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Global Health Officials On High Alert As Wuhan Virus Makes US Landfall

Global Health Officials On High Alert As Wuhan Virus Makes US Landfall

Update (1600ET): Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Henan, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Brisbane, Taipei – and now Washington State. 

The viral pneumonia-like lung illness first discovered late last year in Wuhan, a mid-sized Chinese city in the center of the country, has Beijing’s leadership – who are already grappling with slowing economic growth and continuing trade pressure from the US – very much on edge.

It’s clear now that Beijing’s initial response to reports of a new SARS-like virus was to dissemble. After initially insisting that there was no evidence that the virus could be spread by humans, health officials have now admitted that they were “wrong”, and that human-to-human transmission is possible, meaning that there’s no telling yet just how contagious this thing really is.

It’s already spread rapidly: In just a few weeks, it’s gone from a few isolated cases in Wuhan to nearly 300 confirmed cases, not just in Greater China, but also across the Asia-Pacific region, and now in the US. The fact that the CDC has already identified the first case in Washington State suggests that this is an aggressive pathogen, and health officials are duly concerned.

It has already confounded expectations. The fact that 139 cases – roughly half the total number reported – were only just identified over the weekend is especially unnerving, because now infected hosts have had time to scatter back to wherever they’re from, potentially spreading the virus across the planet.

According to Bloombergthe US case has been revealed to be a man in his 30s who returned to the US last week, but not before visiting a public market in Wuhan…

The sudden spike in cases has prompted airports in the US, Australia and elsewhere to tighte illnesses has prompted tightened borders and a rapid attempt to trace contacts of those who have become ill.

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

IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast For 6th Consecutive Time, Warns “Climate Change” Will Hit Economy

IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast For 6th Consecutive Time, Warns “Climate Change” Will Hit Economy

After the IMF cut its global economic outlook for 2019 to 2.9% in October, the lowest since the financial crisis, and warned that global trade growth would be “close to a standstill”, moments ago the IMF once again downgraded its forecast for global GDP for 2020 and 2021, its sixth straight reduction, although in a sliver of optimism, global GDP in 2020 is now expected to post a modest rebound from 2.9% to 3.3%, (down from 3.4% in October) and to 3.4% in 2021 (down from 3.6%) as the IMF says “there are now tentative signs that global growth may be stabilizing, though at subdued levels.”

According to the IMF, the downward revision primarily reflects negative surprises to economic activity in a few emerging market economies, most notably India, where 2020 GDP is now expected to rise just 5.8% down from 7.0%, which means that in 2020 China will regain the title of the world’s fastest growing economy. In a few cases, this reassessment also reflects the impact of increased social unrest.

Emerging market debacle aside, the IMF said that on the positive side, market sentiment “has been boosted by tentative signs that manufacturing activity and global trade are bottoming out, a broad-based shift toward accommodative monetary policy, intermittent favorable news on US-China trade negotiations, and diminished fears of a no-deal Brexit, leading to some retreat from the risk-off environment that had set in at the time of the October WEO.”

However, and this will be of particular interest to traders, even the IMF admitted that “few signs of turning points are yet visible in global macroeconomic data.”

And so, in addition to the collapse in India, the IMF also sees continued slowdown in the US and Europe in 2020, both of which were cut by 0.1% to 2.0% and 1.3%, while China saw a modest increase by 0.2% to 6.0%, which however drops to 5.8% in 2021.

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

China Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads; Hundreds Infected As Human-To-Human Transmission Confirmed

China Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads; Hundreds Infected As Human-To-Human Transmission Confirmed

Health officials in Wuhan, China reported 139 new cases of a new mystery virus over the weekend, now rapidly spreading to other provinces and surrounding countries, reported CNN.

As of Monday morning, three people have died from the pneumonia-like illness, and globally there have been more than 200 reported cases, noted Reuters

Beijing confirmed two cases of coronavirus Monday, while Guangdong health officials reported one case in Shenzhen – these are the first reports that the virus is quickly spreading from Wuhan, the epicenter. 

On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus originated from a seafood/meat market in Wuhan, has likely spread through human-to-human transmission.

“It is clear that there is at least some human-to-human transmission from the evidence we have, but we don’t have clear evidence that shows the virus has acquired the capacity to transmit among humans easily,” said Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s regional director for the western pacific, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. “We need more information to analyze that.”

There are significant concerns about a broader regional outbreak, reports Sunday warned the virus was detected outside China – two in Thailand and one in Japan. 

