global economy

Safe havens shine as spreading virus spurs rush to buy gold

(Jan 27): Gold jumped as the spread of the coronavirus globally spurred demand for haven assets.

Prices rose as much as 1.1% as risk-off sentiment swept markets, with equities tumbling and Treasures gaining. In the latest attempt at containment, China extended the week-long Lunar New Year holiday and banned all outgoing overseas group tours to avoid having travelers contribute to its spread.

US, China must adjust for stable world, Singapore leader says

SINGAPORE (Jan 24): Both the U.S. and China must make adjustments if they are going to reach a lasting phase-two trade deal that benefits the rest of the world, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, Lee said “both sides have to make quite basic adjustments.” The U.S., he said, must decide whether to create rules that allow “the best man” to win or only let America come out on top.

Where is Taiwan heading?

SINGAPORE (Jan 23): Taiwan’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen has won re-election with a resounding 57.1% of the votes, leaving her main opponent, Han Kuoyu of the China-leaning Kuomintang (KMT), with only 38.6%. Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) confounded pollsters by securing 61 seats, and so retained control of the 113-seat legislature. That Tsai and the DPP achieved this, as the turnout surged to 74.9% from 66% in the last elections in 2016, only added to the convincing nature of her victory.

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Less intrusive trade agreements today may do more for trade tomorrow

SINGAPORE (Jan 23): Toward the end of the last decade, globalisation – the lowering of barriers to cross-border flows of goods, services, investment, and information – came under severe pressure. Populist politicians in many countries accused others of various economic wrongs, and pushed to rewrite trade agreements. Developing countries have argued for decades that the rules governing international trade are profoundly unfair. But why are similar complaints now emanating from the developed countries that established most of those rules?

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What my younger self never expected

SINGAPORE (Jan 23): As one advances in age, one tends to mark each new year by reflecting on the broader developments that have run in parallel with one’s own lifetime. For my part, I usually focus on the surprises (both positive and negative): Things I would have been considered unlikely or even unimaginable in my younger years.

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Briefs

SINGAPORE (Jan 10): "We will walk this journey together with you. This government will always have your back." — Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, on concerns that  foreigners are taking away better-paying jobs from Singaporeans

China’s mystery pneumonia outbreak linked to novel coronavirus

A mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has sickened dozens in central China is linked to a previously unidentified coronavirus, China Central Television (CCTV) said.

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Missiles strike, concerns spike

The US has reignited geopolitical tensions with Iran, even as the trade war with China goes on. While there are signs of a broader global economic recovery, central banks have little room to manoeuvre if growth stalls again.

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The Assassin’s false creed: An empty gesture with long-term costs

SINGAPORE (Jan 10): For an armchair warrior like US President Donald Trump, who received five deferments from serving in Vietnam, assassinations must look like a foreign-policy silver bullet. You take out your enemy’s leadership with a drone strike or rifle shot and, presto, your problems are solved. In fact, there is no historical basis for believing that assassinations solve anything. But there are plenty of precedents that they make things far, far worse. 

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Why Asia should worry about Middle East risk

SINGAPORE (Jan 10): The new year began with shocking developments in the Middle East. While financial markets have corrected, the response to the clashes between the US and Iran has been relatively muted, perhaps because investors are assuming that there is only a limited chance that the clashes would spiral into an expanded conflict. However, I believe that such a view is a tad complacent. The escalating tensions between the US and Iran in recent days mark a steep increase in political risks, and the Asian region will not be spared its implications.

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Oil demand to languish this decade says IEA; US presidential cycle points to equity gains

SINGAPORE (Jan 10): Simmering tensions between the US and Iran have spilt over into a war of words and some missile strikes, one of which killed an important Iranian general. The US says no one was killed. So far, these exchanges have resulted in a knee-jerk spike in oil prices and some volatility in equity markets. But this did not last in the face of tepid oil demand and the US presidential cycle.

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