China and markets

Last week whilst the EU has been focused on its chaotic Euro scheme and the Greek loan, and its troubled borders, the world economy has felt stronger ripples from China.
Last month the Chinese authorities indicated they thought their domestic share market had gone up too far too fast. Investors agreed and a sell off ensued. This threatened to get a bit out of hand, so the authorities took strong action to cushion the market, attacking short sellers, buying shares directly and asking main Chinese players not to sell. It was controlled capitalism designed to reassure and a reminder of how this is still a managed system with a government that has a lot of firepower and influence over markets. The need to intervene was a problem on the way to more liberal and liquid markets. Some market players disliked the degree of intervention and the temporary cessation of trading in shares.
This month the Chinese authorities decided they wanted to liberalise their foreign exchange market a bit more. They started the following day’s trading in their currency the yuan at the last price the night before, instead of returning to their managed rate. They were in practice moving from a crawling peg chosen by them, to a managed float, where the markets can lead in deciding whether the currency needs to go up or down a bit. This time some in the markets objected to more market influence on the exchange rate. or sought to claim the Chinese authorities were deliberately devaluing their currency. It took a strong statement from the government to reassure some that the plan is not to carry out a major devaluation but to allow market forces more play in setting the rate.
China is still embarked on a major liberalisation plan for her financial markets and currency. It will not always be smooth. It does mean that sometimes markets will set prices the Chinese authorities do not like. They will need to live with that more often. It does not look as if the Chinese now want to devalue their currency on the scale of say Japan, where the currency has devalued by a third against the yuan over the last five years. China is in transition from export and investment led growth to more consumer growth. It is likely China will now loosen monetary policy more, providing a further stimulus. For all the fears and alarums China is still growing at a reasonable pace, and the world economy should manage growth in excess of 3% this year overall.

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46 Comments

  1. alexmews
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Good article. Thx. I liked the alternative perspective given Telegraph yesterday published a strong article suggesting very much doom amd gloom from China, including the claim they had officially devalued yuan by 3% over two days. Ditto Economist on the weekend.

  2. bluedog
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    ‘ China is still growing at a reasonable pace,’.

    Uniquely among the major economies, Chinese statisticians continually succeed in publishing quarterly economic data with legendary efficiency, only days after the period end. Cynics and conspiracy theorists impertinently suggest that the figures released are pre-ordained, or at least ‘smoothed’.

    One thing is certain, there are now two sources of extraordinary volatility in global markets, China and the European Monetary Union. History suggests that volatility in foreign currency and commodity trading is a zero-sum game. In other words, for every winner there is a loser, hedging strategies not withstanding. Given the increasing financialisation of the global economy, it seems extremely likely that somewhere a bank or group of banks is taking a massive bath on its bond, currency and commodity trading.

    When the losses can no longer be concealed, as they will be for some time, the markets will respond accordingly.

    Will the governments be able to socialise the resulting losses with yet another bail-out at tax-payer expense? If not, what?

    Reply IF you compare China today with China 20 years ago you have to acknowledge there has been a lot of growth. In 2005 China produced 5.7m cars last year 23.7m

    • bluedog
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply. Some figures are irrefutable, Dr JR, and there is no doubting the increase in China’s living standards and the output of the economy. For car production to increase by 415% over 20 years certainly implies a thumping growth rate in that area alone, far higher than GDP growth. Wikipedia gives growth in Chinese electricity production between 2004 and 2013 of 245%, from 2200TWh to 5398 TWh, consistently c80% sourced from coal-fired stations. Electricity consumption is generally consider a good predictor of GDP growth when other figures are in doubt, as you will be aware.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 18, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        “Electricity consumption is generally consider a good predictor of GDP growth…”

        Interesting in light of Scottish Powers’ decision to close the second largest coal-fired power station in the UK at Longannet giving as the reason the high cost of connecting to the grid; unless transmission losses to where the electricity is used are excessive, it seems implausible that the cost per unit of (reliable) output would be less than that of connecting an offshore, or even an onshore windmill ‘farm’ or photovoltaic arrays, particularly on domestic roofs, or the solitary windmill on CMD’s roof to the grid.

        Scottish Power has also announced it is abandoning plans to build a new gas-fired power station at Cockenzie in East Lothian.

        Reply If an economy switches to more service activity from more manufacturing then its energy intensity may fall. As industry modernises and improves it tends to cut its energy use per unit of output

        • forthurst
          Posted August 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          “If an economy switches to more service activity from more manufacturing then its energy intensity may fall.”

