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Chain’s smartphone and auto sales tumble as coronavirus hits demand

China is the world’s largest market for smartphones and autos – responsible for c30% of global sales for both.  Yet as Reuters notes: “Most western policymakers and journalists view the world economy through a framework that is 10-15 years out of date, failing to account fully for the enormous shift in activity towards China and
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Oil markets hit perfect storm as coronavirus cuts demand

Former Saudi Oil Minister Sheikh Yamani’s warning in 2000 looks increasingly prophetic today: “30 years from now, there will be a huge amount of oil – and no buyers. 30 years from now, there is no problem with oil. The Stone Age did not end because the world ran out of stones, and the Oil
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China’s lockdown makes global debt crisis now almost certain

Beijing has a population of 21.5 million, but you wouldn’t know it from this BBC video from last Thursday.  Normally busy streets and transport systems are eerily empty, with food deliveries often the main traffic on the roads. It’s the same picture in industry, with the Baidu Migration Index reporting only 26% of migrant workers
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Financial markets head for (another) train crash as coronavirus starts to impact

China’s industrial heartland of Hubei (pop 59m) and its capital Wuhan (pop 11m) have now been locked down for nearly a month as a result of the coronavirus COVID-2019 epidemic.  In total, more than half of the population (760m) are subject to some form of residential lock down. Yet as with the subprime crisis in … Financial markets head for (another) train crash as coronavirus starts to impact Read More »
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Coronavirus disruptions make global recession almost certain

Last month, our Hong Kong-based pH Report colleague, Daniël de Blocq van Scheltinga, warned of the “Possible development (epidemic?) of the Wuhan SARS like illness, and economic impact?”  His current view of developments, and their likely impact, is as follows: Hubei, the epicentre of the corona virus epidemic, is a province in central China, where the … Coronavirus disruptions make global recession almost certain Read More »
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Your A to Z Guide to the Brexit trade negotiations

A. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty set out the rules for leaving the European Union. As with most negotiations, it assumed the leaving country would present its proposals for the post-withdrawal period – which would then be finalised with the other members. The UK government, however, has still not yet set out its post-Brexit
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Automakers face stiff headwinds in big emerging markets

Brazil, Russia, India and China disappoint as manufacturers face investment demands of EVs © Bloomberg  Less than a third of China’s 31,000 auto dealers were profitable in the first half of 2019, as I describe in my latest post for the Financial Times, published on the BeyondBrics blog Auto markets in the Bric countries are
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Contingency planning is essential in 2020 as “synchronised slowdown” continues

The IMF has now confirmed that the world economy has moved into the synchronised slowdown that I forecast here a year ago. Its analysis also confirms the importance of the issues highlighted then, including “rising trade barriers and increasing geopolitical tensions”, a sharp decline in manufacturing, contraction in the auto industry and structural forces such
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Will stock markets see a Minsky Moment in 2020?

Few investors now remember the days when price discovery was thought to be the key role of stock markets. Instead, we know that prices are really now set by central banks, on the model of the Politburo in the old Soviet Union. How else can one explain the above chart? It shows the US S&P
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