Posts byWilliam Pesek

Japan’s ‘Virginity Crisis’

Jun 14, 2019 William Pesek Japan’s “virginity crisis” has gotten lots of attention in recent months. Anthropological sleuths are rightly fascinated by studies showing young Japanese aren’t having much sex. But two more recent data sets suggest this phenomenon may soon be preoccupying bond traders, too. The first: new government statistics showing that births fell
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Duterte Faces GDP Headache

FORBES William Pesek Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to cozy up to China these last few years isn’t paying the economic dividends the Philippines hoped.  It all seemed so simple in June 2016, when Duterte grabbed the keys to the presidential palace from Benigno Aquino. His predecessor drew Manila close to Barack Obama’s America. In his six
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How Trump Made Bitcoin Great Again

May 21, 2019, 05:30am William Pesek The Twittersphere is pulsating with theories for Bitcoin’s return from the near-dead. Explanations for its 100% rally so far this year include rising volatility in markets, decreased mining activity and a burst of good headlines. The last point includes a 60 Minutes feature from May 19. Great exposure coming right after
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No Sex Please, We’re Japanese

FORBES The Worrisome Demographic Trajectory Of A Highly Indebted Nation William Pesek If serendipity were an economic indicator, Japan analysts would have loads of grim news to chew over this week. Consider three seemingly disparate news items making headlines. One, a new report detailing how young Japanese aren’t having much sex. Two, a Moody’s Investors Service
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Trump’s Assault on the Fed

FORBES William Pesek Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at the Economic Club of Washington on January 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images). “You’re fired!” Asians once liked watching Donald Trump yell these words at reality-show contestants as much as anyone. That, of course, was back in Trump’s pre-presidency days hosting
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China’s Bonding Moment

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Country needs more financial reforms to see full benefits of index inclusion William Pesek APRIL 04, 2019 03:01 JST Waves of fresh capital are sure to rush China’s way.   © FeatureChina/AP Foreign investors already hold a not insignificant chunk of mainland Chinese bonds — around $223 billion. But this total will be
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The ‘Dutertefication’ of America

FORBES William Pesek “The Donald Trump of Asia.” That’s how the international media labeled Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, when the firebrand won the Philippine presidency. Turns out, it’s the other way around. True, Duterte’s shock election win predated the U.S. president’s by 183 days. But the strongman rallied voters with Trumpian bluster, anti-establishment populism and
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‘Teflon Thailand’ feels the heat

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Political upheavals will impose economic cost and deter investment William Pesek Thailand’s “Teflon” coating shows serious signs of stress after the March 24 election. The upheaval-prone Southeast Asian economy earned its nothing-sticks reputation time and again since 2006, when the latest cycle of coups and political intrigue began. The first democratic contest
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Move over Warren Buffett

FORBES William Pesek Everybody is wondering what Warren Buffett will buy next. With more than $100 billion in cash, aspirations for another megadeal and an 89th birthday approaching, the Sage of Omaha says he’s on the prowl for big targets. One wonders, though, if the investment world is looking in the wrong direction. The focus on Buffett, the man
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South Korea’s Moon is waning

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW President needs reforms to revive economy and political rating William Pesek It is hard to think of a top world leader having a worse Trump presidency than Moon Jae-in. The South Korean president took office in May 2017 with a mandate to overhaul a rigid and aging economy. Instead, his team is
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Why Japan needs its own Brexit

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Japan automakers right to react to UK uncertainty, given industry’s growing global risks William Pesek Honda Motor‘s decision to hightail it out of Britain says as much about the company as about the U.K., and the mess that is Brexit. The smallest of Japan’s Big Three automakers — and with the smallest
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Steve Bannon Finds His ‘Trump’ In Tokyo

FORBES William Pesek Steve Bannon may be toxic in Washington, but the infamous Donald Trump whisperer still gets the rock-star treatment in Tokyo. Such was the case last week, when the top purveyor of Trumpism took his world tour to the Japanese capital. At stops around Latin America, Europe and Asia, Bannon promotes his “populist
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Oh my Ghosn: Nissan CEO walks on bail

