Posts tagged ‘Asia’

06/10/2016

Why HSBC Says India is Better Than China or the U.S. for Expats – India Real Time – WSJ

While India may be known for its oppressive pollution, poverty and bureaucracy, it’s a better place to be sent to work than China or even the United States according to a recent survey.

An HSBC report that tried to break down what it’s like to be an expatriate in different countries this week surprisingly ranked India ahead of the world’s two biggest economies.

In its HSBC Expat Explorer 2016 report based on an online survey of 27,000 expats this year, the bank ranked India 26th out of 45 countries. While that is on the bottom half of the rankings, the U.S. did worse at 30th as did China at 34th.

How is that possible?

One factor was the Indian economy. Even though it is decades behind China and the U.S. it is still the fastest growing major economy in the world right now. That means globe-trotting executives and entrepreneurs don’t feel like they have been relegated to the backwaters when they work in India.

“More than half (51%) of expats in India believe the country is a good place for them to progress their career, compared with 42% across Asia-Pacific,” said the report, which ranked India 10th for “entrepreneurship,” better than China which got the 16th rank. India was also rated by expats as “a good place to start a business,” about 7% more than China in the region.

“Expats in India are also able to save more, with 44% saying that living there has accelerated their progress towards making longterm savings and investments, compared with 39% across the region,” said the report.

More important for the rankings this year though was family and friends.

The expats who responded to the HSBC survey gave India much higher marks in terms of ease of integrating with the locals as well as cost of raising children.

Of course the report also showed how India continues to underperform in many areas including quality of life and safety.India’s overall ranking slipped this year. Last year it was 17th out of 39 countries just below the U.S. but still better than China.

“The slight drop in India’s ranking is due to a range of factors, for example, expat parents in India have reported that the country is more expensive to bring up a child than last year,” said the bank when asked about India’s lower ranking this year.

Why did India, China and the U.S. perform worse than last year? That’s because they faced new competition from 6 other countries which were not a part of last year’s survey, including Norway and Austria which were ranked 6th and 7th in 2016.

On the top of the rankings this year was Singapore, New Zealand and Canada.

Source: Why HSBC Says India is Better Than China or the U.S. for Expats – India Real Time – WSJ

28/09/2016

This Is How India Is Keeping Its Place as Asia’s Fastest-Growing Large Economy – India Real Time – WSJ

What a contrast! See pair of articles – this on on India, the other on China, both from WSJ.

India is on track to keep its spot as Asia’s fastest-growing large economy, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday.

The Manila-based development lender expects the Indian economy to grow by 7.4% in the year that ends next March, keeping its earlier forecast unchanged in an update to its regional outlook.

The ADB lifted its forecast for China’s growth this calendar year slightly, to 6.6%, but it still expects India’s economic growth to broadly outpace its neighbors’ through 2017. (The comparison isn’t exact. India and other South Asian countries report economic data on a fiscal-year basis. China and others use calendar years.) In Asia, only Myanmar, which is opening up after decades of isolation but remains small by comparison, is expected to expand more quickly, at 8.4%.

The ADB said India’s growth prospects have been buoyed thanks to the enactment of “long-awaited structural reform.”

The bank lauded “strong progress” in restructuring Indian lenders’ balance sheets, which for years have been weighed down by bad loans. Large corporations are also finding ways to reduce debt, the bank said, which could also help resuscitate long-stagnant lending and investment.

Recent legislation that creates a national goods-and-services tax, the ADB said, is “a key step toward a much more integrated, productive economy.”

Other factors, the bank said, should keep Indian consumers spending.Government workers are due to receive a big boost to their pay and pensions, while abundant monsoon rains this summer will likely lift rural incomes.

There are risks, though, the ADB said.

Much of India’s recent growth has been driven by government spending. But that has slowed after a burst of public investment last year. New Delhi this financial year wants to shrink its budget deficit, but so far, it hasn’t raised as much money as expected from selling off stakes in state companies and other assets. That means expenditure may need to be reined in even further.Investment by private companies, meanwhile, has been “listless,” the ADB said.

Foreign direct investment in India has remained strong, the bank noted, and New Delhi has been raising limits on foreigners’ stakes in Indian enterprises. But the $63 billion flood of foreign investment seen last year “would be difficult to replicate,” the bank said.

Rapid price growth, too, could continue to weigh on Indian consumers and investors. Inflation in India, which the ADB forecasts at 5.4% this year, remains among the highest in Asia.The nation’s central bank is now actively mandated, for the first time in its history, to keep consumer inflation within a government-set range. “While this is a ground-breaking monetary policy reform, the target of 4% would seem somewhat ambitious,” the bank said.

