HANGZHOU – Two brothers and their father were sentenced to death on Monday for cheating 15,000 investors out of over $1.1 billion in east China’s Zhejiang province. Ji Wenhua, president of the Yintai Real Estate and Investment Group, was sentenced to death for the crime
Dan Collins CMR “Gold going to $7,000″, an article today in the Chinese media is going viral and one of the most viewed articles in the financial press. The article references American Jim Rickards and his concept of comparing inflation-adjusted gold prices. Most Chinese economists
It’s not uncommon for the large Wall Street banks to combine in shorting an entire years supply of minded silver in a single day.The same goes for all commodities. Endless paper printing getting funneled to Wall Street has destroyed all real price discovery. Capitalism fails
Chanos is back! His short China thesis is very long in the tooth but as it goes with most ego maniacs he cannot accept failure or that fact that he might be wrong. Being wrong on an entire country where you have never visited and
Dan Collins CMR When I moved to China back in 1998 I was surprised to learn how highly the Chinese thought of America. Of course China was a much poorer place back then but coming from the Detroit area I couldn’t fathom where was all
You have to laugh at the whole “China will collapse crowd” on CNBC and even respected sites like Zero Hedge. Personally, I love the Zerohedge stuff. They understand the ponzi-financial fraud-money printing-welfare state economy that now envelops the West. But China is a real economy,
D.Collins CMR China’s cloud computing market is expected to be worth 37.2 billion yuan (US$6 billion) in 2017 as demand for the service grows, the Chinese-language China Securities Journal reported on Friday. Some American tech companies are watching the largest and fastest I.T. market in
Breaking News today that a Chinese vessel as rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat. All countries in the South China Sea and East China Sea are using fishing boats in a game of cat-and-mouse to challenge each other on their respective areas. This time
Scared of losing the Chinese tourist dollar, France has relented to China and will allow Chinese police on the streets of Paris. More signs of the benefits of third-world immigration into the West to the point where cultural breakdown has occurred and law and order
Gold has been flowing East for a decade. When the West wakes up to the fact that their gold is gone, they will no longer have sound money with which to back a currency. The world has only been off a gold standard since 1971
From the China Daily… BEIJING – China will lower banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 0.5 percentage points starting May 18, the country’s central bank announced Saturday. The cut, the second of its kind this year, will drop the RRR for the country’s large financial
Is China tweaking its numbers on GDP? Probably. For twenty years Chinese GDP roughy came in right on the governments target. This would be an almost magical performance record considering economists in the West can predict absolutely nothing. For years, China most likely lowered GDP
Japan will learn the hard way that destroying your currency is not an viable economic strategy. Shanghai Daily JAPAN posted a record 1.63 trillion yen (US$17.4 billion) trade deficit in January as rising exports trailed surging imports of crude oil and gas due to rising
American GDP: The Fantastic Fiction of American Economic Strength By Dan Collins Is the U.S. economy still the most powerful in the world? That is what we are told as the United States does have by far the world’s largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In
Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter are all blocked in China. They have algorithms in place to disrupt Google service as well which makes it very annoying even using Google here. You get many dead links when the algo’s are working. Despite blocking American companies in China,
China First Capital
For all the media ink spilled recently, you’d think the ongoing fight in Hong Kong between severely-troubled Hong Kong-listed Chinese real estate developer Kaisa Group and its creditors was the biggest, nastiest, most portentous blood feud the capital markets have ever seen. It’s none of that. It’s a reasonably small deal ($2.5 billion in total Hong Kong bond debt that may prove worthless) involving a Chinese company of no great significance and a group of unnamed bond-holders who are screaming bloody murder about being asked to take a 50% haircut on the face value of the bonds. The creditors have brought in high-priced legal talent to argue their case, both in court and in the media. Me thinks they doth protest too much.
Nothing wrong with creditors fighting to get back all the money they loaned and interest they were promised. But, what goes unspoken in this whole dispute is the core question of what in heaven’s name were bond investors thinking when they bought these bonds to begin with. Kaisa was, if not a train wreck waiting to happen, then clearly the kind of borrower that should be made to pay interest rates sufficiently high to compensate investors for the manifold risks. Instead, just the opposite went down. The six different Kaisa bond issues were sold without problem by Hong Kong-based global securities houses including Citigroup, Credit Suisse and UBS to some of the world’s most sophisticated investors including Fidelity and Blackrock by offering average interest rates of around 8%. If Kaisa were trying to raise loans on its home territory in China, rather than Hong Kong, there is likely no way anyone would have loaned such sums to them, with the conditions attached, for anything less than 16%-20% a year, probably even higher. Kaisa’s Hong Kong bonds were entirely mispriced at their offering.
It may strain mercy, therefore, to feel much sympathy for investors who lose money on this deal. Start with the fact Kaisa, based where I am in Shenzhen, is a PRC company that sought a stock market listing and issued debt in Hong Kong, rather than at home. Not always, but often, this is itself a big red flag. Hong Kong’s stock exchange had laxer listing rules than those on the mainland. As a result, a significant number of PRC companies that would never get approval to IPO in China because of dodgy finances and laughable corporate governance managed to go public in Hong Kong. Kaisa looks like one of these. It has a corporate structure, which since 2009 has been basically illegal, that used to allow PRC companies to slip an offshore holding company at the top of its capital structure.