          Does JR mean after its manufacturing industry has been driven to China as a result of EU SavethePlanet engineered high energy costs forcing closure of low cost electricity production and replacement with high cost, highly unreliable or nothing at all, potentially leading to blackouts. Stuff has to be made somewhere.

          • APL
            Posted August 19, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

            forthurst: “Does JR mean after its manufacturing industry has been driven to China ”

            Yes.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          A great deal of power loss is experienced with wind power too as they are situated away from built up areas and in rural areas. The idea of importing power from Scandinavian countries is not realistic. The power losses would be too great.

  3. APL
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    JR: “The need to intervene was a problem on the way to more liberal and liquid markets. ”

    You are so funny these days. ‘It’s was necessary to destroy liberal capitalism in order to save it!’

    Has a familiar ring to it.

  4. JJE
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The problem is that a lot of people doubt the achievement of that 3% growth estimate. I do smile when I see commentators obsess about small fractions of a percent one way or the other. With the best will in the world I don’t know how anyone thinks these statistics can be collected with such fine accuracy in a country the size of China.
    Alternative indicators such as electricity and commodity usage raise concerns of a sharper downturn, as does the slump in world prices for hard commodities.

    • JJE
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Oops, sorry I should have said the Chinese growth target is 7%. The 3% is the global estimate.

  5. agricola
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I am not qualified to say how the Chinese should manage their financial market. However I have some respect for the way in which they have transited from Moa’s totalitarian state to a market economy under the present regime. They would seem to have achieved it far better than the Russians who appear to be stuck in the timewarp they have been in since the beginning of the twentieth century. The Chinese would seem to have avoided the mistakes of the Russians.

    It is ironic that the Chinese have picked up the tab for much of the excessive western government spending of at least the last thirty years. Ironic because Chinese per capita incomes are way below those in Europe and the USA.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it is true that the Russians appear to be “stuck in the timewarp they have been in since the beginning of the twentieth century”;there have been many twists and turns since!Russia was actually the fastest growing of the major European powers at the outbreak of WWI due to the belated start of industrialisation.However,WWI and ,much more so,the Russian Civil War caused catastrophic damage to the economy and then Lenin’s”War communism” left the people starving so was replaced by the mixed economy of the New Economic Plan.This,intended as a temporary(as in decades) measure, was proving successful with output restored to prewar levels but,after Lenin’s death,Stalin decided to go back to full throttle communism.The great expansion achieved, albeit at huge human cost, convinced (or fooled)many outsiders it was a viable alternative to the West until proven otherwise.The aftermath of 1991 produced a wild west of capitalism which now seems to be morphing more towards the Chinese state-directed model.However,I would agree with you there seems to have been a return to something of the tsarist mindset;having junked communism and eschewed the west,where else could they go but back?!Whereas the Chinese build ghost cities,Russia has been content to gild the monuments of its past.

      • bluedog
        Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        ‘Russia was actually the fastest growing of the major European powers at the outbreak of WWI due to the belated start of industrialisation.’

        Absolutely right. The assessment of the German General Staff was that the rapid development of Russia in all regards, particularly the modernisation of the Russian Army under French tutelage, meant that Germany would be crushed by Russia at any time after 1916. Allowing Lenin’s train to cross Germany on its way to Russia was an act of genius.

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 19, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          @bluedog.Having,last year,read Solzhenitsyn’s “August 1914”,a masterful account of the state of late Tsarist Russia and its shambolic,premature opening campaign,I can tell you that the “French tutelage” doesn’t seem to have been much in evidence at Tannenberg!

          • bluedog
            Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            Ironically the brilliant victory at Tannenberg cost Germany the war. Such was von Moltke’s concern at developments in East Prussia that he withdrew three army corps from Belgium to reinforce the eastern front, at a critical stage in the execution of the Schlieffen Plan. Consequently the German forces in the west lost momentum and the plan failed.

            As Dr JR has commented, the Germans seem almost afraid of using their strength, even today. Perhaps defeat in the two twentieth century wars has cast a very long shadow over the German psyche, rendering them far more risk averse than we can imagine.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      “The Chinese would seem to have avoided the mistakes of the Russians.”

