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China: Testing Ground for U.S. Surveillance

China: Testing Ground for U.S. Surveillance

There is little doubt for most of us that the recent shootings in Florida were not merely a “spontaneous, random event,” precipitated by one individual. At the very least, if Cruz (the alleged shooter) was a “lone wolf,” then the Deep State and those who back it in the Congress are going to exploit it. They will not allow such a crisis to go to waste. Now a new “crusade” is forming by the Statists for gun control.

They know: once they control the guns, the gulags can follow.

Indeed, the Democrats have just announced they will submit “reforms” totaling more than 100 pages on gun control. It has been announced that all 49 Democrats of the Senate will be in lock step with this one. Is McCain counted among that number? Taking the guns away from the citizens is just one part of the equation. The other part (equally as sinister) is the ubiquitous state of surveillance that is being emplaced throughout the United States.

China is the “testing ground.” If it works in China, the Statists are convinced it will also work in the United States in the future…when they intend to unveil it. We have already seen drastic measures being taken with bills that include biometric passports with more difficulty for American citizens to leave than for anyone to enter. That is because citizens are subjects, and we pay the monstrous taxes…the highest of any country in the world…to keep us impoverished, keep us on the treadmill, keep the system going…the infallible system, that of the existing social, political, and economic order.

Popular Science writer Rob Verger just released an article on 2/8/18 entitled Chinese Cops are Using Facial-Recognition Sunglasses: Here’s How that Tech Works, that bears reading.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Three Global Super-Powers

The Three Global Super-Powers

The Three Global Super-Powers

There are currently three global super-powers, three nations that lead the world: China, Russia, and US.

After World War II, until recently, the US clearly dominated the world, not only culturally, with more influence over the world’s other cultures than any other single nation possessed, but also economically, with product-dominance throughout the world, and also militarily tied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and, then, after the Cold War, still possessing such military dominance, so that in 2006, America’s billionaires — as represented by the most-prestigious two agencies that represent their collective interests against the public, the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard University — were actively promoting, broadly amongst foreign-policy academics, the idea that the US should seek to occupy a position of such extreme military superiority over Russia, so that since 2006 the concept of “Nuclear Primacy” is reflected, by America’s power-centers, as being the correct goal for America, going forward, replacing the prior nuclear-strategic paradigm (since the 1950s) of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or “M.A.D.,” in which nuclear weapons were (and, by Russia, still are) seen as purely defensive strategic military assets between the two nuclear superpowers, weapons whose only actual purpose, for either country, is to ward off a WW III — no usefulness at all in an actual aggressive military context. Thus, M.A.D. became replaced in America by Nuclear Primacy, nuclear weapons that are put in place to serve not only to ward off a nuclear attack, but also, ultimately, to win a nuclear war against the other nuclear super-power, Russia — nukes as aggressive weapons, by which the US will (it has been expected, ever since 2006) soon be able to demand, and to receive, Russia’s capitulation, surrender, or else Russia will be destroyed by a US nuclear first-strike, while US casualties, from any presumably few Russian weapons that might make it through this ABM-BMD shield, will be kept to an “acceptably low” level, by virtue of that then-functioning ABM-BMD system, combined with increases in US nuclear striking-power.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The US is Executing a Global War Plan

The US is Executing a Global War Plan

The US is Executing a Global War Plan

Washington is moving inevitably on a global war plan. That’s the grim conclusion one has to draw from three unfolding war scenarios.

Ultimately, it’s about American imperialism trying to assert hegemony over the international order for the benefit of US capitalism. Russia and China are prime targets for this global assault.

The three unfolding war scenarios are seen in Syria, North Korea and Ukraine. These are not disparate, disassociated conflicts. They are inter-related expressions of the American war plans. War plans which involve the moving of strategic military power into position.

Last week’s massacre of over 100 Syrian government forces by American warplanes near Deir ez-Zor was an audacious overt assault by the US on the Syrian state. The US, along with other NATO allies, have been up to now waging a seven-year proxy war for regime change against Russia’s ally, President Assad. The massacre last week was certainly not the first time that US forces, illegally present in Syria, have attacked the Syrian army. But it seems clearer than ever now that American forces are operating on the overt agenda for regime change. US troops are transparently acting like an occupation army, challenging Russia and its legally mandated support for the Syrian state.

Heightening international concerns are multiple reports that Russian military contractors were among the casualties in the US-led air strike near Deir ez-Zor last week.

