The DailyBrief

Friday December 9, 2016

Data coming out of China is upbeat for a second day this week, as factory gate prices, or what is more commonly referred to as the Producer Price Index, increased at 3.3% year on year, the most in five years, writes Poo Yee Kai. It is also the third consecutive month of increases following nearly five years of decline. Oh and food prices were behind the Consumer Price Index going up a mere 0.1% to 2.3%. With China being the world’s top exporter, it is exporting inflation as a rate faster than expected. But in what could be a sign of how economic statistics are really driven by international diplomacy, Johan Nylander writes that a Swedish bank says China is experiencing an unanticipated upswing that official numbers don’t show. And this goes against the grain of what most economists believe – the numbers are being manipulated to display exaggerated growth.

So Hong Kong’s most unpopular leader Leung Chun-ying, says he isn’t going to run in the next small-circle election in 2017 for the Chief Executive post he now occupies. To be named Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China is a poisoned chalice. Since the British handed the colony back in 1997 there have been three incumbents, writes Ben Richardson. For each, the promise of a gilded full-stop that would bookend their glittering careers has ended in exclamation marks of scandal and public castigation.

South Korean lawmakers on Friday voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over an influence peddling scandal, setting the stage for her to become the country’s first elected leader to be pushed out of office in disgrace. Parliament voted 234-56 in favor of impeachment with opposition legislators being supported by members of Park’s conservative Saenuri Party. However, the Constitutional Court must now decide whether to uphold the motion, a process that could take up to 180 days.

Vietnam’s rice bowls are being threatened – by climate change and China’s upstream dams. The Washington Times reports that upstream dams built by China are a prime culprit, though changing weather, saltwater intrusion, biodiversity depletion, rising sea levels and industrial pollution are all contributing to the mortal threat to the ecology of the delta.