      Although it is true that Mao was selected/endorsed by Stalin who sent members of his alien criminal gang (Bolsheviks) to ‘assist’ in the creation of Mao’s personal terror state, China was not under the control of alien criminals during this time and as soon as he died, the Chinese were able to start to turn around their country, whereas after the collapse of the Bolshevik empire, Russia immediately fell victim to the expropriation of its industries and natural resources largely by members of the same criminal gang that had murdered millions of Slavic Christians under the Bolsheviks; thus it’s only since the first election of Putin have the Russian people been able to start to recover, albeit without control of much of their industry which is still controlled by (some dubious characters and others ed) who know as much about running industry as the Bolsheviks knew about public administration i.e. zilch.

      Reply I suspect Russia’s bureaucrats knew a lot about public admin and their industrialists know a lot about industry, but they often chose to do things in a way we do not like

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 19, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        As a frequent trader on the Russian stock market,I can fully endorse JR’s reply.They most definitely are not stupid!Worth watching is a five minute Bloomberg Video from 18th August entitled “Can Russia weather a recession coupled with cheap oil” (just google it)which features the views of J P Morgan AM’s Global Mkts strategist.The bottom line is “we are sitting around waiting for Russia to collapse…..and it ain’t gonna happen!”

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I think Gideon is following the Chinese example with his living wage and continued state intervention.
    I see yesterday we had added half a million to our population over the last year. It would be odd if we didn’t register some growth when the population is rising so fast. It’s a pity per capita isn’t rising as we all get poorer and our public services collapse under the strain.
    Perhaps Corbyn should be elected and we can go the whole hog of socialism instead of the Tory stealth approach.
    Any news on what’s being negotiated in Daves next whistle stop tour.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      But we should glowing with pride that so many of the world’s 7.3 billion people want to come and live in our wonderful, successful country, and of course we also have a long and proud record of offering sanctuary to however many millions may turn up claiming to be suffering from some form of persecution in their own countries. Of course in a way it’s a pity that so many of our natural born citizens are giving up on this country and emigrating, but you will always get some who are dissatisfied and if they don’t like the new richly diverse and vibrant society which is being built here then maybe it’s best if they leave and go off to Australia or New Zealand or some other backward country.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        I would love to go to Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the States but am too old. Instead, all we are left with is crazy, bureaucratic Europe. For those that do go I hope they never regret leaving their loved ones back home with a crumbling NHS and with dementia patients finding it hard to get the proper care they deserve. We have so many coming into our country now and the difference between us and the aforementioned countries is that they chose who they want and we get lumbered with the rest. There is always the exception to the rule and many are welcomed here but we have no control over the rest and the many migrants trying to come here without papers or identities is quite horrifying.

      • bluedog
        Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Ten million mainland Chinese have applied to live in Australia, apparently seeking to forgo the benefits of the greatest leap forward in history. Many are called but very few are chosen.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Apparently we have started counting the earnings of the sex trade now in our GDP figures. They should start counting all the money the British people smugglers are making getting people across the channel, that’s surely a big positive increase in our GDP. Goebbels would be proud.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your reassurance. It is good always to hear your cool appraisal of what I can only describe as the overheated reaction of quite a lot of other reporters.

    Last year, a friend of mine was offered a very well paid and responsible job in China (PRC) and he refused it. Why? He had been talking with the CEO of a large Chinese Company. In private and alone, he asked her about whether there were spies within her company for the government, even at the top. She warily agreed that this was the case. But she then admitted that she had no idea who they were. Nobody, my friend realised, could expand, be original, go against current thinking or enjoy life under those conditions.

  8. Kenneth
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    China continues to accumulate real life assets like precious minerals. She does not trust paper, including the Yuan.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    As I expect the discussion will turn to sterling I’ll just provide the link to a table of its trade weighted index since 1990, here:

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/boeapps/iadb/fromshowcolumns.asp?Travel=NIxIRxSUx&FromSeries=1&ToSeries=50&DAT=RNG&FD=1&FM=Jan&FY=1963&TD=18&TM=Aug&TY=2015&VFD=Y&html.x=19&html.y=20&CSVF=TT&C=IIN&Filter=N

    and comment that at 94 now it is gradually moving back up towards the region where historically it has proved to be over-valued, but is not there yet.

    Its all time high was 106.8045 on January 23rd 2007 and its all time low was 73.7560 on December 30th 2008.

    If anybody would like to view the gyrations of the “rock steady” euro there is a chart of its trade weighted average external value since 1993 here:

    http://www.ecb.europa.eu/stats/exchange/effective/html/index.en.html

  10. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    The only pacific assessment of China and her market activity I have read for quite a time, though this may be my own fault as I tend to read economic assessments predominantly from over the Atlantic.

