Trump, Taiwan and China – 2

I was looking for some articles by Philip Bowring, veteran journalist, on China when, coincidentally, an email from FT landed in my mail box.China is going to help Malaysia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – 1MdB – to pay its loans. It has adverse implications for regional stability. In that context, Trump’s phone conversation with Taiwan President assumes more salience and legitimacy.

Philip Bowring has been in Asia for nearly four decades. He currently writes for the South China Morning Post. He has written some very good pieces on China’s claims in the South China Sea. In fact, his piece questioning the very name provides a great deal of historical context. South China Sea’ is of  very recent vintage.

This piece makes a strong case for rebutting China’s claims to ‘South China Sea’.

His article for ‘Yale Global Online’ on Malaysia leaning on China was hard hitting. The header says it all: ‘Desperate to Survive, Malaysia’s PM Sells His Country to China’.

But, came this piece and I found it hard to understand. Even if one were not happy with Trump, how can China be expected to step into his place and do the right thing, in the light of all that he had written above? His judgement on the voter choice in the U.S. fell into the stale and disappointing pattern of the mainstream analysts. Oh, well.

In other news, China tightening and imposing more stringent exchange controls hardly befits that of a country that has foreign exchange reserves of over USD3.0trn and a country that aspires for international reserve currency status for its currency. It is hurting European companies operating in China, says this story in FT.

FT has a longish discussion on the pros and cons of a Renminbi devaluation, on the back of a supposedly ‘rogue’ currency move that saw a Renminbi fix that was 8% lower than the previous day. It was dismissed as an error. May be, something is cooking.

Just about two hours ago, FT informed us that China’s foreign exchange reserves had declined by around USD70.0bn in November. USD3.0trn is within a whisker of being breached on the downside.

In this context, the Reserve Bank of India’s decision today not to withdraw interest rate support to its currency seems all the more appropriate.


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