BRICS views on the current global economy

Celebrating a decade of multilateral partnership this year, the BRICS Bloc find themselves at an age where Western Economies are faced with many challenges, the BREXIT and the current trade war started by the United State. The BRICS bloc has drawn the line on the sand regarding where they stand with the current global economies state.

BRICS leader signed agreements during the 10th summit, one being of a multilateral system.

 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in closing remarks after the summit “we reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, as embodied in the World Trade Organization, which promotes a predictable trade environment and the centrality of the WTO”. 

The BRICS 10th summit in South Africa came just after U.S. President Donald Trump raised tariffs against China.

BRICS is partnering with emerging economies to grow their footprint in global economies, BRICS states have over the years actively collaborated with industrialised countries to boost their economy.  Working with emerging economies the BRICS bloc is ensuring more influence in global economy; the trade between the BRICS bloc and emerging economy ensure that less power is given to developed countries. Emerging economies and developing country has in recent years accounted for a substantial amount of the global gross domestic product.

Xi Jining at the BRICS Business Forum in South Africa last month, said: “We should ensure that economic globalization will deliver more benefits. We should help emerging markets and developing countries, African countries and the least developed countries in particular, fully involve themselves in international division of labour and share in the benefits of economic globalization.”

 Economist believe that if BRICS stays relevant and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the crimpling state of Western economies, BRICS and emerging countries will lead the global economic space. Economists view the BRICS bloc as an opportunity to take over global trade.

 

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

 

 

 

 

South African unions reject gold wage offers

Labor unions representing workers gold mines South African gold mines rejected pay increases from four producers, alleged the body representing employers on Wednesday.

 The Mineral Council South Africa said this in conclusion of the talks held in Johannesburg.

The Minerals Council South Africa released an emailed statement saying the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and UASA rejected offers of 3.5% to 4.5% and 6% to 7.2% depending on the worker’s category.

The companies involved are AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Co., Sibanye Gold Ltd. and Village Main Reef Ltd.

The National Union of Mine Workers is demanding that salaries of entry level surface workers be adjusted to up to R9 500, with R10 500 for entry level underground employees and a 15% increase for all officials.

“The Minerals Council’s latest offer is not only lower than the inflation rate, but it is also significantly lower than the latest offers being made to lower category (Category 4 – 8) employees” the union said.

Talks are scheduled to resume next week.

 

Source: Bloomberg

 

China’s cyber-security may be used as weapon as Trade War tensions escalate

The quickly soaring relations between China and the United States has resulted in both countries looking for as much leverage as they can find. For the USA it’s relying on its own economic strength to protect against any serve suffering, and for China it seems as its internet firewall may be a new weapon in the escalating trade battles.

According to Bloomberg.com, the Chinese online population is measured at 731 million people, which could be very lucrative to USA tech companies if they had access. The reason for the limited or completely restricted access is due to the Great Chinese Firewall or the rules, standards, legislature and technologies which governs the Chinese’ online activities and accessibility.

The firewall for example forbids access to popular US sites like YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter and US media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post. The firewall could be China’s no-so-obvious weapon against US tariffs, the Chinese government could easily add more US tech companies to the list of restrictive access.

China does this by adding new standards to its firewall, which usually starts as recommendations but are likely to be approved by the government. Later on these standards can become a part of China’s legal framework. These new Chinese standards can increase the financial costs of foreign companies, slow the pace of operating in China and sometimes turn firms against doing business in China.

The biggest problem the US may face in the long term is that China’s use of internet standards may not end, even if the US should over turn its tariff policy, these standards could actually become Chinese law and the official way of doing business in China.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka’

India rupee slips past 70-per dollar mar for the first time

For the first time in history, the Indian rupee has hit the 70-per dollar mark. The Indian currency has been among the hardest hit in Asia from the recent Turkey-led sell-off in emerging assets.

A weaker rupee could complicate the Reserve Bank of India’s job of keeping inflation in check.

The RBI’s monetary policy committee has increased interest rates twice since June to curb price pressures, while using foreign reserves to check currency volatility.