    I take it the “crawling peg” ( line 17 ) refers to the band in which the Yuan was moving in lockstep to the US dollar. It is said the reasons for the Chinese Government’s move in relation to its domestic share market was all that you say. Also a direct response to the US dollar’s climb making the Yuan too expensive for China’s major markets in other Asian countries.

    I am not sure if as you say in your last sentence that “China is growing at a reasonable rate.” Not trusting the word of the Chinese authorities in its pronouncements, many commentators actually sent spies into China looking for such things as the amount of copper stored in their docks to give them some idea. I believe several US Pension Fund managers bought and sold stocks for their portfolios based on such spurious dynamics.
    Now the cool fashion is to look at Chinese electricity and rail transport usage to get a “better” idea of the Chinese economy. Marco Polo did a better analysis. If he were alive today he would be America’s best investment guru.

    Personally I do not have faith in the world economy will grow ” in excess of 3% this year overall. ” Which politicians in which countries; which economic whizz-kids in which countries can we trust not to tell us a tale about their countries’ economic performances?

    The Labour Party is about to elect its next Pinocchio. It would be false patriotism for us to believe other countries’ leaders do not have similar nasal accomplishments.

    • APL
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON: “Now the cool fashion is to look at Chinese electricity and rail transport usage to get a “better” idea”

      Along true command economy principles China has build whole cities, one or two of which are empty. No business, no commerce and no population.

      Reply And many of which are full and thriving

      • APL
        Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        JR: “And many of which are full and thriving”

        Yea, but so what? To waist a significant fraction of your GDP to build a city no one wants to live in – there being no jobs, no business, other than a short term boost to the GDP figures, the debt has to be settled on an uneconomic and foolish project.

        I am at the same time amazed but not surprised to hear a Tory apologist for China’s command economic policies.

        But … that’s the modern Tory party for you.

        Reply I am no apologist for command policies. The bit that is working in China is free enterprise that has come from partial liberalisation

  11. Aatif Ahmad
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Chinese growth since 2002/3 has been based on a dangerously high level of fixed asset investment and a large current account surplus. This level is hard to sustain and that is why GDP growth has been falling from a high of around 13% in 2010 to 7% recently and may well fall below this level.
    The only way the Chinese government can increase the rate of growth is by ordering another debt-fuelled increase in fixed asset investment (usually infrastructure with poor economics, like the HS2 line that you oppose in the UK, or large apartment blocks in ghost towns). Much of this investment is wasteful and doesn’t generate an economic return. It will lead to slower consumption growth as resources are appropriated from households (in the form of lower deposit rates) and transferred to plug losses incurred elsewhere in the economy (in wasteful investment).
    The Chinese government may be well organised but it hasn’t yet discovered the key to turning mud into gold.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Its been based on dangerously high levels of pollution from factories that wouldn’t be allowed to operate in the rest of the world, and dangerously poor safety equipment for the workers. Its also been based on widespread theft of intellectual property, like using unlicensed software, other peoples protected designs without royalty payments, and so on. By ramping anti-pollution requirements other governments, like ours, have just forced businesses to shut production down here and move it to China (and India) where the same processes are run using worse anti-pollution kit than we ever used here. No net improvement in world pollution, and a massive loss of production jobs here. There needs to be a better way.

      Reply Most emerging countries go through a period of rapid industrialisation at lower standards of health, safety,pollution control etc than the advanced nations just as we did in our own industrial revolution. China now is seeking to impose much higher standards in a wide range of areas, and has adopted Euro IV for vehicles so far.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes but the way our “green” policies shut production here and move it abroad does not improve net world pollution it simply moves it elsewhere, and often makes net world pollution worse, this whole policy area needs to evolve.

        We could improve the world a lot by trying a lot harder to stop buying goods produced by child labour, although there is lip service to this issue some simple steps and real action could be taken. And so on.

        It makes me sad to see good UK workforces put out of work by essentially unfair competition, this is the kind of thing a proper “labour” movement representing the workers should be saying, in the absence of that we need decent people of all political flavours to start recognising these crazy situations.