The bigger issue, though, was that bond buyers clearly didn’t understand, or price in, the now-obvious-to-all fact that offshore creditors (meaning anyone holding the Hong Kong issued debt of a PRC domestic company) would get treated less generously in a default situation than creditors in the PRC itself. The collateral is basically all in China. Hong Kong debt holders are effectively junior to Chinese secured creditors. True to form, in the Kaisa case, the domestic creditors, including Chinese banks, are likely to get a better deal in Kaisa’s restructuring than the folks in Hong Kong.
This fact alone should have mandated Kaisa would need to promise much sweeter returns and more protections to Hong Kong investors in order to get the $2.5 billion. Investors piled in all the same, and are now enraged to discover that the IOUs and collateral aren’t worth nearly as much as they expected. Kaisa bonds were, in effect, junk sold successfully as something close to investment grade. As long as the company didn’t pull a fast one with its disclosure – an issue still in dispute – it’s fair to conclude that bond-buyers really have no one to blame but themselves.
At this point, it’s probable many of the original owners of the Kaisa bonds, including Fidelity and Blackrock, have sold their Kaisa bonds at a loss. Kaisa’s bonds are trading now at about half their face value, suggesting that for all the creditors’ grousing, they will end up swallowing the restructuring terms put forward by Kaisa. If the creditors don’t agree, well then the whole thing will head to court in Hong Kong. If that happens, Kaisa has threatened to default, which would probably leave these Hong Kong bondholders with little or nothing. Indeed, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has calculated that offshore creditors in a liquidation would receive just 2.4% of what they are owed. The collateral Kaisa pledged in Hong Kong may be worth more than the paper it was printed on, but not much.
The real story here is the systematic mispricing of PRC company debt issued in Hong Kong. It’s still possible, believe it or not, for other Chinese property developers with similar structure and offering similar protections as Kaisa to sell bonds bearing interest rates of under 9%. Meantime, as discussed here, Chinese property companies in some trouble but not lucky enough to have a holding company outside China are now forced to borrow from Chinese investors, both individuals and institutions, at 2%-3% a month.
It’s a situation rarely seen – investors in a foreign domain provide money much more cheaply against shakier collateral than the locals will. Kaisa’s current woes are part-and-parcel of at least some of the real estate development industry in China. It seems to have engaged in corrupt practices to acquire land at concessionary prices. Kaisa got punished by the Shenzhen government. It was forbidden to sell newly-built apartment units in Shenzhen. No sales means no cash flow which means no money to pay debt-holders. Kaisa is far from the first Chinese real estate developer to run into problems like this. And yet, again, none of this, the “politico-existential” risk many real estate development companies face in China, seems to have made much of an imprint on the minds of international investors who lined up to buy the 8% bonds originally. After all, the interest rate on offer from Kaisa was a few points higher than for bonds issued by Hong Kong’s own property developers.
Global institutional investors like Blackrock and Fidelity might control more capital and have far more experience pricing debt than Chinese ones. But, in this case at least, they showed they are far more willing to be taken for a ride than those on the mainland.
China will relax rules for foreign investors for trading on its Shanghai-based interbank market, including making it easier to obtain quotas for such investments, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
Participants in the Chinese mainland’s capital market investment schemes for foreigners – the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) scheme and its renminbi-denominated version (RQFII) – will in the future use a registration system that eliminates the need to apply for regulatory approval for quotas in the interbank market, the sources said.
The QFII program was started in 2002 to allow foreign investment in Chinese securities using foreign currencies and RQFII was approved in 2011 by the mainland authorities.
Foreign investors will also be permitted to invest in more products traded in the interbank market, such as banks’ certificates of deposits (CDs), bond repurchase agreements (repos) and swaps, including interest rate swaps, the sources said.
Qualified foreign investors are currently confined mainly to trading spot bonds and conducting lending and borrowing in the money market.
No firm date has been set for the reforms, but it is possible they could be implemented as early as May, the sources said.
The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, and foreign exchange regulators declined to make any immediate comment on the moves.
The China Money Report
China is the world’s largest oil importer and in 2014 took advantage
of a 50% price drop in crude to import a record amount to fill the
national strategic reserves. How could the world’s largest oil
importer import a record amount of oil and still see the global price
collapse? You will have to check the derivative trading accounts at
the Fed controlled banks for that. I’m sure it had nothing to do with
a government coordinated plan combined with global banks and Middle
East oil producers to put pressure on Russia while at the same time
putting the country under sanctions.
As with all government plans, its now time for the blowback portion of
before said plan. Sinopec has now warned that storage capacity is at
full capacity which will cause oil imports this year into China to be
flat or even decline.
China has filled up 91m barrels of storage capacity in four different
locations . They are building a second and third phase of strategic oil
reserve capacity but it is not clear when these locations would be ready
to accept crude storage.
This article first appeared in Nikkei Asia Review
China’s “new normal” is not only about accepting slower growth. Structural changes transforming the country’s economy are accelerating another new reality: the outflow of money. Wealth that has been building up at home over decades is being redirected overseas, and the trend is gaining momentum.
