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AssessmentsFeb 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows workers at Dongfeng Motor's joint venture with Honda in Wuhan, China.
China's Virus Outbreak Has Dented Its Automakers' Bottom Lines
China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak has left few of its economic sectors unscathed, but the effects of shutdowns on its auto manufacturing operations have been -- and will continue to remain -- especially acute. Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, has asked companies not to restart shuttered operations until at least Feb. 21. Production for a number of auto companies outside of Hubei had already been delayed past the Lunar New Year holiday until Feb. 10, and in some cases, production still remains offline. Nevertheless, even once the outbreak subsides, Chinese consumer demand for automobiles will take a substantial hit this year, with estimates showing that demand could fall by at least 5 percent because of the economic slowdown associated with the coronavirus outbreak.
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 22, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This file photo taken around 1930 shows New York's George Washington Bridge during its construction.
Great Powers Invest in Infrastructure. The West Was the Prime Example.
For the past 250 years, Western Europe and North America have led the way not just in inventing new technologies of transport and communication, but also -- and equally importantly -- in building the infrastructure without which these technologies would be useless. The West has sunk astonishing amounts of energy and capital into updating and replacing its infrastructure, over and over again, as new technologies have emerged. Having the best infrastructure has been a key to global dominance since the 18th century, but in the early 21st, there are alarming signs the West is losing its strategic lead. Everywhere, infrastructure is creaking and crumbling. Every part of the system seems to be getting old at the same time. How the West deals with this challenge -- or, perhaps, opportunity -- will do much to shape the geoeconomics and geopolitics of the 21st century.
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On GeopoliticsDec 6, 2018 | 11:00 GMT
This photo shows 10,000 Iranian rials on top of U.S. dollars.
The U.S. Supersizes Its Sanctions
Nearly a century ago, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson laid out the case for economic sanctions as he defended the League of Nations. To Wilson, it was the economic aspect of World War I that had helped defeat Germany. Moreover, it was the United States -- now truly a global military and economic power -- that had to take a seat at the international table so that it could use its economic heft to help prevent another crisis. Ironically, of course, Wilson's own country never joined the League of Nations, as it was not yet ready to play an active role on the global stage. After World War II, however, the United States finally began to engage with the world, capitalizing on its status as a global superpower to impose economic sanctions in lieu of armed conflict, thereby aiding it in achieving its foreign policy objectives. But since the 9/11 attacks,
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AssessmentsJul 5, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
As it makes changes to its economy, China is intent on ensuring greater control over the entire supply chain for lithium-ion batteries for years to come.
How China Is Muscling In on Lithium-Ion Batteries
From the salt flats of the Atacama Desert in Chile to the savannas of the Congo, the makers and users of the world's batteries are scrambling to secure the vital raw materials needed to produce the lithium-ion cells that will power electric vehicles around the globe. But no battery-makers are more aggressive than those from China, which is working to lock down the entire supply chain for its companies. Meanwhile, the United States will rely on economies of scale to compete in storage-cell manufacturing, turning toward North American raw material producers to ensure supplies whenever possible. Even then, the country will face stiff competition from Chinese investors -- to say nothing of European automobile companies, who will be compelled to increase their reliance on China. Buoyed by support from the highest levels of government, Chinese companies are likely to find few challengers over the next decade and a half as
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AssessmentsSep 15, 2017 | 12:22 GMT
Governments and automakers are charting the transition from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles to electric ones, though it will be decades before all fuel pumps go the way of the dinosaur.
The Automotive Market Switches Gears
Over the past several decades, numerous technologies have emerged that could rival and eventually replace the internal combustion engine and, with it, oil. Though vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen are gaining ground, particularly in Asia, electric vehicles -- both hybrid and fully battery-powered models -- are poised to give gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles the biggest run for their money. Falling costs and rising energy density stand to level the playing field between electric cars and their more traditional counterparts. By 2040, researchers project that fully electric vehicles and hybrids will account for more than half of all new automobiles purchased worldwide. Government initiatives will be crucial to incentivize and facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, and countries such as France, the United Kingdom and China are doing their part to kick-start the transition.
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ReflectionsOct 19, 2015 | 22:49 GMT
Driverless trucks in the mining industry
Automated Supply Chains Take an Inevitable First Step
The Rio Tinto mining company announced Monday that two of its iron ore mines in Western Australia are starting operations with completely driverless trucks hauling iron ore at the mines. It is the first such operation for Rio Tinto, or any other company for that matter, and is another step in Australia's effort to remain the lowest-cost producer of iron ore exports. More important, it is a telling step in an inevitable process: progress toward automation in economies of the developed world.
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