Make reforms while sun shines on world economy: Lagarde

Christine Lagarde said Europe is ‘not united on moving toward greater integration’ (AFP)
Updated 31 December 2017

Make reforms while sun shines on world economy: Lagarde

PARIS: International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde has urged France and other countries to push through reforms “while the sun is shining” on the global economy.
In an interview with France’s Le Journal du Dimanche published Sunday, Lagarde said the strength of the global economic recovery had taken the IMF by surprise.
“In 2017, for the first time in a long time, we revised our growth forecasts upwards whereas previously we used to lower them,” she said.
Global growth of 3.6 percent was both “stronger and more widely shared” in 2017, she said, noting that developed economies were now growing again under their own steam and no longer merely being pulled along by demand in emerging markets.
Lagarde said the favorable climate lent itself to implementing reforms.
“When the sun is shining you should take advantage to fix the roof,” she said, using one of her favorite maxims.
This year’s global growth is on a par with the average of the two decades leading up to the global financial crisis.
The IMF has forecast a further slight improvement in 2018, to 3.7 percent.
In Lagarde’s native France, seen for years as one of Europe’s weak links, the recovery kicked in in earnest this year.
From 1.1 percent in 2016, growth is expected to rise to 1.9 percent in 2017 — still short of the 2.4 percent forecast for the euro zone as a whole but better than the 1.6 percent initially forecast in the eurozone’s second-largest economy.
Centrist President Emmanuel Macron aims to consolidate the momentum and bring down stubbornly high unemployment with an ambitious program of labor, tax and welfare reforms.
Lagarde said the changes were key to boosting France’s credibility at a time when Macron is pushing for reforms at the European level, including closer integration among eurozone members.
The managing director of the IMF was France’s finance minister in 2008, when the euro looked to be in serious jeopardy.
Nearly 10 years later, the currency is out of the woods.
But, Lagarde warned, “the mission has not been accomplished — and maybe never will — because Europe is not united on moving toward greater integration while maintaining national sovereignty.”


Popeyes flexes its muscles in China as KFC feels the heat

Updated 20 November 2019

Popeyes flexes its muscles in China as KFC feels the heat

  • Popeyes signed a lease in Shanghai for its first store in China on Monday

SHANGHAI: US fried chicken chain Popeyes wants to become the top chicken brand in China, the chief executive of its parent company said on Tuesday, as it prepares to take on KFC, the leading player in the world’s most populous market.

Popeyes signed a lease in Shanghai for its first store in China on Monday, which is expected to open next year.

The company outlined plans in July to build 1,500 restaurants in China in the coming decade, becoming the last of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International Inc’s main brands to enter the country.

By contrast, Yum China’s KFC has about 6,300 stores. Yum has said that it is acutely aware there is more opportunity to expand in China, noting that while it was in 1,300 Chinese cities, there are still as many as 800 cities without a KFC store.

Popeyes’ July plan was “just really to put a framework on the short-term potential business,” Jose Cil, RBI’s CEO said in an interview in Shanghai.

“I think we can be the No. 1 chicken brand here in China and all around Asia,” he said, adding that consumers in the region were looking for options. He dismissed concerns that a slowing China economy and trade tensions had dimmed prospects for growth in the long term.

Cil’s remarks comes as the Cajun-inspired fast food chicken chain experiences a surge in popularity in the US after a newly launched fried chicken sandwich went viral on social media.

Demand was such that Popeyes had to stop taking orders after only two weeks before relaunching it this month.

The sandwich will also be offered in China, he said.

Cil noted that RBI’s other two main brands had seen rapid growth in China.

Burger King has expanded to around 1,100 stores in China from less than 100 in 2012. “We think we’ll keep growing at a steady pace,” Cil said.

And Tim Hortons, its Canadian coffee chain, just opened its 28th store in China after launching there in February.

“We are preparing ourselves to be able to accelerate growth in the coming years,” Cil said of
the brand.