That shift is illustrated by Chinese real estate investment flows in 2014. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, a U.S. real estate services company, outbound commercial property investment from mainland China last year totaled $16.5 billion, up 46% from 2013 and surpassing domestic spending for the first time. Although the figure accounted for just 2% of total global commercial real estate investment that year, the growth put observers on notice.
Referring to the Chinese outbound property investment, Alistair Meadows, head of JLL’s International Capital Group for the Asia-Pacific, told the Nikkei Asian Review that “this is not cyclical, but a structural shift.”
New York state of mind
Chinese property developers, insurance companies and wealthy individuals are displaying a strong appetite for buildings and land in major cities in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. Meadows said, “There is a lot of momentum in outward [investment] activities and we don’t see that stopping.”
Symbolic of this hunger is the $1.95 billion purchase last October of the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York hotel in Manhattan by Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group. Along with a general Chinese push to “go global” amid the shifting international landscape, Meadows said another driver of the overseas expansion is the “slowdown of the Chinese economy and its own domestic business activities.”
Property is not the only asset class being gobbled up. According to data compiled by Dealogic, China’s overseas corporate takeover activity almost doubled in 2014 to $70.7 billion from 2009, when the figure was pushed down by the Lehman Brothers collapse.
China’s biggest such deal last year was the $7 billion purchase of Peruvian copper mine of the Las Bambas copper mine from Glencore Xstrata by China Minmetals Group, Guoxin International Investment and Citic Group. Although that is far less than the more than $18 billion in deal value that state oil giant CNOOC paid for Canadian oil and gas company Nexen announced in 2012, the sheer number of takeovers in 2014 was enough to set a new record.
Will McLane, head of ASEAN corporate and investment banking and Asia Pacific financial institution at Citigroup, said, “The [overseas corporate expansion] trend is quite clear.” He said more Chinese companies are aspiring to be global, and policy changes at home are making it easier than ever for them to do so. With businesses there amassing greater levels of wealth, “more diversification is taking place,” McLane added.
It is not just companies and wealthy individuals that are taking their money to foreign shores. Ordinary Chinese, too, are traveling and spending abroad like never before. Some 110 million mainland Chinese traveled overseas in 2014, helping push the country’s travel account deficit up by 48% to $113.6 billion. That figure easily dwarfs outbound commercial real estate investment and overseas corporate takeovers — combined.
According to Hong Kong brokerage CLSA, a subsidiary of mainland company Citic Securties, China overtook Germany as the country with the most outbound travelers in 2013. By 2020, the annual figure is forecast to almost double to 200 million, far outstripping the rest of the world.
The outflow of all this money has some observers on edge. China is still running a current-account surplus — at $213.8 billion in 2014 — but its capital and financial account slipped into the red to the tune of $91.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. That topped the previous record deficit, logged in the third quarter of 2012. The full-year deficit for 2014 swelled to $96 billion. It is not just the size of the figure that is drawing attention, but the momentum behind it: There have now been three straight quarters of net capital outflow. Dong Tao, chief economist for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, called “consumption” the big theme for China for the coming decade and said “we are just in the beginning of China’s consumption boom.”
Kevin Lai, chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong, says the trend is putting pressure on the Chinese currency.
“I am extremely worried because of how the market is positioned in terms of yuan,” Lai said. He estimates that about $1 trillion was brought into the Chinese economy through carry trade, in which investors borrow cheap and abundant U.S. dollars and take a long position in yuan. But with China’s growth prospects waning and the U.S. Federal Reserve preparing to raise interest rates, the notion that yuan appreciation is an easy bet is rapidly crumbling.
Lai’s base-case scenario is that China will somehow muddle through with the help of such measures as continued liquidity injections by the People’s Bank of China to facilitate an orderly deleveraging process. But he also sees a more chilling possibility: the outbreak of a credit or currency crisis, or both. Should any of these crises emerge, China could fall into a recession, and the river of money flowing out of the country would start to dry up.
Another area of concern is the discontent brewing in Hong Kong about the increasing mainland presence there. The territory saw over 47 million mainland visitors last year, nearly seven times the local population. Anti-mainland demonstrations have become more frequent, and in some cases tourists and shoppers suspected of being mainlanders have been attacked.
“One day it will [also] happen in Japan, in France, in Australia, in Thailand,” Tao of Credit Suisse predicts. He said China’s massive population and growing purchasing power mean the country could swarm its regional neighbors and hoard daily necessities, as is happening in Hong Kong. “Nonetheless,” said Tao, “this is the new norm.”
IBM is a dying company. They have spent years muddling through stock buy-backs
to keep the companies tock price afloat. Critics accuse the company of becoming
more a financial engineering company than a real engineering company.
The once American icon has long ago sold off their real manufacturing
businesses to Lenovo and others to focus on “services”. Of course, without
over-paid defense contracts this would have been an even bigger mistake that it
Since the 2008 crisis and the shedding of real productive products, IBM has
been fighting it out suckling on the government tit even recently suing the
government of an award of a $600m dollar cloud-computing contract for Amazon.
