Feb 26

- US Espionage Blowback: China Drops Apple, Cisco From State Purchase Lists (ZeroHedge, Feb 25, 2015):

Another quarter of leaks of ubiquitous US espionage in every corner of the world, and sure enough we get another quarter of China just saying no to spending any more money on companies which are, as far as Beijing is concerned, a natural extension of the NSA. According to Reuters, China has just dropped some of America’s leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, chief among them Cisco (which already was hammered a year ago due to the Snowden revelations), and everyone’s favorite $1 trillion market cap or bust cell phone maker, Apple. Continue reading »

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Feb 23

- Record Low Baltic Dry Casualties Emerge: Third Dry-Bulk Shipper Files For Bankruptcy In Past 3 Weeks (ZeroHedge, Feb 23, 2015):

The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”

Spot the credit-based mal-investment boom

Commodities-Baltic-Dry-Index-Collapse

After 2 brief days of very marginal gains, The Baltic Dry Index dropped again…

Baltic-Dry-Index-Collapse

As Reuters reports,

A third dry cargo shipper has filed for bankruptcy this month following a collapse in freight rates to historic lows in what shippers call the worst market conditions since the 1980s. Continue reading »

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Feb 23

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

- China pivots everywhere (RT, Feb 20, 2015):

By Pepe Escobar

The world’s leading economy is on a roll as it enters a new year in the Chinese zodiac. Welcome to the Year of the Sheep. Or Goat. Or Ram. Or, technically, the Green Wooden Sheep (or Goat).

Even the best Chinese linguists can’t agree on how to translate it into English. Who cares?

The hyper-connected average Chinese – juggling among his five smart devices (smartphones, tablets, e-readers) – is bravely advancing a real commercial revolution. In China (and the rest of Asia) online transactions are now worth twice the combined value of transactions in the US and Europe. Continue reading »

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Feb 21

russia-ratifies-brics-bank
(L-R) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma join their hands at a group photo session during the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza July 15, 2014. (Reuters/Nacho Doce)

- Russia ratifies $100bn BRICS New Development Bank (RT, Feb 20, 2015):

The Russian State Duma has ratified the $100 billion BRICS bank that’ll serve as a pool of money for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.

The New Development Bank is expected to start fully functioning by the end of 2015, according to the Russian Finance Ministry. Continue reading »

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Feb 20

gold-year-of-the-goat

- China Buys More Gold Than The World Produces (Forbes, Feb 19, 2015):

Welcome to the year 4713, the Year of the Ram, or the “goat” if you prefer.

The Chinese New Year, which kicks off today, is the largest and most widespread cultural event in mainland China, bringing with it massive consumer spending and gift-giving. During this week alone, an estimated 3.6 billion people in the China region travel by road, rail and air in the largest annual human migration. Continue reading »

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Feb 20

sheep-sheeple

- Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Publicly Tells Citizens to “Act More Like Sheep” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 18, 2015):

Hong Kong’s unpopular chief executive has infuriated pro-democracy campaigners by using a Chinese New Year message to urge the former colony’s citizens to act more “like sheep”.

“In the coming year, I hope that all people in Hong Kong will take inspiration from the sheep’s character and pull together in an accommodating manner to work for Hong Kong’s future.”

In case his message had been missed, Mr Leung noted that the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac had 12 individual “character types”. “Sheep are widely seen to be mild and gentle animals living peacefully in groups,” he said.

– From the Telegraph article: Hong Kong leader tells people to act like ‘sheep’

This is simply a spectacular admission from a clueless authoritarian. No wonder things are so volatile in Hong Kong with this clown in charge. Rather than quieting the mood, CY Leung’s comments are more likely to infuriate the island’s youth and strength their resolve. Not smart. Continue reading »

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Feb 19

putin-chess

- De-Dollarization Accelerates: Russia Launches SWIFT-Alternative Linking 91 Entities (ZeroHedge, Feb 18, 2015):

Back in 2013, The NSA was first exposed for secretly ‘monitoring’ the SWIFT payments flows. This appears to have been among the last straws for Russia (and others) as far as both NSA spying and dollar domination.

Last year, following threats to remove Russia from SWIFT by the UK, (which SWIFT rapidly distanced its ‘independent-self’ from), Russia (and China) announced plans to create its own de-dollarized version. In November, Russia detailed the SWIFT-alternative’s launch date around May 2015, and just last month, Medvedev warned of “unlimited reaction” if Russia was cut off from the SWIFT payments system.

So the news this week that Russia has launched its own ‘SWIFT’-alternative, linking 91 credit institutions initially, suggests de-dollarization is considerably further along than many expected (especially as Russia dumps US Treasuries at a record pace).

