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from Breakingviews:

New-age trade clubs: A guide for the perplexed

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By Andy Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Global trade is going private. After a frustrating 12-year-long wait for the World Trade Organization to hammer out an accord acceptable to its 159 members, businesses and governments are now hedging their bets. Enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which received a boost this week with Japan joining the negotiations.

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

It’s a proposed 12-nation trade bloc that economist Richard Baldwin calls a “mega-regional” group. Between them, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam are home to 800 million people and $28 trillion in annual output. A deal is expected later this year, or in 2014.

Some countries are notable by their absence. Russia has declined membership, and China is waiting and watching. That suits the United States and Japan just fine – they have a chance to write the commerce rule book, and hope that the large developing nations will play along.

from Breakingviews:

Time for victorious Abe to roll up shirtsleeves

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By Andy Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Shinzo Abe’s majority in Japan’s upper house is a political watershed. With it, he can start work on the Japanese economy’s broken plumbing.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led alliance’s victory in the upper house elections on July 21 gives Abe control of both chambers of parliament until the next round of polls in 2016. That gives the prime minister a rare flexibility to pass laws that has eluded many of his predecessors since 1989.

from Breakingviews:

Dash from emerging to developed markets hits new risks

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Capital glut has become capital flight in emerging markets. Stock markets in developed economies may be the beneficiaries for now. But the switch merely exchanges one set of risks for another.

from Edward Hadas:

Get used to zombie economics

Zombies are neither really alive nor fully dead. Moviegoers know that, but the idea is also useful in demographics and economics. Although economic zombification receives little attention, its effects could be as important as monetary policy, fiscal deficits and structural reforms.

The demographic trends are well known. For the past three or four decades in most developed economies, the number of children born has been too low, often by a wide margin, to keep the population constant. Japan is the leader in this decline. Indeed, the zombification of the Japanese population could well be the most dramatic such shift in history, at least during a period of peace, prosperity and good health.

from Breakingviews:

Japan’s dealmakers deflated by Abe’s arrows

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By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Shinzo Abe may yet revive Japan’s economy, but so far he has done the opposite for the country’s chief executives. The volume of overseas mergers this year has been positively lethargic. The prime minister’s efforts to cheapen the yen, and volatile markets, partly explain the lull, but the case for going abroad remains strong.

from Breakingviews:

Japan index: markets put speed bump in Abe’s path

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By Andy  Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

For the first time in six months, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic experiment stumbled in May amidst skittish stock and bond markets. But the drop in the Breakingviews Abenomics Index to 93.8, from 94.4 in April, may be temporary as deflation continues to ease.

from Expert Zone:

Chinese general warns India even as Antony visits Beijing

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

India’s Defence Minister A. K. Antony is in Beijing on an official visit and a provocative curtain-raiser was provided by a retired major general of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who cautioned India not to “provoke new problems and increase military deployments at the border area and stir up new trouble.”

Predictably, this statement by Major General Luo Yuan, who is associated with the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, hit the headlines in both countries. Luo is no stranger to such controversy and has in the past made shrill and hostile remarks to local media and in Chinese cyberspace about Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. One assertion - since denied - was that China should bomb Tokyo if Japan stepped out of line in relation to the long-standing island dispute between the two East Asian neighbours.

from Breakingviews:

Asia’s pain unevenly spread as China slows

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By John Foley

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Asia’s falling markets reflect the belief that a slowdown in China will take its toll on the region. But things aren’t so straightforward. Look at what proportion of the region’s largest economies goes to China, and how important those exports are to domestic GDP. Despite a decade of rapid growth, the world’s second-largest economy has had a smaller impact on its neighbours than might be expected.

from MacroScope:

G8 — plenty to worry about

The week kicks off with a G8 leaders’ summit in Northern Ireland. Syria will dominate the gathering and the British agenda on tax avoidance is likely to be long on rhetoric, short on binding specifics.

But for the economics file, this meeting could still yield big news. For a start, Japanese prime minister Abe is there – the man who has launched one of the most aggressive stimulus drives in history yet has already seen the yen climb back to the level it held before he started.

from MacroScope:

A week to reckon with

The week kicks off with a G8 leaders’ summit in Northern Ireland. Syria will dominate the gathering and the British agenda on tax avoidance is likely to be long on rhetoric, short on specifics. But for the markets, this meeting could still yield some big news. For a start, Japanese prime minister Abe is there – the man who has launched one of the most aggressive stimulus drives in history yet has already seen the yen climb back to the level it held before he started. Abe will also speak in London and Warsaw during the week.

The financial backdrop could hardly be more volatile with emerging markets selling off dramatically since the Federal Reserve warned the pace of its dollar creation could be slowed. Berlin has said the G8 leaders are likely to discuss the role of central banks and monetary policy, and Angela Merkel will hold bilateral talks with Abe during the summit. President Barack Obama travels to Berlin after the summit for talks with Merkel.

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