Regarding North Korea, Washington is brazenly sabotaging diplomatic efforts underway between the respective Korean leaderships in Pyongyang and Seoul. While this inter-Korean dialogue has been picking up positive momentum, the US has all the while been positioning nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers in the region, along with at least three aircraft carriers. The B-2s are also reportedly armed with 14-tonne bunker-buster bombs – the largest non-nuclear warhead in the American arsenal, designed to destroy North Korean underground missile silos and “decapitate” the Pyongyang leadership of Kim Jong-un.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Admiral Warns US Must Prepare For Possible War With China

While we await the latest details on the ongoing trade war between the US and China, currently focusing on escalating steel and aluminum tariffs and China’s reciprocal response could be, the threat of a real war is looming.

Speaking to Congress, the navy admiral nominated to be the next US ambassador to Australia said that America must prepare for the possibility of war with China, and added that the US relies on Australia to help uphold the international rules-based system in the Asia-Pacific.

Admiral Harry Harris says China’s military might could soon rival US power ‘across almost every domain’, and warned of possibility of war.

In an excoriating assessment of China’s increasingly muscular posture in the region – which some say is merely a response to similar, long-running posturing by the US in the region – Admiral Harry Harris said Beijing’s “intent is crystal clear” to dominate the South China Sea and that its military might could soon rival American power “across almost every domain” according to the Guardian.

Harris, who is set to retire as the head of US Pacific Command in Hawaii, told the House armed services committee that the US and its allies should be wary of Beijing’s military expansionism in the region, and condemned China’s foreign influence operations, predatory economic behaviour and coercion of regional neighbours.

China’s intent is crystal clear. We ignore it at our peril. I’m concerned China will now work to undermine the international rules-based order.”

At least he didn’t accuse China of also hacking the US election: so far it’s only Russia that gets to pick and choose the next US president.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Trade Wars Begin: Ross Recommends Major Tariffs On Steel, Aluminum Focusing On China, Russia

Update 3:

As previewed earlier, at noon on Friday the commerce department released reports on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s investigations into the impact on our national security from imports of steel mill products and from imports of wrought and unwrought aluminum. These investigations were carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. All classified and business confidential information in the reports was redacted before the release.

Specifically, the department, found that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” as defined by Section 232.

“I am glad that we were able to provide this analysis and these recommendations to the President,” said Secretary Ross. “I look forward to his decision on any potential course of action.”

Others were less sanguine. A former senior government trade official quoted by Axios, said that without major exemptions, these recommendations would represent: “[T]he opening shot in a trade war… a declaration of war against the world on aluminum and steel… These are some of our closest treaty allies… These are some serious numbers.”

And another quote from a trade expert: “This would be beyond a trade war. You’re talking about blowing up the WTO.”

As the Commerce Dept’s press release adds:

the reports are currently under consideration by the President, and no final decisions have been made with regard to their contents. The President may take a range of actions, or no action, based on the analysis and recommendations provided in the reports. Action could include making modifications to the courses of action proposed, such as adjusting percentages.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The World Embraces Debt At Exactly The Wrong Time

The World Embraces Debt At Exactly The Wrong Time

Self-destruction usually happens in stages. At first there’s a binge in which the thrill outweighs the sense of transgression. This is usually followed by remorse, acknowledgement of risks, and an attempt to reform.

But straight-and-narrow is exhausting, and because of this is frequently just temporary, eventually giving way to a kind of capitulation in which the addict drops even the pretense of self-control.

2018 is apparently the year in which the world enters this final stage of its addiction to debt. Wherever you look, leverage is soaring as governments, corporations and individuals just give up and embrace the idea that borrowing is no longer a necessary evil, but simply necessary. Some recent examples:

China January new loans surge to record 2.9 trillion yuan, blow past forecasts

(Reuters) – China’s banks extended a record 2.9 trillion yuan ($458.3 billion) in new yuan loans in January, blowing past expectations and nearly five times the previous month as policymakers aim to sustain solid economic growth while reining in debt risks.

Net new loans surpassed the previous record of 2.51 trillion yuan in January 2016, which is likely to support growth not only in China but may underpin liquidity globally as major Western central banks begin to withdraw stimulus.

Corporate loans surged to 1.78 trillion yuan from 243.2 billion yuan in December, while household loans rose to 901.6 billion yuan in January from 329.4 billion yuan in December, according to Reuters calculations based on the central bank data.

Outstanding yuan loans grew 13.2 percent in January from a year earlier, also faster than an expected 12.5 percent rise and compared with an increase of 12.7 percent in December.

