Pulse


My Take on Abe-Trump Summit in Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs ran my take on the Abe-Trump summit at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/japan/2017-02-16/trump-and-japan?cid=soc-fb-rdr .

Excerpts:

China's Currency Manipulation? Trump is Two Years Late

One of the oft-repeated themes of Candidate (then President) Trump is that the world has been taking advantage of us at every turn, and that China is the main culprit.  The evidence presented is that China has been systematically manipulating its currency to boost its exports and discourage imports, thus contributing to the massive U.S trade deficit.  However, the evidence is a dollar short and a couple of years late.  If anything, China has been struggling in the past 18 months to prevent its currency from depreciating too rapidly.

Bots!

Chatbots in banking, the banks that do APIs well, and the rise of open banking. This week's FinTech links provide a look at the shifts in technology that can move banks away from consumers and provide consumers a way to gain greater control over their banking experience.

And then there's the genuine coin of the realm, in the form of paper money. National Public Radio reports that 80 percent of U.S. currency circulates in hundred dollar bills—"Franklins"—but nobody really knows where they are.

Avoid Mediocrity: Turbo-Charge Performance with Strategic Partnerships

Co-authored with Jake Crampton

Market forces demand constant performance improvement and optimization of resources and assets. In today’s complex healthcare marketplace, agility, efficiency and quality are the new drivers of success. To successfully compete, healthcare systems will need to overcome their preferences for "owning" sub-optimal business functions and align with strategic partners that can deliver superior products and services.

EconVue Spotlight

Political events with major economic implications continue to swirl around us, centered on the change in leadership in the US. 

Key trends we are watching:

FinTech Populism

It's a bit of a cheap headline, I'll admit, but I've been reading about the so-called populism that the current U.S. president has tapped into and wondered what it has to do with financial technology. FinTech has been styled as a way to empower people, and that's basically where populism started.

"Populism" in the most generic sense refers to a concern for the common people. It also carries the charge of dissing establishment types, whether they are politicians, intellectuals, media types—maybe even banks.

The Art of the Trade Deals

So far, President Trump has demonstrated that he will try to make good on his campaign promises, though the process may be anything but pretty. We cannot recall a president who started out “fighting” on so many fronts: still confirming most of his cabinet, nominating a Supreme Court Justice and multiple sweeping executive orders on domestic and international matters. Until the rollout of corporate and other tax proposals, which at this rate may come sooner than expected, the economic focus should be on Trump’s trade policy.

Tsai Ing-Wen in Central America - Shoring up Defenses before the Collapse of the Truce

I am sharing an article on the topic of Taiwan-PRC diplomatic competition in Central America.

The article examines the recent visit by Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen to Central America, in the context of the possible breakdown of the informal "diplomatic truce" which has prevailed between Taiwan and mainland China since 2008.

This work is available from the ejourunal "Global Taiwan Brief," and the full text can be found below as well.

Changing Money

Thought leaders continue to point to trends that banks and FinTech insiders need to pay attention to, ranging from the use of big data to FinTech firms like Stash and Betterment, which are reshaping wealth management. Faster payments, mobile payments, and blockchain systems will accelerate their development this year.

Fed issues report on faster payments initiative

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