The Ma Administration's strong support from the financial sector was on display this week as a couple of firms rushed to condemn the student uprisings as bad for the economy, thus supporting the Administration narrative. ANZ slashed its growth forecast from 3.6% to 3.1%, blaming the political problems caused by the students (FocusTw):
Following the student campaign against a trade-in-services agreement with China and the anti-nuclear protests, "the heightened political risk is bound to curtail business and consumer confidence, which will likely drag capital expenditure and household spending in the second and third quarters," ANZ said in a research note.The students make a convenient whipping boy, but it is more likely that the swelling slump in China coupled with the austerity madness in Europe and the US will be the source of slowing growth in Taiwan than protests, which after all happen frequently. If readers recall, the KMT-led anti-Chen protests caused foreign investors to dump assets -- perhaps another, hidden reason for their prolongation, since they enabled locals to buy up foreign-held Taiwan assets -- but it seems unlikely that the same thing will happen this time.
Credit Suisse also issued a report claiming that shutting down the nuke plant will lead to higher electricity rates that will hurt Taiwan's corporate sector. Let's recall that both the Chen and Ma Administration have raised electricity prices. Ma raised them in 2012 the rescinded some of the hikes, for example, another example of his habit of proposed big policies and then folding in the face of opposition.
The China Post noted that Barclays also cut its growth forecast from 4.0 to 3.6%, but more rationally cited the slow recovery in the local economy, while Standard and Chartered remain optimistic at 3.9%.
Color me skeptical, because growth in China appears to be slowing this year, and China is rapidly displacing Taiwan's exports with its own domestic production. So don't look for anyone to explode the housing bubble here in Taiwan. I think by the end of this year we'll be lucky to come in at 3%.
- Hegemonic warfare watch: China just goes ahead and drills in Vietnam waters. So much for the peaceful rise. How will this end? In fire. Listen when the Vorlon speaks...
- Authoritiarianism and democracy? J Michael and Ben comment
- China overtaking the US? Taiwan is the success story.
- Russell Flannery interviews Taichung Mayor Jason Hu in Forbes. Hu positions himself quite cleverly, arguing for 'inevitability' but distancing himself from the claim that the services pact will have concrete positive effects for Taiwan.
- Wow. This is in the WantWant China Times, the rabidly pro-China news organ: Taiwanese people's rebellion... no, they changed the title. But still.
- Assessing the Geopolitics of Nuclear Proliferation in Asia from Project 2049
- Bicycling Australia has a piece on cycling in Taiwan in the May/June issue, which is not online yet AFAIK. But it references my man Andrew Kerslake at Taiwan in Cycles, a great blog about biking in Taiwan.
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