EconoMonitor

Economics Blog Aggregator

    Asia

  • East Asia Forum

    Vietnam needs to bring the dong down

    Author: Chu Nguyen, UHD The appreciation of the Vietnamese dong, coupled with characteristics specific to Vietnam’s transitional economy, leaves the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) with difficult choices in conducting monetary policy. Luckily, the SBV retains adequate fiscal flexibility to respond to this pressure through its exchange rate policy. Vietnam has, for several decades, pegged the dong to the US dollar, within a limited band of 1–2 per cent. This has been as an important measure of macroeconomic stability. The SBV promotes economic growth, controls inflation, stabilises the exchange rate and preserves the stability of the financial system. But it also subsidises inefficient state-owned enterprises (including state-owned commercial banks with a huge collectio...more

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  • China Matters

    Uyghurs Edge Closer to Center of Turkish Diplomacy, Politics, and Geopolitical Strategy

    Me on Twitter on July 1:IMO most important development in PRC security is mainstreaming of support for Uyghurs in TK national politics. Way more serious than SCS.Turkish anti-PRC furor was fueled by reports of the PRC campaign against Ramadan.  In Daily Sabah, the English-language version of Sabah, a Turkish daily closely associated with Erdogan’s AKP party, Kilic Kanat, a professor at Penn State’s Erie campus with a strong interest in Uyghur issues and something of a China hawk, wrote a highly critical piece, China’s war on Ramadan, on the PRC’s campaign against Ramadan observance and, indeed the entire PRC system:Instead of gaining legitimacy from and the loyalty of its citizens through political reform, participation and pluralism, the government s...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Suu Kyi visit demonstrates changing China–Myanmar relations

    Authors: Dai Yonghong and Wang Jianping, Sichuan University At the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), made her first historic visit to China on 10–14 June 2015. Her visit enhanced understanding between the two parties and promoted friendly and cooperative relations between China and Myanmar. The invitation shows that Chinese policy on Myanmar has become more pragmatic and flexible. Myanmar is strategically located — it connects Southeast Asia to South Asia. China wants to implement the One Belt, One Road and the Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor initiatives, and to maintain the China–Myanmar oil and gas pipeline and other energy projects....more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    North Korean company advertisements appear in World Cup preliminary match

    Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) 2015-7-3 North Korea has attracted attention after it recently featured a number of corporate advertisements in a preliminary match of the 2018 Russian World Cup. In the past, North Korea rejected everything related to capitalism. But since Kim Jong Un’s rise to power it appears to be actively using sports and commercial capital in order to attract foreign capital as its market economy rapidly expands. On June 16, 2015 Korean Central Television (KCTV) broadcast the second match of the Russian World Cup Asian qualifying rounds. The match, in which North Korea and Uzbekistan played, was held at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium, where advertisements by North Korean companies such as Kaesong Koryo Ginseng and the Pyongyang Buildi...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    PJ O’Rourke: Every government is a parliament of whores

    From PJ O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores: “Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.” And a bonus quote: “No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, w...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Jokowi lacks leadership on corruption

    Author: Liam Gammon, ANU The higher they rise, the harder they fall. No politician in post-Suharto Indonesia has risen higher and faster than Joko Widodo (Jokowi), whose win in the 2014 presidential elections was considered a breath of fresh air for a vibrant but corrupt democracy. The reality of his presidency, though, is not what civil society, foreign governments and investors were crossing their fingers for. After eight months in office Jokowi looks surprisingly conservative, out of touch, and out of his depth. As an outsider to the Jakarta establishment, his tenure was always going to marked by a mishmash of deal making and confrontation, especially with his own PDI-P party and its leader, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri. Her determination to dictate to the...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    Kim Jong Un visits Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology

    Top: Official KCNA photo of the new Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology Bottom: Google Earth satellite image of the facility in the new Mirae Scientist Street According to Google Earth imagery, construction on the project started around September 2014. According to KCNA: Kim Jong Un Gives Field Guidance to Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, gave field guidance to a newly-built building of the Automation Institute of Kim Chaek University of Technology. He was greeted on the spot by Hwang Pyong So, Kim Jong Gwan, other officials of the relevant f...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    TED video: Chip Kidd on Designing Book Covers

    Once in a while, among the hundreds of TED videos, I come across a delightful gem. Chip Kidd is entertaining. Though the delivery is that of a fine stand-up comedian, his message is serious and insightful. I learned a lot from this one. ...more

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  • China Matters

    Flags, Gay Marriage, Prejudice, & Preference

    On the occasion of the Supreme Court’s legal mainstreaming of gay marriage, and the decision by US corporate, political, and media arbiters that yes, maybe, the official presentation of the Confederate flag by the State of South Carolina and its symbolism in the institutionalization and celebration of racism and rebellion against the federal government (as well as good ol’ regional pride!) should no longer be condoned or overlooked, I was reminded how malleable opinions can be.Stuff that used to be OK is now abhorrent.  And vice versa.If you’re as old as I am, you might remember this riddle:“A boy is injured in a car accident.  His father rushes him to the hospital.  The doctor comes into the emergency room and says, “I can’t operate on him.&...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Herbert Simon — Information consumes attention

    Herbert Simon (1971) “Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. ...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    Wonsan City seeing new construction area

    Pictured above (Google Earth): Site of the new Kalma Street construction site in Wonsan According to KCNA (2015-5-20): Ground-breaking Ceremony of Construction in Wonsan Area Held Wonsan, May 20 (KCNA) — The Wonsan area will turn into a world-famous tourist city under the plan of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). A ground-breaking ceremony took place in Kalma Street on Wednesday. Present there were Vice-Premier Kim Yong Jin, officials concerned, builders and citizens of Wonsan. A reporter and speakers said it was the lifetime wishes and behests of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il to spruce up Wonsan area. Marshal Kim Jong Un launched a big operation for building Wonsan area into a world famous tourist city, model of city formation, with noble...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    New moves in regulating warehouses

    by Anirudh Burman and Iravati Damle. Warehousing is an important aspect of supply chains. Good warehousing has direct advantages in terms of storage of value, facilitating pledge financing, reduction in wastage, and reducing price shocks by allowing market participants to anticipate future demand and plan for the same. Warehousing has to be trustworthy for these benefits to accrue. Market participants have to be confident that the information provided in warehouse receipts (proof of deposit of a commodity) is accurate at all times. The warehousing sector in India does not reflect these attributes at present. Government regulation can correct some of these inefficiencies. The warehousing sector in India is unorganised and fragmented (link). The organised segment is do...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Vietnam Healthcare Firms Struggle Locally (Healthcare Asia)

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Lessons from the Indian currency defence of 2013

    In 2013, the Indian government mounted a big defence of the rupee. The authorities appeared to throw everything that they could at the problem: enhanced capital controls on outflows, relaxed capital controls on inflows, exchange rate intervention, restrictive actions which damaged currency market liquidity to make it easier to manipulate the market by trading on the market, and monetary policy tightening. See this article for a narrative from that period, and a set of links to contemporaneous thinking. It's important to look back at this period and ask: Did the currency defence deliver on its objectives? Can we identify costs and benefits? As with all episodes of currency defence, we do not observe the counterfactual: What would have happened if the authoriti...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Concerns about RBI's `Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme'

    I have a column in the Indian Express today on this.

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Download the first twelve pages and a partial operator profile from our new senior care report for free!

