Business And Finance

America’s trade strategy has many risks and few upsides

AMERICA’S president claims to view China as a friend. But the friendship is going through a rocky patch, to say the least. America’s trade deficit with China, “the largest deficit in the history of our world”, is “out of control”, Donald Trump groused on March 22nd. “A tremendous intellectual-property theft situation” also irks him. And so, after laying out his ...

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Technology has upended the world’s advertising giants

IN BUILDING the world’s largest advertising company over the past 30 years, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, has weathered two recessions and survived a global financial crisis. His firm nearly went bankrupt in the early 1990s. Now he must make his hardest advertising pitch yet, to convince the corporate world that image-making agencies like his are not dinosaurs ...

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Uber makes a tactical retreat from South-East Asia

BEING a commuter in much of South-East Asia requires reserves of patience. In city after city, bar Singapore, jams confine people in taxis for hours, or force them onto the back of motorbikes that weave precariously through traffic. These qualities of perseverance are not shared by Uber, an American ride-hailing firm. This week it announced that after five years and ...

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Wakandanomics

“THIS will require a quick lesson in global economics…bear with me,” says Erik Killmonger, the muscular villain in “Black Panther”, a long-running Marvel Comics series. In that saga and the recent film it inspired, Killmonger and the Black Panther vie for the throne of Wakanda, a fictional African kingdom little known to the outside world. A land of great wealth ...

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What if China corners the cobalt market?

COBALT derives its name from Kobold, a mischievous German goblin who, according to legend, lurks underground. For centuries it vexed medieval miners by looking like a valuable ore that subsequently turned into worthless—and sometimes noxious—rubble. Once again it is threatening to cause trouble, this time in the growing market for batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), each of which uses about ...

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Wall Street looks overvalued – Buttonwood

FEW measures of stockmarket valuation are as controversial as the cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio, or CAPE. American equities have looked expensive on this measure for most of the past 20 years, which is why many bulls tend to dismiss its usefulness. It is pretty clear that the CAPE does not help investors to time the market. But a new paper* ...

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FDA wants to help unproductive drugmakers

SCOTT GOTTLIEB, the thoughtful head of America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has had a busy first year. He has launched the process of lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes, approved self-testing kits for breast-cancer genes and waved through the most new medicines in two decades, as well as a record number of copycat drugs (see article). There is one thing ...

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Li Ka-shing cedes a sprawling empire to his son

“TOO long” was how Li Ka-shing, known fondly by locals as chiu yan (Superman) for his business nous, described his working life when he announced on March 16th that he would be retiring in May. Asia’s pre-eminent dealmaker has been around for longer than his fictional namesake, scoring and selling assets in ports, telecoms, retail and property to amass a ...

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