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How will China’s external current account surplus evolve in the coming years?

Louis Kuijs's picture

How China’s current account surplus will evolve in the coming years is one of the key questions on the economic outlook, both for China itself and for the global economy. China’s increasingly competitive manufacturing sector will continue to power ahead, to expand exports and to gain global market share. At the same time, China’s domestic economy should continue to grow rapidly, thereby drawing imports. However, how this will on balance play out with regard to the current account surplus is less certain. It will largely depend on how much progress is made with rebalancing the economy.

A remarkably stable outlook for China

Louis Kuijs's picture

As we were wrapping up the work on our new China Quarterly Update (of which I am the main author), looking at our main conclusions and messages on economic developments in China, prospects, and the key policy challenges and tasks, I noticed that, despite lots of new data and all the headlines about changes, likely changes and risks, our overall conclusions and views have not changed all that much since June, when we released the last one. Noticing this was sobering but also somehow comforting.

Cambodia moves to increase exports of its "white gold" (rice)

Stéphane Guimbert's picture

To a tourist visiting Cambodia, or to a French consumer living in Cambodia (whose food habits require a complement of pasta and potatoes), rice will mainly mean the stunning landscapes of rice fields, yellow at harvest time, bright and liquid during the rainy season, with shades of green meanwhile.

ปลาหมึกพอลพยากรณ์เศรษฐกิจไทย: เคลื่อนไหวด้วยหนวดเส้นเดียว

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

 

Image courtesy of Caitfoto through a Creative Commons license
(Originally posted in English)

หลังจากที่คณะผู้จัดทำรายงานตามติดเศรษฐกิจไทยของธนาคารโลกได้รับความช่วยเหลือจากทั้งหมอดูลายมือเขมรและหมอดูกระดองเต่าผู้โด่งดัง ให้สามารถจัดทำตัวเลขประมาณการด้านเศรษฐกิจของไทยในปี 2553 ให้เสร็จสมบูรณ์ไปแล้วเมื่อเดือนเมษายนที่ผ่านมา    ทีมงานของเราก็แอบไปได้ยินข่าวคราวเกี่ยวกับหมอดูแม่น ๆ คนใหม่ที่โลกทั้งใบต้องตื่นตะลึงในความถูกต้องแม่นยำของเขา  ผมจึงต้องตาลีตาเหลือกไปจ้างหมอดูท่านนี้มาเป็นที่ปรึกษาเป็นการด่วน ทั้งนี้เพื่อให้แน่ใจว่าตัวเลขประมาณการด้านเศรษฐกิจที่ธนาคารโลกจะนำออกเผยแพร่แก่สาธารณชนในเดือนมิถุนายนนั้นใกล้เคียงกับความเป็นจริงที่สุด ไม่อย่างนั้นเสียชื่อนักเศรษฐศาสตร์ฟันธงหมด

Paul the Octopus' forecast on the Thai economy: Swimming with one tentacle

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

Image courtesy of Caitfoto through a Creative Commons license
(Available in: ภาษาไทย)

Following the very successful earlier engagements of a Khmer palm reader and a celebrity turtle-shell fortune teller, the Thailand economic team has recently hired the forecasting star of the moment to divine the future of the economy. I am not talking about Professor Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini, but Octopus Paul, who had to escape Germany in a hurry to avoid becoming “pulpo a la Gallega”. For a hefty fee of a five shrimps, the wise cephalopod spent a few hours in our offices sharing his prognosis for the Thai economy.

China’s economic outlook remains favorable

Louis Kuijs's picture

The World Bank released its latest Quarterly Update on China’s economy on Friday (for disclosure's sake: I’m the lead author). At the press launch, there were a lot of questions about the recent wage hikes in several foreign-owned manufacturing companies and the possible concerns these have triggered among many about possible loss of competitiveness and/or a wage-inflation spiral.

China economic outlook: a tighter macro stance and renewed focus on structural reform

Louis Kuijs's picture

We just released our China Quarterly Update. For us (the economics unit in the World Bank’s Beijing office), this is a good disciplinary device to go through the data, look at what has happened, think about what the economic prospects and policy implications are, look in some more detail into some issues, and write it all down.

In addition to the usual topics, this time we focused a bit on two macro risks that have caught the attention of analysts: a property bubble and strained local government finances. In this blog I summarize our current understanding of the general economic outlook and what it means for policymaking. In a separate blog post, I will soon discuss the issues on local government finances.

Thailand's economy in 2010: Growth in balance

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

In the years since the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) worked hard to build a heavy fortress around the nation’s financial sector. As a result, at a time when credit markets froze in developed countries and investors “fled to quality,” large amounts of capital still flowed into Thailand, where banks remained solid and well capitalized. Despite the financial strength brought by prudent policies, for the first time since the financial crisis, Thailand will see GDP and household consumption drop, and poverty could even increase in 2009. It is clear that the financial armor was insufficient to protect the economy from another crisis.

The culprit has been identified as Thailand’s excessive reliance on external demand, and talk of “rebalancing” growth towards domestic consumption and investment has become quite common (pdf). The idea of rebalancing makes some sense – but it can also be misleading. Let me explain.

China: Robust growth in sight provides room for shift in policy focus

Louis Kuijs's picture

The economic data for the third quarter of 2009, released almost two weeks ago, confirmed an impressive recovery in China’s economy, supported by very large fiscal and monetary stimulus. Real GDP growth rose to 8.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter. This is clearly good news, for China and many other countries whose economies are benefiting at the moment from strong demand from China. As the World Bank economic team for China (which I'm part of) argues in more detail in the new China Quarterly Update, it also means that it is time to consider a less expansionary macroeconomic policy stance and focus more on the structural reforms needed to rebalance the economy and get more growth out of the domestic economy on a sustained basis.

It’s not as if China has not been hit by the global recession. China’s real economy has been hit hard. Exports fell sharply since November last year, and the contribution of net external trade to GDP growth was minus 3.6 percent points in the first three quarters of this year – with the negative contribution particularly large in the third quarter (in year-on-year terms).

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