Wentworth Hauser’s Richard Hirayama provides his views on the ascent of China and its effect on its trading partners around the world. "International and global equity markets advanced during the fourth quarter to conclude a strong 2012. Despite strong market performance, a slowing global economy during the year was an impediment to economically sensitive investments such as WHV’s energy and materials equities. However, prospects for improved global economic growth may have emerged in December. The fiscal cliff issue in the United States, the world’s largest economy, was resolved at the end of the year, which may boost consumer and business confidence and enhance economic growth prospects. In addition, natural resource-dependent China, the second largest economy in the world, appears to have started a moderate economic recovery as the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index advanced 15% in December. In a globalized capitalistic world, if the two largest economies have improved growth prospects, then their trading partners, which include the European Union, Japan and emerging market countries ex-China, should also benefit economically."