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Bloomberg Businessweek 3/5/2018

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

6 min
moving up in the world

After continuous appreciation in 2017, China’s currency, the yuan, has maintained this trend into the new year, boding well for its long-term target of internationalization. According to statistics from China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, in January 2018 the yuan witnessed its central parity rate gain 3.1 percent against the U.S. dollar—more than half the 5.81 percent increase seen across the whole of 2017, which itself marked the most drastic annual appreciation seen in the past nine years. “The weakening of the U.S. dollar and Chinese authorities’ reinforcement of supervision over capital outflow, such as overseas mergers and acquisitions, are two causes behind the strengthening of the yuan, but a robust Chinese economy is the major driving force,” Xu Hongcai, Deputy Chief Economist of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told…

3 min
new solutions for addressing downtime

As the U.S. economy gains momentum, one particular pocket of strength can be found in the trucking industry, where the Cass Freight Shipment Index showed a string of monthly increases in the first half of 2017, year over year. The data also indicate positive momentum for freight tonnages through 2019. For this upbeat forecast to be realized, trucks must stay on the road. Downtime is the nemesis of every fleet operator, and preventing it is a priority of truck leasing and rental companies. In fact, at Penske Truck Leasing, preventive maintenance is one of the foundations that everything else rests upon. “We believe that if you don’t get preventive maintenance right, you don’t get anything right,” says Gregg Mangione, senior vice president of Maintenance. “No other function is as critical to downtime…

4 min
in brief

Asia ● Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which owns Volvo, acquired a 10 percent stake in Daimler. BYD, one of Geely’s main rivals in China, already has a technology partnership with the Mercedes maker. ● Global smartphone sales fell for the first time since at least 2004, according to Gartner market research. China’s Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi were the only major manufacturers to see increases. Smartphone unit sales, year-over-year change ● There was a run on toilet paper in Taiwan as residents braced for a spike in the cost of paper pulp. Retailers were told to expect a price increase of as much as 30 percent. ● United Nations investigators determined that North Korea has been shipping supplies to make chemical weapons to Syria. Their report also said North Korean technicians have been working at Syrian missile…

6 min
there will be xi

China’s decision to repeal presidential term limits marks the moment when President Xi Jinping dropped any pretense of following the rules. The move, which may extend his tenure beyond 2023, shows just how deep the cult of Xi runs in Chinese politics. His political thought was enshrined into the Communist Party’s charter alongside his name last fall, giving Xi, 64, the same mythic status as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. His government regularly bends Chinese companies to its iron will. Just ask Wu Xiaohui, who faces prosecution for alleged fraud, and whose debt-burdened Anbang Insurance Group Co. was seized on Feb. 23 by the government as it cracks down on financial risk. Yet China’s embrace of lifetime job security for its top leader is fraught with geopolitical implications. It cements Xi’s…

2 min
trump’s worst economic idea

Does anyone, anywhere, support Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports? Trump is considering broad duties of as much as 24 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, with the aim of protecting national security and pressuring China to reform its practices. This is a terrible way to achieve either ambition. The likely outcome would be to raise prices, hinder growth, jeopardize jobs, and burden taxpayers in the U.S. It would also encourage retaliation and destabilize the system of global trade. Not to be alarmist, it could even raise the cost of beer. The idea is so misguided that it has induced a rare consensus in Washington. Most of Trump’s cabinet opposes the idea, as does nearly every mainstream economist. Farm groups call it a “shortsighted mistake.”…

5 min
at kfc, a bucketful of trouble

Ruari Lee didn’t care about supply chains, distribution centers, logistics, or any of the finer points of the globalized economy. All he wanted was his regular chicken fillet burger meal at KFC. But the restaurant operator’s shop in Kendal, a town in northern England, had been closed four days that week in mid-February, like many of the other U.K. restaurants belonging to the chain formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. The reason for the shutdown: There was no chicken. “It’s ridiculous,” says Lee, who dropped by the reopened store on Feb. 23 after work. It’s also a telling sign of the need for reliable supply chains, the often overlooked systems that can make—or break—a business’s ability to operate smoothly. In a global economy where fewer and fewer goods are made near where…