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- Thedore Roethke

Financial Times

Financial Times

China’s attempted economic transition has deep implications, not just for the emerging nation, but for the rest of the world. In the short term, the challenge is to manage spill­overs from what might be a sharp slowdown in China’s economic activity. In the long term, it is how to cope with the integration of a financial powerhouse into the world economy. In reality, however, what happens in the short term will shape the longer term as well.

Communist China has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality, with the richest 1 per cent of households owning a third of the country’s wealth, a report from Peking University has found.

The poorest 25 per cent of Chinese households own just 1 per cent of the country’s total wealth, the study found.

China’s working age population will fall more than 10 per cent by 2040 in spite of a recent relaxation of its one child policy, the World Bank warned on Wednesday, heightening the risk of the world’s most populous country “getting old before getting rich”.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 07:10

Wanted: more people to make babies in China

Too many abortions, too little sex and too few sperm: even Beijing can’t produce a baby boom until it gets the basics right.

Authoritarian governments can achieve many things by decree, but making babies is not one of them. It seems China has a shortage of that essential biological ingredient to power the next phase of the mainland economic miracle: sperm to fertilise the embryos of future workers.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 06:58

Wanted: more people to make babies in China

Too many abortions, too little sex and too few sperm: even Beijing can’t produce a baby boom until it gets the basics right.

Authoritarian governments can achieve many things by decree, but making babies is not one of them. It seems China has a shortage of that essential biological ingredient to power the next phase of the mainland economic miracle: sperm to fertilise the embryos of future workers.

Four local government employees jump into their minibus, beaming from ear to ear. They have just had a chance meeting with the Communist party secretary of Foshan, a prosperous city of 7m in China’s Guangdong province.

Many Chinese officials long for an op­portunity to salute the local party boss, in whose hands rests the fate of their entire career. What is different about these four is that they are foreigners.

More than 1m Chinese will go on a cruise holiday this year — nearly five times as many as in 2012 — a statistic that has whipped the global industry into a record expansion of ship orders and a collective decision to sail the world’s largest and most luxurious mega-vessels eastward.

Thursday, 13 August 2015 00:51

What next? A China housing crash?

As China’s equity markets cool down and its currency is devalued, attention will return to the question of whether the country’s property market is heading for a fall. In my view, the boom days are over, but with buyers required to put at least 30 per cent cash down, the risks of a crisis are low.

China’s housing market is one of the most important parts of its economy, and also one of the most misunderstood. Important, because residential real estate together with construction accounts directly for more than 10 per cent of gross domestic product. Misunderstood because few observers appear to grasp the structure of China’s residential property market.

When flying to the US for our summer holiday each year, my family has a foolproof method of locating our check-in queue at Shanghai’s Pudong airport: look for the passengers with the greatest girth. The largest people fly to America. 

Chinese investors have ignored efforts by the securities regulator to curb downward pressure on the country’s tumbling stock market, with bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen registering hefty declines on Thursday.

Moves by the China Securities Regulatory Commission late on Wednesday to relax collateral rules on margin loans failed to staunch market losses on Thursday, with the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3.5 per cent — deepening Wednesday’s 5.3 per cent decline — while Shenzhen finished the day down 5.6 per cent.

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