Coming up any day now is the G20 meeting in India, and Mr Xi will not be in attendance. There has been lots of speculation as to what this means. One possibility is that he doesn’t feel comfortable any more in attending meetings which are not dominated by China. Another is that maybe India, after a year and more of fence-sitting, is going to come out more robustly on the topic of Russia and the Ukraine war, and he doesn’t want to be there when his best friend is criticized. We will see. But for the world to be safe, China needs to be integrated and talking to people at all levels. Interaction, two ways. The US, to take an example, has sent several top officials to Beijing in the past few months, but no senior Chinese official has been to Washington. Why?
Domestically, there seems to be little or no good news to balance off the problems. Exports were down in August for the fourth month in a row. And this should be the big export season with stuff being shipped out for Christmas buying. Country Garden managed to not default on a couple of loan payments, and more local policies were announced to try to convince people to start buying property again. But there seems to be a growing sense amongst people at various levels, from investors to taxi drivers, that things are not going to get better any time soon and the current direction is wrong. It’s a strange time in China.
Have a good weekend.