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Commentaries by Shang-Jin Wei

Shang-Jin Wei

Professor, Finance and Economics at Columbia University

Shang-Jin Wei, former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank, is Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University and a visiting professor at the Australian National University.
  • Sep 08, 2023

    The Chinese economy is underperforming relative to its growth potential. Not only are investment and consumption demand weaker than hoped, but the country is facing the challenge of two Ds: deflation and debt. While consumer-price inflation is close to negative territory, producer-price inflation has already been negative for a year. At the same time, the private and public sectors have accumulated massive debts, owing to higher spending during the pandemic and the broader response to the easy-money conditions of previous years.

  • Nov 09, 2022

    Before COVID-19 vaccines were developed and distributed, China’s strict approach to controlling the virus resulted in fewer deaths and a much lower death rate per million people than in many other countries. But while these successes were impressive in late 2020 and early 2021, effective vaccines and treatments have become readily available since then, leading the World Health Organization to declare that the end of the pandemic is in sight.

  • Apr 05, 2022

    In early March, Premier Li Keqiang announced that China is targeting GDP growth of “about 5.5%” this year. That would be ambitious even without Russia’s war against Ukraine and the attendant increases in global energy and food prices. Back in January, for example, the International Monetary Fund forecast that the Chinese economy would grow by only 4.8% in 2022. And in 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, GDP increased by just under 6%.

  • Mar 14, 2022

    Now that the Western powers have imposed sweeping economic and financial sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, many are asking whether China’s non-participation will undermine their effectiveness. One should also ask whether the rich countries can do more for the poor people in many developing countries who are the collateral damage of the war and the sanctions.

  • Dec 14, 2021

    The 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization on December 11 has once again highlighted long-standing debates about how well China has lived up to its WTO obligations, and whether any deviation from its commitments boosts or slows its economic growth. This discussion affects many countries’ views on whether the current global trading system should be built up or pulled down.

  • May 12, 2021

    While many central banks are still investigating the possibility of issuing a digital currency, China has rolled out a digital currency via a series of pilot programs since last year.

  • Dec 23, 2020

    China’s pledge in September to pursue carbon neutrality by 2060 was followed by a similar pledge from Japan a month later. With these commitments being made at a time when the US has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, it is easy to interpret them as part of the ongoing geopolitical competition for global leadership. But managing climate change is not a zero-sum game. Here, national competition to strengthen ambitions and policies benefits everyone.

  • Aug 16, 2020

    Shortly after US President Donald Trump issued an executive order effectively banning the Chinese-owned social-media app TikTok, he issued a second order prohibiting “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person … as identified by the Secretary of Commerce.”

  • Aug 07, 2020

    Following US President Donald Trump’s vow to block US access to TikTok, the popular short-video app’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, has been in frantic talks with Microsoft, presumably to sell its subsidiary quickly before the ban goes into effect.

  • Mar 27, 2020

    Back in January, I predicted that the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus in China would reach a turning point by the second or third week of February.

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