        • bluedog
          Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Maintaining first world levels of pay in a first world economy that competes globally with third world economies producing similar goods and services is a largely under reported issue. The UK has largely lost its post-war manufacturing base and is now dependent on services. The issue therefore becomes to what extent these service industries are vulnerable to competition from the highly educated and competent middle-classes of India and China. Just as Western owned manufacturing businesses have been forced to relocate to third world countries, it would seem likely that many service industries will find ways to do the same where practical.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 19, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

            Certainly the political class, and ruling elite, of this country do not have a viable model of how this country can succeed in the world, or any model of how to help our own workforces succeed. They largely prosper in their own jobs with high barriers of entry and regulation like law, while expecting the rest of us to compete with child labour and heavily polluting factories abroad, and large numbers of cheap immigrants in this country. Their state manipulations have actively damaged this countrys wealth producing abilities, and their assumptions that, say, the financial services industry should be given exceptional support to the detriment of others is wrong.

          • Mitchel
            Posted August 19, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            I read that having moved from a manufacturing to a services economy,we are now moving from a services economy to an experiences economy where we all lose ourselves in a blizzard of virtual reality,gaming,social media and reality show experiences.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 19, 2015 at 3:08 am | Permalink

          We are not simply outsourcing our carbon emissions – we are also outsourcing responsibility for working conditions and safety (the recent explosion in China.)

          If we are to consume a product then it is unethical to allow it to be produced without the same emission targets, safety standards, working conditions and wages that we would expect in our own country.

          To then mitigate (effectively subsidise) the relocation of work with welfarism makes no economic sense in the long run and so our indebtedness proves. In fact much outsourcing smacks of corruption and back-handers, coupled with the denigration of British people.

          We supported and voted for Thatcherism, the taming of the unions, but we really didn’t expect things to be taken to the extremes that they were and for obedient workers to be made redundant too. And then access to our welfare system and health service to be opened to all via the EU as well.

          This hasn’t simply been a straightforward exposure of British people to global markets but seems like a state funded conspiracy against them.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 19, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            Nobody seems to be really speaking up for the decent British workers. Certainly labour are not doing it. And sadly neither are the Conservatives. The reality is our workforces are innovative and capable of great things but to be able to compete against nations prepared to pollute more with less safety kit we need to act clever. And acting clever means playing to our strengths and do things like rigorously protect our best intellectual property. New production techniques, new product improvements, higher quality products our workforce invent need to be protected from copying elsewhere much longer for our strengths to win out. And so on.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 20, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            Iain – It is far worse than that.

            The Tory attempt to control borders is very half hearted and very late. The people who inhabit government don’t seem to share the anxiety of the general public about this situation and how it will lead to ever decreasing living standards for most.

            The complacency about gross immigration being mitigated by net, production industry being replaced by coffee shop industry, the off-shoring of our work to countries where there are no safety standards or emission controls because ‘all emerging economies start this way…’ does not sound like the words of a man batting for his own country. And this is the best the Tories offer.

            Truly. The most parasitic industry in Britain this day is politics.

            For our country to be run as it is why do we need a political class at all ?

  12. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    On a completely different topic I see Scotland is to be left with 2 crumbling nuclear power stations, half of a gas station (Peterhead) and thousands of totally useless, weather dependent wind turbines! All thanks to the SNP. Welcome to Scotland! Longannet has announced it is to close in March 2016 and Scottish Power has also said they are not going to build a gas fired power station to replace Cockenzie! You couldn’t make it up.

  13. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    And lots more Co2 emissions.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Less CO2 emissions by running gas or nuclear. The SNP have turned their backs on fracking or nuclear. More CO2 is produced by using gas/coal for back up than if they were run full time properly. wind turbines cannot power the grid without back up. We have had 2 days without much wind. No wind, no power.

  14. Iain Gill
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Average value of a house has gone up 3 K in a month, the houses are earning more than the people sitting in them. This is the fabled competent financial management of the Conservative party? I am sure the chancellor and b of England know what they are doing.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for running this blog John, and tolerating us real people. Much better than the other political sites.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Agreed!

    • margaret
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Iain, speak for yourself ..I am supposed to be a puppet. .oops ! nose has grown

  16. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    What worries me most about China is its bent property market. It seems that flats and houses get built where the government says they should be built. I understand that this has led to over supply in some parts of the country.

    Behind a lot of smoke and mirrors, Dubai was the same. All those big contractors were in fact parastatels. When the property bubble burst, they all collapsed into one big company, except for the company that built abroad.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      the property market here is bent too. from the way planning works, to the corruption in social housing allocation. etc

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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