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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.
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.
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,
AssessmentsNov 9, 2018 | 20:05 GMT
Saudi air force officers and technical staff walk past an advanced F-15SA fighter jet during a ceremony on Jan. 25, 2017 in Riyadh marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the King Faisal Air Academy.
Saudi Arabia Lays the Foundation for a Defense Industry of Its Own
Saudi Arabia, flush with money, nestled in a hostile environment and saddled with demographic shortcomings, has long spent freely to bring in weapons from abroad. And over the past five years, driven by its intensifying competition with archrival Iran and a heavy military commitment in the Yemen conflict, this trend has accelerated. During the period of 2013-17, the number of arms systems the Saudi government purchased grew by 255 percent compared with its acquisitions from 2008-12, ranking it behind only India among global arms importers, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
AssessmentsSep 18, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Workers assemble cars at the Nissan plant in Resende, Brazil, during February 2015. Most major automakers have factories in Brazil and Argentina.
For Mercosur, High Auto Tariffs Are All Part of the Game
U.S. auto tariffs will have little direct effect on the South American trade bloc Mercosur. The economic alliance, also known as the Common Market of the South, is insulated from the prospective fees because most of its vehicle production stays in the bloc. But the alliance, known for its own high tariffs on vehicles and auto parts, was already taking steps to open its automotive industry before the United States started threatening tariffs. Over the past two years it has been working on free trade agreements with Mexico, Japan, South Korea and the European Union, whose automakers may look to the bloc to make up for lost U.S. sales if the tariffs enter effect.
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
AssessmentsOct 25, 2017 | 16:29 GMT
Saudi Arabia's decision to construct the NEOM project, a futuristic city on the coast of the Red Sea, is a risk the country has to take.
Saudi Arabia Lays Foundations for a New Future
Saudi Arabia is again paving the way for a more diversified economy. The country kicked off the Future Investment Initiative on Oct. 24, in the hopes of furthering its efforts to attract foreign investment. The crown jewel of the event was the unveiling of the $500 billion NEOM project by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The NEOM project -- which takes "neo" from the Latin word for new and "m" from the Arabic word for future (mostaqbal) -- aims to develop a 26,500 square kilometer megacity in northwestern Saudi Arabia with an independent economic zone that stretches into Egypt and Jordan. It's an ambitious plan, one that could put Saudi Arabia on the map as a leader in developing the cities of the future using new technologies that other cities cannot. But there are just as many risks: There is no guarantee that the city will succeed, or even be completed
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.
AssessmentsSep 8, 2017 | 11:59 GMT
Chinese demand for commodities has made Beijing the main trade partner of some of Latin America's biggest economies, but the United States and Europe will continue to lead foreign direct investment in the region.
Economic Influence in Latin America Isn't All About Trade
Over the past decade, increased trade with China has helped fuel Latin America's economic growth. The country's demand for commodities has made Beijing the main trade partner of some of Latin America's biggest economies, including Brazil, Chile and Peru. China's growing presence in the region, particularly in South America, has raised alarms in Washington, which historically has considered Latin America its backyard. But to look at international trade alone would be to misrepresent the situation. When trying to understand Latin America's complex economic structures and international relations, foreign direct investment (FDI) is one of the most important indicators to consider.
Contributor PerspectivesSep 7, 2017 | 12:26 GMT
A rubber tapper harvests sap from a rubber tree in Brazil.
Helping the Rubber Market Bounce Back
Hernan Cortes and his conquistadors found more than they bargained for in the Aztec metropolis of Tenochtitlan. Along with the gold that drew them to the city in 1519, Cortes and his men saw plenty of previously unimagined wonders, including the tomatoes now prized in Spanish cooking. But the ball used for the ritual game played in the royal court must have been particularly fascinating for the foreign intruders. Made from the sap of a local tree, the ball had several peculiar properties, not least of all its bounce. The tree's reputation, along with its seeds, soon traveled beyond the North American continent and around the world by way of trade routes. The French Academie Royale des Sciences published the first paper describing the properties of objects made from the tree's sap in 1755. And nearly a century later, Charles Goodyear stumbled across a process, known as vulcanization, to stabilize
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