ASIA TIMES In an unusual turn for Japan’s judicial system, Carlos Ghosn left jail on Wednesday. But his fight goes on ByWILLIAM PESEK Carlos Ghosn’s 65th birthday on Saturday looks to be a sweeter affair that he might have anticipated, now that the former Nissan Motor CEO is free on bail after 100 days in a
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Trump’s China Torture Act Backfires

FORBES William Pesek It’s time to call Donald Trump’s trade war what it is: an experiment in economic torture. Only, the U.S. president is dabbling in both roles. On the one hand, his tariffs are giving China quite a wallop, delivering sadistic pain and humiliation to Asia’s biggest economy. On the other, the pain is
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Japan’s lop-sided M&A boom

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Nation’s companies invest record amounts abroad, but foreign groups steer clear of Japan William Pesek Abe implored traders to “buy my Abenomics” in his 2013 Wall Street sales pitch.   © Getty Images Shinzo Abe’s “Japan-is-back” pledge was much in evidence in the corporate world in 2018 as the country dominated mergers and
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Duterte Goes The Full Marcos

Feb 15, 2019, Forbes William Pesek If the Academy Awards gave out statuettes for best acting by a presidential spokesperson, Salvador Panelo of the Philippines would win easily. Sorry, Sarah Huckabee Sanders of White House infamy. But Rodrigo Duterte’s spinmeister just rebooted the genre with his dramatic defense of Manila arresting award-winning journalist Maria Ressa. “This
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Breathing space for Mahathir

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Growth spurt offers Malaysian leader a window for economic reform William Pesek Count Mahathir Mohamad among those unhappy with the performance of Malaysia’s government. Odd, perhaps, since he is prime minister. But considering how the 93-year-old ran Malaysia the first time around, from 1981 to 2003, recent moves suggest he is not
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Election risks reigniting Philippines inflation

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Failure to fix economic bottlenecks leaves country vulnerable to price pressure William Pesek What might Milton Friedman make of the Philippines today? The Nobel economist popularized the theory that inflation is “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Since the 1960s, his argument that demand for money controlled all prices won converts from
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Why Fed policy is made in Beijing

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW US central bank knows it cannot risk triggering shocks in China William Pesek China, as everyone knows, has empowered its economy by becoming the global factory. But is it also now manufacturing Federal Reserve policy? It is hard not to conclude as much, given the Fed’s about-face on U.S. interest rates. Chairman
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Can The Philippines Survive Rodrigo Duterte?

FORBES William Pesek Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the ASEAN-China Summit during the 33rd ASEAN Summit on November 14, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images) As economic bookends go, a recent assertion by Philippine research group Ibon Foundation is a head-turner. It claims President Rodrigo Duterte produced the lowest number of jobs in two
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Caterpillar — China spell is broken

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Global construction faces uncertainty if Beijing can no longer wave the magic wand William Pesek Bad things come in threes — a superstition given new resonance for world markets as Caterpillar, Intel and Nvidia suddenly flash corporate warning signs. China, which just recorded its slowest annual growth since 1990, is at the
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How The Federal Reserve Turned Japanese

FORBES William Pesek If there’s anyone who understands Jerome Powell’s pain, it’s Japan’s Toshihiko Fukui. Need to Google him? Granted, a whole lot has happened since Fukui left the Bank of Japan in March 2008 after serving five years as governor. The Lehman Brothers crisis. The Federal Reserve “taper tantrum.” Brexit. Donald Trump! One can
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Sexism’s Role in Japan’s Deflation Trap

FORBES ASIA William PesekI Like clockwork in Davos, Shinzo Abe touted his favorite non-accomplishment: empowering Japan’s female masses. “We have responded by pushing hard for ‘womenomics,’ encouraging more, and then still more women to work, while lessening the burden women shoulder,” the prime minister declared Jan. 23, somehow keeping a straight face. Among the many
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Thailand just can’t quit populism

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW OPINION Even if elections clear the political air, country will struggle to reshape economy William Pesek Thailand’s leaders make it all too easy for economists on the hunt for populists. That, unfortunately, includes the current military regime, which grabbed power in 2014 to stabilize one of Asia’s most-promising economies politically and lay
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Time to worry about Japanese banks — again