Source: This Is How India Is Keeping Its Place as Asia’s Fastest-Growing Large Economy – India Real Time – WSJ

25/08/2016

China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal | South China Morning Post

China and the United States are set to jointly announce their ratification of a landmark climate change pact before the G20 summit early next month, the South China Morning Post has learned.

Senior climate officials from both countries worked late into the night in Beijing on Tuesday to finalise details, and a bilateral announcement is likely to be made on September 2, according to sources familiar with the issue.

President Xi Jinping will meet his US counterpart Barack Obama for the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, two days later on September 4.

How China, the ‘world’s largest polluter’, is taking on climate change

“There are still some uncertainties from the US side due to the complicated US system in ratifying such a treaty, but the announcement is still quite likely to be ready by Sept 2,” said a source, who declined to be named.

If both sides announce the ratification on the day, it would be the last major joint statement between the two leaders before Obama leaves office.

China and the US account for about 38 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

By ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change, Beijing and Washington could generate momentum for the accord to come into effect as a binding international treaty.

The pact agreed by representatives from 195 countries in Paris last December aims to keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius on pre-industrial levels.

Countries began the ratification process on April 22, Earth Day, and by Tuesday, 23 nations had joined, but they account for just 1 per cent of emissions.

China and the US create a new climate for international collaboration on the environment

The treaty will enter into force only after 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of emissions ratify or join the deal in other ways.

China had said earlier it would ratify the accord before the G20 summit in September.

In June, the US said it would “work towards” approving the deal before end of the year, with the White House keen to seal a key part of Obama’s environmental protection legacy before he leaves office in January.

US law allows the nation to join international agreements in a number of ways, including through the authority of the president.

With China and US joining, some civil society trackers say they are confident the deal could hit the 55 per cent threshold before the end of the year.

On Wednesday, investors managing more than US$13 trillion of assets urged leaders of the Group of Twenty major economies to ratify the deal before the end of December.

The 130 investors also called for the G20 to double global investment in clean energy, develop carbon pricing and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

How a little-known chapter in Sino-US cooperation may have helped save the planet

“Governments must ratify the Paris agreement swiftly and have a responsibility to implement policies that drive better disclosure of climate risk, curb fossil fuel subsidies and put in place strong pricing signals sufficient to catalyse the significant private sector investment in low carbon solutions,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive at Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.

Ratification is expected to play out differently in the US compared with China.

While China has “few uncertainties” at home for passing the deal, it could cause controversy within the US, according to Liu Shuang, an officer with Energy Foundation’s low-carbon development programme.But the Obama administration’s commitment to international frameworks suggests the accord would be passed in a way that would make it difficult for his successors to undo, civil society trackers said.

‘I may do something else’: Donald Trump’s threat to renegotiate UN climate deal greeted with widespread dismay

The two countries started extensive cooperation at the leadership level in 2014. In a joint declaration that year, China promised its emissions would peak before 2030, while the US promised to cut emission by at least 26 per cent. That deal is widely regarded as paving the way for the Paris Agreement.

Source: China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal | South China Morning Post

27/07/2016

Why India’s Lack of Toilets Is Hurting Its Children’s Development – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s lack of toilets and poor access to sanitation are holding back its children, causing stunted growth and curbing their development, a new report says.

Is India Winning the Fight Against Childhood Malnutrition?

Why Is Indian Children’s Growth So Stunted? It’s Not Why You ThinkT

he country has more than 48 million under fives with impaired growth, the largest number in the world, the report from London-based international development charity WaterAid said.

India also has 774 million people without access to adequate sanitation, and 76 million without safe water, the report said.

Children who are stunted because of malnutrition tend to be shorter and lag behind their peers cognitively. Poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene cause diarrhea and expose children to other intestinal infections during the crucial first two years of life.

Around 140,000 under-fives die in India every year because of diarrhea and other diseases caused by lack of access to these basic services, the report said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in the past that he would rather build toilets than temples — setting a goal for every home in the country to have a place to go to the bathroom by 2019. But the program has suffered challenges: some Indians prefer to relieve themselves outdoors.

India is making some progress, however. The report said the percentage of its children who were stunted reduced from 48% in 2006 to 39% in 2014, the year Mr. Modi came to power.

Pakistan, India’s closest neighbor, ranked third with more than 9.8 million children who are stunted, according to the WaterAid study.

Source: Why India’s Lack of Toilets Is Hurting Its Children’s Development – India Real Time – WSJ

28/06/2016

Pfizer to invest $350 million in China biotech hub, first in Asia | Reuters

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) will invest $350 million to build a biotech center in China, the latest in a series of moves by pharma industry giants to set up shop in the world’s no. 2 drugs market with the aim of securing faster approvals for their products.

