Economic Headwinds Mount as Leaders Weigh Costs of Confronting Russia

The interruption of wheat exports from Ukraine and Russia, which together account for 28 percent of global exports, along with supply chain disruptions, a severe drought in India that has caused it to ban shipments of grain and Covid-related lockdowns in China, are also causing food prices to spiral and increasing global hunger, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. The question for both American and European policymakers is how to corral leaping prices without sending their economies into recession. The Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates to tame…

Shanghai Declares Victory in Covid Outbreak, but Lockdowns Continue

Shanghai health officials said on Tuesday that the city had brought the Covid outbreak there under control, after a nearly two-month lockdown that disrupted residents’ access to food and medicine, stoked widespread public outrage and brought China’s financial center to a standstill. At a news conference, officials pledged to restart normal life as soon as possible, with a goal of reopening fully by June. Some businesses, bus lines and parks had been allowed to resume operations on Monday. Twelve trains were also allowed to leave from Shanghai’s Hongqiao train station…

China’s ‘Zero-Covid’ Mess Proves Autocracy Hurts Everyone

After the city locked down its 25 million residents and grounded most delivery services in early April, many people encountered problems sourcing food, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Some set multiple alarms for the different restocking times of grocery delivery apps that start as early as 6 a.m. Updated  April 13, 2022, 6:35 a.m. ET In the past few days, a hot topic in WeChat groups has been whether sprouted potatoes were safe to eat, a few Shanghai residents told me. Neighbors resorted to a barter system to exchange, say,…

How the Computer Chip Shortage Could Incite a U.S. Conflict With China

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But Taiwan and its semiconductors are far more important to America’s economy than Ukraine is — meaning it would very likely be far more difficult for the United States to stay out of a conflict involving Taiwan. Taiwan accounts for half of the overall production of microchips that are critical to the functioning of mobile phones, consumer electronics, cars, military equipment and more. South Korea, the nearest competitor, has about 17 percent of the overall market. But Taiwanese chips are the smallest and fastest, and its foundries account for 92…

Xi’an Is China’s Biggest Covid Challenge Since Wuhan

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Every two days at the University of Xi’an in China, cleaners dressed in white hazmat suits taped tight to their bodies disinfect the dormitory hallways. Zhang Shengzi, a 24-year-old student, said the smell is so pungent she has to wait some time after they’ve gone before she will open her door again. She can barely leave her room, let alone campus, and all her classes are online. Ms. Zhang’s university, like the rest of Xi’an, has been under a citywide lockdown since Dec. 22. It is the longest lockdown in…

With COP26, China’s Climate Policy Merits a Closer Look

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“Disappointing.” “A shadow on the global climate effort.” Even before the global climate summit in Glasgow got underway last week, environmental advocates were quick to point fingers at China’s seemingly lackluster “new” climate pledge as a harbinger of a doomed outcome for the event. Since China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, some climate watchers had hoped Beijing would make a big splash with its updated targets to fight climate change — like providing an earlier-than-2030 peak emissions year or a hard cap on coal consumption. But the…

China Urges Families to Stock up on Food for Winter

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China has called on families and local governments to stock up on daily necessities as the country enforces stringent restrictions intended to curb a number of Covid outbreaks. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued the guidance in a statement on Monday. The Economic Daily, a Communist Party-backed newspaper, said that the directives were an effort by the government to prepare the public for Covid lockdowns in the prelude to winter. China has enforced a “zero Covid” policy that includes widespread testing and lockdowns to stamp out any small resurgence of…

Global Shipping Delays Loom Over Retailers for the Holidays

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WASHINGTON — It was 73 days until Christmas, and the clock was ticking down for Catch Co. The Chicago-based fishing company had secured a spot to sell a new product, an advent calendar for fishing enthusiasts dubbed “12 Days of Fishmas,” in 2,650 Walmart stores nationwide. But like so many products this holiday season, the calendars were mired in a massive traffic jam in the flow of goods from Asian factories to American store shelves. With Black Friday rapidly approaching, many of the calendars were stuck in a 40-foot steel…

China’s GDP Growth Slows as Property and Energy Take a Toll

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Volkswagen, the market leader in China, said on Friday that its production had been falling as the company faced an ever-worsening chip shortage and other supply chain issues. The company doesn’t have enough cars to fill customers’ and dealerships’ orders, creating a backlog. “Our priority is to work off our backlog,” said Stephan Wöllenstein, the chief executive of Volkswagen’s China division. Finding Strength in Exports For months, economists have made the same prediction: The fast growth of China’s exports cannot last. The economists were wrong. China’s exports kept surging through…

China Power Outages Close Factories and Threaten Growth

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DONGGUAN, China — Power cuts and even blackouts have slowed or closed factories across China in recent days, adding a new threat to the country’s slowing economy and potentially further snarling global supply chains ahead of the busy Christmas shopping season in the West. The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works. Some building managers have turned off elevators. Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several…

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