Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

China’s rebalancing act puts consumer to the fore

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consumerWal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, now has 189 stories in China, according to its website. Soon it will have many more.  The U.S. chain has announced plans to open a series of “compact hypermarkets”, using a bare-bones model developed in Latin America, the Financial Times said.

Wal-Mart stores are a bit different than the one’s you might find in, say, Little Rock Arkansas. They sell live toads and turtles for one thing, The Economist reported. But they also sell the appliances, gadgets, and housewares that Wal-Mart stores merchandise everywhere.

And business is booming. Third-quarters sales in China soared 15.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the Financial Times story, compared with a paltry 1.4 percent inthe United States.

China’s consumption has been growing. Quite fast, in fact. Yet it still acounts for just a third of GDP, compared with around 60 percent in Europe and about 70 percentin the United States. But that is starting to fundamentally change. A Reuters Special Report by Alan Wheatley, “The Chinese Consumer Awakens” notes that wages are rising fast. People are moving into new cities in China’s vast interior, and manufacturers and retailers are following them. Call it China’s great rebalancing act, as the government tries to promote more consumption and rely less on cheap exports from “the workshop of the world” for future growth.

America’s “Dreamless Dead”

Washington economics correspondent Emily Kaiser delves into plutonomies and what pollster John Zogby calls the “Dreamless Dead” for her special report on income inequality in the United States.

 
 

Here are some interesting numbers from the OECD on how the wealth gap in America compares to other countries. (Full disclosure — I’m British)

It’s all Brazil, all the time

BRAZIL-ECONOMY/CHINAAnother day, another Brazil story. No, not Petrobras, though that is worth reading too.

Luciana Lopez has a story about soy and shoes. It might seem like an odd combination but the two are important industries in Brazil which is undergoing an economic transformation as it comes to terms with China’s growing global clout.

In case you missed them

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Just because it was summer, doesn’t mean we weren’t busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

IRAN-OBAMA/ECOMOMYTracking Iran’s nuclear money trail to Turkey. U.N. correspondent Lou Charbonneau – who used to cover the IAEA for Reuters –  followed the money to Turkey where an Iranian bank under U.S. and EU sanctions is operating freely. Nice to see the New York Times follow up on this today, and the Washington Post also quizzed Turkey’s president about it.