The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Monday’s Chorus: A western Belt and Road

Monday’s Chorus: A western Belt and Road

Biden and G7 eye US$200b global infrastructure push to rival China's Belt & Road; Aotearoa joins US, US, Australia & Japan in 'Partners in the Blue Pacific'; China sees it as AUKUS-plus

TLDR: The US-led western alliance is scrambling this morning to shore up its sanctions and solidarity against Russia as Vladimir Putin squeezes Germany’s gas supplies and the war in Ukraine drags on towards stalemate.

Meanwhile, Aotearoa-NZ has again risked angering China by joining a US-led ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ (PBP)1 aid and cooperation alliance to push back at China’s own cash-led diplomatic push into the region. (White House announcement)

Also, US President Joe Biden has flagged plans at ongoing G7 talks for US$200b worth of western infrastructure spending in a belated attempt to combat China’s own ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in the contest for the hearts, minds and alliances of struggling smaller states. (Biden statement)

G7 leaders pose for a group photo during the G7 Summit in Germany where they discussed a global infrastructure push to rival China's Belt & Road. Photo: Getty Images

I talk in more depth for paid subscribers in the podcast above about what these moves in the last 48 hours might mean for Aotearoa-NZ and how these geo-political moves are buffeting our own political economy.

Elsewhere in the news this morning:

  • G7 leaders announced a ban on gold imports from Russia and talked overnight about trying to put a price cap on Russian oil; The Guardian

  • The Sunday Times-$$$2 reported overnight Prince Charles received €1m in cash three times from a controversial Qatari politicians, although nothing illegal is alleged and the Prince said the the money was immediately deposited in the accounts of his private foundation at the Queen’s bank, Coutts;

  • The central bankers’ bank, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), called in its annual report for central bankers to intervene in a timely and decisive way to restore low and stable inflation or risk a return to 1970s-style stagflation; NZ-Herald-$$$

  • Andrew Little announced this morning a further 800,000 people would get free access to flu vaccines from this Friday and that older people and other vulnerable groups would be able to get a fourth shot from tomorrow; and,

  • Labour MP Paul Eagle announced he would run for Wellington’s mayoralty, which would trigger a by-election later this year if he wins. NZ Herald, Stuff

Chart of the day

Grass-fed means even more than it used to

Most of the world’s grains are eaten by animals, with cows and beef cattle the worst culprits. That’s a huge marketing opportunity for Aotearoa-NZ’s grass-fed dairy and beef industries in a world short of grain and worried about wasteful climate emissions. This Economist-$$$ piece and chart is very useful on this.

Number of the day

Where copper goes, the global economy goes

11% - The price of copper, which is a bellwether commodity used across a range of industries, has fallen 11% to a 16-month low in the last two weeks, indicating the global economy is taking a turn towards recession. CNN

Quote of the day

Recession talk growing

US stocks rose 3% on Friday night as talk grew of recession, which would allow the US Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates next year.

"Having enjoyed a mini-boom from consumers returning after the relaxation of pandemic restrictions, many services firms are now seeing households increasingly struggle with the rising cost of living, with producers of non-essential goods seeing a similar drop in orders," Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence via S&P.

Comment of the day on The Kākā

The Matariki account idea

“Just saw the email title and exclaimed “Yes!” Haha. I found Yanis Varoufakis’ thoughts about the e-yuan interesting in this interviewCain in my article about The Matariki Account idea.

Some fun things

Ka kite ano


PS: I’m keeping these a bit shorter to get them out earlier. There’ll be a ‘pick of the links’ collection later in the day.


Brilliant! Another bloody acronym to remember.


This linked is paywalled, as are any with the -$$$ suffix.

The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The latest daily snapshot of the news, detail, insight and analysis on geo-politics, the global economy, business, markets and the local political economy for citizens and decision-makers of Aotearoa-NZ.