IBM has received millions of dollars from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research
Projects group. There latest quest has been receiving over $50m alone for research
into artificial intelligence. Now, that some technologies are ready to be spun off
of course where are they heading? To the country that has the money to pay for
Want China Times
IBM and China’s Beijing Teamsun Technology recently announced their partnership allowing the latter to develop and sell domestic innovation products based on IBM’s technologies — a move seen as disturbing for the US government, Shanghai-based outlet the Paper reports.
The Obama administration has been wary of the information security component in the draft of China’s anti-terrorism law, and IBM’s cooperation with a Chinese enterprise in handing over source codes will make the US government even more unhappy.
IBM will be open to Chinese enterprises, not only to share its designs with them but also to help them carry out design work on next-generation microchips, said Wang Yang, IBM senior vice president and general manager of its China Development Center, on March 21.
A day earlier, IBM and Teamsun jointly announced their cooperation program, with Teamsun agreeing to develop domestic innovation products based on IBM’s technologies.
Last November, the two sides reached an agreement on data banks, with IBM authorizing Teamsun to use Informix software source codes.
According to foreign media reports, US trade bodies led by the American Chamber of Commerce in the past filed letters to the Chinese and the US governments respectively, calling for Beijing to postpone implementation of network supervisory rules and asking the US government to respond to the Chinese government on related rules.
On March 2, President Obama said in an interview with Reuters that the new rules crafted by Beijing would be unfavorable to US tech companies and called for China to change its policy.
IBM said its move is not intended in response to the new Chinese government policy; it said it is seeking a win-win situation allowing more people to understand and apply IBM’s technologies.
Wang said IBM’s opening is fully market-oriented, focusing on Chinese enterprises as China has the demand and a massive market. IBM also wishes to establish an industry ecosystem so that the cooperation will accelerate related development.
Beijing has cited the Edward Snowden revelations of US government surveillance as leverage to present foreign tech companies as potential threats to information security and to emphasize the domestic production of IT equipment. However, China trails behind in developing domestic operating systems, middleware, and high-end servers.
2014 Asian Fund Assets up 21% in Landmark Year
Mar 23 2015 | 1:04pm ET
The Asia Pacific region experienced strong growth in hedge fund assets last year, according to new data published by HedgeFund Intelligence’s AsiaHedge.
In what is being termed a landmark year, the regional Asia-Pacific hedge fund industry booked growth in assets of 21% during 2014, reaching a record level of $193 billion. The tally exceeds the region’s pre-financial crisis level of $192 billion set in 2007.
Aradhna Dayal, editor of AsiaHedge and head of Asia for HedgeFund Intelligence, attributed the growth to solid outperformance of Asian hedge funds in 2013 and 2014, according to media reports.
The survey found China-focused strategies were the largest segment within the regional industry last year, commanding assets of $32.88 billion. Significantly, some 86%, or $167 billion, of the industry’s regional AUM is now being managed out of Asia itself, signaling growth in indigenous asset management capability. As much as $68 billion is being run from Hong Kong alone, the survey found.
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In a departure from the past practice dividing the nation into the four major economic blocs of eastern, central, western, and northeastern China, the 13th five-year national development plan for 2016-2020 will revolve around the concept of economic belts and economic zones, including the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development zone, and the Yangtze river economic belt, according to Beijing-based Economic Information.
The plan may also encompass a number of other economic belts for priority development, including the Zhu River-Xijing economic belt, the southeastern coastal economic belt, the northeastern economic belt, and the Great Wall economic belt.
A source stated that via pinpointing these economic zones and belts, the new plan envisions accelerating the coordinated development of the nation’s major economic areas which have formed following decades of rapid development.
The arrangement will facilitate the formulation of precision development policies, in the same vein as the strategic planning for the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development plan, the Yangtze River economic belt, and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
The economic zone and belt concept complies with the spread of the nation’s economic development from coastal to inland areas in recent years, as evidenced by the moving of manufacturing operations from the Yangtze River delta to mid and upstream areas of the Yangtze River, including Anhui province, Sichuan province, and Chongqing.
“The economic-belt concept will speed up industrial relocation to central and western China and the economic upgrading of eastern China,” said Sun Jiuwen, director of the Regional and Urban Economic Research Institute at Renmin University of China, according to the website.
The story of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is turning into a diplomatic debacle for the US. By setting up and then losing a power struggle with China, Washington has sent an unintended signal about the drift of power and influence in the 21st century.
As soon as China made clear, back in 2013, that it intended to establish the bank, the US set about persuading its allies to boycott the new institution. The Americans argued that the new Beijing-backed bank might follow less scrupulous lending standards than the World Bank on issues such as clean government and environmental standards.
But it was also pretty clear that this was a power struggle. The World Bank is based in Washington and its president has always been an American. The AIIB, a potential rival, will be based in Shanghai and China is the leading shareholder.
Initially Japan, South Korea and Australia decided to stand aside from the AIIB, as did all the big European nations. But the news that Britain now intends to join the new bank as a founder member looks like opening a decisive crack in the anti-AIIB front.