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Today’s Wall Street Journal – Legend Holdings

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  • China Matters

    It's Official: America Has a China-Containment Policy

    Actually, that was a title of a post I wrote in July 2010, before island-building, before the Senkaku crises, before the rare earths brouhaha, even before Hillary Clinton declared that the US had a “national interest” in freedom of navigation at the 2010 ASEAN foreign ministers’ conference in Hanoi and formally kicked off the “pivot”.I offer it as a reminder to the indignant commentators who declare we’re just out in the South China Sea responding to the PRC threat, a theme serendipitously sounded in an op-ed in The Australianby the Lowy Institute’s Alan Dupont after I thought I had finished this piece, but not too late some last-minute cut and paste:Fairfax columnist Hugh White, for example, believes US policy makers have long believed that the territori...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    The June 4th Incident

    Allow me to emerge from my self-imposed hibernation to comment briefly, as I have done nearly every year in this blog’s 13-year history, on what happened in the streets around Tiananmen Square and in other Chinese cities on June 4th, 1989. I had just moved to Phoenix in the Spring of 1989 for a new job, and for the first time I could afford cable television. CNN’s coverage of the demonstrations in China transfixed me as I watched the entire drama unfold. I remember watching amazed as the students carried out the “Goddess of Democracy,” and as thousands of others — not only students but working people, even police officers — joined the demonstrating masses. I had no particular interest in China at the time, but was riveted to my TV set...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Peter Hessler’s China Daily “article”: how low can they go?

    Now this is chutzpah: China Daily asked author Peter Hessler to participate in a Q & A with his friend and translator Li Xueshun comparing aspects of Egypt and China (both countries where Hessler has worked as a New Yorker correspondent). China Daily then had the nerve to take Hessler’s replies and shape them into what looks to the reader like a bylined article by Hessler. Li’s replies were totally removed. From Hessler’s Facebook page: [I]t omitted crucial parts, including the most important point: that I believe it’s harder to make a political change in China, where the system is deeper rooted than in Egypt, and thus the flaws are also more deeply rooted. I said that this is the reason why the current anti-corruption campaign will be a failure...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Is it a police state?

    The best post I ever wrote (and I realize that’s not saying very much) is this one. Its simple point is that underneath a veneer of happiness, prosperity and optimism there can lurk a much darker and more dangerous side. People can be content and appreciate their government while being oblivious — willfully or not — to what it is going on beneath the surface. There have been a rash of articles in recent months of a severe crackdown in China on civil rights lawyers, professors, journalists and activists. A story from yesterday drove this home: As the year came to a close, at least seven prominent Chinese human rights lawyers rang in the New Year from a jail cell. Under President Xi Jinping, 2014 was one of the worst years in recent memory for China’s ...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    Foxconn Moving Direct to Consumer

    I remember having conversations years ago about what Foxconn would do going forward, and whether or not they would be happy as the manufacturer to brands.   The WSJ article, Amid Margin Squeeze, Foxconn Designs Its Own Fate, puts this question to rest. Recently, the $130-billion-a-year in revenue company has ventured into handset accessories under its own brand, and sales and distribution of mobile phones. It also plans to offer telecommunications services in Taiwan. For me, this has always been a bit of a no brainer.  Foxconn has an amazing amount of talent in the firm that is not just managing the supply chain and assembling gadgets for their customer, but have for years also been bringing designs to the brands that they feel would sell well in the market. Partner ...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    Bites of China. Finally a Show Worth Watching!

    A couple of weeks back, while riding the G train back from Nanjing, something caught my eye.  An advertisement by CCTV for what I believe could be one of the best produced shows China has put together.  At first, I had no idea what the advertisement for, but what was clear was that it was celebrating the various food flavors of China, and those who are tilling the fields and preparing the dishes. The show is called Bite of China, and I cannot recommend it enough. Sure, China is known for its fair share of food failures, including recycled oil, but watching this show has restored a bit of my love for the flavors here.  Flavors that were actually the basis for one of my earliest posts, and have provided a never ending hunt for me and my wife as we look to try new thin...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    What Do China’s Millennials Want ?