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Growing concern about exposure to risky assets, not least U.S. junk corporate loans William Pesek One of the biggest economic stories in Japan last year received very little publicity overseas and only modest attention at home. Not Donald Trump’s trade war or the winter bloodbath in the stock market. Both may eventually
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Bank of Japan’s nightmare year

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW OPINION After starting badly, 2019 promises to pile pressure on Kuroda William Pesek If you think Jerome Powell faces a difficult 2019 as chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, consider what awaits Haruhiko Kuroda at the Bank of Japan. The New Year usually gets off to a slow start in Japan, where
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South Korea flashes warning signs for 2019

ASIA TIMES As chatter about a global downturn grows in volume, events in Seoul are worth a look By WILLIAM PESEK JANUARY 5, 2019 With its sizable, open economy, South Korea often acts as a weathervane of sorts for trade-flow inflection points. And at the moment, one of Asia’s most reliable early-warning systems is flashing something approaching red. The
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Japan’s Abenomics Gets Caught Swimming Naked

FORBES William Pesek Contributor I write about economics, markets and policymaking throughout the Asia. As the Nikkei Stock Average plunges, Japan is producing a bull market in something rather ominous for 2019: déjà vu. The feeling of familiarity concerns a return to recession and deflationary forces. Didn’t Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrive on the scene
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Asia’s Next Headache: Trump Vs. The Fed

F FORBES Dec 20, 2018 William Pesek I write about economics, markets and policymaking throughout the Asia. Donald Trump seems happiest when he has a foil to attack –- normally 280 characters at a time. Hillary Clinton, Emmanuel Macron and China rank among his favorite Twitter targets. Yet the U.S. president’s intensifying spat with his own
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Japan Hasn’t Given Up on Cryptocurrency

LongHash By ​William Pesek Updated on December 26, 2018 Just last year, Japan was at the heart of the global Bitcoin community. After China banned cryptocurrency exchanges, Japan remained relatively friendly, with more than a dozen licensed exchanges. What a difference a year makes. Japan’s openness was challenged earlier this year when hackers stole more
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China is about to stress test the world

Beijing is already in damage-control mode, rolling out tax cuts, new business loans and infrastructure projects to keep growth from plunging below 6% By WILLIAM PESEK DECEMBER 18, 2018 12:41 PM (UTC+8) The Trump administration is about to grapple with the “Pottery Barn rule” as China’s economy hits a wall. The “you break it, you bought it” principle applies
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Chinese deflation? A risk for 2019

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW  Inflation concerns give way to worries about Japanese-style price stagnation William Pesek Is China now heading for Japan-style deflation?   © Reuters What a difference a year makes when you are trading Chinese bonds. Twelve months ago, dealers in China’s $2 trillion government debt market braced for a wipeout. Ten-year yields surged above
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Japan hit hard by trade woes

ews that the Q3downturn was twice as bad as early data suggested augers poorly for Japan’seconomic year in 2019 By WILLIAM PESEK DECEMBER 11, 2018 Tokyo’s spin doctors are suddenly stumped. When initial indications were that Japan’s economy contracted 1.2% in the third quarter, the talking points were that earthquakes and storms hit growth. Don’t worry, they
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Chips in the fryer

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Trade war and Moore’s law combine to raise the heat for manufacturers William Pesek Good news for Toyota Motor may be a bad omen for the global economy in 2019. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. told its executives around the globe in early Dec. to do without the luxury Mercedes-Benz sedans that long transported them to
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How Trump will ruin Abe’s 2019

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Needing quick trade war wins, US president will take his fight to Tokyo William Pesek Two years ago, Shinzo Abe placed an audacious bet on behalf of Japan: befriending Donald Trump. That wager at Trump Tower in November 2016 has since grown ever-riskier. No other world leader stepped forward to join Abe.
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Populism threatens Thailand again

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW Junta prefers handouts to hard work building economy William Pesek As the Group of 20 leaders meets this weekend to assess the global economy, no topic is more pressing than the populist currents battering the world. There is a certain poetry to this meeting taking place in Argentina, a place grappling with
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