Klein's Commentary

Go beyond the headlines

What the China Stock Market Crash Really Tells Us (and What It Doesn’t)

Monday morning headlines were more sobering than a double shot of espresso, adding anxiety to an already tumultuous few weeks in China. The Shanghai index dropped 8.5%, in one day, again. This after a see-saw struggle to regain momentum with similar drops from mid-June’s dizzying peak of over 5,000. The consequences of such a serious…

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China Devaluation Latest Sign of Market Weakness

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) devalued the renminbi yesterday in the latest sign that market forces continue to weaken in the world’s second largest economy. Exports have fallen. Growth is likely far slower than the official 7% rate. Electricity usage is down. Steel production has declined. Infrastructure investment yields less impact. Even demographics highlight…

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U.S. Needs an Asia Re-Pivot

Legacy must be on Obama’s mind these days as his two-term presidency nears an end. It might seem early, but the approaching 2016 election cycle starts in earnest as soon as Hilary Clinton announces her candidacy. That could be only months away. Then the media cycle fills with coverage of every presidential hopeful’s latest utterance…

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What Does Xi Want?

For so many years now the rhetoric coming out of China was “peaceful rise” and “non-intervention”. And then by stealth, diplomacy and economic might a shift occurred turning a policy of biding one’s time into action. This new muscular foreign policy, under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, increasingly fractures a status quo that has maintained stability in…

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“Road to Fame” Explores China’s Youthful Aspirations and Angst

Six pairs of eyes follow each single child in China says a teacher at Beijing’s prestigious Central Academy of Drama – parents and two sets of grandparents. That puts a lot of pressure on them to succeed. In an economy undergoing dramatic change and slowing growth, the culture of competition long thought to be an…

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Asia Tensions Reach New Highs

North Korea’s rounds of provocation tempered with inaction continue to challenge regional powers. Sanctions appear to have had little affect on the new regime, but perhaps some additional pressure from China, one of their last remaining allies, has put the fear of complete isolation into the minds of Pyongyang’s leadership. Now that the new Kim…

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Red Lines in the East China Sea

[Short version on CNN GPS] In many parts of the world the long curve of history continues dragging nations back to the brink of war. Take Northeast Asia where recent tensions between China and Japan risk erupting into conflict. The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, home to rocky outcroppings and resource rich waters nearby has become the latest…

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The Once and Future Beijing Blues

Remember the Beijing Olympics of 2008? A world-renowned stadium. An opening ceremony of unparalleled power and vibrancy. Beautiful blue skies. It was a picture-postcard moment. At the time visiting reporters regaled the wonderfully clean air, some even claiming the government could make the skies rain on command to wash away the pollution. But to Beijing…

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Asia Integration Leaves U.S. Behind

You can’t blame them for trying. U.S. trade negotiators have been at it for years but conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) keeps receding over the horizon. A June deadline was floated and then passed quietly by. The end of 2012 came next (here and almost gone). Japan and possibly even Korea thought of joining…

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China’s Questionable Market Recovery

Money has to stay fit. It gets soft just lying on the couch, feet up on the coffee table, flipping through reality TV shows.  And this week the money looks like its running back to Asia. The Shanghai composite index jumped 2.87% on Wednesday prompting a flurry of reporting on the re-awakening of China’s stock…

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