    For a number of years, I had it pretty good.  I had a number of teams that were under me, were stable, and were producing.  It was at a time when a lot of questions were being asked about the post 80s generation in China, but for whatever reason I was immune. But, those days are over, and just yesterday I had another millennial go AWOL on me.  So, it was perhaps interesting timing that CNBC put up the article Millennials may be more like boomers than we realize highlighting how several studies point to a generation that is looking for meaning in their job, in their company, and for balance: A new study from Deloitte also found differences in workplace attitudes between millennials and older generations, saying that the former “want to work for organizations tha...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcards from the National People's Congress

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Twins!

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  • ChinaBizGov

    China's Green Car Sales in 2012

    Just a few years ago, pretty much everyone (except Chinese auto industry insiders whom I interviewed) thought China was about to take ownership of the global green car market. (Here's just one example from the excitable Tom Friedman of the New York Times.)In 2009 China's industrial planners announced plans to have 500,000 green cars ("New Energy Vehicles" or "新能源汽车" -- a combination of electrics and hybrids) on Chinese roads by the end of 2011. That obviously didn't happen, so last year, that same target of 500,000 was pushed out to 2015.So how did green car sales fare in 2012? Overall, hybrids plus electrics grew a respectable 52 percent.So while sales grew pretty well in percentage terms, it is clear that overall numbers are still inconsequential when you co...more

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    What Causes Revolutions?

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Enter the New Year

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    China, school violence and official reaction

    I wrote yesterday about growing questions in China about the differences between the U.S. reaction to the tragedy in Newtown and that of the tragedy in Henan Province, where, on the same say as the shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed and slashed 23 students at a primary school. (All survived in Henan, where the weapon was a knife, not an AR-15.) As a commentary piece in the state-controlled Global Times noted: “The Chinese public has focused on the slow official response and the level of social reflection. Many are furious that while the Americans have started mourning nationwide, the Chinese appear insensitive to the Henan case.” Another story today, carried by China Daily, caught my attention. It describes an example of how profoundly off-key propaganda can ...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcard from a snowy Beijing

    The smell of roasting sweet potatoes in a city covered with snow put me in the mood to take a detour on my walk to work today  ...

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  • ChinaBizGov

    Comparing Corruption in China and the US

    Today's WSJ China Realtime reports on a study by a George Mason University economist who attempts to compare corruption in the US and China.  His conclusion is that corruption in America's Gilded Age (1877-1893)* was worse than corruption in China today.Perhaps the conclusion is correct, but the methodology used by this professor is flawed.  US corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US newspapers 1870-1930.  China corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US (not Chinese!) newspapers 1990-2011.So he is measuring corruption in two countries by the number of times the newspapers of only one of the countries mentions the word.  Even if the researcher had used Chinese newspapers, the study still would have been flawed due to Commun...more

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  • ChinaBizGov

    GM and SAIC: Trouble in Paradise?

    General Motors (GM) and Shanghai Auto (SAIC) announced in December of 2009 that they were deepening their partnership beyond their joint venture in China.  Together they created a 50:50 joint venture, registered in Hong Kong, for expansion outside of China.  Now that partnership appears to be coming apart.Initially, the plan for the HK JV was for the two sides to work together in India and possibly elsewhere in the future.  (For further insight into this particular deal, please see Chapter 4 of Designated Drivers.) As for the India venture, GM would contribute two existing factories in India, along with its Chevrolet brand, and SAIC would contribute cash -- something that GM had been seriously lacking as it had emerged from bankruptcy earlier that same ye...more

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Aaron Menenberg is Foreign Policy and Energy analyst, and a Future Leader with Foreign Policy Initiative. He also co-hosts Podlitical Risk (@podliticalrisk). He is a graduate student in international relations at The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Previously he has worked at Praescient Analytics, The Hudson Institute, for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and at the IBM Corporation. The views expressed are his own, and you can follow him on Twitter @AaronMenenberg. He welcomes questions and comments at menenbergaaron@gmail.com.