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Weekly Wrap - 03rd Jan

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What will shape South Asia in the next decade? Has the media mislead the narrative of Sri Lanka and Chinese debt? Read our Weekly Wrap to find out.

Five key developments in South Asia in the 2010s will be shaping the region’s next decade. South Asia, according to a recent IMF study, houses more than a fifth of the world’s population and contributes to more than 15 percent of global economic growth. The region is also highly vulnerable to threats from terrorism to climate change. Additionally, it is home to America’s longest-ever—and still raging—foreign war, and to bitter rivals that happen to be nuclear-armed neighbors.

In short, South Asia matters. Here’s a look at some of the major events in the region, and what they imply for the next ten years.

 

Untangling the truth about Chinese debt and Sri Lanka means cutting through some misleading media narratives. For starters, the Hambantota port deal cannot be interpreted as a debt-equity swap or the Chinese cancelling debt in exchange for control of the port — although that seems to be a well-established narrative. Leasing out Hambantota port is not evidence of the Chinese debt trap. Instead, it is more of a reflection of the external sector crisis Sri Lanka is facing. What are the myths and realities of the Hambantota Port Deal?

 

2020 turned out to be a historic year for the stock market. The market boomed in 2019, with major indexes hitting numerous record highs as stocks posted their best annual return in six years, thanks to the U.S. economy’s moderate expansion holding steady and renewed trade optimism on Wall Street. Going into 2020, the market is optimistic that economic growth can continue, especially with diminishing tariff pressures and the Federal Reserve now on hold. Planning on investing? Here’s a list of Stock ideas compiled by Forbes, straight from the best fund managers.

 

Returns are reshaping shopping. A large majority of shoppers plan to return some of their holiday gifts this year, while about one in five expect to return nearly half the gifts they received. The Oracle survey signals that consumers are both more at ease with returning products and that stores have likely made it far easier to do so in an effort to attract indecisive shoppers, notes CNBC. UPS said earlier that it expects a 26% increase in holiday return packages. Walmart, Amazon and other major retailers have made moves to make returns easier after holiday shopping.

 

Are Spreadsheets The Silent Killer For Large Enterprises? The devastating impacts of data breaches have made explosive headlines in recent years and 2019 has been no exception. According to a report published by Risk Based Security, the first nine months of 2019 saw over 5,000 reported breaches—up 33% from 2018—and the exposure of 7.9 billion records. Those numbers are staggering and pose a serious question for organizations who think they are otherwise protected—what business vulnerabilities still exist? Spreadsheets are flexible, easy to use, and easy to modify, but they are not designed to store and protect corporate data. 

 

What more would you like to read about? Let us know in the comments.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Aisha Nazim

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