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China Eyes Yuan Devaluation in Trade Dispute

Finally, we have a story that makes retaliatory sense vs. the widely believed “nuclear” treasury dumping theory.

The widely-circulated “nuclear” theory suggests China would dump US treasuries in a trade war with the US. That theory never made any sense. Such a move would tend to strengthen the yuan, making Chinese exports more expensive. Thus, it would be precisely what the US would want.

The Real Nuclear Option

The real nuclear option would be a devaluation of the yuan, making Chinese goods less expensive to the US.

China is evaluating the potential impact of a gradual yuan depreciation, people familiar with the matter said, as the country’s leaders weigh their options in a trade spat with U.S. President Donald Trump that has roiled financial markets worldwide.

Senior Chinese officials are studying a two-pronged analysis of the yuan that was prepared by the government, the people said. One part looks at the effect of using the currency as a tool in trade negotiations with the U.S., while a second part examines what would happen if China devalues the yuan to offset the impact of any trade deal that curbs exports.

While a weaker yuan could help President Xi Jinping shore up China’s export industries in the event of widespread tariffs in the U.S., a devaluation comes with plenty of risks. It would encourage Trump to follow through on his threat to brand China a currency manipulator, make it more difficult for Chinese companies to service their mountain of offshore debt, and undermine recent efforts by the government to move toward a more market-oriented exchange rate system.

It would also expose China to the risk of heightened financial-market volatility, something authorities have worked hard to avoid in recent years. When China unexpectedly devalued the yuan by about 2 percent in August 2015, the move fueled capital outflows and sent shock-waves through global markets.

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

In Unprecedented Move, China Plans To Pay For Oil Imports With Yuan Instead Of Dollars

Just days after Beijing officially launched  Yuan-denominated crude oil futures (with a bang, as shown in the chart below, surpassing Brent trading volume) which are expected to quickly become the third global price benchmark along Brent and WTI, China took the next major step in the challenging the Dollar’s supremacy as global reserve currency (and internationalizing the Yuan) when on Thursday Reuters reported that China took the first steps to paying for crude oil imports in its own currency instead of the US Dollars.

A pilot program for yuan payment could be launched as soon as the second half of the year and regulators have already asked some financial institutions to “prepare for pricing crude imports in the yuan“, Reuters sourcesreveal.

According to the proposed plan, Beijing would start with purchases from Russia and Angola, two nations which, like China, are keen to break the dollar’s global dominance. They are also two of the top suppliers of crude oil to China, along with Saudi Arabia.

A change in the default crude oil transactional currency – which for decades has been the “Petrodollar”, blessing the US with global reserve currency status – would have monumental consequences for capital allocations and trade flows, not to mention geopolitics: as Reuters notes, a shift in just a small part of global oil trade into the yuan is potentially huge. “Oil is the world’s most traded commodity, with an annual trade value of around $14 trillion, roughly equivalent to China’s gross domestic product last year.” Currently, virtually all global crude oil trading is in dollars, barring an estimated 1 per cent in other currencies. This is the basis of US dominance in the world economy.

However, as shown in the chart below which follows the first few days of Chinese oil futures trading, this status quo may be changing fast.

Superficially, for China it would be a matter of nationalistic pride to see oil trade transact in Yuan: “Being the biggest buyer of oil, it’s only natural for China to push for the usage of yuan for payment settlement. This will also improve the yuan liquidity in the global market,” said one of the people briefed on the matter by Chinese authorities.

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

PetroYuan Futures Open – Over 10 BillIon Notional Trades In First Hour

After all the preparation, all the expectation, cheerleading and doomsaying, China’s Yuan-denominated crude oil futures contract began trading tonight and appears to be off a good start with well over 10 billion yuan notional traded within the first hour.

So far it has tracked WTI futures well, trading at around a $2 premium to WTI (when translated from yuan to USD)…

Additionally, well over 23,000 contracts have traded within the first hour for a notional trading volume of over 10 billion yuan – more than $1.5 billion notional… signaling significant demand.

Offshore Yuan is moving in sync with ‘Petroyuan’ futures – as WTI tends to track the USD.

As we most recently noted, after numerous “false starts” over the last decade,  the “petroyuan” is now real and China will set out to challenge the “petrodollar” for dominance. Adam Levinson, managing partner and chief investment officer at hedge fund manager Graticule Asset Management Asia (GAMA), already warned last year that China launching a yuan-denominated oil futures contract will shock those investors who have not been paying attention.

This could be a death blow for an already weakening U.S. dollar, and the rise of the yuan as the dominant world currency.

