The DailyBrief

Wednesday December 7, 2016

Capital flight continues to be a headache for China’s monetary authorities, as the country’s foreign exchange reserve figures for November show. Steve Wang and Lin Wanxia report that, last month, the reserves fell US$69.1 billion to US$3.05 trillion, their biggest decline since January. Persistent capital outflows are gradually pushing money market rates higher and driving up bond yields, posing a major threat to Beijing’s plan to reorient the economy with low financing costs.

At least 92 people were confirmed dead, hundreds were injured and more are feared trapped in collapsed homes after an earthquake struck off Aceh province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Wednesday, officials said. The shallow 6.5-magnitude quake struck Pidie Jaya district at dawn, as some in the predominantly Muslim region prepared for morning prayers.

December 7 and 8 mark 75 years since the Empire of Japan’s simultaneous attacks on Pearl Harbor in Hawai, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malay, Thailand and Midway. Asia Times looks back on a day that changed the course of World War II and of modern history – a day in which Japanese military might stunned the world.

Donald Trump’s telephone conversation with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen broke a Beijing taboo on senior American officials speaking with their Taiwanese counterparts. But what if Trump is simply testing the waters, asks longtime UN correspondent John J Metzler for Asia Times. Perhaps we should see the US president-elect’s early adventures in international diplomacy as preparing the grounds for leverage on the competition – in this instance China.