Spring has been a bit tardy this year in the US, and I hear many other places, but not in Asia. The title of a recent Brookings meeting at Northwestern University was “Japan, the United States, and the Future of Asia” but the topic was Korea. I posed the question of whether or not we are experiencing a false spring. Talks between the two Koreas, the US and China are certainly a hopeful development, but do they mask fundamental and growing divisions between the major powers in the Pacific? Together, these countries comprise half of global GDP.
International FinTech startups are looking to the United States as a vast consumer and business market for their applications and services. Despite the difficulties posed by a dual regulatory system, in which multiple federal regulators join agencies in all 50 states, the wealth and size of the market beckons.
In my last newsletter, I said that global economic fundamentals seem to be positive, and in spite of market turmoil in the interim I am going to reiterate that statement. Volatility has returned, which will bring opportunities for those who are not faint of heart. This is an exciting time, never dull, never boring.
I am sharing my new editorial, just published by the news service UNIVISION. The work examines the PRC's expanding, increasingly self-confident engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean, as manifested in the recent China-CELAC summit in Santiago Chile. The work notes China's growing pursuit of political and security engagement with the hemisphere, as well as its surprising willingness to acknowledge its intention to move the region away from its relationships with the US and other "great powers."
What a week it was! Equity markets and cryptocurrencies, both of which appeared to defy the laws of gravity, and the US dollar took a dive. However, the story of synchronized global growth does not seem to have changed. Have we finally escaped the long dark shadow cast in 2008? Renowned Japanese economy expert Takatoshi Ito thinks that things are changing at the Bank of Japan, the institution that invented and led the world in quantitative easing. This could be a signal of things to come in a new global monetary policy environment.
"Changing consumer preferences and behaviors are focused on ease of use, convenience, and immediacy of payment that can be obtained through the mobile channel," reports the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its most recent mobile payments study.
Yet the mobile experience in the mainstream of U.S. commerce hardly meets that ideal.
The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) will convene this week in the ski resort of Davos. The WEF, which was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab (who at age 80, continues to run the organization) is an annual meeting of the global economic, business and political power elites. (Tidbit: the aggregate annual compensation of the two dozen global leaders of industry attending Davos is estimated at $300 million). While uber-elitist, the Davos meetings do reflect the major issues of the day and are useful sounding boards for discussing global economic and financial matters.