The South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (SKCDC) confirmed Monday that a 35-year-old woman arriving at Incheon International Airport from Wuhan tested positive for coronavirus.

“She was immediately separated for treatment in quarantine at a state-designated hospital,” the SKCDC said.

China’s National Health Commission confirmed Monday that the virus has occurred via human-to-human transmission. This has worried officials in the country and in surrounding countries ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, in which millions of Chinese tourists are expected to travel across the region, could lead to a widespread outbreak of the virus. 

More than 7 million Chinese traveled overseas last year during the holiday season.

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

Mystery Chinese Virus Has Likely Infected Over 1,700 As It Sweeps Across China And Japan

Mystery Chinese Virus Has Likely Infected Over 1,700 As It Sweeps Across China And Japan

While there have been more than 60 confirmed cases of a new mystery virus emerging from Wuhan, China, UK experts estimate that closer to 1,700 have been sickened with the SARS-like pneumonia, according to the BBC.

“I am substantially more concerned than I was a week ago,” disease specialist Prof Neil Ferguson told the outlet.

The work was conducted by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, which advises bodies including the UK government and the World Health Organization (WHO). –BBC

The estimate was calculated by the Imperial College of London based on the following assumptions: 

  • Wuhan International Airport has a catchment population of 19 million individuals [1].
  • There is a mean 10-day delay between infection and detection, comprising a 5-6 day incubation period [8,9]  and a 4-5 day delay from symptom onset to detection/hospitalisation of a case (the cases detected in Thailand and Japan were hospitalised 3 and 7 days after onset, respectively) [4,10].
  • Total volume of international travel from Wuhan over the last two months has been 3,301 passengers per day. This estimate is derived from the 3,418 foreign passengers per day in the top 20 country destinations based on 2018 IATA data [11], and uses 2016 IATA data held by Imperial College to correct for the travel surge at Chinese New Year present in the latter data (which has not happened yet this year) and for travel to countries outside the top 20 destination list.

According to the report, “It is likely that the Wuhan outbreak of a novel coronavirus has caused substantially more cases of moderate or severe respiratory illness than currently reported. The estimates presented here suggest surveillance should be expanded to include all hospitalised cases of pneumonia or severe respiratory disease in the Wuhan area and other well-connected Chinese cities. This analysis does not directly address transmission routes, but past experience with SARS and MERS-CoV outbreaks of similar scale suggests currently self-sustaining human-to-human transmission should not be ruled out.”

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

China’s Growing Economic Miracle…(Collapse). Or… Everyone Pays the Piper!

China’s Growing Economic Miracle…(Collapse). Or… Everyone Pays the Piper!

In emulating the American economic raison d’etre, China has attempted to develop its unique capitalist model while ignoring that it too will soon suffer the same fate for the same reason: Unsustainable debt.  When examining the recent realities of Chinese banking and finance over the past year it seems the steam that president Xi Jinping touts as powering the engine of his purported economic miracle of a master-planned economy is only a mirage, now almost completely evaporated before his eyes.

Like the many other similarly foolish western nations, China seeks only one path out of this fiscal death spiral, one that will likely spell doom and/or revolution in many countries soon: More debt.

China is becoming increasingly unable to continue to pay into the base of the world’s largest pyramid scheme of an economy and the cracks in the bubble are showing. This past year, saw three of the 4,279 Chinese lenders almost fail, if not for the massive intervention by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) of immediate liquidity via more debt. The Chinese economic miracle is built on unsustainable debt-based infrastructure projects over the past two decades that have provided China with a face of prosperity to show the world, but this is only a mask to hide the limited countrywide success of the Chinese miracle into the rural areas. The injection of $Trillions in capital has seen China distribute these sums across the base of its economy creating a GDP that hit a high of 14.2 % in 2007 then averaged nearly 9% for the next decade before dropping yearly to 6.1% in 2018. All this growth had produced a personal affluence to a sub-set of Chinese society that has stoked this appearance of a flourishing economy.

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

Battle of the Ages to stop Eurasian integration

Battle of the Ages to stop Eurasian integration

Coming decade could see the US take on Russia, China and Iran over the New Silk Road connection

Iranian seamen salute the Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry while moored at Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills. The photo was provided by the Iranian Army office on December 27, 2019. Photo: AFP / HO / Iranian Army office

The Raging Twenties started with a bang with the targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani.

Yet a bigger bang awaits us throughout the decade: the myriad declinations of the New Great Game in Eurasia, which pits the US against Russia, China and Iran, the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.

Every game-changing act in geopolitics and geoeconomics in the coming decade will have to be analyzed in connection to this epic clash.