But this isn’t just some slow, news day “fad” that will fizzle in a few days.

A Warning for Investors Since 2015

Back in 2015, the first of a number of strikes against the petrodollar was dealt by China. Gazprom Neft, the third-largest oil producer in Russia, decided to move away from the dollar and towards the yuan and other Asian currencies.

Iran followed suit the same year, using the yuan with a host of other foreign currencies in trade, including Iranian oil.

During the same year China also developed its Silk Road, while the yuan was beginning to establish more dominance in the European markets.

But the U.S. petrodollar still had a fighting chance in 2015 because China’s oil imports were all over the place. Back then, Nick Cunningham of OilPrice.com wrote

Despite accounting for much of the world’s growth in demand in the 21st Century, China’s oil imports have been all over the map in recent months. In April, China imported 7.4 million barrels per day, a record high and enough to make it the world’s largest oil importer. But a month later, imports plummeted to just 5.5 million barrels per day.

That problem has since gone away, signaling China’s rise to oil dominance…

The Slippery Slope to the Petroyuan Begins Here

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

Financial Markets Definitely Destabilizing – Charles Hugh Smith

Financial writer and book author Charles Hugh Smith has been watching the extreme movements in financial markets closely. Is he nervous?  Smith says, “Oh yeah, it’s definitely destabilizing.  In other words, it’s becoming not just more volatile, the whole underlying structure of our economy is destabilizing.  What I mean by that is it’s becoming more brittle or fragile.  That is fundamentally why we are seeing these wild swings.  People are swinging between . . . keeping the money machine like it is for another nine years, and the other side of the coin says wait a minute, we have already had a weak expansion for nine years.  It’s almost the longest expansion in U.S. history.  A normal business cycle doesn’t run in one direction forever. . . .If you don’t allow your economy to have a business cycle recession, then you are simply making it more fragile by encouraging really marginal and risky investments, and that’s where we are now.”

One very big problem is a dramatic loss in buying power of the U.S. dollar, but it’s not just the dollar. According to Smith, “All these currencies, there is nothing backing the currencies except the government’s force.  That’s the yen, the euro, the dollar and the Chinese yuan.  They are all going to have a catastrophic drop against real assets because they are all based on too much leverage, too much debt, too much money being pumped into the financial system that ends up in unproductive speculation.  You can’t grow your debt at six times the rate of your economy.  In other words, if you are creating $6, $8 or $10 of debt to eke out $1 of low productivity growth, you are dooming your currency, and all currencies are doing the same thing.  All the currencies are going to take a big drop at some point . . . relative to real stuff.  Real stuff is commodities we need:  water, grains, food, oil, natural gas and, of course, precious metals.  Everybody knows they have been money for 5,000 years, and I personally feel there is a role for crypto currencies.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Charles Hugh Smith, author of the new book “Money and Work Unchained” and the founder of the popular site OfTwoMinds.com.

Central Bank Reserves – The Rise of the Yuan

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; I understand that your model shows that China will become the dominant economy post-2032. The IMF added the yuan to their SDR basket. Are central banks starting to use the yuan in reserves in a major way yet?

KD

ANSWER: Yes. The ECB (European Central Bank) converted a half-billion euros to yuan. So that is not what you would call major. This is a first step in the true internationalization of the yuan. The Bundesbank has also converted a small portion of their reserves. So it is starting. Reports that China was selling off US debt are false. The U.S. debt to China is $1.2 trillion as of October 2017. That’s 19% of the $6.3 trillion in Treasury bills, notes, and bonds held by foreign countries. The rest of the $20 trillion national debt is owned by either the American people or by the U.S. government itself. What China and most governments have been doing is reducing their holding in maturity from 10 years down to 5 years or less.

Despite what everyone may believe, the ECB reserves rank only number 30 on the list among central banks with just 75.1 billion. China has the biggest reserves of all followed still by Japan. Other than Switzerland, no European country ranks in the top ten. This is a reflection of their status in world trade as well. It only follows reason that the Chinese yuan will become a wider used reserve currency as it also dominates trade.

As Petro-Yuan Looms, Bundesbank Adds Renminbi To Currency Reserves

Just days after China’s (denied) threat to slow/stop buying US Treasuries, and just days before the launch of China’s petro-yuan futures contract, Germany’s central bank confirmed it would include China’s Renminbi in its reserves.

The FT reports that Andreas Dombret, a member of Deutsche Bundesbank’s executive board, said at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong on Monday that the central bank had “decided to include the RMB in our currency reserves”.

