Jan 14

Trump Says He Is Open To Lifting Russia Sanctions, Won’t Label China Currency Manipulator “On Day One”:

In his first full interview of the new year, President-elect Donald Trump explains his approach to foreign policy from a “realpolitik” lens, when he told the WSJ overnight that relations with China and Russia will depend on the degree to which the two countries cooperate with U.S. economic, diplomatic and military priorities.

The interview comes one day after China’s incensed press rebuked a statement by Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing, when he said that China will not be granted access to the disputed South China Sea islands, responding that “such remarks are not worth taking seriously because they are a mish-mash of naivety, shortsightedness, worn-out prejudices, and unrealistic political fantasies” and  “would set a course for devastating confrontation between China and the US.Continue reading »

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Jan 14

US Deploys Third Carrier Group In Asia To Boost “Naval Air Forces” In Disputed South China Sea:

The US Navy will deploy a third Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Strike Group in Asia to add to the fleet of two carriers already patrolling the South China Sea. This new deployment is part of US Navy’s attempt to boost its naval air forces in this part of Asian region.

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Jan 13

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Jan 13

China warns of ‘devastating consequences’ if US blocks its plans for artificial islands:

THE US has been warned of potentially “devastating consequences” if it blocks China from islands it has built in contested waters in the South China Sea, according to Chinese media reports.

And in more inflammatory comments, prospective US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was told he better watch his mouth, after the former ExxonMobil CEO told US senators that he would seek to deny Beijing access to the artificial islands.

China’s actions in the region are comparable to Russia’s invasion of Crimea, he said, a comment that did not sit well with the nuclear-armed Asian giant. Continue reading »

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Jan 11

China Flexes Its Muscles on Singapore, Taiwan, and US over Military Ties:

Beijing — While Taiwan faces regional pressure to adhere to the one-China policy — due, in large part, to its budding friendship with the United States — the city-state of Singapore has found itself in a similar position as China continues to invoke sovereignty on an issue of seized military hardware.

From a report by the International Business Times on Monday:

“China has warned Singapore to be ‘cautious with their words and actions’ and reminded the city state to respect its one-China policy after it demanded the return of its military vehicles that have been detained at a Hong Kong port since November 2016. Continue reading »

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Jan 10

Chinese Professor Fired After Criticizing Mao, Leading To Violent Protests

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Jan 08

China Slams US Hacking Accusation As “Groundless Smear Campaign”, Demands Washington Explain Its Own Spying:

While Russia continues to mostly mock and ridicule, and generally take in good humor, the constant allegations by the Obama administration that it “hacked the election”, without actually hacking the election – as in actually rigging or changing the votes – but merely exposing the corruption of the DNC and the cronyism of the Clinton Family Foundation, even if so far the highly confident US “intelligence agencies” have yet to demonstrate a shred of proof substantiating such allegations, China’s reaction to a similar accusation has demonstrated far less sense of humor. Continue reading »

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Jan 07

China Launches Bitcoin Crackdown: PBOC Will Probe Abnormal Investor Behavior “And Rectify Misbheavior”:

On Friday China fully cracked down on Bitcoin, with the PBOC issuing a statement calling the changes in the virtual currency “abnormal”, and urged local Bitcoin exchanges to the platform to “probe investors’ behavior and to rectify misbehavior.

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Jan 06

Bitcoin Tumbles After China Urges Investors To Be “Rational”:

After warning about cracking down on ‘virtual’ capital outflows earlier in the week, Chinese officials have come out more directly against Bitcoin this morning with the country’s central bank urging China’s institutional and individual investors should take a rational approach to investing in virtual currencies. Bitcoin in China has legged lower on the news.

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Jan 06

More Than 20,000 Chickens Infected With Bird Flu Put to Death in Taiwan:

Over 20,000 chickens have been exterminated in Taiwan amid a bird flu outbreak, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) has announced.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – A decision to put 23,000 chickens to death at a farm in Taiwan’s western Yunlin County was made after an inspection revealed that the birds were infected with the H5N8 strain of avian influenza virus, BAPHIQ said on Thursday.

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Jan 04

China Warns May Dump Treasuries To Keep Yuan Stable, Prepares More Capital Controls:

In China, announcing new (and ever more ineffective) capital controls has become a daily thing.

