(8/2/1015) The plunge of China’s stock market that has taken place since June 2015 has received a lot of attention. All the commentary says not only that the Chinese authorities have taken a variety of artificial measures to try to boost the market on the way down but also that they did the same during the huge run-up in stock prices between mid-2014 and mid-2015, when the Shanghai stock exchange composite index more than doubled. The finger-wagging implications are that the Chinese authorities, particularly the stock market regulator, have not learned how to let the market operate and that they had only themselves to blame for the bubble in the first place. Continue reading
(4/28/2015) Two hostesses are rivals in a popularity contest throughout the social season. When they hold soirees on the same night invitees must choose which one to go to. The hostesses guard their social ranking jealously, and may even punish a guest who goes to the rival’s party by withholding an invitation next time.
To read about the roles of China and the US over the last month, one would think that Asia/Pacific relations are a zero-sum game like that of these two hostesses in some fictional time and place. Continue reading
(2/23/2015) A rare issue on which the two parties in the US Congress agree is the problem of “currency manipulation,” especially on the part of China. Perhaps spurred by the 2014 appreciation of the dollar and the first signs of a resulting loss of American net exports, Congress is once again considering legislation to attack currencies that are seen as unfairly undervalued. The proposed measures include the threat of countervailing duties against imports from offending countries, although that would be inconsistent with international trading rules.
Even if one accepts the possibility of identifying a currency that is manipulated, however, China no longer qualifies. Continue reading