I spent last week in South Korea and most analysts there believe it is only a matter of time before the Seoul government signs up. Australia is already reconsidering its position and other large EU states are likely to follow Britain’s lead. At that point, the only significant holdouts would be Japan and the US. That would look very bad for America. Rather than rallying its friends in a principled opposition to a flawed venture, the AIIB episode will make the US look isolated and petulant.
The story will be all the sweeter for China because it has had a bad couple of years in its developing struggle with America for power and influence in Asia. By taking an increasingly aggressive stance in territorial disputes with its neighbours, it had inadvertently managed to strengthen America’s position as a series of countries — including the Philippines, Japan, Australia and India — moved to bolster diplomatic and security ties with the US.
But China seems to have learnt from this experience. In recent months it has been less overtly confrontational towards its neighbours and instead stressed its desire to build economic ties — including a new Silk Road of trade and infrastructure through Central Asia, matched by a “maritime silk road” across the seas of Southeast Asia. The AIIB could play a big role in financing these initiatives.
The hope is to persuade Asian nations that, rather than facing a threat from the rise of China, they stand to benefit from its growing wealth. Most of China’s neighbours — as well as the British, who have their own hopes for attracting Chinese investment — seem to have concluded that it would be foolish to miss out.
The AIIB episode demonstrates that, in the struggle for influence in Asia, China’s strongest card is its growing economic power. America’s strongest card, by contrast, is its military might and its network of security treaties. The countries caught in between face a dilemma. Japan, Australia, the Philippines and South Korea all have security treaties with the US. But every one of them now does considerably more trade with China than the US.
South Korea, for example, relies on American power to ward off North Korea and perhaps, one day, as a hedge against China itself. But China now takes more than a quarter of South Korean exports compared with about 12 per cent that go to America.
As a result, the South Koreans are frequently pulled in two directions. The AIIB is one example. Another is a fierce debate in the country about whether to accede to a US request to install an anti-missile system that might be useful defending against the North — but which the Chinese see as a threat to their own security.
The AIIB episode will only increase American and Japanese incentives to conclude negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would bring together 12 Pacific nations, but which rather pointedly does not include China. Once again, the Americans argue that this is a question of maintaining standards of economic openness rather than any effort to build an anti-Chinese bloc. But even some of their allies do not wholly buy this argument and some mutter that it is a bit peculiar to build a new trade agreement that excludes China, the leading trading power in the Asia-Pacific region.
The big question in this Asian arm-wrestling match between the US and China, is whether America’s military muscle will ultimately matter more than China’s economic might. The answer will vary issue by issue. But, in general, the more a country feels threatened by China, the more it is likely to lean towards America. That is why Japan is likely to be the last big Asian holdout against the AIIB. By contrast, if China is sensible enough not to show its fists too often, it has a good chance of seeing its economic might gradually translate into increasing political and diplomatic weight — even with close allies of America.
There was a time when the world was said to bow down before the mighty dollar. But the story of the AIIB suggests that these days, even many of America’s closest allies, have renminbi signs in their eyes.
The US Federal Reserve risks causing a 1937-style stock market slump when it finally moves to raise interest rates, one of the world’s most powerful hedge fund managers has warned.
Ray Dalio, founder of the $165bn hedge fund group Bridgewater Associates, said in a note to clients and followers that he was avoiding large bets on the financial markets for fear that the Fed’s expected change of policy could have unintended consequences.
In Mr Dalio’s note, the stark tone of which has led it to be widely circulated around the industry, he and his co-author urge the Fed to proceed with caution and to set out a public plan B, in case monetary tightening goes wrong.
“We don’t know — nor does the Fed know — exactly how much tightening will knock over the apple cart,” Mr Dalio and Mark Dinner, his colleague, wrote. “What we do hope the Fed knows, which we don’t know, is how exactly it will fix things if it knocks it over. We hope that they know that before they make a move that could knock over the apple cart.”
“We are cautious about our exposures,” they added: “For the reasons explained, we do not want to have any concentrated bets, especially at this time.”
The note likens financial conditions today to those in 1937, eight years after the 1929 stock market crisis and at the end of four years of money printing that had led to surge in equity valuations. Premature tightening by the Fed led to a one-third slump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1937 and the sell-off continued into the following year.
From 17 March the Moscow Exchange has started trading in a futures contract on the currency pair Chinese Renminbi — Russian rouble
The launch has been driven by a substantially increasing Renminbi turnover on the Exchange, growing volume
of settlement in the currency between Russia and China as well as newly arising demand for hedging of such transactions.
Andrey Shemetov, First Deputy CEO of Moscow Exchange, said:
“The launch of the CNY/RUB futures is the next step made by the Moscow Exchange to offer a full range of Renminbi instruments and hedging tools to participants. We expect that the new contract will be liquid
and in-demand as other Exchange’s derivatives, and facilitate the trade turnover between China and Russia”.
The contract is cash-settled against the Moscow Exchange CNY/RUB fixing.
The contract’s expiry dates are every 15th day of March, June, September and December.
Metallinvestbank will act as the market maker for the contract.
Moscow Exchange’s turnover in the Chinese Renminbi grew 700% in 2014 to RUB 395 bln (CNY 48 bln).
The record average daily trading volume of CNY 541 mln was seen in October.
