Yearender: Predictions for 2016 through 20 questions
Updated: 2015-12-31 07:53
9 Will there be a dramatic rise in the number of couples applying to have a second child?
Qu Xiaobo, a professor of urban-rural development at Shanghai Academy
No. The two-child policy has been one of the hottest topics in 2015, because people want to defend their rights to have more than one child. Now that the central leadership has allowed all couples to have two children, those eligible will consider all factors before deciding whether to have a second child or not.
With living costs increasing, a couple will have to spend a lot of money and time to raise a second child. A popular practice among Chinese is asking their retired parents to care for the child, but for that their parents have to be healthy enough for the task. Couples whose parents cannot do so must hire a child minder, which only high-income families can afford to do.
Only a limited number of couples meet all the requirements－a stable income, healthy and retired parents, or high income. More importantly, such couples must be relatively young to have a second child. The fact is, not all such couples are willing to have two children. Therefore, the number of people applying to have a second child will not be as high as expected.
10. Will global oil prices bottom out and begin to rise?
Lin Boqiang, a professor of energy economy at Xiamen University
Yes. The shrinking economic capacity brought down oil prices in 2015. But the trend of economic decline will reverse and the US Federal Reserve has already raised interest rates. The revival of the US economy means more production, more logistical needs, more electricity, as well as more oil consumption.
Actually, the overcapacity in the world is not as high as imagined and oil prices won't fall for too long. Oil prices can be expected to bottom out at the end of the first quarter of 2016 and start rising in the second.
But there will not be a dramatic rise in global oil prices, because global economic growth will not be dramatic. Therefore, global oil prices are expected to rise above $40 a barrel in the second quarter of 2016 but not exceed $50 a barrel at the end of the year.
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