China’s Vast Geopolitical Visions Come Into Focus

The foundation for China’s relentless drive toward increased global influence is straightforward: Gain a dominant position in key economic sectors and leverage that into far-ranging political sway. Beijing is brimming with ideas for achieving that goal and is making progress in doing so.

By any realistic assessment, China is on course to succeed the United States as the world’s top economy. Consider this: China has only to sustain growth in its national economic output, or GDP, at a 6.5% annual rate versus the U.S.’s 2% – about the pace at which each economy has been expanding recently – and it will overtake the United States as No. 1 sometime between 2025 and 2030. After four decades of astonishingly brisk expansion – topping 10% a year for much of that time – China already is “the world’s factory,” and now the manufacturing dynamo is preparing to branch out into sophisticated fields from robot technology to ramped-up computer chip making. Continue reading “China’s Vast Geopolitical Visions Come Into Focus”

Will antiestablishment fever sweep through Europe?

Europe is in for a bumpy ride next year, and U.S. business interests across the pond will feel the vibrations.

Populism is sweeping across the continent, generated by voter anger at the political establishment over weak economic growth, the scarcity of jobs, an anti-immigrant backlash and a perception that financial markets matter more to government leaders than the well-being of ordinary workers. It has just swept Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi from power and earlier did the same to British Prime Minister David Cameron—and it’s headed full bore for the European Union’s biggest and most influential economies. Continue reading “Will antiestablishment fever sweep through Europe?”

Trade Deficit Increases in Listless World Economy

Widening 4% in ’16, after a 6.2% increase in ’15

Weak global growth combined with a relatively strong U.S. dollar will drive the U.S. trade deficit up 4% this year, as American exporters struggle to stay competitive in key trading nations. The drag on exports is likely to continue into next year. Continue reading “Trade Deficit Increases in Listless World Economy”