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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Despite Global Slowdown, Prosperity on the Rise

The Legatum Institute, an “independent, non-partisan, public policy organization” based in London came out with their annual Prosperity Index this week. Among the key findings in an analysis of 142 countries around the world: From 2009 to 2012 prosperity* rose in every region despite the global economic downturn. Central Asia and Southeast Asia top the…

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Post-Debate Wrap-Up: The Candidates on Asia

The final 2012 U.S. Presidential Debate went off without a hitch last night as both candidates stuck closely to their foreign policy talking points. China was meant to feature prominently with time devoted explicitly to the bilateral relationship. After brief opening remarks both Obama and Romney veered off topic and returned to the jobs question,…

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U.S. Presidential Debate – A Foreign Policy Primer

With two weeks left before election day candidates Obama and Romney tackle foreign policy issues tonight. If last week’s battle royale over the economy is any indication this promises to be a no-holds-barred verbal slug fest. Tremendous changes have occurred over the last four years in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Osama Bin Laden…

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China’s Global Leadership Gap – CNN Commentary

(Also on CNN’s Global Public Square here.) In a rare and telling diplomatic snub this week China refused to send People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan to the IMF/World Bank meeting held in Tokyo. The slight, related to the continued stand-off with Japan over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea says…

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U.S. by the Numbers – Recovery Still a Mixed Bag

A torrent of headlines came out today on the latest U.S. jobs numbers. Unemployment fell to 7.8%, below the psychologically important magic number eight. Hitting a four year low this certainly marks a change in the right direction, but we’re still talking baby steps (hand holding a toddler comes to mind.) To have a substantial…

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The Presidential Debate We Needed, but Never Saw

One question for the undecided voters of America – are you better off now than you were 90 minutes ago? Despite a Romney landslide 67% “win” among CNN debate watchers and pundits parsing the candidates words in excruciating detail (worse than the actual number-laded debate itself), undecided voters remained decidedly, undecided. What voters needed from…

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Asia by the Numbers

(UPDATE 10/8/12: Both the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have lowered 2012 growth forecasts for China and Asia.) Remember those halcyon days of unending Asia growth and the re-birth of a Silk Road century? Cherish the memories. Nothing but negative news keeps flowing out of regional giants these days. Expert debates rage on about…

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Iran’s Economy at the Edge

(UPDATE: 10/3/12 – BBC reporting protests in Tehran.) Months of tightening U.S. sanctions appear to be taking their toll on Iran’s economy. The rial plunged against the dollar (losing 25% in street value in the past week and down some 80% since 2011). Imports, paid for in dollars, have become increasingly expensive. Inflation approached 24%…

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