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Asia Investments

China Leapfrogs Japan and is Now the World's No. 2 Economy – And is Gunning for the No. 1 United States

As the old Avis rental car slogan used to say: "When you're No. 2, you try harder."

With the growth rates that its economy has turned in the past few years, no economist could ever accuse China's leader of not trying hard. China now claims to have jumped over Japan to take over the No. 2 spot in the world economic pecking order.

China's next target: The No. 1 U.S. economy.

In fact, some experts believe that China could catch up to the United States' $14.4 trillion economy in as little as 10 to 15 years.

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Money Morning Mid-Year Forecast: India is on the Path to Double-Digit Growth

India could be well on it's way to becoming the world's most appealing opportunity… if it learns how to control inflation and cut it's debt. Read this report to discover the opportunities and challenges facing India's economy right now. And, find out the best ways to make a bundle on India's growing economy.

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Singapore's Economy Leads Asia's Rebound With Record-Breaking 2010 Growth

Singapore's economy grew at a record-breaking pace in the first half of 2010, boosting Asian economic growth that is outpacing the rest of the world.

Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry reported yesterday (Wednesday) that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 18.1% in the first half of the year, expanding 26% in the second quarter from the previous three months, and 19.3% in the second quarter from the same 2009 period.

The rise is the country's biggest since record-keeping began in 1975.

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South Korea Raises Interest Rates, Joining Asian Movement to Reduce Stimulus

South Korea on Friday joined a chorus of Asian countries in cooling their economies by raising its benchmark interest rate and removing monetary stimulus from its financial system.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) joined counterparts across Asia by notching its rate up by 0.25 percentage point to 2.25%, lifting its key policy rate for the first time since August 2008 – the beginning of the global financial crisis.

But the BOK stressed it is just nudging rates up from emergency levels to counter the threat of inflation and curb a rise in household credit. Asia's fourth-biggest economy joined other economies during the global financial crisis by slashing interest rates, knocking them down three times and shaving a total of 325 basis points off the benchmark rate.

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Ignore the "Experts": 7 Reasons Not to Invest in Japan

Now that Japan's Nikkei 225 is half the relative price of the S&P 500 – and the cheapest it's been in three decades, investors are flocking to invest in Japan. But, Money Morning Contributing Editor Keith Fitz-Gerald isn't "buying" it. Find out why the "experts" are wrong in this free report…

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The Real Housewives of Japan: Shopping for Bargains … Driving Deflation?

KYOTO, Japan – Could 70,000 Japanese housewives tip this Asian giant into a deflationary spiral?

As farfetched as that sounds, it's become a major cause for concern in this nation of 128 million, which has been in an economic funk for two decades. These "real housewives" are part of a user-driven, social-networking site called Mainichi Tokubai, which delivers the best prices on specific grocery-store items to the fingertips of Tokyo-region consumers.

To hear frustrated Japanese policymakers and retail executives tell it, these bargain-minded consumers and their equally frugal social-networking site is almost-single-handedly undercutting the Japan's economy.

"We understand consumers want the best deals," Japan Chain Stores Association executive Shoichi Ogasawara groused to CNN's Kyung Lah. "And we understand that the social-networking site is a natural extension of consumer behavior in the Information Age. But supermarket prices have fallen for 13 years in a row in Japan," and sites such as this are making it difficult to reverse that trend.

Don't make the mistake of believing that something similar couldn't happen here in the U.S. market. Given that Japan's consumer technology tends to be anywhere from 18 months to two years ahead of U.S trends, this could be a preview of what's to come for the badly troubled U.S. economy.

To see how Japan's consumers have taken matters into their own hands, please read on...

"Experts" Grow Bullish on Japan …But We See Reasons For Caution

KYOTO, Japan – Japan's Nikkei 225 is half the relative price of the U.S. Standard & Poor's 500 and is the cheapest that it's been in nearly three decades. This has led many Western analysts to conclude once again that it's "time to invest" in Japan.

I don't "buy" it – and you shouldn't, either.

To understand the obstacles Japan still faces - as well as better profit plays to make - read on...

China May Let Yuan Appreciate Despite First Trade Deficit in Six Years

China's imports pushed higher in March, which may cause the Asian economic powerhouse to post its first trade deficit in six years.  But even though the deficit bolsters its argument for keeping the yuan pegged to the dollar, it appears Beijing will let its currency appreciate in the near future.

Rising commodity prices probably led imports to outpace exports by $390 million in March after a $7.6 billion trade surplus the previous month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 26 economists.

Nevertheless, a change in China's currency policy is "imminent", and may occur in the next few weeks, Ben Simpfendorfer, a Hong Kong- based economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (NYSE ADR: RBS), said Friday on Bloomberg Television.

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Pacifying the Panda: U.S. Companies Must Take a New Approach to China

There's no question about what kind of profit opportunities the Chinese market offers. Moreover, the willingness of U.S. companies to partner with China in the pursuit of profit is equally blatant.

So why is it that more U.S. businesses feel less welcome in China now than they did four years ago?

The fact is that in the past four years, China's economy has continued to grow by leaps and bounds, while a humiliating financial collapse and soaring debt have tarnished much of the shine that once adorned the U.S. market.

Indeed, for the first time in perhaps more than a century China has the upper hand. How long that will last is a difficult question to answer, but right now, China wants to use its leverage to support domestic companies – and it's doing so unapologetically.

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Indonesia Catching China's Eye

It's an open secret that Indonesia's economy is on the rise. In the spirit of March Madness, it's something of a sleeper.  That's why China, which is always looking for promising new investments, is looking to make inroads there.

Indeed, China's appetite for commodities makes Indonesia – with its close proximity and abundance of natural resources – an ideal partner.

PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR), Sinopec, Sinosteel, Minmetals and China Investment Corp (CIC) – Beijing's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund – are all aggressively scouring South East Asia's largest economy for takeover targets and joint venture partners, the Live Trading News reported.

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