Want China Times
The latest update of America’s maritime strategy has highlighted Washington’s focus on the Asia-Pacific region and especially the continuing rise of China.
The Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21), last updated in 2007, said it is “imperative” for the US to maintain its global naval predominance to defend key American interests and prevent “our adversaries from leveraging the world’s oceans against us.”
To this end, the document stressed the importance for maintaining a fleet of at least 300 ships, including 11 carriers, 33 amphibious ships and 14 ballistic missile subs for the US Navy and Marine Corps. The US Navy, in particular, is aiming to have a forward presence of 120 ships by 2020, up from 97 today, and putting them “where it matters, when it matters.”
Where it matters appears to be the Indo-Asia-Pacific, as the document notes that the region’s “economic importance, strategic interests and geography…dictate a growing reliance on naval forces to protect US interests.”
CS21 confirms America’s plans to “rebalance” 60% of its naval and air forces to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region by 2020 by maintaining “a Carrier Strike Group, Carrier Airwing and Amphibious Ready Group in Japan; add an attack submarine to those already in Guam and… [increase] to four the number of Littoral Combat Ships forward-stationed in Singapore.” The US Navy’s “most advanced warfighting platforms,” including “multi-mission ballistic missile defence-capable ships; submarines; and intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft,” will also be provided to the region, the document added.
China’s maritime rise was singled out as a key factor in the region, particularly as it continues to be engaged in several maritime disputes — with Japan in the East China Sea and with Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea. The US has accused China of inflaming tensions through maritime patrols, naval drills and land reclamation activities, while China has accused the US of interfering in its dispute with Japan and cozying up to Vietnam and the Philippines.
The strategy document noted that while “China demonstrates its ability to embrace international norms, institutions, and standards of behavior commensurate with rising power status,” the country’s “naval expansion also presents challenges when it employs force or intimidation against other sovereign nations to assert territorial claims.”
“This behavior, along with a lack of transparency in its military intentions, contributes to tension and instability, potentially leading to miscalculation or even escalation,” CS21 warned.
To improve US positioning in the region, the document suggested strengthening alliances with Japan, Australia and South Korea while also striving to improve relations with India as well as Myanmar, where unrest rages on due to infighting between the government and ethnic rebels. For China, stability in Myanmar is viewed as crucial to sustaining its economic interests in the country and preserving a channel to the Indian Ocean, and it has been argued that the US has been intentionally muddying the waters in the hopes of stifling China and eventually driving Myanmar towards a democracy.
China was also placed in a list with Russia, Iran and North Korea as countries that present security challenges or threats that could impinge on US interests.
“The world has changed since 2007, when the last strategy was published, violent extremist organization like [the Islamic State] have grown. We have a continued threat from North Korea and Iran and you’ve seen the recent Russian aggression. There’s also the question of the rise of China,” William McQuilkin, director of the US Navy’s strategy and policy division, said in a news briefing about CS21 last week.
Key to America’s naval strategy will be the creation of a new essential function called All Domain Access, which aims to organize, train and equip US forces to maintain appropriate freedom of action in every key domain, including the sea, air, land, space, cyberstance and across the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, the document said.
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In response to a New York Times pieces by Gregg Easterbrook on March 9, China’s nationalist tabloid Global Times wrote a commentary of its own, saying that China is capable of defeating the US Navy in the Western Pacific with anti-ship missiles built at low prices.
In Easterbrook’s article, he said that China currently possesses only one outdated, conventionally-powered aircraft carrier and is rumored to be constructing two others. However, neither of those two vessels are likely to be nuclear supercarriers, according to the author. Furthermore, Easterbrook questioned whether those two domestically built carriers have “blue water” or open ocean-going capabilities.
Easterbrook said that the US Navy is more powerful than all other navies in the world combined in terms of its aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, naval aviation, surface firepower, assault ships, missiles and logistics. The author added that it is unnecessary for many US military experts to engage in fearmongering regarding China’s naval capability since “their carriers are modest compared with America’s; the submarines far less capable.”
The article also went on to say that there is no evidence that China has conducted realistic tests of its anti-ship missile. “China’s neighbors are unhappy that the growing Chinese Navy may back Beijing’s claims regarding the South China Sea,” Easterbrook wrote. “But Chinese naval expansion does not pose any direct threat to the national security of the United States, or to its dominance of the oceans.” He then stated that making the US Navy more powerful does not help to solve the dispute over the South China Sea peacefully.
The Global Times was unhappy about Easterbrook’s evaluation of Chinese naval power and said in its commentary that it is not necessary for China to build a strong and powerful navy to defeat the US in a regional conflict. With enough low cost anti-ship missiles, the People’s Liberation Army Navy is capable of paralyzing the US Navy’s freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the paper said. Enough damage can be done to morale and equipment even if only one missile out of 1,000 hits an aircraft carrier.
Uh…ya, officials not raising a personal army might be a good idea.
Recent events with Bo XiLai bring reminders of the past, in particular
the Warload Era which was 1916-1928. The chaos and famine which accompanied
it were some of China’s darkest times outside of the 1960’s Great Leap into
Want China Times
CPPCC discusses ways to stop officials raising personal armies
China’s ongoing “two sessions” of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have discussed tightening public security regulations to ensure powerful officials cannot build their own private armies like those allegedly established by disgraced political heavyweights Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang, reports Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet.
