Party congress is Xi’s moment, but how will he use it?

First published: Nikkei Asian Review, 6/10/17

Power politics likely to take precedence over economic liberalization imperatives

Chinese President Xi Jinping may be one of the most relaxed leaders in the world as he prepares for the 19th congress of the Chinese Communist Party in mid-October. His body language certainly reinforces that impression. He has become a “core leader” of the party, he controls the military and internal security structures, and he has amassed more power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. The economy may soon cool off, but for the moment it is stable, and growing at around the government’s target rate.

 Across Asia, and in the wider world, Xi has been gifted an extraordinary geopolitical advantage by U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, his lukewarm attitudes to regional allies, and his dependence on China in the crisis over North Korea. For now, at least, Trump’s rhetoric about trade wars and punishing China is gathering dust….Read more:
Posted in China Tagged with: , ,

The government’s economic plan has been torpedoed by a productivity shift

First published:, 10/10/17

Theresa May’s government is creating enough of its own bad news without any help from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), created in 2010 to provide independent and authoritative analysis of the UK’s public finances. Yet in today’s “Forecast Evaluation Report,” the OBR has pretty much holed the Treasury and the government below the water line at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations, and just weeks before the Budget.

For the last seven years, the OBR has continuously assumed that the UK’s disappointing productivity (output per hour worked) performance would revert to a pre-financial crisis trend of 2 per cent per annum over the medium-term. Ever hopeful, it anticipated that a rise of 1.5 per cent in 2016 heralded just such an outcome, but this proved to be a false dawn, and now the OBR has thrown in the towel. In its report, it says……Read more:

Posted in Europe + UK Tagged with: , ,

Whatever happened to the party of economic competence?

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Whatever happened to the party of economic competence?

First published:, 2/10/2017

Posted in Europe + UK Tagged with: , , ,

The Brexit ghost is haunting party conferences

First published:, 26/09/2017

Posted in Europe + UK Tagged with: , ,