The Deep State and crucial sectors of the US ruling class are absolutely terrified that China is already outpacing the “indispensable nation” economically and that Russia has outpaced it militarily. The Pentagon officially designates the three Eurasian nodes as “threats.”

Hybrid War techniques – carrying inbuilt 24/7 demonization – will proliferate with the aim of containing China’s “threat,” Russian “aggression” and Iran’s “sponsorship of terrorism.” The myth of the “free market” will continue to drown under the imposition of a barrage of illegal sanctions, euphemistically defined as new trade “rules.”

Yet that will be hardly enough to derail the Russia-China strategic partnership. To unlock the deeper meaning of this partnership, we need to understand that Beijing defines it as rolling towards a “new era.” That implies strategic long-term planning – with the key date being 2049, the centennial of New China.

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

Mystery SARS-Like Virus Spreads To Japan

Mystery SARS-Like Virus Spreads To Japan

A new mystery disease which has sickened dozens in Wuhan, China has made its way into Japan, after a Chinese national traveled from the eastern Chinese city to his home in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, according to the Japan Times.

The man, in his 30s, returned from Wuhan on January 6, and was hospitalized four days later where he recovered and was discharged on Wednesday, according to a hospital official.

On Monday, the World Health Organization announced that the new coronavirus with SARS-like pneumonia symptoms had struck a woman traveling from China to Thailand – after she was hospitalized January 8th.

Chinese officials said on Wednesday that human-to-human infection cannot be ruled out after forty-one people received a preliminary diagnosis of the new coronavirus, after a 61-year-old man died of the disease on Saturday.

While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice.

The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

It’s possible that the husband brought home food from the market that then infected his wife, Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news briefing. But because the wife did not exhibit symptoms until days after her husband, it’s also possible that he infected her. –CBS News

That said, authorities believe the risk of human-to-human transmission remains low. Still, the US Embassy in Beijing issued an alert to Americans traveling in China last week, warning anyone who has been to Wuhan to avoid contact with all animals and sick people, and to wash their hands frequently.

China Urges ‘Calm And Restraint’ After US Kills Top Iranian General

China Urges ‘Calm And Restraint’ After US Kills Top Iranian General

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting China on Friday has requested restraint from all sides, “especially the United States,” after the U.S. killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike at Baghdad international airport.

“China has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily press conference. “We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions.”

Shuang said the international community must respect Iraq’s independence and territorial integrity. 

He urged both sides to abide by the principles of the U.N. charter and the “basic norms of international relations.”


I spoke today with Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jiechi to discuss @realDonaldTrump‘s decision to eliminate Soleimani in response to imminent threats to American lives. I reiterated our commitment to de-escalation.


Last week, Iran, China, and Russia held a joint war drill in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman as a deterrent against U.S. forces. 

The U.S. Department of State tweeted Friday that all U.S. citizens must “depart Iraq immediately.” 

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

China Quietly Ramps Up Oil Production In Iran

China Quietly Ramps Up Oil Production In Iran

Azadegan

The supergiant Azadegan oil field, comprising major north and south sites, is as important to Iran’s overall strategic plan to survive the current sanctions environment and to prosper when they are lifted as the flagship South Pars supergiant gas field and the added-value products of its petrochemicals sector. Last week Iran’s Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) announced that five new development wells and an appraisal well are to be spudded in North Azadegan to maintain current production levels. OilPrice.com understands from various senior energy sources in Iran that this is only part of the picture, with much bigger plans having been agreed for rollout in the coming six months with the help of China and Russia.

Located around 80 kilometres west of Ahvaz, close to the Iraqi border, the entire 900 square kilometre Azadegan field is the third-largest hydrocarbon reserve in the world after the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia and the Burgan oil field in Kuwait. Its total reserves are estimated at about 42 billion barrels of oil, with around 7 billion barrels currently deemed recoverable. The first exploration well was drilled in 1976 but, despite its potential, a long lead time across the four main layers – Sarvak, Kazhdomi, Godvan, and Fahilan – of the site has meant that the pace of production has been slower than at many neighbouring fields, especially those over the border in Iraq.

A key reason for this was the attitude of Chinese firms active in Iran around that time, which can be broadly characterised as doing the minimum necessary to generate some oil flows from the fields back into China whilst not spending too much money.

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

China’s Central Bank to Lead Real-World Pilot of Digital Yuan: Report

China’s Central Bank to Lead Real-World Pilot of Digital Yuan: Report

China’s Central Bank to Lead Real-World Pilot of Digital Yuan: Report

China is at last planning to conduct the first real-world test of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), fresh reports claim. 