The facility in eastern Hangzhou region – Pfizer’s first biotech center in Asia – is expected to be completed by 2018, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

Global “Big Pharma” is increasingly looking for smart ways to tap China’s healthcare market, estimated by consultancy IMS Health to be worth around $185 billion by 2018. From investing in China facilities to acquisitions, licensing deals and joint ventures, the aim is to seek an edge in dealings with domestic regulators and government.

John Young, group president for Pfizer’s essential health division, said in the statement that the Hangzhou facility should “help support China’s aim to increase the complexity and value of its manufacturing sector by 2025”.

Pfizer said it would “work closely” with local regulators to bring the drugs “to market as soon as possible”. The center will mostly on biologic drugs – made from living micro-organisms rather than chemically synthesized – and lower-cost ‘biosimilars’, of generic versions of biologics.

Pharmaceutical executives have long complained about the slow process of getting drugs to market in China, while others have run up against regulatory roadblocks. Pfizer had to close its vaccine business in the country last year after a license for its top-selling vaccine Prevenar was not renewed.

China’s overall healthcare spending is set to hit $1.3 trillion by 2020, but drug market growth has slowed to a low single-digit percentage pace from over 20 percent just four years ago as branded generics have lost their shine and Beijing has looked to drive down prices to keep a lid on costs.

Source: Pfizer to invest $350 million in China biotech hub, first in Asia | Reuters

24/06/2016

Unwanted model | The Economist

MARCHING by the thousands this week in stifling heat through their small coastal village, residents of Wukan carried Chinese flags and shouted out slogans in support of the Communist Party. That was just to protect themselves from retribution by the riot police, who watched them closely but did not intervene. Their real message was in other chants: “Give us back our land!” and “Free Secretary Lin!”

The secretary in question was their village chief, Lin Zulian, whom they elected in 2012 in what was widely hailed at the time as a breakthrough for grassroots democracy. Mr Lin had led Wukan in a months-long rebellion against local authorities. Villagers kicked out party officials and police from their offices in protest against the alleged seizure of some of Wukan’s land by corrupt officials who had lined their pockets with the proceeds of selling it. Police responded by blockading the village, turning it into a cause célèbre—including in some of the feistier of China’s heavily censored media. In the end the government backed down: it allowed Wukan to hold unusually free elections and it promised to sort out the land dispute. The “Wukan model” became Chinese reformists’ shorthand for what they hoped would be a new way of defusing unrest.

They have been disappointed. Villagers did not get their land back, or the money some wanted in lieu of it. Mr Lin, who won another landslide victory in elections two years ago, announced plans on June 18th to launch a new campaign for the return of the land. That was clearly too much for the local government: Mr Lin was promptly arrested on charges of corruption. Angry residents took to the streets again.

Villagers in China often stage protests over land rights; local authorities usually deal with them either with force, or by promising concessions and then rounding up the ringleaders. Restoring calm to Wukan will be tougher. Because of its fame, journalists have poured in, especially from nearby Hong Kong. Local officials may be reluctant to resort to the usual thuggish tactics in front of such an audience.

In an effort to undermine support for Mr Lin, the government has tried blackening his name. On June 21st officials released a video showing him confessing to bribe-taking. But that merely stoked the villagers’ anger. His wife, Yang Zhen, says she is certain the confession was coerced. His halting delivery in substandard Mandarin, she believes, was his way of letting villagers know this. “They are trying to deceive everyone, but no one believes it,” she says. Dozens of furious villagers went to a local school where nervous officials had barricaded themselves behind metal doors and barred windows; they kicked the doors and shouted abuse. As The Economist went to press, Wukan was preparing to embark on its sixth consecutive day of protest.

Many residents say they have lost all faith in the local government, and that only the central authorities in Beijing will be able to find a fair solution. “They took our land. My father and grandfather farmed it, and now I have nothing. No work and no other path forward,” says a 39-year-old villager. “We have a black government, all corrupt. They cannot trick us again with more talk of the ‘Wukan model’. We need our land back,” he fumes.

But the central government will be reluctant to cave in to the protesters’ demands. “Handling the Wukan problem well means much to the rest of China,” said Global Times, a pro-party paper in Beijing. But it warned that if the “drastic actions” of Wukan’s villagers were copied by others, China would “see mess and disturbance” at the grassroots. In a country where many seethe with grievances similar to Wukan’s, officials do not want the village to become a model for revolt.

Source: Unwanted model | The Economist

08/06/2016

U.S. Firm to Build Six Nuclear Reactors in India – India Real Time – WSJ

The U.S. and India agreed to move ahead with the construction of six nuclear reactors in India by an American company, the first such move since the countries signed a landmark civil nuclear deal in 2008.

The breakthrough capped a wide-ranging White House meeting on Tuesday between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are seeking closer cooperation as Washington wants to boost New Delhi’s role in counterbalancing China.