Of the 39 recommendations presented to the CPPCC by conference deputy chair Luo Fuhe, also the deputy chief of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, the one that has caught the most attention is the suggestion to speed up the process of ensuring that the country’s public security organs are run properly under the rule of law.
China’s public security organs are too big, too complex and have too many problems, which has led to abuses of power and illegal use of force, Luo said, listing as an example reports last year of drunken police shooting and killing innocent people.
According to Duowei, the recommendation is aimed at preventing any one individual from becoming so powerful that they can build their own private army, noting that one of the major problems facing China’s public security system is that it is not clear whether it is under the control of the Communist Party, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission or the central government.
Two officials accused of assembling their own security force are former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and his close ally, retired oil and security tsar Zhou Yongkang. Bo is currently serving a life sentence for corruption, while Zhou was expelled from the party late last year and faces a criminal trial.
Zhou’s power came from his time as public security minister and secretary of the Central Politics and Law Commission for more than 10 years, which allowed him to control all aspects of the law enforcement and judicial systems, Duowei said.
During Zhou’s reign, China’s stability maintenance budget rose rapidly, surpassing the national military budget in 2010 and reaching 769.1 billion yuan (US$122.8 billion) in 2013.
Duowei further alleges that under the guise of counterterrorism, Zhou was said to have built his own personal “Zhou army,” loyal only to him. Last March, a leaked document allegedly listing Zhou’s assets identified in raids of his properties found that he possessed an armory of 15 made-in-China pistols and numerous guns imported from Germany, Russia, the UK and Belgium, together with more than 11,000 bullets.
Bo, on the other hand, built up his considerable power base through his time as governor of northeast China’s Liaoning province, a member of the party’s ruling Politburo and party chief of Chongqing in the southwestern part of the country, where his neo-Maoist anti-corruption campaign made him a rising political star.
According to Duowei, Bo used his public security chief Wang Lijun to buy large amounts of military equipment and weapons from Chongqing arms dealers to build a personal army. It was rumored that in April 2012, a red truck detained by police on a Shanghai freeway contained some of the military equipment acquired by Bo and Zhou, including 236 boxes and 12,033 rounds of ammunition weighing more than 10 tons.
By this time the events were in motion that would lead to the downfall of the charismatic Bo in China’s biggest political scandal for 20 years and rumors were circulating of a plot between the Chongqing party chief and Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang to subvert the planned succession of the party leadership to take place later in the year. Several reports have claimed that Zhou and Bo had a conspiracy to do “something big” when they were still in power, suggesting that the duo planned to oppose Xi Jinping succeeding Hu Jintao as president and party chief.
Make sure to check out the video from MOTHERBAORD I have linked below.
Very interesting…now multiply those guys by a thousand and you will
see why China is controlling bitcoin now.
In a report out today from Goldman Sachs about the future of money, the bank points out that 80% of bitcoin volume is now exchanged into and out of Chinese yuan. The second-highest trading currency is the US dollar, followed by smaller denominations in yen and euros.
The revelation of China’s bitcoin trading dominance seems to defy the logic that tight government restrictions would depress bitcoin’s adoption in the world’s largest economy. The amount of bitcoin trading activity in China has also risen, despite bitcoin’s precipitous price fall from last year’s $1,000-plus highs to less than $300 today.
The Chinese bitcoin surge comes against a backdrop of waning confidence in the Chinese economy, as the yuan weakens against the strengthening dollar and capital outflows—once rare in China—increase at record rates.
China’s central bank clamped down on the cryptocurrency back in December 2013 when it banned bitcoin transactions at banks, retailers, and payment companies such as Alipay and Tencent. But the data show that bitcoin volume continued marching higher as bitcoin believers kept buying, selling and mining the cryptocurrency.
The fact that China has become a major mining hub is a likely contributor to its high bitcoin transaction volume, according to a report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report also notes that bitcoin has lured day traders looking to profit off of bitcoin’s volatility, as well as younger Chinese investors who might not have the money to invest in property or the understanding to invest in the stock market.
Bitcoin evangelist and crypto currency lawyer Roland Sun explained in an interview on industry website Lets Talk Bitcoin that there’s no explicit ban on buying, selling, or owning bitcoin as long as the central bank considers it a commodity, rather than a currency. He said “the only restriction imposed here is to block financial institutions and third-party payment processors from aiding crypto currency businesses (yet there are still many loopholes in reality to circumvent or even penetrate that restriction).”
So until the Chinese government provides more clarity on its bitcoin stance, China’s bitcoin trade is likely to go on.
Pay attention..this is what qualifies as “expertise” on China in the
U.S. mainstream press. An American guy reading off cards who doesn’t
speak Chinese. Egg prices up 11%, Vegetable prices up 4% but he says
China is suffering deflation. China is the world’s largest importer
of commodities such as oil, copper, ore, etc.. The collapse in commodity
prices are a boom to China. Of course, Chinese manufacturers will have to
reduce selling prices somewhat when they are getting such as huge
percentage reduction in their costs.