The central bank doesn’t target the exchange rate and attributes any rate moves to its goal of containing rising prices.

Principal economist at ICRA Ltd. in Gurugram, Aditi Nayar said: “Broader emerging-market currency movement, dollar strength, and the trend in crude oil prices will drive the outlook for the rupee in the immediate term.”

Nayar added that the RBI is likely to assess the trend in the rupee vis-a-vis the EM currency pack.

“If all EM currencies are depreciating, the rupee must weaken to protect export competitiveness.”

Source: bloomberg.com

[OPINION] BRICS could become the premier platform for South-South cooperation

Image: iStock

During the 2018 BRICS Summit, one thing that was made clear was the BRICS bloc’s commitment to multilateralism. From the BRICS Business Forum, to the Heads of State meeting ending with the Africa outreach and the BRICS Plus meeting.

Multilateralism and the enabling of a multipolar world, were two of the key words throughout the Summit. BRICS on its journey to achieving this, has many challenges it will have to face up to, from balancing individual and collective interests, to the realising of its own capacity and strengths.

The USA’s steel tariff policy can be seen as one of the many reasons why there is a strong need for BRICS in the first place, founded on the pragmatic approach on how to deal with each other and the world. The US clinging onto protectionism and the unipolar world of the past, can be quite damaging to global trade and can result in unforeseen circumstances of allies conflicting.  

Each BRICS state has its own reason for continuing with this project for 10 years now, but if the benefits didn’t outweigh the drawbacks, I don’t think any member state would have lasted this long. In fact, the BRICS bloc is moving forward and intertwining even further, going beyond just economics and trade but with the merging of civil societies, health, agriculture, technology, education sports, culture and media.

As the tables turn, the global south and BRICS now looks like the new leaders spearheading the inclusive agenda and promoting free trade, as the tradition powers slowly lose relevance and credibility. The BRICS Africa outreach further demonstrates the seriousness to which the BRICS bloc is taking multilateralism, as a thriving Africa can only help in growing global trade and give new voices to a multipolar world.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

 

Report: Samsung may suspend operations at China mobile phone plant

The Electronic Times reported that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is considering suspending operations at one of its mobile phone manufacturing plants in China, due to slumping sales and rising labour costs.

This year, Samsung might stop producing mobile phones at Tianjin Samsung Telecom Technology, located in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker said that nothing had been decided on the fate of its Tianjin operation.

“The overall smartphone market is having difficulties due to slowing growth. Samsung Electronics’ Tianjin telecom enterprise aims to focus on activities that increase competitiveness and efficiency,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

In recent years, Samsung has focused its major mobile phone investments on production facilities in Vietnam and India.

 It opened the world’s biggest smartphone factory outside New Delhi last month, which is slated to become an export hub.

The Electronic Times added thatthe Tianjin plant in China produces about 36 million mobile phones a year and its Huizhou plant makes 72 million units a year, while the two factories in Vietnam combined make 240 million units a year.

Source: Reuters

New Visa Law for Chinese Tourists in South Africa

Tourism in South Africa has been an important contributor to the South African economy for many years. The tourism sector directly contributed 2,9% to South African gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. The industry has contributed more jobs than that of the manufacturing sector from 2012 to 2016. BRICS countries have been the biggest contributors towards the growth of the tourism economy in South Africa.

The South African Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, has announced that according to the bilateral agreements signed at the 10th BRICS Summit in South Africa last month where South Africa and China agreed to ease their visa policies, the ministry is introducing new visa policies that will make it easy for Chinese tourist to enter South Africa.

The new visa law will allow Chinese tourists holding a valid passport and a Schengan visa, U.S. visa or Australian visa to enter the country without the need to apply for a separate South African visa. The minister said: “South Africa is working hard to increase its share of China’s huge tourism market and hopes to increase the share tenfold in the next five years.”

BRICS countries have contributed 6.1% towards inbound travelers to South Africa, tourists from China making up the largest portion of that increase.

