near 3 per cent drop on the Shanghai exchange triggered fresh commodity losses. As many markets reopened following the Christmas weekend break, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 2.6 per cent after weak industrial profit data for November dashed hopes of an end-of-year rally. The data, released on Sunday, showed profits earned by Chinese industrial companies fell 1.4 per cent last month - a sixth-consecutive month of year-on-year declines.
- China’s activity data was stronger than expected in November, with factory output growth picking up to a five-month high, signalling that a flurry of stimulus measures from Beijing may have put a floor under a fragile economy. Still, analysts believe more policy steps are needed to weather nagging headwinds from a cooling property market, risks from high domestic debt levels, and weak global demand as financial markets brace for interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve.
- Meanwhile, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland rose 1.9 percent year on year to 64.9 billion yuan ($10.4 billion) in November, the Ministry of Commerce said. The growth slowed from a 4.2 percent rise in October. or the first 11 months, FDI, which excludes investment in the financial sector, stood at 704.3 billion yuan, up 7.9 percent from the same period last year.
- Activity in China's services sector expanded at a slower pace in November as new orders weakened. The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 51.2 in November from a three-month high in October of 52.0. A reading above 50 points signifies growth on a monthly basis, while one below that points to a contraction.New business rose at a slower pace of 51.1 - down from 52.9 in October - showing weaker domestic and external demand while employment in services rose only marginally, with the smallest increase in three months.
- China's foreign trade dropped 4.5%year on year to 2.16 trillion yuan (337 billion U.S. dollars) in November, the ninth-consecutive monthly decline. China’s foreign-exchange hoard meanwhile fell in November to its lowest level in more than two years, reigniting concerns about Beijing’s ability to stem the outflow of capital from the world’s second-largest economy.
- A report by Standard & Poor’s warned that creditworthiness at China’s big state firms has worsened in recent years. The ratio of gross debt to earnings has increased to more than five on average.
- The latest snapshot of manufacturing activity by the Chinese Federation for Logistics and Purchasing showed activity slipping for the fourth month in a row, falling further below the 50 no-change mark to 49.6 in November from 49.8 the previous month. Economists at ANZ Bank said the data could prompt yet another rate cut from China's policymakers.