In our two-part cover story, we explore how Xi Jinping’s government is shaping China’s future at home and abroad. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at some of the major themes impacting other emerging markets, including reform and education. In our Big Interview, economist Pippa Malmgren shares her thoughts on Trump, Brexit and technology. Other articles examine the risks posed by inequality, asset bubbles and global debt.

Xi-Man: Master of the Universe?

During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, Xi Jinping was among millions of privileged urban youths sent to the Chinese countryside to work the land. The idea was to teach them lessons about the earthy authenticity of rural life. Unused to physical labour, Xi struggled; his fellow farmers rated his contribution a lowly six out of ten.

Over the last half-century, this scrawny teenager has risen through the ranks of the Communist Party to become China’s feared strongman. In October, the National Party Congress in Beijing will inaugurate Xi’s second five-year term as president and enshrine his status as the country’s most powerful leader since Chairman Mao. The question now is what he will do with that power.

In our two-part cover story, we explore how Xi’s administration is shaping China’s future at home and abroad. Domestically, his biggest challenge will be to rebalance the economy away from risky debt-fuelled investment towards more-sustainable consumer-driven growth. Abroad, Xi is seeking to project Chinese influence through trade, investment and – if necessary – military force.

China is in a category all by itself when it comes to emerging markets. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at some of the major themes impacting other countries in the EM universe. Two external commentators, John Harrison of Trusted Sources and JS Smith of Ecstrat, offer opposing views for the outlook for emerging markets; while we also explore how reform and education impact economies and investment.

In our Big Interview, influential economist Pippa Malmgren shares her thoughts on Trump, Brexit and why technology can solve growing global inequality. Malmgren is not alone in linking inequality to the extraordinary monetary policy environment of the past decade. By fuelling asset price inflation, these policies have inadvertently widened the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. We look at both inequality and the risk of asset bubbles in separate features.

Other articles look at the illiquidity premium, global debt, and whether responsible investment is finally moving into the mainstream.

We welcome your feedback, so please send any comments to me at the email address below.