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Total US household debt soars to record above $13 trillion

(CNBC) – Total household debt rose by $193 billion to an all-time high of $13.15 trillion at year-end 2017 from the previous quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data report released Tuesday.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia, Russia Ink 3 Huge Energy Deals

Saudi Arabia, Russia Ink 3 Huge Energy Deals

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia hits bullseye, IPO and LNG deals cements geopolitical cooperation Russia

Hidden by the fog of the ongoing oil market volatility and the Turkish adventures in Syria, OPEC leader Saudi Arabia has been cementing its geopolitical position for years. In Riyadh meetings this week between Saudi and Russian officials, major energy deals were sealed, changing the regional constellation dramatically. At the same time, the geopolitical shift of the century now starts to bear fruit.

Russia has directly offered to invest in the upcoming Aramco IPO, supporting the efforts of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to diversify the economy of the kingdom. During the meetings, not only new Saudi investment deals in Russia were sealed, but also the commitment of several Russian investment parties in the Aramco IPO.

After weeks of receiving a hell of a beating in the press (analysts started to doubt that it would ever happen), not only positive news has come from the NYSE and LSE, but also — as expected — from Russian institutions.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the main Russian sovereign wealth fund, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), stated in Riyadh that he expects that a Russian and Chinese joint investment fund, working in conjunction with several major Russian banks, will be part of the Aramco IPO. He also indicated that other Russian financial institutions and investors are very interested to take a part of the 5 percent of Aramco being offered in the IPO.

These statements are a significant boost for MBS and his IPO advisors, as the participation of a Russia-China investment fund also shows the interest of Chinese parties in the stakes. While Chinese parties are expected to be willing to hand over tens of billions, Dmitriev’s statements have widened the scope.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Does China’s “Ecological Civilization” Mean for Humanity’s Future?

What Does China’s “Ecological Civilization” Mean for Humanity’s Future?

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, affirms an ecological vision that is in line with progressive environmental thought. Is it mere rhetoric or does it have a deeper resonance within Chinese culture? The answer may ultimately have a profound effect on humanity’s future.

Imagine a newly elected President of the United States calling in his inaugural speech for an “ecological civilization” that ensures “harmony between human and nature.”  Now imagine he goes on to declare that “we, as human beings, must respect nature, follow its ways, and protect it” and that his administration will “encourage simple, moderate, green, and low-carbon ways of life, and oppose extravagance and excessive consumption.” Dream on, you might say. Even in the more progressive Western European nations, it’s hard to find a political leader who would make such a stand.

And yet, the leader of the world’s second largest economy, Xi Jinping of China, made these statements and more in his address to the National Congress of the Communist Party in Beijing last October. He went on to specify in more detail his plans to “step up efforts to establish a legal and policy framework… that facilitates green, low-carbon, and circular development,” to “promote afforestation,” “strengthen wetland conservation and restoration,” and “take tough steps to stop and punish all activities that damage the environment.” Closing his theme with a flourish, he proclaimed that “what we are doing today” is “to build an ecological civilization that will benefit generations to come.” Transcending parochial boundaries, he declared that his Party’s abiding mission was to “make new and greater contributions to mankind… for both the wellbeing of the Chinese people and human progress.”

Xi Jinping addressing the Chinese Communist Party Congress
China’s President Xi Jinping addressing China’s Communist Party National Congress

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ghosts of 1968

The Ghosts of 1968

The hope of 1968 that public demonstrations can actually change the power structure has been lost.

1968 was a tumultuous year globally and domestically. The Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia–a very mild form of political and cultural liberalization within the Soviet bloc–was brutally crushed by the military forces of the Soviet Union.

The general strikes and student protests of May 1968 brought France to a standstill as demands for social and political change called the entire status quo into question.

On the other side of the planet, the Cultural Revolution was remaking China’s still-youthful revolution, to the detriment of the political status quo, the intelligentsia and the common people.

The U.S.was convulsed with assassinations, civil unrest and mass demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and the political status quo (the Democratic Party convention in Chicago).

Ironically, much of the world was benefiting from two decades of rising prosperity and the demise of colonialism. When expectations exceed actual opportunities, discontent is the result. When the power structure is deaf to the discontent, a cycle of repression and disorder feed on each other.

Fifty years on, the ghosts of 1968 are still with us. With the advantage of hindsight, 1968 was the culmination of the belief that it was still possible for the common people to change the political and social order in a positive fashion– to remake the status quo power structure into something more humane, accessible, just and fair.