According to local news outlet Caijing on Dec. 9, the initial pilot for the CBDC is set for the city of Shenzhen before the end of 2019, and may possibly include the city of Suzhou. 

Banks in a digital currency “horse race” 

Under the auspices of China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), four major banks and major economic participants such as China Telecom will test digital currency payments. 

“One step will be to rationally select the pilot verification area, scenario and service scope, and steadily promote the introduction and application of digital form of fiat currency,” Caijing explains.The article continues:

“Compared with the previous pilot, this time the central bank’s legal digital currency pilot will go out of the central bank system and enter real service scenarios such as transportation, education, and medical treatment, reaching C-end users and generating frequent applications.”

In Shenzhen, the PBoC is encouraging what it describes as a “horse race” — each bank will manage the digital currency differently, competing against each other in order to secure its model’s wider adoption in the future.

It added that other locales could be included in the testing, but the exact details remain unspecified. 

PBoC beats world competition

The debut will nonetheless make the PBoC the world’s first central bank to issue a digital currency, capitalizing on China’s efforts to embrace financial technology this year. 

As Cointelegraph reported, the currency itself has been under development for several years, and was already at an advanced stage when Beijing officially endorsed the use of blockchaintechnology in October.

Criticism of the CBDC plans meanwhile continues, with analysis noting interoperability as a potential major sticking point in the plans. 

Last week, Cointelegraph launched a dedicated subsidiary publication, Cointelegraph China, to cover developments in the Chinese space. 

The Next Pearl Harbour? China’s Gold-Backed Crypto Currency Will Blindside US Dollar

The Next Pearl Harbour? China’s Gold-Backed Crypto Currency Will Blindside US Dollar

“A date which will live in infamy.” 

Indeed, this weekend marks the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which opened the door for the United States to enter World War II. Turn on your TV and you will see military mavens rambling on, pontificating about ‘the defense of the realm’, all the while completely aloof and unaware of the American empire’s real Achilles heel.

Recent, financial pundit and TV host Max Keiser outlined such a scenario, and warned that the US will be blind-sided the day that China introduces its gold-backed crypto currency – an absolute game changer which would create a “catastrophic trapdoor opening underneath the US economy,” said Keiser.

Not surprisingly, very few mainstream financial pundits in the West are willing to admit that China possesses gold reserves in excess of 20,000 tons, and by introducing a gold-backed cryptocurrency, it has the ability to “kill the US dollar deader than a door nail …. a new Pearl Harbor-type event and it’s coming in the next six to nine months.” 

Watch:

Source: 21stCenturyWire.com

Living On Borrowed Time

Living On Borrowed Time

How soon until the consequences of our excesses catch up with us?

The laws of physics are governed by cause and effect. But there can exist a time lag between the two.

For instance:

Note how the speed of both the bullet and the retracting latex far exceed that of the shockwave or gravity on the water contained inside each balloon.

There’s an observable time lag during which the globe of previously-contained water momentarily hangs there in space.

Then, a beat later, it’s obliterated.

Living On Borrowed Time

I’m unusually focused on time these days as we’re updating Peak Prosperity’s crown jewel, The Crash Coursevideo series.

Originally created in 2008 and updated in 2014, it lays out the macro forces driving the economy and our way of living, explaining why most of them are unsustainable and headed for trouble. That then opens the door to an avalanche of critical questioning about what the future will bring.

Updating the parade of charts and data has been eye-opening for me. When I last did this (early 2014), the S&P had just returned to the same price level that served as the apex for both the 2001 and 2008 market bubbles.

I remember how concerned I was then. How could we have returned to such reckless exuberance so quickly after the pain caused by the Dot-com bust and the Great Financial Crisis? Did we learn nothing from our previous (and recent!) excess?

Clearly not only did we not learn; we didn’t give a crap. With a “hold my beer, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet” bravado, we proceeded to DOUBLE the S&P above the previous bubble highs.

Here at PeakProsperity.com, my co-founder Chris Martenson and I have spilled a lot of ink in the ensuing years, warning how QE (aka central bank money printing), stock buybacks, and record low interest rates have pushed the degree of systemic unsustainability to Bizzaro-world levels. For our most recent analysis, click herehere and here.

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

Trade Wars Just Getting Started

Trade Wars Just Getting Started

Trade Wars Just Getting Started

Markets are eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the so-called “phase one” trade deal between the U.S. and China.

