China's central bank is scrambling to increase demand for borrowing by using nearly every instrument in its toolbox. But the impact has so far been limited, as Chinese companies and households are trapped in a crisis of confidence in the economy amid slowing growth and the impact of strict anti-Covid measures. What more can China do to save the economy?
Comic artist Bai Yi's artwork gives a glimpse into a dystopian world where individual lives are considered insignificant before the all-powerful and all-important state machine, and where herculean efforts are needed to uphold the dignity of human lives.
Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, notes that China’s emergence as an economic powerhouse has been accompanied by the rise to prominence of seasoned financial technocrats or self-taught experts. While these "new kids on the block" will most likely enter the new CCP Central Committee this fall for the first time, time will tell how they will respond to the many daunting economic and financial challenges at both the provincial and national levels.
Taiwanese commentator Chen Kuohsiang believes that China’s economy is under threat, with the unravelling of intertwining issues in the financial industry, property sector and government finances that cannot be easily resolved. How will China boost its investment-led economy, push down unemployment rates, and regain consumer and investor confidence?
Calls for de-dollarisation have increased since the financial sanctions of the Ukraine war and the very real threat of the US dollar being weaponised. In this context, academic Pei Sai Fan explains why conditions are ripe for China and Asia to offer innovative alternatives, such as developing regional digital currency cooperation in the payment and settlement of regional trade and investment, and expediting the development of new cross-border digital payment infrastructure in Asia known as multi-CBDC platform projects.
While the drama over a potential split-up of HSBC is still unfolding, what is clear is that geopolitical tensions may raise the stakes on potential financial decoupling down the road. Mixed West-East financial institutions such as HSBC stand at the forefront of the transitions and realignments under way.
The RMB's recent dramatic weakening did not come as a surprise to many. As stringent Covid-19 measures gradually ease, along with possible relaxations of policies in the real estate sector, could the worst be over for China's economy?
The Japanese yen has been on a prolonged decline and is unlikely to see an upside given the Japanese central bank’s persistence with its ultra-loose monetary policy. As a result, Japan’s trade balance is worsening and the Japanese people are feeling the crunch as energy and consumer goods prices soar. Chinese academic Zang Shijun believes that the Japanese currency will face even more pressure of rapid depreciation as the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
While several alternatives to China's Belt and Road Initiative have sprung up, such as the G7’s Build Back Better World and the EU’s Global Gateway, developing countries are not exactly facing a buffet spread of options, as each avenue comes with strings attached. Only time will tell if China will turn out to be a more benevolent lender and if the new Cold War will bring better spoils for developing countries.