Last week, Beijing unveiled its latest set of capital controls according to which Chinese banks would be required to report all yuan-denominated cash transactions exceeding 50,000 yuan (around 7,100 US dollars) to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), down from the current level of 200,000 yuan. Cross-border transfers more than 200,000 yuan by individuals would also be subject to the report process. Continue reading »

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Jan 02

In “Mysterious” Bond Sale, Venezuela Issues $5 Billion In Debt To Itself With China As Underwriter:

While Venezuela CDS suggest the country’s default odds remain well over 90%, and its currency on the black market continues to plunge into the abyss of hyperinflation, something odd happened today: Venezuela’s government issued $5 billion in dollar debt for the first time in more than five years, selling bonds in an opaque transaction to the state bank Banco de Venezuela SA and the central bank, Reuters and Bloomberg report. What makes this “unorthodox operation” particularly strange, is that the government is effectively selling debt, and raising dollar funds from itself – it owns both the Banco de Venezuela and the central bank; it is also strange in that the transaction, according to Reuters, does not immediately bring in new funds for the cash-strapped OPEC nation. Continue reading »

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Jan 01

Bitcoin Soars Above $1000 In China:

2017 is off to a good start if you are holding Bitcoin as volumes continue to surge through Chinese Bitcoin exchanges amid fears of increased crackdowns on foreign exchange transfers in the new year. In the last 24 hours, BTC China has seen prices spike above 7,100 yuan (well over $1000 at the onshore rate exchange).

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Dec 28

China Rattles Sabre – Tests Prototype Fifth-Generation Stealth Fighter:

As president-elect Trump plays Boeing and Lockheed off against each other, China flexed its military muscles once again – after sending its aircraft carrier Liaoning into the western Pacific – by testing the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter, state media reported on Monday, as it tries to end the West’s monopoly on the world’s most advanced warplanes.

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Dec 27

Bitcoin Surges 20% In A Week As Chinese Volumes Hit Record High:

The last 5 days have seen Bitcoin prices (in dollars) soar over 18% and over 20% in Yuan as volumes on Chinese exchanges continues to build, seemingly anticipating notable Yuan devaluation (confirmed by various derivative bets being placed on the Chinese currency) and/or further capital controls looming as yet another hot money Chinese bubble explodes in commodity-land.

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Dec 26

China buys its first African colony for a meagre $40 million:

Zimbabwe is back in the news. Or, it was. For about two days. European and Western media have dutifully reported on the series of painful economic crises the country has suffered since independence with the occasional “so-bad-it’s-funny” article on the birthday celebrations of the country’s long-time President Robert Mugabe. But the full tragedy is that the country is entering its second century of colonial rule, having enjoyed a 35 year stint of totalitarian independence in the middle, and no one seems to care. Continue reading »

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Dec 26

How China’s taking over Africa, and why the West should be VERY worried:

Despite an outcry in Parliament and heated debate in the august salons of the Royal Geographic Society, Galton insisted that ‘the history of the world tells the tale of the continual displacement of populations, each by a worthier successor, and humanity gains thereby’.

A controversial figure, Galton was also the pioneer of eugenics, the theory that was used by Hitler to try to fulfil his mad dreams of a German Master Race.

Eventually, Galton’s grand resettlement plans fizzled out because there were much more exciting things going on in Africa.

But that was more than 100 years ago, and with legendary explorers such as Livingstone, Speke and Burton still battling to find the source of the Nile – and new discoveries of exotic species of birds and animals featuring regularly on newspaper front pages – vast swathes of the continent had not even been ‘discovered’. Continue reading »

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Dec 26

FYI.


Trade, Investment, Power and the China-in-Africa Discourse

H/t reader kevin a.

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Dec 26

China Revives Ties With African Nation in Blow to Taiwan:

China re-established diplomatic ties with Sao Tome and Principe, cementing the small West African island nation’s shift in allegiance from Taiwan.

The two countries signed a communique Monday at a ceremony in Beijing attended by Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

H/t reader kevin a.

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Dec 23

Quiet Since WWII, Japan Begins $44 Billion Re-Militarization to Confront China

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Dec 23

Loonie Tumbles After Canadian Economy Unexpectedly Crashes Back Into Contraction:

After 4 straight months of MoM growth in GDP, the Canadian economy plunged 0.3% in October  (considerably worse than the 0.0% expectations) despite a resurgenece in crude prices. The Loonie is tumbling, back at 5-week lows, as manufacturing shrank a shocking 2.0% YoY – most since 2013.

Aussie Dollar Tanks After China Admits Growth Will Miss 6.5% Target

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Dec 22

China “Shocked” By Navarro Appointment, As Trump Team Proposes 10% Import Tariff:

As the FT first reported yesetrday, in a dramatic development for Sino-US relations, Trump picked Peter Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and one-time daytrader, to head the National Trade Council, an organization within the White House to oversee industrial policy and promote manufacturing. Navarro, a hardcore China hawk, is the author of books such as “Death by China” and “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World” has for years warned that the US is engaged in an economic war with China and should adopt a more aggressive stance, a message that the president-elect sold to voters across the US during his campaign.

