Business & Finance
The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition January 11, 2020

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
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51 Issues

in this issue

8 min.
the world this week

Politics America’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s most prominent general, in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport threw the Middle East into crisis. Iran responded by firing more than 20 ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops. No deaths were reported. “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence,” tweeted Muhammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. “We do not seek escalation or war.” But analysts think Iran might covertly retaliate against America in the future. Millions of mourners took to the streets across Iran to mark General Suleimani’s funeral. Before the burial in his home town of Kerman 50 people were killed in a stampede. Minutes after taking off from Tehran airport, and shortly after Iran fired its missiles, a Ukrainian airliner crashed killing all 176 people on board. It…

3 min.
a blaze that will keep on burning

ONE WAY of capturing the scale of the devastation that forest fires have inflicted on Australia is through figures. Some 11m hectares of the Lucky Country have gone up in smoke since September, almost the same area as Bulgaria. So far at least 26 people are known to have lost their lives, over 2,300 homes have been destroyed and over half a billion animals have been burned alive or choked to death. But numbers tell only part of the story (see Asia section). A plume of smoke has drifted across the South Pacific ocean, reaching Buenos Aires. Australia’s normally phlegmatic society has been shaken. Shane Warne, the most celebrated sportsman in a sports-mad nation, has gone so far as to raise money for the relief effort by auctioning off the…

4 min.
why ben bernanke is wrong

THE BIGGEST challenge economists face today is how to deal with downturns. America’s expansion is the longest on record; a slowdown at some point is inevitable. The fear is that central banks will not have enough tools to fight the next recession. During and after the financial crisis they responded with a mixture of conventional interest-rate cuts and, when these reached their limit, with experimental measures, such as bond-buying (“quantitative easing”, or QE) and making promises about future policy (“forward guidance”). The trouble is that today across the rich world short-term interest rates are still close to or below zero and cannot be cut much more, depriving central banks of their main lever if a recession strikes. Fear not, argues Ben Bernanke, who led the Federal Reserve through the crisis. In…

5 min.

Treating menopause We read with consternation your recommendation of hormone therapy (HT) for menopausal women (“The time of her life”, December 14th). The media swing from admonishing women that hormone therapy will hasten their death to advising them that it will save their lives. Although HT has very real benefits for alleviating menopausal symptoms, no consistent evidence shows that it prevents cardiovascular disease. Some studies suggest a benefit, others find no benefit or even harm. The problem arises when the findings of one study are disregarded while the findings of another (potentially even more flawed) study are taken as fact. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews consolidate evidence across multiple randomised clinical trials. Overall, randomised controlled trials have shown that HT has no net effect on risk of death and no reduction in coronary…

5 min.
burning questions

“A FEW BAGS and the cats” were all Brett Viewey could take when he fled his house in Kangaroo Valley, a small town in New South Wales. On January 4th he retreated to a bowling club in Nowra, a few hours south of Sydney, as a fire coursed towards his home. He is among tens of thousands of people who have moved out of the way of bushfires that are raging all across Australia, and especially in Victoria and New South Wales. So far the flames have burned across 11m hectares, larger than the area destroyed by recent fires in the Amazon and California combined. At least 26 people are dead and around 2,300 homes have been destroyed. And there are still several weeks of summer to go. Fire-damaged towns have…

4 min.
cracking heads

AISHE GHOSH is no stranger to trouble. She heads the student union at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), a prestigious state-run institution of which the leafy campus in Delhi has long been a seedbed of radical activism. Even so, Ms Ghosh (pictured) did not expect to be attacked by a mob of masked, club-wielding thugs on January 5th, and to end up in hospital with a broken hand, multiple contusions and 16 stitches in her scalp. Nor did she expect police to file charges against her, rather than the aggressors. And she certainly did not expect such instant national fame as to prompt Deepika Padukone, the reigning glamour queen of Bollywood, to join a subsequent student rally and whisper encouragement to her wounded comrade. The trouble at JNU that landed 34 students…