HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China is exhibiting some worrying trade war restraint. A popular nationalist tabloid suggested this week that Beijing could retaliate against Washington using the country’s grip on rare-earth supplies, U.S. debt or American business on the mainland. A better question is why these weapons, some of which have been deployed in the past, sit idle. It points to a different, and more dangerous, conflict.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Washington and Beijing are pushing a tech chasm even wider. U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a fresh assault on telecom giant Huawei, as China moves to strengthen its own cybersecurity rules. It will further divide the sector and complicate trade negotiations. A costly technology cold war looks here to stay.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - An intensifying trade spat is one more headache for Foxconn’s next boss. The Taiwanese iPhone assembler reported a worse-than-expected drop in quarterly earnings on Tuesday, against a backdrop of cooling tech demand. Now it has to deal with straining U.S.-China ties too. Chairman Terry Gou has sought to diversify away from Apple’s phones, in part by scrambling up the value chain. His successor will have to climb faster.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Trade flows, not traditional economic measures, will reveal the true cost of tariffs. Washington on Friday hiked duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Both sides have intimated they can survive a blow that may only slightly dent their GDP. Shifting supply chains, though, will show the extent of longer-term losses.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump’s tariff threats are shaking the foundations of a future trade deal. The U.S. president says he will soon hike duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods. It may well be an eleventh-hour negotiating ploy. It has rattled investors anyway, just as both economies have steadied. Such bursts of frustration with Beijing are worrying: they raise questions about whether a final pact can stick.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China can scale a 2023 population peak. A new study suggests the country’s populace may top out in about four years, earlier than expected. That’s disheartening for the likes of Mattel, Lego and education companies. But it also reflects a richer, better-educated nation. That, and a workforce bolstered by employees who stay on longer, may soften the blow.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s Belt and Road Initiative can pave over only some of its potholes. A gathering in Beijing this week to promote the $1 trillion-plus foreign policy push comes after a bumpy year for the flagship scheme, from Pakistan to Malaysia. Under pressure, China has shown some welcome flexibility. But U.S. hostility is ramping up too, and that will be far harder to repair.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - China’s video-game industry needs a predictable boss. After a freeze on approvals for most of last year, officials last week issued new guidelines for applications that point to a future of fewer titles and blander content. That should prove a manageable outcome for the $475 billion Tencent, backer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, as well as the $35 billion NetEase. Yet the whims of a revamped regulator finding its feet mean the industry still deserves a discount.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The world’s second-biggest economy may be getting back on track, at least judging by the 35 percent rise in the benchmark CSI300 index so far this year. Growth may have been lacklustre in the first quarter, but stock investors are optimistic, encouraged by an impressive lending rebound. The test will be how long these animal spirits alone can keep momentum going.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Chinese bonds will test Beijing’s resolve. Index inclusion is pulling global investors into the onshore fixed income market. Implausible ratings and thin liquidity are among its fixable teething issues. The real question is if Beijing will meddle with bonds in bad times, as it has in stocks.