In the aftermath of Navarro’s appointment, many were curious to see what China’s reaction would be, and according to the FT, Beijin’s response has been nothing short of “shocked.” To wit: Continue reading »

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Dec 21

Trump Appoints “Death By China” Author Peter Navarro To Head Trade Office, Hints At Trade War With Beijing:

Another day, another shot across the bow from Donald Trump aimed squarely at China.

Having already participated (and in the case of one, precipitated) two mini diplomatic snafus with Beijing in just the past two weeks, Trump is sending a clear message to Beijing that US-China trade under his administration will be anything but business as usual, by creating a National Trade Council inside the White House to oversee industrial policy and has decided to appoint a hard core China hawk to run it.

According to the FT, which broke the news, Trump has chosen Peter Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and one-time daytrader, to head the NTC. The author of books such as “Death by China” and “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World” has for years warned that the US is engaged in an economic war with China and should adopt a more aggressive stance — a message that the president-elect sold to voters across the US during his campaign. Continue reading »

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Dec 21

FYI.


Bitcoin Soars To 3 Year Highs As China Turmoils:

With Chinese liquidity markets turmoiling, bonds crashing, and gold premiums soaring, it appears growing concerns over capital controls tightening has sent Chinese fleeing into Bitcoin as a way to escape the mainland restrictions. Bitcoin is up over $30 today to its hghest since Dec 2013

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Dec 21

FYI.


4 Dead, Many Injured After Minibus “Drove Into” Beijing Market:

Four people are dead and many more injured after a minibus drive into a market in the northern region of Beijing. While China’s traffic safety record is not exactly stellar, with many on edge following the Berlin attack, this event is noteworthy as China has faced a threat from Islamist militants operating in its far western region of Xinjiang who have been blamed for a series of attacks in recent years.

As Reuters reports, the incident happened at about 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) in a small town in Beijing’s largely rural Changping district, when the minibus “drove into” an agricultural market and hit people there, Beijing police said in a short statement on their microblog. Continue reading »

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Dec 20

FYI.


H/t reader kevin a.

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Dec 17

China Responds: Will Return Stolen Drone, “Regrets US Hype”:

Shortly after president-elect Trump’s “unprecedented action” tweet, Chinese authorities responded via their mouthpiece The China People’s Daily:

China’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Saturday it plans to return an underwater U.S. drone seized this week by a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea, but complained the United States was “hyping up” the incident.  The drone was collecting data about the salinity, temperature and clarity of the water about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay, off the Philippines, and was seized just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve it, U.S. officials said.

The Defense Ministry said a Chinese naval vessel discovered a piece of “unidentified equipment,” and checked it to prevent any navigational safety issues before discovering it was a U.S. drone.

“China decided to return it to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner, and China and the U.S. have all along been in communication about it,” the ministry said on its website. “During this process, the U.S. side’s unilateral and open hyping up is inappropriate, and is not beneficial to the smooth resolution of this issue. We express regret at this,” it added. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

China Orders Shut Down Of 1,200 Factories After Smog “Red Alert” Declared In Beijing:

In addition to its now traditional credit-funded boom-bubble-bust cycle which rotates from asset to asset, and is then promptly recycled courtesy of the nearly $35 trillion in various financial system “assets”, another staple of the “new” Chinese economy are smog alerts following every burst in economic strength driven by “old economy” manufacturing.

That’s what happened overnight, when following months of manufacturing expansion, China’s pollution problem has again caught up, and as a result Beijing’s city government ordered 1,200 factories near the Chinese capital, including a major oil refinery run by state oil giant Sinopec, to shut or cut output on Saturday after authorities issued the highest possible air pollution alert. Continue reading »

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Dec 17

China’s Top Grain Producing Province Bans GM Crops:

top grain producer, will be prohibited from growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops, according to a provincial regulation passed on Friday.

Source: www.ecns.cn

The regulation will become effective on May 1, 2017.

Growing of GM corn, rice and soybean will be banned, while illegal production and sales of GM crops and supply of their seeds will also be prohibited. Continue reading »

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Dec 16

China Seizes Unmanned, Underwater US Navy Vehicle Off South China Sea:

Update: according to US officials cited by Reuters, the unmanned vehicles was seized unlawfully by China.  A Reuters official also adds that “the UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea,” the official said. “It’s a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water – that it was U.S. property.”

The incident, the first of its kind in recent memory, took place on Dec. 15 northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines just as the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship, was about to retrieve the unmanned, underwater vehicle (UUV), the official told Reuters.

The Pentagon later confirmed the incident at a news briefing. It said the drone used commercially available technology and sold for about $150,000.

The Pentagon views China’s seizure seriously since it had effectively taken U.S. military property. Continue reading »

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