December 29, 2017

Asian nations set to rule world

LONDON: The growing importance of Asia’s major economies will continue in the New Year and beyond, according to a league table that sees the region dominating in terms of size in just over a decade.
The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in London sees India leapfrogging Britain and France next year to become the world’s fifth-biggest economy in American dollar terms. It will advance to third place by 2027, moving ahead of Germany.
In 2032, three of the four largest economies will be Asian – China, India and Japan – and, by that time, China will also have overtaken the United States to hold the No.1 spot. India’s advance won’t stop there, according to the CEBR, which sees it taking the top place in the second half of the century.
Also by 2032, South Korea and Indonesia will have entered the top 10, supplanting the Group of Seven nations of Italy and Canada.
China will become the world’s second-biggest importer of liquefied natural gas this year as it overtakes South Korea, shipping data showed. This is a huge boost to Asia’s emerging spot market as Chinese buyers rely much more on short-term purchases to meet their needs than their counterparts in Japan and South Korea.
Shipping data shows that China’s imports of LNG will have risen by more than 50 per cent in 2017 compared with the previous year to around 38 million tonnes.
Comparatively, import-dependent Japan and South Korea will have taken around 83.5 million tonnes and just over 37 million tonnes by the end of the year, respectively.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged companies to raise wages by 3 per cent or more next year, keeping up pressure on firms to spend their huge cash pile on wages to broaden the benefits of his “Abenomics” stimulus policies.
“We must sustain and strengthen Japan’s positive economic cycle next year to achieve our long-standing goal of beating deflation,” Abe said in a speech at a meeting of Japan’s biggest business lobby Keidanren.
“For that, I’d like to ask companies to raise wages by 3 per cent or higher next spring,” he said. – Reuters