Both parties are trying to reach a mini-deal involving simple tariff reductions and a truce on new tariffs along with Chinese purchases of pork and soybeans from the U.S.

The likely success or failure of the mini-deal has been a main driver of stock market action for the past year. When the deal looks likely, markets rally. When the deal looks shaky, markets fall.

A deal is still possible. But investors should be prepared for a shocking fall in stock market valuations if it does not. Markets have fully discounted a successful phase one, so there’s not much upside if it happens.

On the other hand, if phase one falls apart stock markets will hit an air pocket and fall 5% or more in a matter of days.

But even if the phase one deal goes through, it does not end the trade wars. Unresolved issues include tariffs, subsidies, theft of intellectual property, forced transfer of technology, closed markets, unfair competition, cyber-espionage and more.

Most of the issues will not be resolved quickly, if ever.

Resolution involves intrusion into internal Chinese affairs both in the form of legal changes and enforcement mechanisms to ensure China lives up to its commitments.

These legal and enforcement mechanisms are needed because China has lied about and reneged on its trade commitments for the past 25 years. There’s no reason to believe China will be any more honest this time around without verification and enforcement. But China refuses to allow this kind of intrusion into their sovereignty.

For the Chinese, the U.S. approach recalls the Opium Wars (1839–1860) and the “Unequal Treaty” (1848–1950) whereby foreign powers (the U.K., the U.S., Japan, France, Germany and Russia) forced China into humiliating concessions of land, port access, tariffs and extraterritorial immunity.

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

China Will Use Millions Of Zimbabwe Citizens To Improve Facial Recognition Accuracy

China Will Use Millions Of Zimbabwe Citizens To Improve Facial Recognition Accuracy

As China spreads its economic footprints across multiple continents with The Belt and Road Initiative, and exercises more and more control over the lives of its subjects via a combination its Social Credit Score system and vast surveillance state, it appears Beijing’s Big Brother has run into an issue that needs to be addressed to achieve world domination… inaccuracy!

Facial recognition systems are becoming more and more mainstream and accepted by an increasing number of ‘average joes’ around the world as the cost of security (or just ease of life). The problem is, as we detailed previouslyfor some segments of society, it is wildly inaccurate.

Specifically, after Oakland and San Francisco voted against the use of facial recognition, Rep. Tashida Tlaib claimed that “the error rate among African-Americans, especially women,” was 60 percent.

During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.

Some tech firms have tried to ‘fix’ this extremely high-level of inaccuracy for certain cohorts by tricking black people into being scanned.

But China’s tech behemoths have taken the process of training their algos on non-white faces to a whole new level.

As The FT reportsa deal between Chinese facial recognition company CloudWalk and the government of Zimbabwe means the latter will send data on millions of African faces to the Chinese company to help train the technology.

African states tend to go along with what is being put forward by China and the ITU as they don’t have the resources to develop standards themselves,” said Richard Wingfield, head of legal at Global Partners Digital, a company working on human rights on the internet.

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

Russian Gas Mega-Pipeline To China Goes Online As Putin & Xi Hail Closer Ties

Russian Gas Mega-Pipeline To China Goes Online As Putin & Xi Hail Closer Ties

Late Monday Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin jointly launched the major unprecedented cooperative project that had been years in the making called the ‘Power of Siberia’ gas pipeline.

The China-Russia east-route pipeline is now providing China with Russian natural gas, which according to Chinese state media is expected to reach 5 billion cubic meters in 2020 and increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024.

Crucially, S&P Global Platts estimates that total sales through the pipeline is projected to meet nearly 10% of China’s entire gas supply by 2022, ensuring vital energy security as Beijing continues to feel the pressure and uncertainty of the trade war with Washington. 

A Chinese section of the China-Russia East Route natural gas pipeline in Heihe, China. Image source: CNN/Getty Images

The ceremony to officially bring the pipeline online was held as a video call between Xi and Putin was underway. Xi told Putin: “The East-route natural gas pipeline is a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries’ interests and win-win cooperation.”

The deal had been cemented in May 2014 when Russian gas giant Gazprom signed a 30-year contract with China National Petroleum Corp, after which the pipeline agreements were signed with both leaders present in Shanghai in later 2014.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced to both leaders that the pipeline had been opened via video link. “Gas is flowing to the gas transmission system of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

A 30-year deal was signed by Putin and Xi in 2014, and while a final figure has not been announced, it is believed to be worth more than $400 billion. — CNN

Gazprom will oversee operation of the mammoth pipeline which runs more than 8,100 kilometers (5,000 miles) across the two countries.

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