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With an unstable relationship between the US and China looking like a long-term geopolitical reality, pressure to relocate manufacturing away from China is growing. Could neighbouring India, which has a similar population size and rate of economic growth, be positioned to benefit from the shift?
I believe this is not a realistic expectation. Understanding why requires a quick recap of India’s industrial history.
Constructing — and dismantling — the socialist edifice
In the decades after India gained independence in 1947, while East Asia was opening up to the rest of the world, Indian manufacturing stagnated under a series of protectionist trade policies and a socialist industrial model that stifled competition, discouraged innovation and encouraged downsizing rather than expansion. Labour was protected to the point of dysfunction, while education and skills languished in the hands of a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy. India’s location did not help — in a historically poor region far from key sea routes, with poor connections with the West and East Asia.
Reform came in the early 1990s when a spike in oil prices sparked by the Gulf War coincided with a trough in remittances from Indians in the Gulf. With FX reserves for imports and debt servicing running dangerously low, a desperate Indian government secured an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund in 1991. In exchange, the government implemented sweeping reforms to open up the economy.
By the 1980s, India’s growth was accelerating fast. But it was arguably too…
1. When might a COVID vaccine become available?
In light of the recent positive news on the COVID vaccine front, it is possible that a vaccine could be authorized for use in the US as early as late 2020. Additional vaccines could be authorized or approved during the first quarter of 2021.
The logistics of vaccine distribution will be daunting. Under Operation Warp Speed, vaccine developers have already been manufacturing vaccine inventory at some risk, in anticipation of favorable efficacy and safety data. Nevertheless, the immediate demand will likely far exceed the initial supply.
Priority will be given to high-risk health care workers and first responders; then to people of all ages with comorbid conditions that put them at elevated risk of poor outcomes, along with older adults living in crowded circumstances; then to all adults over age 65; and so on. It’s likely to be well into 2021 before everyone in the US can be offered a vaccine.
2. What’s the prognosis for those infected?
It’s a moving target and depends on several factors, including the underlying health and age of the patient, the ever-improving medical knowledge of optimal case management, and the availability of medications active against the virus.
The observed death rate from COVID-19 has dropped considerably since the pandemic first reached the US and now stands at…
Did you know?
- Renewables are expected to meet nearly 30% of power demand in 2023.1
- Efficient production and use of materials could help cut CO2 emissions by 25 gigatons.2
- The world consumed 92.1 billion tons of material in 2017.3
Amid recent natural disasters and growing awareness, climate change has become a focus of social discourse, and we believe the ranks of market participants seeking solutions are growing. Many impact issuers contribute to environmental sustainability and help society better prepare for climate change. Here we share some of the environmental and climate-related innovations we are…
The US election is just days away. Voting has begun in earnest and markets are on tenterhooks. Here are our latest thoughts, including how investors might position for November and beyond.
Who’s afraid of the big, bad blue wave?
There’s been a marked shift in the perception that a blue-wave outcome — where Democrats win the White House and both chambers of Congress — would be the “worst-case scenario” for financial markets. That’s because the current impasse in getting another fiscal stimulus package passed would likely be broken with both chambers controlled by Democrats, paving the way for passage of a large stimulus package worth around US$2 – 3 trillion. (See October 8 blog post, Who’s afraid of the big, bad blue wave?, for additional thoughts on that.)
How we’re interpreting the polls
As of this writing, former Vice President Biden retains an Electoral College advantage, with…
With the prospect of a Democratic sweep looking more and more plausible with each passing day leading up to the US election, some observers note that such an outcome could usher in major policy shifts in taxation, health care, energy, and perhaps tech regulation for 2021 and beyond. Should investors start repositioning their portfolios accordingly? Not so fast.
Nick Petrucelli’s macro insights
I tend to be skeptical of government policy-driven trades playing out to the extent that financial markets often anticipate. Indeed, there have been several political changes in recent years whose impact on assets has turned out to be fleeting and, in some cases, just the opposite of…