Sunday, May 29, 2005

Avian Bird Flu in China: Another SARS crisis?

Reports from over the weekend speak of the death of more than 1000 migratory birds in China's central Qinghai (青海). The cause? Probably due the Avian Bird Flu. However, no humans have alledgedly been affected in the Middle Kingdom by the flu that hitherto has killed 53 individuals in South East Asia.

The main threat associated with the Avian flu, or specifically the H5N1 strain, is if it mutates to develop the ability for human-to-human transmission. This could, according to experts, spark a world-wide epidemic.

The question now remains: Is the Avian Flu already a problem in certain parts of China as it has already been in Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. for the past few months--we just don't know about it?

Will China's health authorities be able to efficiently tacle a new SARS-like crisis? and would this have an impact on the current Hu regime, if such an outbreak outfolds?

Your participation and discourse is needed.....

Related links:
BBC News Story "China raises bird death toll"

AFP News story "China working to contain bird flu, foot-and-mouth disease"

Monday, May 23, 2005

The RMB Bickering - An Economic or Political Issue? or Both?

For the past many a month, one of the 'hottest' topics in the field of international finance has been the value of the Chinese currency; the Ren Min Bi. It is currently pegged to the dollar at 1$/8.28RMB.

Politicians in the United States claim the appreciation of the Ren Min Bi would help the US trade deficit and grant China's neighbors with more investment. China claims the US is motivated by political and not economic reasons for advocating the raising of China's currency regime. The US is finding it challenging to argue for the contrary.

The Economist seems to support the idea of moving away from the pegged currency, but by means of a step-by-step mechanism, with the reliance of a currency basket as the first step away from the peg to the US dollar.

At the end of the day everyone knows that the US is solely to blame for its very poorly managed fiscal policies (with the highest national debt in the history of the world). Is China just being a scapegoat used to distract everyone else from the reality behind the Uncle's Sam's financial mess - or is all this an economic issue? Or both?

These are just a few brief remarks to spark a debate on the issue. Your additions or clarifications are welcome. Please share your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

China Inc.

A relatively new book on business in China is very popular these days.

Have you read it? Is it any good? Any books out there that are better? says:

"China has the world's most rapidly changing large economy, and according to Ted Fishman, it is forcing the world to change along with it. "No country has ever before made a better run at climbing every step of economic development all at once," he writes, in China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World. China is currently the largest maker of toys, clothing, and consumer electronics, and is swiftly moving up the ladder in car production, computer manufacturing, biotechnology, aerospace, telecommunications, and other sectors thanks to low-cost, high-tech factories. China is also where the world is investing. In 2004, for instance, the city of Shanghai alone attracted over $12 billion in direct foreign investment, roughly the same amount as all of Indonesia and Mexico received. In tracing China's ascendancy over the past 30 years (with annual growth of an astonishing 9.5 percent), Fishman presents a flood of facts, figures, forecasts, and anecdotes and examines the implications of this unprecedented growth for China, the U.S., and the rest of the world. "

What do you think?