The Western status quo bent but did not break. Nothing in the developed-world power structures actually changed. The status quo did break down in China, but the breakdown was not liberating; it was a catastrophe of injustice and destruction without precedent.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Power of Siberia and China’s Next Natural Gas Moves

The Power of Siberia and China’s Next Natural Gas Moves

Gazprom’s Power of Siberia pipeline is more than two-thirds complete.  It will be delivering gas to China by the end of this year.  A second pipeline is still under discussion.

A report yesterday from Alex Mercouris at The Duran noted some frustration from Chinaover the irregular liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies coming from its contract partners in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

It seems the Turkemi and Uzbek governments are shaking down China for better prices because gas demand in Western China’s autonomous regions is growing rapidly.  Complicating matters is the tough winter in Europe which spiked LNG demand there as well.

Remember, Gazprom recently announced that delivered volumes to Europe rose by 8% in 2017 over 2016.  And that number is likely to rise again this year.  Even the U.K. is begrudgingly buying Russian LNG from the Yamal LNG project on the Eastern Baltic coast.

China National Petroleum Corp., CNPC, just signed a deal with Cheniere Energy to supply 1.2 million tons of LNG annually.  China’s demand for natural gas has to rise as its leadership deals with the increasing costs of air pollution from running a major portion of its economy on coal.

This is part of the reason why Russia and China hooked up for the original Power of Siberia pipeline in the first place.  And it’s why I have little doubt that a second pipeline is a slam dunk. This would be the expanded Altai Pipeline or Power of Siberia 2 that was postponed in 2015 but is now back on the table.

Power-of-Siberia

Last year China and Russia signed an MOU on Power of Siberia 2.  Though no formal agreement has been reached, it’s obvious both parties want this done.  The question for China is likely price.  And they are not above holding out for better terms and cheaper gas prices.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Behind Global Inflation: China Creates A Record 2.9 Trillion Yuan In New Loans In One Month

According to one monetary theory, in a world in which China is the dominant creator of debt – which it has been since the financial crisis – it is also China that is the marginal creator of the global inflationary impulse. In which case, the latest Chinese new loan data helps explain the recent inflationary burst which judging my the recent market volatility has freaked out US traders, because according to the PBOC, in January China created a record CNY2900 billion in new loans ($458.3 billion), a striking rebound from the CNY2030 billion a year ago, and almost 1 trillion yuan above the CNY2000 expected.

According to Reuters, the credit boom has been fueled “by strong economic growth, a robust property market and a crackdown on riskier shadow lending, which has forced banks to shift some loans back onto their balance sheets.” But mostly it has been forced by an implicit demand on Beijing to keep the global reflationary impulse strong at a time when the Fed is shrinking its balance sheet – a highly deflationary, if only for circulating monetary aggregates, exercise.

A more detailed breakdown of the loan data showed sharp pickups in demand for credit from both households and companies, a harbinger of strong consumption and investment, if both funded on credit. Corporate loans surged to 1.78 trillion yuan from 243.2 billion yuan in December, while household loans rose to 901.6 billion yuan in January from 329.4 billion yuan in December.

Outstanding yuan loans grew 13.2% in January from a year earlier, also faster than an expected 12.5% rise and compared with an increase of 12.7% in December.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

BIS Publishes A “Simplified” Map Of China’s Shadow Banking System

While China’s shadow banking sector may have been tamed in the past year as a result of an aggressive crackdown by Beijing over the unregulated, gray-market in high interest lending and especially Wealth Management Products or WMPs, it, it still retains an aura of incomprehensibility – and thus fascination – to most market watchers.

Still, while growth of shadow credit to ultimate borrowers has slowed, the use of shadow saving instruments (eg wealth management products, trust products) has continued to expand at a fast pace. New and more complex “structured” shadow credit intermediation aimed at reducing banks’ regulatory burden has emerged and quickly reached a large scale. Meanwhile, the bond market has become highly dependent on funding channeled through wealth management products. As a result, Chinese shadow banking is becoming slightly more similar to US shadow banking.

To help China watchers in their analysis of China’s financial underworld, overnight the Bank of International Settlements published a working paper  mapping China’s shadow banking sector, which studies the “structure of the shadow banking system in China, focusing on the main activities and linkages with the formal banking sector.”

As the BIS explains in its abstract:

We develop a stylised shadow banking map for China with the aim of providing a coherent picture of its structure and the associated financial system interlinkages. Five key characteristics emerge. One defining feature of the shadow banking system in China is the dominant role of commercial banks, true to the adage that shadow banking in China is the “shadow of the banks”. Moreover, it differs from shadow banking in the United States in that securitisation and market-based instruments play only a limited role. With a series of maps we show that the size and dynamics of shadow banking in China have been changing rapidly.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Manipulate Stocks: Chinese Authorities Step in to Stop the Rout

How to Manipulate Stocks: Chinese Authorities Step in to Stop the Rout

For proper effect, the directives were purposefully leaked to the media.

