Uh oh. Have we finally reached the turning point for China's economy? Per Caixin:
(Beijing) – China's services sector continued to expand in December, albeit with less strength than in previous months, according to the latest Caixin China Services Purchasing Manager's Index.
December's index of 50.2 pointed to nationwide expansion for service business in general, even though the figure was down from 51.2 in November. It was also the second-lowest figure for the sector since record-keeping began in November 2005. The weakest services PMI ever recorded was 50 in July 2014.
I don't often get a chance to discuss Australia, an important but often overlooked (from the American perspective) continent-sized country that serves as America's greatest ally in the Asia-Pacific region. As an alternative to an article I cited in the forum early in 2015, here is an Australian perspective. The Executive Director of the Lowy Insitute (an Australian think tank), Michael Fullilove, gave a series of lectures based on his book A Larger Australia which attempt to address the question of how Australia's foreign policy should adapt itself to the changes sweeping over the world. The audio and transcripts for the lectures are available online courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I would like to highlight several exerpts from the lecture series, which can serve as an important template for examining Australia's role in the world.
What is China's Grand Strategy?
What connects China's push to internationalize the RMB, set up new global institutions to compete with the post-WWII order set up by the United States, and China's militarization of the South China Sea? I've revisited an old discussion in the forms debating the death of the American superpower, and wondering how it might be achieving by a rising China.
Courtesy of FT Alphaville, Goldman Sachs has created a chart of the command structure of the Chinese government. It's a useful reference for understanding the complexity of the path that reform efforts must navigate, despite the idea that the CCP, as an authoritarian government, essentially rules by diktat. Even in single-party systems, there are competing stakeholders.
FT Alphaville also includes a comment by Roderick MacFarquhar of Harvard in explaining the tension that the CCP faces in pushing for reform vs. its anti-corruption efforts, which slow the reform:
I saw this commercial today while flipping through the football games. Supposedly this commercial is sponsored by CLSA (aka Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia), but good luck sighting the CLSA brand anywhere. For that matter, good luck spotting the fact that the One Belt, One Road initiative is sponsored by China. Keep in mind that CLSA's parent company is CITIC Securities (China's largest brokerage). I'm trying to figure out the angle here, but it eludes me. It fails both as a brand promotion and as propaganda to highlight some positives about China. Very strange.