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SITUATION REPORTOct 29, 2020 | 18:50 GMT
China: Party Plenum Releases Communique on 2025, 2035 Economic Blueprints
The Communist Party of China released a communique detailing in broad terms the outcomes of the closed-door fifth plenum of the 19th Party Congress, which focused on the 14th five-year economic plan and a first-ever 15-year roadmap for achieving President Xi Jinping’s goal of a "great modern socialist nation,” Reuters reported Oct. 29.
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SnapshotsOct 21, 2020 | 16:00 GMT
A worker assembles a power distribution cabinet in Hangzhou, China, on Oct. 19, 2020.
China’s Economic Recovery Widens, But Risks Remain
Stronger, broader-based growth in China’s economy in the third quarter of 2020 underscores that it will be the only major economy to end the year with a larger GDP greater than it began with. Downside risks remain, but the opportunity to further Beijing’s strategic goals could bear economic fruit in the form of furthering policies that foster domestic self-reliance, even as low consumption persists and a COVID-19 resurgence in the United States and Europe threatens Chinese exports. According to official government statistics released on Oct. 19, China’s GDP growth accelerated to 4.9 percent (year-over-year) from 3.2 percent in the second quarter of 2020, even as it fell somewhat short of predictions. Negative growth for the year was reversed with the economy expanding by 0.7 percent in the first nine months of 2020, including the 6.8 percent decline in the first quarter. This shores up the public image of the Chinese
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SnapshotsAug 28, 2020 | 20:37 GMT
In Japan, a Post-Abe Era Emerges Sooner Than Expected
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's shock resignation risks returning Japan to a cycle of short-lived administrations, which is unlikely to yield major shifts in domestic or foreign policy. On Aug. 28, after weeks of speculation over his health, Abe announced that he will be resigning from his post once the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chooses a replacement. In addition to the LDP, Abe himself will also partially determine the succession process, meaning his successor will adhere to the party's long-term policy objectives. But even if secure in their post, Japan's next prime minister will find it difficult to muster the level of power Abe has accrued over his nearly eight years in office and tight control over the Japanese government, which enabled him to go head-to-head with key counterparts abroad. Abe's personal political clout also outmatched that of previous political leaders, which allowed him to bypass internal LDP factions and
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On GeopoliticsAug 14, 2020 | 15:56 GMT
Japanese Self-Defense Forces stand guard at a park in Tokyo on Oct. 22, 2019.
A More Assertive China Drives Japan to Respond in Kind
Japan has long operated beyond the pacifist constraints of its post-war constitution, but a growing and more assertive China is accelerating Tokyo's development of offensive its capabilities. Japan's core strategic imperatives are shaped by economic concerns -- the islands are resource-poor and thus import-dependent. This shaped its post-World War II Yoshida Doctrine, in which Japan largely outsourced its national security to the United States while focusing its energy on economic development at home. With Japan less confident in its dependence on the United States, the same vulnerability is now driving Tokyo to take on a more active role in its neighborhood. Japan's increased economic and security engagement in the Indo-Pacific provides a regional alternative to China for Southeast Asian nations, but may raise tensions with neighboring South Korea.
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On GeopoliticsJul 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A map of China.
China’s Rise as a Global Power Reaches Its Riskiest Point Yet
China is an empire in the modern sense -- a nation strengthened (but also held hostage) by its long supply chains, compelled to ever greater economic and political intercourse to preserve its interests, and increasingly drawn into the security sphere as well. It uses its economic, political and military leverage to expand its own direct sphere of operations, from the South China Sea to India and across Central Asia into Europe. The more engaged it is internationally, the more dependent it is on maintaining and strengthening those connections, which are critical for Chinese economic growth and, by extension, domestic management of its massive, diverse and economically unequal population. 
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SnapshotsJun 30, 2020 | 19:49 GMT
China's Security Law Ushers in a New and Uncertain Era in Hong Kong
The passing of China's new Hong Kong national security law marks the start of an uncertain and potentially volatile phase in the city's ongoing political crisis, as pro-democracy forces square-off with newly empowered city authorities backed by Beijing, increasing the risk of a sweeping crackdown on dissent that could also impact foreign institutions. Whether the next period sees tumultuous protests or a stifling of the pro-democracy camp will now depend on how Hong Kong authorities choose to apply their new sweeping powers and how the prosecution of such crimes proceed in the court system. Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, for its part, will work to balance the need to maintain public furor against Beijing's ongoing erosion of the city's autonomy with the need to also save its strength for September legislative council elections, where it hopes to gain ground and challenge Beijing-aligned authorities.
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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AssessmentsJun 9, 2020 | 19:38 GMT
Pro-democracy protesters shine the flashlights on their cellphones as they take part in a rally in Hong Kong on June 9, 2020.
Hong Kong’s Election Lights the Fuse for Another Wave of Unrest
A year after the city's extradition bill prompted more than a million people to take to the streets in June 2019, marking a watershed moment in last year's protests, Hong Kong's political crisis is heating up once again. The next three months in Hong Kong will see protests kick back into high gear as pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps focus on winning Legislative Council elections planned for September. The central government in mainland China will fast-track its controversial national security laws ahead of the polls to increase control over protestors and politicians, while the regional Hong Kong government will work to fulfill its side of the legislation. The White House, meanwhile, will pressure China to ease back on its encroachment in Hong Kong by possibly stripping away the city's special tariff treatment, but will weigh carefully whether to escalate further to financial measures that would cripple Hong Kong's status as a business hub
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AssessmentsMar 24, 2020 | 14:59 GMT
Workers operate a production line of a new material company in Lianyungang, China, on March 23, 2020.
China's Economy Braces for a COVID-19 Double Hit
In China, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak will drag on 2020 GDP growth as the country endures the twin hits of both the early-year domestic slowdown and the as-yet-unknown drop in overseas demand in key markets. But the country’s high debt levels -- partly fueled by its massive stimulus during the 2008 financial crisis, in addition to the structural slowdown already underway before the outbreak -- means Beijing will hesitate to mirror the large-scale spending being implemented in other virus-ravaged economies, such as the United States, Japan and South Korea. China will now have to choose whether to help buoy its employment and annual growth targets through spending that could jeopardize long-term economic stability.
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GuidanceMar 2, 2020 | 21:47 GMT
South Korean soldiers in protective suits spray disinfectant on March 2, 2020, in Daegu, South Korea.
In South Korea, COVID-19 Burdens an Already Strained Economy
South Korea's growing number of domestic COVID-19 cases puts the country's already beleaguered economy under further strain, risking the ruling progressive camp's position in upcoming legislative elections that could render President Moon Jae In a lame duck. This worsens a difficult situation given South Korea's deep links to the Chinese economy, also hit by COVID-19.
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