He said: “The RMB is used increasingly as part of central banks’ foreign exchange reserves; for example, the European Central Bank included the RMB [as a reserve currency].

The Bundesbank’s six-member board took the decision to invest in renminbi assets in mid-2017, but it was not publicly announced at the time. No investments have been made yet; preparations for purchases are still ongoing.

The inclusion in the German central bank’s reserves basket underscored China’s increasing prominence in the global financial landscape, and reflected policies aimed at making the currency more freely tradable internationally.

Mr Dombret said:

“The notable development from the European point of view over the past few years has been the growing international role of the RMB in global financial markets.

The offshore Yuan strengthened on the news overnight – pushing to its strongest in over 2 years…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180115_dollar1_0.png

And as Les Echoes reports, while the Bundesbank wants to integrate the yuan into its foreign exchange reserves, the Banque de France is already using it as a currency of diversification.

The Banque de France has raised a corner of the veil on its strategy of managing foreign exchange reserves.

“The foreign currency holdings remain overwhelmingly invested in US dollars, with diversification to a limited number of international currencies such as the Chinese renminbi.

Which currency would you rather hold as a stable reserve?

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180115_dollar.png

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

Will the Dollar Survive the Rise of the Yuan and the End of the Petrodollar?

Will the Dollar Survive the Rise of the Yuan and the End of the Petrodollar?

dollar.PNG

This might seem a frivolous question, while the dollar still retains its might, and is universally accepted in preference to other, less stable fiat currencies. However, it is becoming clear, at least to independent monetary observers, that in 2018 the dollar’s primacy will be challenged by the yuan as the pricing medium for energy and other key industrial commodities. After all, the dollar’s role as the legacy trade medium is no longer appropriate, given that China’s trade is now driving the global economy, not America’s.

At the very least, if the dollar’s future role diminishes, then there will be surplus dollars, which unless they are withdrawn from circulation entirely, will result in a lower dollar on the foreign exchanges. While it is possible for the Fed to contract the quantity of base money (indeed this is the implication of its desire to reduce its balance sheet anyway), it would also have to discourage and even reverse the expansion of bank credit, which would be judged by central bankers to be economic suicide. For that to occur, the US Government itself would also have to move firmly and rapidly towards eliminating its budget deficit. But that is being deliberately increased by the Trump administration instead.

Explaining the consequences of these monetary dynamics was the purpose of an essay written by Ludwig von Mises almost a century ago. At that time, the German hyperinflation was entering its final phase ahead of the mark’s eventual collapse in November 1923. Von Mises had already helped to stabilize the Austrian crown, whose own collapse was stabilized at about the time he wrote his essay, so he wrote with both practical knowledge and authority.

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

Pakistan Plans Replacing Dollar With Yuan In Trade With China

Pakistan Plans Replacing Dollar With Yuan In Trade With China

Pakistan is considering replacing the U.S. dollar with the Chinese yuan for bilateral trade between Pakistan and China, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said according to Dawn Online and The Economic Times. Interior Minister Iqbal, who has been central to the planning and implementation of China-Pakistan economic ties, was reported discussing the proposal after unveiling a long-term economic development cooperation plan for the two countries, Reuters added.

Iqbal spoke to journalists after the formal launch of Long Term Plan (LTP) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) signed by the two sides on November 21, Dawn online reported on Tuesday.  The CPEC is a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road initiative. The 3,000 km, over $50 billion corridor stretches from Kashgar in western China to Gwadar port in Pakistan on the Arabian sea.

Asked if the Chinese currency could be allowed for use in Pakistan, the minister said the Pakistani currency would be used within the country but China desired that bilateral trade should take place in yuan instead of dollars, in yet another push to de-dollarize what China considers its sphere of influence.

We are examining the use of yuan instead of the US dollar for trade between the two countries,” Iqbal said, adding that the use of yuan was not against the interest of Pakistan. Rather, it would “benefit” Pakistan.

It would also show that world that when it comes to Asia, the “superpower” of significance is no longer the US. And so, as China’s influence grows, the long-term plan highlighted key cooperation areas between the neighboring states including road and rail connections, information network infrastructure, energy, trade and industrial parks, agriculture, poverty alleviation and tourism.

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

China Takes Aim At The Petrodollar

China Takes Aim At The Petrodollar

Dollar

China continues to pursue its ambitious plan to make its currency—the yuan—more international.

The world’s top crude oil importer and key oil demand growth driver is now determined to get as many oil exporters as possible on board with accepting yuan payments for their oil.

