By Their Belt-Straps

By |2018-05-08T07:04:28-04:00May 8th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is the Belt-Road Initiative? Illustration: Lommes. Source: Wikimedia In 2013, China’s President Xi Jinping announced plans to connect East Asia and Europe via a network of rail, road, and sea routes to facilitate trade, cultural exchange, and open flows of capital and people. Shortly thereafter, China announced that over $160 billion of infrastructure projects were in planning or construction along the way, projects like a 700 MW hydropower station near Islamabad, Pakistan, or extending the current Eurasian Landbridge – a 7,000 mile rail [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 5): A New Direction

By |2018-05-04T06:00:58-04:00May 4th, 2018|Global Market Update|

How do you deal with a rising Great Power? Photo: Victor Hancek. Source: Picjumbo For decades, the US held a policy of “constructive engagement” towards China. By giving China “Most Favored Nation” status, encouraging trade and cultural exchange, Washington hoped to draw China into – if not the West – at least the broader family of nations. We would look the other way with human rights abuses, and try to avoid major trade disputes. Now, four decades of constructive engagement led to a massive [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 4)

By |2018-05-03T06:24:57-04:00May 3rd, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can China build a great economy? Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong skyline. Photo: Samuel Louie. Source: Wikimedia In some ways, this seems like a foolish question. China’s economy is already huge. They’re the second largest economy in the world: $10 trillion, about half the size of the US. They’re a major player in trade, manufacturing, consumer goods, and the internet. But their stock market is tiny. They’re only 3% of global equity markets – about the size of France. And their bond market is [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 2)

By |2018-05-01T07:55:02-04:00May 1st, 2018|Global Market Update|

What makes a country great? UN Security Council Meeting. Photo: White House. Source: Wikimedia The term “Great Power” was first used to describe the major nations in the Congress of Vienna – Austria, Prussia, Russia, England, and France. The members met periodically to settle disputes and to maintain the balance of power. Later, the Great Powers formed competing alliances among themselves, which were tested and broken during World Wars I and II. The legacy of the Great Powers was enshrined in the permanent members [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 1)

By |2018-04-30T16:42:52-04:00April 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Visions of Greatness (Part 1) What makes for greatness? Photo: Ronnie Macdonald. Source: Wikimedia There’s a telling exchange in the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” where King Faisal tells British Lieutenant Lawrence that the medieval Arab city of Cordova had two miles of public lighting while London was still a village. “You were great then,” Lawrence replies. “Time to be great again, my Lord.” When Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, people were curious. He was largely an unknown quantity. Would he [...]

A New Hub?

By |2018-04-24T07:42:26-04:00April 24th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Silicon Valley has a new competitor. Photo: Victor Hanacek. Source: Picjumbo For years California has been the leader in generating, funding, and bringing new information technologies to the market. From Intel to Apple to Google to Facebook, Silicon Valley has been a nexus of technological innovation and economic growth. The last serious competitor to the Valley was Route 128 outside of Boston. Both areas had strong sources of human and financial capital, but Silicon Valley benefited from a more free-wheeling, less hierarchical, and more [...]

Hu is Xi?

By |2018-03-12T08:13:47-04:00March 12th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Who is Xi Jinping? VOA News. Source: Wikimedia Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of Communist Party in China. He presides over the largest country in the world by population and the second largest economy in the world. He grew up during the tumultuous Mao Zedong years. His father was a high-ranking Party official in the ‘50s, but was purged from Party and sent to work in a factory in the interior of China when Xi was 10. His home was ransacked by students, [...]

Online Medical Leadership

By |2018-02-09T07:45:57-04:00February 9th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can we learn something from Chinese innovation? Shenzhen Skyline. Photo: Wishva Da Silva. Source: Wikimedia Tencent is a Chinese internet company based in Shenzhen, which owns WeChat, QQ, and most of China’s online music services. With a market cap of $500 billion, it’s the fifth most valuable company in the world, behind Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. They own most of an online healthcare services firm called We Doctor that will soon go public in Hong Kong. We Doctor provides a host of medical [...]

On the Horizon

By |2017-12-29T07:46:32-04:00December 29th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What does 2018 look like? Photo: Dave Meier. Source: Picography On its face, next year looks a lot like this year, just starting from a higher level. The economy – already growing well – should accelerate. A coordinated global expansion is currently underway. This will lead unemployment to fall and wages to rise. That will push inflation marginally higher, but not too high. The Fed will respond with a couple of rate hikes, but new Fed Chair Jerome Powell will have his hands full. [...]

Making Records

By |2017-12-28T08:31:59-04:00December 28th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What kind of year was 2017? Vinyl record-cutting machine. Photo: JacoTen. Source: Wikipedia Looking back, it was a year of records. The stock market is closing at or near its all-time high; the Dow hit a record level 69 times this year (so far). And for the first time in a long time, the US wasn’t the strongest large market in the world. While the S&P 500 is up 22%, the Chinese stock market is up 24% in local terms and 31% in dollar [...]