China eyes Russia’s Far East resources, ‘patriots’ want more

China and Russia have agreed to strengthen economic ties after top leaders held high-profile meetings in Moscow, but Chinese investment in Russia’s underdeveloped Far East region is not a done deal. Since mid-2022, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has promoted a proposal for Chinese investment in 79 projects worth about US$165 billion across energy, mining […]Continue Reading

Fed’s ‘soft landing’ likely to land in recession

Federal Reserve policymakers have targeted a “soft landing” for the US economy since beginning their effort a year ago to tame runaway inflation by hiking interest rates. That is, they believed they could do so without sending the US into recession. But the Fed’s decision to raise rates by a quarter point on March 22, […]Continue Reading

US protectionism eroding its allure in Asia

Protectionist trade policies and the lack of an economic agenda for East and Southeast Asia have become central themes in critiques of US policy towards the region and its approach to managing US-China “strategic competition.” According to these accounts, US protectionism undermines its economic draw in East Asia — and the political leverage stemming from it — at a time when it has […]Continue Reading

US Federal Reserve in high-wire rate decision

The Federal Reserve faces a pivotal decision on March 22, 2023: whether to continue its aggressive fight against inflation or put it on hold. Making another big interest rate hike would risk exacerbating the global banking turmoil sparked by Silicon Valley Bank’s failure on March 10. Raising rates too little, or not at all as […]Continue Reading

NTT, KDDI tie-up aims to set 6G global standard

TOKYO – NTT and KDDI, Japan’s top two telecom carriers, will cooperate in developing new telecom technology that aims for a 125-times increase in transmission capacity, a 100-times increase in energy efficiency and a 200-times reduction in end-to-end delay (latency) for mobile and optical networks. If successful, they could potentially set the global standard for […]Continue Reading

Vietnam the epitome of a Belt and Road hedge

A policeman blocks photographers from taking pictures during an anti-China protest in front of the Opera House in Hanoi in a file photo. Photo: Reuters/Nguyen Lan Thang

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, is considered an ambitious long-term strategy to promote the expansion of Chinese influence by providing countries in the region with aid and infrastructure investment. But in contrast with some Southeast Asian states which have largely embraced the BRI with open arms, Vietnam has […]Continue Reading

US bank cracks weakening global financial system

Silicon Valley in California has long been the recipient of investments from China and this trend is now growing, along with the opportunities that blockchain presents. Photo: iStock/NASA

US regulators’ swift reaction to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and two other lenders partially restored calm to markets, but concerns remain over the stability of the global financial system. The government is racing to orchestrate a US$30 billion rescue of First Republic Bank by the nation’s largest financial institutions after the California lender’s […]Continue Reading

Stubborn inflation, bank crisis puts US Fed on a precipice

The Federal Reserve is facing a rather sticky problem. Despite its best efforts over the past year, inflation is stubbornly refusing to head south with any urgency to a target of 2%. Rather, the inflation report released on March 14, 2023, shows consumer prices rose 0.4% in February, meaning the year-over-year increase is now at […]Continue Reading

India’s newfound lithium riches could fuel tech revolution

Image of lithium batteries of various sizes. Photo: iStock/Getty Images

In February 2023, India’s government announced that the Geological Survey of India found around 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves in the Salal-Haimana region of Jammu and Kashmir. Lithium is sometimes termed “white gold” for its strategic importance as an essential metal in electrification. But India faces several challenges in capitalizing on its lithium deposits. […]Continue Reading