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

China could build world’s longest tunnel linked to Taiwan

After years of debate, Chinese scientists are close to designing what would be the longest undersea railway tunnel, which will be connecting the mainland to Taiwan.

According toRussia Today, the tunnel would run through a 135km undersea section at up to 250kph by 2030 from China to Taiwan.

South China Morning Post reports that the tunnel would be dug under the ocean, at a depth of 200 metres.

Chinese engineers are planning to produce two artificial islands halfway to pump air into the tubes.

The Chinese were inspired by the Channel Tunnel, which links England and France; the trains will travel from Fuzhou province’s Pingtan county and arrive in Hsinchu city, southwest of Taipei, in 32 minutes.

The Chinese tunnel will be nearly one-third wider, allowing trains to be sent at higher speeds and with heavier cargo.

Source: Russia Today

Samsung launches Galaxy Note 9

On Thursday, Samsung unveiled their brand new Galaxy Note 9. Samsung’s launch came significantly earlier, as the big smartphone manufacturers usually launch new products in September.

Samsung’s early launch gives them a head start on competitors, specifically on Apple. The smartphone market has become saturated over the past few years and Samsung didn’t want their premium product being forgotten or buried under media weight of the iPhone. Samsung not only launched the Note 9 but also their new Galaxy Watch which is set to take on the Apple Watch for market share.

By launching in August, Samsung has managed to curve out a brief period where its new device can stand out on its own. Its features can be examined properly without being compared to its competitors. Of course the new Note 9 comes with upgraded software and better performance, and Samsung has also partnered up with arguably the most popular game in the world right now, Fortnite, for an Android-exclusive gaming experience on the Note 9.

According to Mybroadband, the availability of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in South Africa is expected on 24 August 2018, in three colours: Midnight Black, Metallic Copper and Ocean Blue. the 128 GB version will cost you R 18,999 and the 512 GB version will be R23, 999. While on contract its estimate to be around R799 pm and the Galaxy Watch is expected to set you back around R 6,499.

 

Specification for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9:

  • Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (speed 2.7GHz)
  • Screen – 6.4”
  • RAM – 6 GB/ 8 GB
  • Internal Storage – 128 GB/512 GB (Supports MicroSD)
  • Battery – 4000 mAh
  • Front Camera – 12 MP
  • Rear Camera – 8 MP
  • Software – Android 8 Oreo, Modified by Samsung

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka   

BRICS VS NATO: The differences and how they compare

Image: iStock

Comparing BRICS and NATO is very difficult as the BRICS bloc is still relatively small and new establishing in 2006, while NATO is large and was founded in 1949.

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) 5 member states from South America, Africa, Asia and Eurasia was founded on principles of cooperation, trade, non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit.

While NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) consisting of 29 member states from North America, Europe and Turkey, was founded on the principles of collective defense and security of the North Atlantic area, defending each other when needed (an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all).

Initially, NATO was established as an organisation to prevent another world war, to build trade partners and hedge against the feared communism of the time. Today it is well noted by economist that NATO has helped its member states, by boosting not only trade but their economies, education systems, innovation and entrepreneurship.

BRICS can therefore be seen as a NATO in the beginning stages per se, BRICS only being established in 2006 known then as BRIC, is an association of major emerging economies similar to NATO but with less focus on defence and military actions. Today BRICS (with the joining of South Africa) is more interested in the development of it member states in these key areas: economy, business and trade, education, agriculture, health, technology, science and trade.

BRICS countries contribute up to 23.2%, $18.6 trillion of Global GDP, the 5 countries make up over 3 billion in population numbers or 42.58% of the global population. While NATO’s population size of over 900 million people and the GDP of all NATO members combined, makes up almost $40 trillion.

So if we can use NATO as measuring stick as to where BRICS can go or how big it can become, then it is clear that BRICS is far from reaching its full potential as yet. All the five BRICS members are still classified as developing nations. While NATO is full of developed countries whom have already reach the heights of their individual peaks.

Source: theinfographicsshow.com