Today’s briefs exhibit a mixture of caution and feistiness on the global stage. Despite wishful reports that Geely was in talks to take Volvo off of Ford’s hands, Geely spokepeople officially said no thanks, we have our own problems. At the same time, Ping An, Fortis AG’s single largest and increasingly truculent shareholder, moved to block Fortis’s sale to BNP Paribas at US$1.29, a tenth of its share value last year, blaming the Belgian government for running the company into the ground, then underpricing the remains. On the macroeconomic side, more mixed messages. A Ministry of Finance research institute issued a report proposing that the renminbi be devalued to RMB6.3 against the US dollar to “help maintain economic growth and employment.” Is this sign of an actual policy shift or yet another feint in the currency cold war? More mysteriously, Zhou Xiaochuan of PBoC tells us the bank has more than interest rate cuts in its toolbox, without saying what they are. Is PBoC preparing to sort out the manufacturing indexes with a ball-peen hammer? Domestically, work on the Hangzhou-Shanghai 38-minute high-speed link is slated to begin in March, continuing Shanghai’s de-facto annexation of Zhejiang’s capital.
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