The DailyBrief

Thursday December 29, 2016

China’s debt-laden corporates could be in for a soft landing rather than the credit crisis some analysts predict, writes David P. Goldman for Asia Times. If the consensus estimate for Chinese corporate earnings between 2015 and 2017 is in the right ball park, he says, then the credit position of such companies should improve significantly during the next year.

As long as Myanmar’s army relies on militias to control ethnic areas in the north of the country, the opium trade will continue to flourish, write Matthieu Baudey and Carole Oudot for Asia Times. Myanmar is the second biggest producer of heroin after Afghanistan and 90% of its poppy crop is grown in the shadowy mountains of Shan State, which has been embroiled in a decades-long civil war as a result of the trade.

South Korean prosecutors investigating an influence-peddling scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye said on Thursday they are seeking a warrant to arrest the head of the national pension fund, the world’s third-largest. National Pension Service (NPS) chairman Moon Hyung-pyo has acknowledged that he pressured the fund to approve an US$8 billion merger between two Samsung Group units last year while he was head of the country’s health ministry.

China’s military advanced along several fronts in 2016, writes Bill Gertz in his defense review of the year for Asia Times. The world’s rising superpower advanced its concerted program to develop new asymmetric and conventional warfare capabilities while also continuing to challenge the United States for military control of key waterways in Asia – most notably the South China Sea.