Out and about in Asia
It’s been a busy week. I spent the first half of it in Mumbai with our Indian team, meeting clients and some brilliant economists, business leaders and journalists. We live in inter-connected times, and India’s commercial capital was abuzz with the prospects for the euro, and the political outlook for the US. India’s financial system is relatively well insulated from the rest of the world, and policy-makers are keen to keep it that way. Nonetheless, India growth rates look set to fall, but as an expatriate banker told me, Indian growth rates of 7.5% (down from 10.4% in 2010) will trump Europe and US returns for the foreseeable future.
I got back in time for the first of Chartwell’s autumn programme of Breakfast Club discussions at the Royal Automobile Club – this time on China’s strengths and weaknesses. Victor Gao, a Beijing-based banker and commentator, pointed out that the next 3 years would see the pillars of the international community unusually self-absorbed and hamstrung: the EU in “chaos”, the US distracted by the 2012 Presidential race and China focusing on a political transition and implementing the new 5 Year Plan. The thing about uncertainty is that when it kicks in, it becomes self-perpetuating.