China is now trying to persuade OPEC’s kingpin and biggest exporter, Saudi Arabia, to start accepting yuan for its crude oil. If the Chinese succeed, other oil exporters could follow suit and abandon the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Pulling oil trade out of U.S. dollars would lead to decreased demand for U.S. securities across the board, Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High Frequency Economics, tells CNBC. Weinberg believes that the Chinese will “compel” the Saudis to accept to trade oil in yuan.

Other analysts warn that the true test of China’s push for a yuan oil trade will be if the Saudis are willing to risk the anger of the U.S. by accepting yuan payments.

The other option isn’t much better for the Saudis—if they continue to resist trading in yuan, they risk losing further market share of the world’s top crude oil importer and possibly the snub of Chinese investors for the much-hyped IPO of Saudi Aramco next year. Chinese sovereign wealth funds and major state companies have deeper pockets than major institutional investors in the West. For China, an Aramco investment could increase Beijing’s bargaining power to convince Aramco to accept yuan payments. Although there’s no indication yet that Aramco would want yuan for its oil, the Saudis say they’re willing to consider issuing yuan-denominated bonds, in what could be a break from the practice to issue debt only in U.S. dollars.

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

Maduro Visits Putin, Proposes Global Oil Trade In Rubles, Yuan

Maduro Visits Putin, Proposes Global Oil Trade In Rubles, Yuan

Three weeks after the US imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to cripple its economy and choke the Maduro regime, which in turn prompted Caracas to announce it would no longer receive or send payments in dollars, and that those who wished to trade Venezuelan crude would have to do so in Chinese Yuan, today during an energy summit held in Moscow, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro proposed to expand his own personal blockade of the US, by proposing that all oil producing countries discuss creating a currency basket for trading crude and refined products. One which is no longer reliant on the (petro)dollar.

“Developing a new mechanism of controlling the oil market is necessary,” Maduro said on Wednesday at the Russian Energy Forum, being held in Moscow this week.

Quoted by RT, Maduro also blamed trade in crude oil paper futures as having an adverse impact on the oil market, which has undermined attempts by OPEC to stabilize prices. To counteract such “speculation”, Maduro proposed an alternative currency basket, one which is based not on the world’s reserve currency but includes the yuan, ruble, and other currencies, and which will mitigate the alleged adverse impact of futures trading.

 

Maduro’s proposal is merely the latest not so veiled hint at dedolarizing the global financial system by bypassing the petrodollar entirely, and rearranging a new currency basket determined by the world’s biggest oil producer, and largest oil importer.

Of course, Maduro is merely piggybacking on what China may already have in the works: recall that a month ago, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that China is preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into gold, potentially creating the most important Asian oil benchmark and allowing oil exporters to bypass U.S.-dollar denominated benchmarks by trading in yuan.

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

Oil Analysts Baffled As Venezuela Ditches Petrodollar

Oil Analysts Baffled As Venezuela Ditches Petrodollar

Venezuela

At the end of August, the U.S. stepped up sanctions on Venezuela, prohibiting dealings in new debt or equity issued by state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) or the government. A couple of weeks later Venezuela responded to what it called an “economic blockade” by suspending trade in U.S. dollars and publishing Venezuelan oil basket prices in Chinese yuan.

Analysts believe that although it has close strategic ties to China, Venezuela would mostly just harm itself with the move to “free the nation from the oppression of the dollar,” as Nicolas Maduro put it.

Venezuela told oil traders it will no longer accept or offer U.S. dollars in payment for crude oil and fuels, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, citing sources familiar with the developments. As a result, traders have started converting dollars into euros, and PDVSA’s foreign partners operating in the country may have to switch to euros as well.

Two days later, on September 15, Venezuela started publishing its oil prices in yuan. The move went against earlier reports that Maduro would favor the euro. As it is unlikely that China would ever join the U.S. on its quest to force Maduro to end his campaign to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution in what many see as a step in bringing the downtrodden country closer to dictatorship, the choice of yuan seems a safe one, if nothing else, compared to the European currency.

The European Union refused to recognize the outcome of the Venezuelan vote, but has so far stopped short of imposing sanctions. However, earlier this month, the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t rule out EU sanctions on Venezuela.

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

Venezuela Begins Publishing Oil Basket Price In Yuan

Venezuela Begins Publishing Oil Basket Price In Yuan

Two days after the WSJ confirmed Maduro’s earlier threat that he would stop accepting US Dollars as payment for crude oil imports, Venezuela has done just that.

As a reminder, and as we reported previously, in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions, Venezuela told oil traders that it will no longer receive or send payments in dollars. As a result, oil traders who export Venezuelan crude or import oil products into the country have begun converting their invoices to euros.