The meeting, which included lunch at the White House, will be followed on Wednesday by a speech by Mr. Modi to Congress, wrapping up the Indian leader’s fourth visit to the U.S. as part of an increasingly close relationship that has been sought by both governments.

The warming Indian relationship is backed by the lure of accelerating growth in that country, signs of improvement in the business climate, shared democratic values and some overlapping strategic goals.

By contrast, recent U.S. interactions with China, a far bigger Asian economy and U.S. trading partner whose growth appears to be slowing down, have been marked by strains and warnings over economic and security issues.

Source: U.S. Firm to Build Six Nuclear Reactors in India – India Real Time – WSJ

25/05/2016

China to replace direct coal combustion with electricity in new plan | Reuters

China will reduce the amount of coal burned directly in industrial furnaces and residential heating systems in order to tackle a major source of smog, the country’s energy regulator said on Wednesday.

The National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a joint announcement with other government bodies that around 700 million to 800 million tonnes of coal is burned directly in China every year, much of it in the countryside, where access to electricity is limited.

Directly burned coal amounts to about 20 percent of China’s total coal consumption volume, much higher than the 5 percent rate in Europe and the United States.

China will aim to replace direct burning with electricity, including renewable power as well as ultra-low emission coal-fired generators, the NEA said.

China currently relies on coal for around 64 percent of its total primary energy needs and for three-quarters of its total power generation. Emissions from the direct combustion of coal are around five times higher than those from coal-fired power plants, which are subject to strict anti-pollution regulations.

During the 2016-2020 period, China plans to raise electricity’s share of the country’s overall energy mix to 27 percent, up about 1.5 percentage points from now and raising total power consumption by around 450 billion kilowatt-hours a year, the NEA said.

Experts have estimated that China will need an additional 600 GW of coal-fired power capacity over the 2015-2030 period in order to replace direct coal combustion.

Source: China to replace direct coal combustion with electricity in new plan | Reuters

08/02/2016

GDP data to show economy racing, realities less rosy | Reuters

India will release data on Monday showing it remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but economists are struggling to reconcile that rosy picture with ground realities like weak exports, investment, and flat corporate order books.

Labourers works at the construction site of a residential building in Mumbai, India, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

The median estimate from a Reuters poll of economists put GDP annual growth at 7.3 percent in the quarter through December, just below 7.4 percent in July-September.

If the data comes in line with expectations, it would be faster than 6.8 percent growth posted by China in the same quarter.

However, very few economists are ready to take the official data at face value, reckoning that it overestimates the pace of expansion in Asia’s third-largest economy.

“There are inconsistencies between the picture presented by new GDP series and many other tried and trusted real activity indicators,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, group chief economist, L&T Finance Holdings, Mumbai.

Until a year ago, India was struggling to break out of the longest stretch of below 5 percent growth in a quarter of a century. But a change made a year ago to the method GDP is calculated transformed the lumbering South Asian giant overnight into one of the fastest growing major economies.

Yet, merchandise exports have been falling for the past 13 months. Rural spending is subdued on weak wage growth and two successive droughts.

Corporate order books are flat. While finished goods inventory to sales ratio is showing no improvement, raw material inventory to sales ratio has worsened.

With factories running nearly 30 percent below their capacity, firms are not in a hurry to invest in new plants and machinery. Festering problem of bad loans, meanwhile, has impeded credit flow and delayed full transmission of interest rate cuts.

There are some encouraging signs, however. Robust growth in indirect tax receipts suggest a nascent revival in manufacturing sector. Foreign direct investment is up. Low inflation, thanks largely to a crash in global commodity prices, has helped bolster urban demand.

Source: GDP data to show economy racing, realities less rosy | Reuters

03/02/2016

China’s new wind power capacity hits record high – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China‘s newly installed wind power capacity reached a record high in 2015 amid increasing efforts from the government to boost clean energy.

The new wind power capacity jumped to 32.97 gigawatts last year, more than 60 percent higher than 2014, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Tuesday.

Wind power generated 186.3 terawatt hour of electricity in 2015, or 3.3 percent of the country’s total electric energy production, data showed.  (Editor’s note: worldwide average is 4% – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power)

Promoting non-fossil energy including wind power, China is in the middle of an energy revolution to power its economy in a cleaner and sustainable manner. The government aims to lift the proportion of non-fossil fuels in energy consumption to 20 percent by 2030 from present around 11 percent.

China’s energy mix is currently dominated by coal.

However, the NEA warned of the suspension of wind farms in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Jilin. The phenomenon occurs in the early stage of wind power capacity construction due to the mismatching of new installation and local power grid.

Source: China’s new wind power capacity hits record high – Xinhua | English.news.cn

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