Continue reading »

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Feb 19

Putin chess

- Russia Dumps Most US Paper Ever As China Reduces Treasurys Holdings To January 2013 Levels (ZeroHedge, Feb 18, 2015):

Back in December, Socgen spread a rumor that Russia has begun selling its gold. Subsequent IMF data showed that not only was this not correct, Russia in fact added to its gold holdings. But there was one thing it was selling: some $22 billion in US Treasurys, a record 20% of its total holdings, bringing its US paper inventory to just $86 billion in December – the lowest since June 2008.

Russian Holdings Of US Treasuries Continue reading »

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Feb 17

Related info:

- Intel’s New Mobile Chips Are Always Listening

- Russia To Swap Intel-AMD Processors For Local Technology

- First Cisco And Microsoft, Now IBM: China Orders Banks To Remove High-End IBM Servers


nsa-321

- Russian researchers expose breakthrough U.S. spying program (Reuters, Feb 16, 2015):

The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (reut.rs/1L5knm0) Continue reading »

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Feb 16

20150216_BDIY

- China’s COSCO Dis-Assembles 8 Ships Amid Glut As Baltic Dry Hits Another Record Low (ZeroHedge, Feb 16, 2015):

You know things are bad in the ship-building business when… amid considerably larger than expected losses, China’s COSCO announced that it has dis-assembled 8 vessels in January alone (including 3 bulk carriers) and will be decommissioning and disposing of them as it awaits a “more conducive” environment. It appears that is not coming anytime soon, as The Baltic Dry Index just hit 522 – a new all-time low (down a stunning 53 of the last 55 days).

As COSCO explains in its HKSE Statement:

The board of directors (the “Board”) of the Company wishes to inform the shareholders of the Company (the “Shareholders”) and potential investors that the Group had disassembled eight vessels (collectively, the “Vessels”), including five container vessels (Hutuo He, Xinhui He, Zhaoqing He, Yangjiang He and Yongding He) and three bulk carriers (Peng Jie, Peng Nian and Peng Cai) from 1 January 2015 to 31 January 2015. Continue reading »

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Feb 16

- David Stockman: The Global Economy Has Entered The Crack-Up Phase (PeakProsperity, Feb 15, 2015):

Few people understand the global economy and its (mis)management better than David Stockman — former director of the OMB under President Reagan, former US Representative, best-selling author of The Great Deformation, and veteran financier.

David is now loudly warning that events have entered the crack-up phase, which he predicts will be defined by the following 4 developments: Continue reading »

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Feb 12

Nikolai Patrushev

- Putin’s Top Security Advisor: “Current US Approach Leads To Inevitable Confrontation With Russia And China” (ZeroHedge, Feb 11, 2015):

“The situation in Ukraine is being used as a pretext for the active ‘repression’ of our country,” Mr. Patrushev, who ran Russia’s Federal Security Service during Mr. Putin’s first eight years as president, said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, published Wednesday.

And, if accurate, Patrushev’s assessment is that the US will not stop short of what effectively will be world war: “The Americans are trying to involve the Russian Federation in an interstate military conflict, cause regime change [in Russia] and ultimately dismember our country via events in Ukraine,” he said.

His punchline, as reported by Bloomberg: “the current US approach will lead to inevitable confrontation with Russia and China.

It hardly needs an explanation.

Finally, Patrushev also brought up another theory often cited by Russian officials: that the U.S. is “trying to seed conflict” around the world as a way to increase its power.

Beginning with the global financial crisis in 2008, the U.S. decided to recover at the expense of others, including with the help of military adventurism and the destruction of full governments, employing the theory of ‘managed chaos‘.”

Considering 7 years after the great financial crisis, the world is still stuck deep in a glboal recession with central banks monetizing more debt than ever before in history while the US oligarchy has never been richer even as the global middle class is left for dead and told to just “buy assets” his observation is rather spot on.

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Feb 10

Update: EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS THERE IS NO FORMAL PROPOSAL FOR GREECE BUT TALKS ARE INTENSIVE

- After Greece Warns It May Get Funds From Russia Or China, Europe Said To Propose 6 Month Extension (ZeroHedge, Feb 10, 2015):

Did Europe just fold?

Moments ago Bloomberg blasted a headline which has to be validated by other members of the European Commission as well as Merkel and the other Germans (and may well be refuted, considering this is Europe), which said that:

  • COMMISSION TO PROPOSE 6 MONTH EXTENSION FOR GREECE – SOURCES.

So did Greece just win the first round of its stand off with Brussels? It remains to be confirmed, but congratulations to Greece if indeed it caused Merkel and the ECB to fold.

white flag

But what caused it? Well, it wasn’t the laying out of the Greek “ask“, which as we noted earlier, was the following: Continue reading »

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Feb 09

xi-jinping-vladimir-putin

- China Proposing to Establish Free Trade Zone With Eurasian Economic Union (Sputnik, Feb 9, 2015):

China proposed to the Eurasian Economic Union to think about creation of a free trade zone in the future, according to Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov.