The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 10.2% last week, the largest weekly drop in two years, and was down 11.4% since January 26. But it wasn’t just last week that things became unglued. The Shenzhen Composite Index had plunged 14% since January 24, only about half of it last week.

The Spring Festival holiday is coming up this week, and there were fears that traders want to unload additional positions ahead of it. There are other factors lined up against the stock market, including China’s off-and-on-again crackdown on leverage. So it was time for authorities to step in and set things right.

Over the weekend the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and other regulators have sent directives to:

  • Major stockholders, telling them to acquire more shares of companies listed in mainland China in which they already own large stakes.
  • Mutual fund firms, telling them to curtail share sales to avoid becoming net sellers.
  • Brokerages, telling them to provide to the CSRC trading summaries from last week along with trading plans and previews for the current week.

For proper effect, so that all players in the market would know that the Chinese authorities are going to stop the selloff and turn it around, and thus to encourage more buying by other players, these directives were purposefully leaked to the media, including Bloomberg, which reported it this morning. This served as confirmation what everyone had been hoping for: That the authorities would not let the market fall prey to market forces.

The directives went out this weekend, but late last week there was already some heavy lifting going on behind the scenes that wasn’t properly leaked. Bloomberg counted over 110 companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen that had announced that their major shareholders had increased their stakes in them starting on Friday.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China’s Plunge Protection Team Arrives: Urges Companies To Boost Stocks, “Avoid Selling”

Over the weekend, we along with Bank of America and probably most carbon-based traders wondered if any central bank or government official would step up on Monday and intervene in the markets, either verbally or directly. The answer emerged overnight, when China officially urged controlling investors in listed companies to boost their holdings and told some mutual funds to limit equity selling this week, Bloomberg reported,  citing sources.

The directive from the Chinese Plunge Protection Team was sent out over the weekend, when the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and other regulators “advised and encouraged” some major stockholders to purchase more shares in the mainland-listed firms they invest in. The regulators also called on some mutual funds to avoid being net sellers of equities as well.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange said on Friday that it has issued warnings and limited intraday trading to prevent large equity sales that affected the market’s stability. Meanwhile, the China Securities Investment Services Center — a body serving smaller investors that’s managed by the CSRC — said major shareholders can boost investor confidence by purchasing stocks, Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday.

Additionally, the CSRC, which is also known as the “National Team” once it begins manipulating markets, told Chinese brokerages to provide trading summaries from last week to the regulator as well as trading plans and previews for this week.

To some, the intervention was only a matter of time: Chinese shares on the mainland plunged the most in two years amid last week’s global market turbulence, fueling speculation the government would step in to calm trading, as it did repeatedly during past selloffs in 2005 and 2006 as well as ahead of the 2007 Party Congress.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peak Gold: Global Gold Supply Flat In 2017 As China Output Falls By 9%

– China gold production falls by 9% to 420.5t in 2017
– Chinese gold demand rose 4% to 953.3t in same period
– China is largest producer and accounts for 15% of global gold production
– China does not export gold. Increasing foreign gold acquisitions to meet demand
– Global gold production flat – 3,269t in ’17 from 3,263t in ’16, smallest increase since ’08
– Peak Gold is here: supply set to fall gradually while global demand remains robust

Financial markets are abuzz with how much money the global economy lost earlier this week when the Dow Jones Index had a bit of a crash – ahem – ‘correction’. Luckily it has (temporarily at least) recovered but there are many other threats to financial markets in 2018 that suggest the ‘Everything Bubble’ is set to burst.

There is also an unappreciated threat to the gold market and more particularly a threat to gold mining supply and therefore the likelihood of higher gold prices – that is the threat of ‘peak gold’.

The supply of gold increased last year by the smallest margin since 2008. Ourselves and other market experts who have looked at the data, have been contending for many months now that we are on the cusp of ‘peak gold’.

The FT has now recognised the phenomenon of peak gold or ‘plateau gold’ and covered it this week: Global gold mine supply plateaued in 2017 as China output fell 9%.

China is the world’s largest gold supplier. In 2016 the country produced 453t or 56% more than the second highest gold producing nation of Australia.In 2017 Chinese production fell 9% to just 420.5t.

It also leads global gold demand. The demand comes from not only individuals but also a central bank that is determined to no longer rely on the US dollar.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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