China has suffered greatly from INFLATION. Vegetable prices up are 30 times
in a decade. Home prices, car prices, clothing, education, everything is up
huge. China has had 7% plus inflation for over a decade until the last couple
of years. A few years of low inflation is not going to hurt China,it will
help the average consumer. Deflation is not such a threat in China as the
country is not highly leveraged as is the U.S. which is just one rate hike
from tipping the boat over of government and consumer debt.
The reporter mentions the PBOC cutting deposit rates rapidly as if there is
a panic or something. The rate is still 5%. A bank loan is still going to
run more than 8% interest. The Bank reserve ratio is at 19.5% while U.S.
banks are complaining about a 10% reserve ratio.
My first suggestion to the premiere is to get the Chinese firewall
software to stop slowing down the internet. Trying to go online in
English sites in China is now like living in the era of dial-up.
Want China Times
The notion of Internet Plus mentioned by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday has drawn wide attention, as many see it as a sign of the government’s increasing emphasis on the internet industry.
When delivering the government work report, Li said China will develop the Internet Plus action plan to integrate mobile internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and internet banking, and to help internet companies increase their international presence.
“From the report, we can see that the promotion of trans-boundary integration of the internet has become a focus of government work,” said Fang Xingdong, chairman of think tank China Labs.
Internet Plus is the integration of the internet and traditional industries through online platforms and IT technology, it is expected to help economic restructuring, improve people’s livelihoods and transform government functions, according to Wu Hequan, academic of Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Xu Linshen, vice general manager of the Beijing-based Qing-Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop, said: “Efficiency has improved since we brought in an e-commerce system that monitors sales. For example, if sales slip for one particular item we are notified and can investigate the reasons behind it.”
The internet is also a driving force for the transformation of traditional manufacturing. Zheng Jie, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) and general manager of Zhejiang branch of China Mobile, suggested that more “Made in China” products should use intelligent networks and mobile internet technology.
Internet financing is a rising industry and has promoted restructuring of traditional financing institutions. Major banks, including China Merchants Bank, China Minsheng Bank, and China development Bank, have launched online petty loan applications in recent years.
Wu Hequan said Internet Plus not only had economic benefits, but will also improve public services.
“For example, taxi-hailing apps can help save energy and cut emissions. Online appointments with doctors, telemedicine, and video lectures are also more convenient for busy people,” he said.
During the ongoing “two sessions,” NPC deputy and Tencent chairman Pony Ma, proposed that mobile internet can be used to to solve social problems, such as medical treatment, education resources and smog.
According to China Internet Network Information Center, China had 649 million internet users by the end of 2014, and some 557 million used cell phones to get online.
Li Jiang, a consultant of Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology, said that besides markets, the government should also take up the responsibility to promote internet penetration and application, especially in terms of information security, data sharing among different social sectors, and the setting of IT standards.
In the opinion of Fang Xingdong, the internet is not only reshaping the economy, society and governance, but is also creating new opportunities to connect China and the rest of the world.
China has been transforming from a follower into a major player in the world’s internet industry during the past two decades, he said.
“The next decade will be a time for the Chinese internet to broaden its reach globally,” he said, “with the help of internet, China will pursue its development opportunities with a global vision.”
Looking back on the 1980’s and 90’s it seemed an innocent and carefree time
compared to what would would follow with the 9-11 attack and its subsequent
war on terror. We may be at a similar inflection period now, a time roughly
a decade before the world’s first Artificial intelligence. According to Nick
Bostrom’s book on the subject called “Super Intelligence”, sufficiently
intelligent machines could improve their own capabilities faster than human
computer scientists. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans
than on the actions of the gorillas themselves, so would the fate of humanity
depend on the actions of the machine super-intelligence.
Most people are now aware of the links between Google and the NSA in data
capture and surveillance not only of their domestic citizens but foreign
governments as well. Baidu has been used for the same purposes by the Chinese
government in China. As search engines now closely resemble the world’s first
base level A.I. expect these systems to become further integrated into the
intelligence systems of their host countries. This is not good news for google
which will some day be limited to the U.S. as countries all over the world make
sure they have their own domestic search engine champions to avoid information
leakage through Google, Baidu, and others.
From Want China Times –
Not to be left out of the race for the first A.I., Robin Li, founder and CEO
of Chinese online search giant Baidu, has proposed a state-level project on
artificial intelligence (AI) systems called “China Brain” and hopes to gain
support from the military as reported in the Chinese press.
The China Brain project will focus on four important research areas: intelligent
human-machine interaction, big data analysis and prediction, smart medical
diagnosis, smart drones and piloting technology, as well as robotics technologies
for military and civilian use.
China should participate in the AI research as soon as possible as Europe and
the US have been developing the systems at a national and strategic level, Li
Li, one of China’s wealthiest people, hoped to promote the project on a national
scale that includes government sectors such as the National Development and Reform
Commission (NDRC) as well as the military who possess a great deal of resources
and often plays a significant role in technological innovation.
Baidu has been running similar projects. The intelligence of its AI systems
is equivalent to a three-year-old child, according to Li in an interview