China gate-crashed the monetary policy party on Thursday.
Within a single hour, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank both made scheduled and much anticipated moves to pump more money into their financial systems. The unexpected guest was China. FULL POST
Hong Kong (CNN) – No research report in Hong Kong draws as many eyes and as much water cooler chatter as CLSA's Feng Shui Index, a pun-filled financial prophecy based on Chinese astrology.
Prepared by Philip Chow, CLSA's full-time transport analyst and part-time Feng Shui master, the report says to keep watch for a watershed moment in this Year of the Dragon. FULL POST
Hong Kong (CNN) – Billionaire Warren Buffett is giving China the old song and dance routine. Literally.
He’s recorded a video for this year’s Spring Festival gala which will be aired online for the Chinese New Year, according to a report from state news agency Xinhua.
Wang Pingjiu, a production executive from China Network Television says Buffett sings and plays the guitar in the video, but did not disclose what song is involved.
“We all know that Buffett is good at investment, but few knew he also did well in singing," Wang was quoted as saying.
London (CNN) – The spectre of a two-tiered Europe has once again muscled its way center stage, as rumblings grow around the discrepancies between the strong and the weak economies struggling to co-exist on the continent.
Suggestions the eurozone is diverging into two groups is hardly controversial: One only has to look the economic performances of its 17 countries during the last 18 months.
Clearly some economies are thriving under the common currency, while others have collapsed. Greece can’t pay its bills and is surviving on the funds of Europe’s bailout pot and the International Monetary Fund. Portugal and Ireland are, of course, in the same club.
Tokyo (CNN)— The man once tasked with keeping the yen stable says, despite the currency's rapid climb, this is not a time for intervention.
Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan's top currency official in the late 1990s, tells CNN's Andrew Stevens that effective, persistent intervention is not possible without the consent of the other currency party, something Japan does not have from the United States at the moment.
"Implicitly, the U.S. is following a weak dollar policy. If they are following a strong dollar policy like Robert Rubin in the 1990s, that is a different story," says Sakakibara, widely-known as Mr. Yen.
He predicts the strong yen is here to stay for some time – and it could even break the mark of 70 yen to the U.S. dollar.
(CNN) – Who would have guessed the day after James and Rupert Murdoch testified before a UK parliamentary committee, we’d be talking about Wendi?
And yet, here we are. The “slap heard round the world” is the talk of the town (or at least of Twitter). And so is Rupert Murdoch’s third wife Wendi Deng, who batted away the protester who tried to throw a shaving cream pie at her husband – reacting even faster than security guards.
U.S. news anchor Katie Couric tweets: “Wow wendy murdoch giving whole new meaning to the term tiger mother...insanity!.”
This from comedian Andy Borowtiz: “After today's #Murdoch hearings, British politicians are no longer afraid of Rupert, but are terrified by Wendi.”
(CNN) – The personal and societal impact of February’s Christchurch earthquake may be nearly impossible to quantify. The economic impact is a different story. Today's data from Statistics New Zealand reveals the economy grew by a solid 0.8% in the first quarter, despite the earthquake.
"While some businesses in Christchurch were adversely affected, the vast majority were able to continue operating, and the earthquake resulted in some activity that would not normally have taken place," national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said in a released statement.
Less than 1% of the nation’s commercial property was damaged in the disaster and few large businesses ceased operations. The overall GDP reading was higher than most analysts had expected.
The readings today out of New Zealand beg the question: What is the overall impact of a natural disaster on GDP growth?
Singapore (CNN) – Every business traveler knows the drill: Remove your belt, jewelry, sometimes even your shoes; take everything out of your pockets and then hope you don't get selected for the dreaded pat down.
The airport security process, considered an inconvenience at best and at worst a personal invasion, is fait accompli for travelers these days. No one likes it, but everyone who wants to fly – and fly safely – gets in line.
Now a group that represents the world's largest airlines is claiming it doesn't always have to be this way.
(CNN) – Pop quiz: Which country hosts the world's highest concentration of millionaires?
A) The United States
The answer is C) Singapore. A whopping 15.5% of Singapore households had more than $1 million in assets in 2010, according to a study out by the Boston Consulting Group. You are more likely to bump into a millionaire in Singapore than anywhere else in the world. Runner-up Switzerland doesn’t even come close, with less than 10% millionaire households.
Singapore’s millionaire population is also growing – and fast. The city-state had nearly a third more millionaires in 2010 than a year earlier, the swiftest increase of any country.
Singapore’s rapid GDP growth – 14.7% last year – and the solid appreciation of its currency have driven the millionaire boom. Analysis shows Singapore has had strong growth in financial services, tourism and exports in 2010.
Macau, China (CNN) – It would not be a stretch to say that Macau has made its fortune at the Baccarat table. The card game is the unchallenged favorite here, the only place in China where casinos are legal. In the first quarter of this year, government statistics reveal Baccarat made up a staggering 90% of gaming revenue, which totaled $7.3 billion. In a place where gaming revenue is the primary tax revenue, that is saying a lot.
Still Macau wants more than just Baccarat. As it watches Las Vegas expand to a center for entertainment, dining and shopping, the Macau government wants to follow. And Francis Lui is here to help.
Lui, Vice Chairman of the Galaxy Entertainment Group, unveiled Sunday his Galaxy Macau, an integrated casino-resort that cost nearly $2 billion to develop. With an artificial white sand beach, a 3,400-square-meter spa and more than 2,000 hotel rooms, the Galaxy Macau is attempting to lure visitors to spend time off the casino floor.
“Our aspirations are how to merge Phuket in Thailand with Macau,” says Lui of his new property.
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