The COVID-19 pandemic has afflicted not only human beings but human economies. It has also revealed serious flaws, especially in supply chains, that predated the pandemic but have been exacerbated by it—especially the global dependence on China as the source of goods and materials. Fortunately, possibilities to adapt for the better exist, and it is likely that one long-term benefit of the virus will be prompting advantageous supply-chain changes.
For the world’s economy, 2021 hasn’t yet brought a break from 2020; COVID-19 remains dominant. Although all banking systems are vulnerable to upheaval, the situations for those in emerging markets are more tenuous for several reasons. S&P Global Ratings examined the three major risks facing a sample of 15 EM countries, including likely deterioration in asset quality, geopolitical and domestic policy uncertainty and vulnerability to abrupt changes in investor sentiment.
Regarded as one of the world’s safest countries from the coronavirus, Taiwan is also one of the few that registered positive economic growth in 2020 with bright prospects for 2021. Its clever handling of the pandemic isn’t the only reason for its resounding success. The country is also benefitting from US-China trade tensions. But one thing is certain, Taiwan is indeed Formosa, a “beautiful island”, within a bleak world environment.
The robots are taking our jobs—or are they? This has been one of the most hotly discussed subjects of recent years as the startling developmental leaps being made in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics continue to make automation more sentient, efficient and productive.
Natural resources offer investors endless and rewarding opportunities. Today, one of the most interesting segments is rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in trending products from electric cars to smartphones. China has the corner on this market, despite US efforts to muscle in. Even though rare-earth prices have taken a hit during the pandemic, investors would still do well to consider adding these versatile minerals to their portfolios.
Throughout the past four decades, despite their differences, the United States and China have found a way to get along through a symbiotic trade relationship that maximizes their competitive advantages. Recent US concerns about national security and China’s dominance in manufacturing have strained relations, but now more than ever, with the pandemic threatening to unravel years of economic progress, the world’s two largest economies need to pull together.
Technology has responded to the call to produce innovations that will slow global warming, creating an arsenal of renewable-energy alternatives to fossil fuels. But distribution of these innovations to developing countries has not kept pace, and they are lagging behind in low-carbon adoption. What needs to be done to transfer and deploy existing low-carbon technologies throughout the globe as quickly as possible? The answer lies in solutions such as trade.
Historically, China has been relatively closed to foreign capital, frustrating would-be investors, but a broader, more progressive mindset alongside worryingly deteriorating economic conditions are prompting it to open the gates to outside investors. Seeing the advantages of increased international integration, China’s authorities are taking constructive actions to increase access for foreign investors to China’s financial sector—all while keeping a watchful eye on the implications for the country’s financial stability.
There were many victims of 2008’s Great Recession, but perhaps none were as hard-pressed as those in emerging markets, who were effectively cut off by the suddenly risk-averse big banks of developed countries. Access to finance through traditional avenues is still hit and miss for those in developing countries, but things are looking up with the advent of technological solutions that are bridging the gap to a more promising future.
Hong Kong, southern China’s special administrative region, is counted as one of the world’s foremost financial hubs, ranking high in digital transformation, and is currently rolling out virtual banks, which are keeping traditional banks on their toes. One of the well-established banks in Hong Kong, China CITIC Bank International (CNCBI), has staked claim to being a frontrunner in digitalization and is rapidly expanding its innovation footprint in China’s Greater Bay Area.