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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
The Nikkei Weekly, September 10, 2012
 

Can this be a surprise? We left our chaos to fend for itself over August and it did so. It is a coherent system of chaos – with parts dying off and parts evolving- yet, en masse, it looks the same mess as when we went on holidays. Some elections were won before the recess and the winners having promised much to their populace left to eke out their ‘first 100 days’ in villas by the sea-side; more seasoned politicians simply went for long walks in the quiet of the hills – though both no doubt were in touch with all the media via their smartphones and via their permanent staff who always seem to work. Even the movable Ramadan ended recently so Muslims world-wide may again eat and drink at any time of the day.

Meanwhile in those two big nations – America and China – politicians continue to battle day in and day out. In the US there is no cessation to the wild claims of both side in their electoral champagne that thankfully will finish with a winner in November. And in China there is still a surge among the political elite to protect their reach as they haggle for power prior to the formal hand-over in October at the 18th National Congress. In both countries there are signs of vast change. In the former some signs of retrenchment and a lessening of US hegemony, while in China we see more signs of ‘going global’ across a wide sector of commerce and politics. But as China looks to the formality of the political hand-over some commenters wonder if this will occur fully at the Congress due to the weakening of its overall economy – perhaps the old hands will remain in power a little longer as their fingers are on the pulse and may be briefly better able to guide changes.

The US has exhibited low growth figures and high unemployment, Europe collectively is little better, with EU leaders demanding its unruly southern members engage in even heavier austerity measures. But that sentiment studiously ignores the data from the US ‘Sales Managers’ Index’ that have shown growth for the last ten months. Commentators are choosing to be biased towards gloom. Thus with little [assumed] growth in the West, and austerity “the norm,” it is not surprising that the purchasing power of the citizens is falling creating a vicious sticky economic cycle – few purchases, fewer jobs locally, few exports of key components to overseas assemblers resulting in a lowering of production rates in China and thus lower exports from China shipped back to engage in sales in the West.

As a result, notwithstanding that Shanghai may retain its leading status as the globe’s No. 1 container port’ and that the Yangtze ports as a whole show continued growth year-on-year, China Cosco, the leading national shipper, has increased its losses by 50% due to abysmally low container rates and higher fuels costs. In fact there is a global shipping crisis leading to the prospect of many bankruptcies as container trade volume falls.

Firms over-invested four years ago, betting too much on the China syndrome. New ships were ordered of which many must be bought as their contract clauses inhibit default. This has led to a glut of capacity; and today shipping firms face a $200 loss for each routed container. Naturally funding banks are reluctant to support loss-making firms who have to come to the market as distressed firms, selling off their assets cheaply… only to be bought by Greek shippers, possibly with the backing of Chinese finance as the latter look to move into the EU finance sector. There is some irony here as Greece owes billions in national debt and also via its banks to outsiders. Meanwhile the shippers, who sold off capacity in the boom years, are now buying back capacity at depressed prices. Very canny! Of course these shippers are only handling a few billion dollars – but their government reckons that 4,000 Greek people owe about $15 billion to the State. Some of whom are probably these same shippers.

With respect to the global banking crises I have mentioned elsewhere that we must retain our finance staff as there are otherwise not enough people with in-depth knowledge of the system to run it well. The same is true in Greece – we need to invoke a stronger feeling of love… Not the simple, sloppy B-movie stuff about individualistic love, but the serious ‘agape’. This is the Greek translation for love that is ‘… unselfish, for the group’. Thus their overseas account holders ought to come forward with their millions or billions to wipe out national, even European debt. Then we would see growth again.

However, I think this will not occur as the politicians are adept orators and will incite us to behave as we must – or to behave as they wish we ought to behave … prudently managing our cash flows and not getting into uncontrolled debt. I note that the book by Frank Luntz, a US political commentator, is appropriately titled – “It’s not what you say – it’s what they hear”. We hear the chaos continues, we do not hear that the economies of the US, Germany and Ireland are growing; as are many nations in Africa and Asia and that it really may be possible to get out of this long-running mess. Let’s be more buoyant, hopeful and proactive.

 

Frank-Jurgen Richter is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global business community


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