Malaysia’s strongman faces a challenge to impress

January 21, 2016

Prime Minister Najib Razak has survived a political scandal over dubious payments he received. He has also managed to tame debt at the sovereign fund he championed. Though his position looks secure, low oil prices and racial divisions will test efforts to repair his legacy.

Taiwan’s new president inherits old economic woes

January 18, 2016

The island’s fortunes are uncomfortably tied to the tech industry and China, both of which are weakening. The electoral triumph of opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen reflects deep distrust of the mainland. Yet Taiwan’s president needs to keep her giant neighbour onside.

Weaker yuan would be no panacea for China Inc

January 14, 2016

A sharp devaluation would yield some winners and losers: machinery-makers would gain and airlines would suffer. But overall this would do little for the real economy. Exports are a declining driver of Chinese growth.

Behavioral economics wins $1.5 bln U.S. lottery

January 13, 2016

The biggest-ever jackpot for a single ticket-holder hangs in the balance. State officials helped engineer the Powerball frenzy by tapping into the sorts of theories advanced by Nobelist Daniel Kahneman and others. It takes more than a dollar and a dream to woo punters these days.

China’s troubles catch Japan off-guard

January 12, 2016

Japan is highly sensitive to its larger neighbour’s economic health. Market turmoil is also strengthening the yen, threatening profit and prices. This could hardly come at a worse time: policymakers already battling deflation and stagnation have few levers left to pull.

European populism poised for troubling second wave

December 31, 2015

Southern Europe’s high debts and unemployment made it ripe for populism, but movements like Podemos have been held in check partly by economic recovery. They may now gather steam in other European countries, feeding on growing anti-immigration and eurosceptic sentiment.

Britain’s exit from Europe: 28 days later

December 24, 2015

Sometime in the future, some notes are found. Purportedly written by an adviser to David Cameron, they chronicle events in the month after the UK voted to leave the European Union. It’s a vision of banker exoduses, surprising new investors and mountains of unsold pork pies.

Global economy depends on more than India in 2016

December 17, 2015

The subcontinent’s expanding GDP is one of next year’s few economic bright spots. But the sluggish United States and decelerating China will still account for nearly half of global growth. Any negative shocks from the two sputtering engines will reverberate widely.

Japan index: Onwards and upwards

December 16, 2015

Business confidence is holding up and revised data shows Japan dodged a technical recession. Our index also suggests the economic picture may be improving. In October the gauge reached its highest point since 2000: prices, stocks, lending, wages and consumption all crept up.

Zuma is making South Africa’s bad situation worse

December 10, 2015

Local markets are diving after the president sacked his finance chief. Domestic woes include acute electricity shortages, drought and strikes. Investors are apt to lump the country in with the likes of recessionary Brazil. Firing the money man will only confirm their prejudices.