Interest rate changes: Nine is the magic number, October 9
As of today, China’s one-year benchmark lending rate has been cut to 6.93%, down 0.27 percentage points. The one-year deposit rate has fallen to 3.87%, also down 0.27 percentage points. The number 0.27 is divisible by nine – as is always the case with adjustments to Chinese interest rates. This is done to make it easier for lenders, who work a 360-day banking year, to calculate interest. Remember it wasn’t too long ago that the bank teller in a small provincial branch would have nothing more than an abacus at his or her disposal.
Thoughts on an election, October 14
The 40th Canadian General Election has been ignored outside of Canada, and greeted with spiteful indifference within. Unfortunately, China policy has not been an election issue. Since Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s election in 2006, Canada has taken on a more combative tone. The idea is that Ottawa pursues business opportunities while lecturing Beijing on voter-pleasing issues such as human rights and Tibet.
There seems to be a growing acceptance within the Conservative Party of views such as those espoused by Bruce Gilley, a professor of political science at Queen’s University, who suggests that Canada set up an agency to directly push for “democratic transitions … with the independence necessary to support real change in China.” Harper giving Hu a talking-to is ultimately little more than a sorry joke. Undermining Chinese sovereignty – basically what Gilley is proposing – is more serious.