 BEIJING, (Sputnik) — China offered to establish a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union in the future, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told RIA Novosti.
“Chinese partners were very careful in regard to this integration in the beginning. They simply needed to make sure that it works. Now they show interest in increasing cooperation not only with the separate countries – Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan in the future, but with the union as such. And as far as I know they even proposed to us, the members of the union, to think about creation of a free trade zone in the future,” Denisov said. Continue reading »

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Feb 08

Everything is awesome! <sarc>


- Chinese Imports Crash & Worst January Export Plunge Since 2009 Sends Trade Surplus To Record High (ZeroHedge, Feb 7, 2015):

Chinese imports collapsed 19.9% YoY in January, missing expectations of a modest 3.2% drop by the most since Lehman. This is the biggest YoY drop since May 2009 and worst January since the peak of the financial crisis. Exports tumbled 3.3% YoY (missing expectations of 5.9% surge) for the worst January since 2009. Combined this led to a $60.03 billion trade surplus in January – the largest ever. But apart from these massive imbalances, everything is awesome in the global economy (oh apart from The Baltic Dry at record lows, Iron Ore near record lows, oil prices crashed, and the other engine of the world economy – USA USA USA – imploding).

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Feb 08

- After Saudi Arabia Crushes The US Shale Industry, This Is Who It Will Go After Next (Zerohedge, Jan 6, 2015):

Whether it is to cripple the will of Putin and end his support of the Syria regime (thus handing the much desired gas-pipeline traversing territory over to Qatari and/or Saudi interests), a hypothesis first presented here in September and subsequently validated by the NYT, or much more simply, just to destroy any and all marginal producers so that Saudi Arabia is once again the world’s most important and price-setting producer and exporter of oil, one thing is clear: the Saudis will not relent from pumping more oil into the market than there is (declining) demand for, until its biggest threat and competitor – the US shale patch – which recently had become the marginal oil producer, as well as its investors – mostly junk bond holders gambling with other people’s money – are crushed, driven before the Saudi royal family, and the lamentation of their women is heard across the globe. Continue reading »

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Feb 07

- Landmark study links pesticides to high depression rates (Natural News, Feb 6, 2015):

Globally, one person dies by suicide roughly every 40 seconds. Around the world, over one million people commit suicide each year — an increase of 60 percent over the last four and a half decades. Incredibly, farmers have one of the highest rates of self-inflicted death.

Newsweek reports that suicide for farmers in the U.S. is about twice the average of the general population. However, this isn’t just a problem in America; it’s an international crisis.

“India has had more than 270,000 farmer suicides since 1995. In France, a farmer dies by suicide every two days. In China, farmers are killing themselves to protest the government’s seizing of their land for urbanization. In Ireland, the number of suicides jumped following an unusually wet winter in 2012 that resulted in trouble growing hay for animal feed. In the U.K., the farmer suicide rate went up by 10 times during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001, when the government required farmers to slaughter their animals. And in Australia, the rate is at an all-time high following two years of drought.” Continue reading »

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Feb 06

2008 will look like a cakewalk in comparison to what lies ahead.


federal-reserve-quantitative-easing-printing-money

- Chinese Rating Agency Warns Coming Crisis Is Worse Than 2008, Blames US “Printing Press” (ZeroHedge, Feb 5, 2015):

The head of China’s Dagong Rating Agency, Guan Jianzhong, had some very blunt words for the world’s investors and policymakers overnight. As ITAR-TASS reports, Jianzhong warned , “the world economy may slip into a new global financial crisis in the next few years… that is even worse than in 2008.” Continue reading »

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Feb 02

China Pearl River Delta

- China’s Pearl River Delta overtakes Tokyo as world’s largest megacity (The Guardian, Jan 28, 2015):

Several hundred million more people are expected to move to cities in East Asia over the next 20 years as economies shift from agriculture to manufacturing and services, according to a World Bank report

China’s Pearl River Delta has overtaken Tokyo to become the world’s largest urban area in both size and population, according to a report from the World Bank. The megacity – which covers a significant part of China’s manufacturing heartland and includes the cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan – is now home to more people than the countries of Canada, Argentina or Australia.

Urbanisation which took place over a period of several decades in Europe and North America is happening in just a few years in East Asia, which already contains eight megacities (with populations above 10 million) and 123 cities with between one and 10 million people. Continue reading »

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Jan 30

- BABA Bye Bye: Chinese MegaCap Plunges Below Post-IPO First Print (Zerohedge, Jan 29, 2015):

Alibaba is down over 10% this morning following a disappointing earnings release. This comes on the heels of selling pressure after the Chinese government released its report claiming significant “issues” at China’s richest man’s company. A combination of weak revenues, a 28% plunge in net income, slower than expected growth on its Tmall platform (and disappointment at the progress into mobile advertising) have sent the stock tumbling back near Facebook’s market cap.

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