The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

China Inc. takes stock after overseas buying spree

wei_gu_debate-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

Abundant liquidity, government support and a strong yuan fueled Chinese companies' overseas buying spree.

But since they went out at the peak of the market and did not have a clear strategy for acquisitions, it should come as no surprise that most of those deals have turned sour. Once bitten, twice shy.

Crisis-ridden companies around the world are hoping that cash-rich Chinese buyers will come to their rescue, but the Chinese are not eager after getting their fingers burnt.

Chinese regulators are now giving more scrutiny to foreign deals, forcing interested buyers to lay out the most pessimistic scenario when seeking their approval.

from The Great Debate:

Global imbalances and the Triffin dilemma

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

For the world monetary system, the financial crisis which erupted in the summer of 2007 is a cataclysmic shift that will prove every bit as significant as the outbreak of the First World War (which heralded sterling's demise as a reserve currency) and the suspension of gold convertibility in 1971 (which marked the end of bullion's monetary role).

The crisis marks the passing of an era in which the U.S. dollar has been the world's undisputed reserve currency for making international payments and storing wealth.

from The Great Debate:

Downturn hits China’s manufacturing heartland

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

The global slowdown is hitting China's modern manufacturing base in Guangdong province especially hard. Deputy governor Huang Longyun on Thursday warned a news conference "the situation is grim" and the manufacturing hub around Pearl River Delta is bearing the brunt of China's slowdown.

Guangdong's burgeoning factories have supplied most of the cheap manufactured items flooding world markets in the last five years. They have also been the source of most of the marginal demand for crude oil, refined products and other raw materials. The province's slowdown will therefore have profound effects on global markets and prices in 2009.

from The Great Debate:

China’s growth obsession may spawn jobless upturn

Wei Gu -- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

China is pulling all the stops to keep the economy growing by at least 8 percent, a pace considered necessary to absorb millions of migrant workers and graduates that hit the job market every year.

Ironically, with all its attention focused on the vigorous "defense of the eight", Beijing risks losing sight of its ultimate goal -- creating enough jobs to preserve social peace -- and may end up engineering a jobless recovery.

from The Great Debate:

Finance throws sand in wheels of trade

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Trade finance, a basic lubricant for the global economy, is becoming much more expensive and tougher to get, accelerating an already harrowing downturn.

Banks are reluctant to allocate scarce capital to trade finance, which funds cross-border buying and selling, and are very wary about being caught short by defaults by other banks which write letters of credit or by the importers and exporters themselves.

from The Great Debate:

Will Obama raise fuel taxes?

John Kemp Great DebateJohn Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own.

LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - China's decision on Friday to link domestic fuel prices to the international price of crude oil, but increase consumption taxes on gasoline and diesel sharply to spur more efficient use of energy in the medium term, raises the question whether the incoming Obama administration might be tempted to do the same.

China is taking advantage of a cyclical pull back in energy to push through a permanent structural increase in taxes and prices. The aim is to combine a short-term boost to the economy with longer-term and more consistent incentives for improving energy efficiency.

from The Great Debate:

In China, OPEC’s nightmare comes true

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

China's decision to link domestic fuel prices indirectly to the international crude oil market, subject to a price cap, while hiking the consumption tax on gasoline and diesel and phasing out a variety of road tolls and other fees shows Saudi Arabia's worst fears about high prices and demand destruction are starting to come true.

It seems likely to confirm the kingdom's determination to see prices stabilize around $75 per barrel, well below recent price peaks, and far below the level sought by some other OPEC members, as well as international oil companies and advocates of alternative energy.

from The Great Debate:

New economies want power before paying

Paul Taylor Great Debate--Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist, the views expressed are his own--

Anyone who expected the major emerging economies to write fat checks in exchange for being invited to the first G20 leaders' summit on rescuing the world economy will have been disappointed.

But that should only have surprised the naive.

Despite intensive lobbying by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Saudi Arabia and China, the rising powers were never likely to make a cash down-payment to the International Monetary Fund before getting more seats and votes at the top table.

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