Furthermore, Venezuela’s state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA (whose bankruptcy is fast approaching), told its private joint venture partners to open accounts in euros and to convert existing cash holdings into Europe’s main currency, said one project partner. The new payment policy hasn’t been publicly announced, but Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who has been blacklisted by the U.S., said Friday, “To fight against the economic blockade there will be a basket of currencies to liberate us from the dollar.”

Fast forward to today, when according to a statement on the Venezuela oil ministry, the country’s weekly crude oil and petroleum basket “will be published in Chinese Yuan” – oddly, not in Euros as the WSJ hinted – going forward. We can only assume that Venezuela avoided the European currency on concerns that Brussels may follow in D.C.’s footsteps and impose financial sanctions on the Maduro regime next. Which meant that the only “safe” currency to transact in, was that of the country’s two big sources of vendor (and commodity) financing: China and Russia. For now Venezuela has picked the former.

The ministry also unveiled a price of 306.26 Yuan per barrel for the week of Sept. 11-15, up 1.8% from the 300.91 in the previous week, saying “the more favorable outlook on world oil demand and reports of lower global production contributed to the strengthening of crude oil prices this week.”

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

China Battles “Impossible Trinity”

China Battles “Impossible Trinity”

Just because something is inevitable does not mean it cannot be postponed.

The popular name for this is “kicking the can down the road,” which is a perfectly good description.

I prefer more technical terms such as dynamic systems in “subcritical” and “supercritical” state space, but it amounts to the same thing.

A financial crisis can be a long time in the making, but it will definitely erupt. When it does, there will be huge losses for those who ignored the warning signs.

China is in a pre-crisis situation today.

It is confronting the harsh logic of the “Impossible Trinity.”

The Impossible Trinity theory was advanced in the early 1960s by Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell. It says that no country can have an open capital account, a fixed exchange rate and an independent monetary policy at the same time.

You can have one or two out of three, but not all three. If you try, you will fail — markets will make sure of that.

Those failures (which do happen) represent some of the best profit-making opportunities of all. Understanding the Impossible Trinity is how George Soros broke the Bank of England on Sept. 16, 1992 (still referred to as “Black Wednesday” in British banking circles. Soros also made over $1 billion that day).

The reason is that if more attractive total returns are available abroad, money will flee a home country at a fixed exchange rate to seek the higher return. This will cause a foreign exchange crisis and a policy response that abandons one of the three policies.

But just because the trinity is impossible in the long run does not mean it cannot be pursued in the short run. China is trying to peg the yuan to the U.S. dollar while maintaining a partially open capital account and semi-independent monetary policy. It’s a nice finesse, but isn’t sustainable.

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

China Readies Yuan-Priced Crude Oil Benchmark Backed By Gold

China Readies Yuan-Priced Crude Oil Benchmark Backed By Gold

Beijing

The world’s top oil importer, China, is preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into gold, potentially creating the most important Asian oil benchmark and allowing oil exporters to bypass U.S.-dollar denominated benchmarks by trading in yuan, Nikkei Asian Review reports.

The crude oil futures will be the first commodity contract in China open to foreign investment funds, trading houses, and oil firms. The circumvention of U.S. dollar trade could allow oil exporters such as Russia and Iran, for example, to bypass U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan, according to Nikkei Asian Review. To make the yuan-denominated contract more attractive, China plans the yuan to be fully convertible in gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.

Last month, the Shanghai Futures Exchange and its subsidiary Shanghai International Energy Exchange, INE, successfully completed four tests in production environment for the crude oil futures, and the exchange continues with preparatory works for the listing of crude oil futures, aiming for the launch by the end of this year. ?

“The rules of the global oil game may begin to change enormously,” Luke Gromen, founder of U.S.-based macroeconomic research company FFTT, told Nikkei Asia Review.

The yuan-denominated futures contract has been in the works for years, and after several delays, it looks like it may be launched this year. Some potential foreign traders have been worried that the contract would be priced in yuan.

But according to analysts who spoke to Nikkei Asian Review, backing the yuan-priced futures with gold would be appealing to oil exporters, especially to those that would rather avoid U.S. dollars in trade.

“It is a mechanism which is likely to appeal to oil producers that prefer to avoid using dollars, and are not ready to accept that being paid in yuan for oil sales to China is a good idea either,” Alasdair Macleod, head of research at Goldmoney, told Nikkei.

China is going to hit a wall

Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder and research director at J Capital, warns that the monster bubble in the Chinese housing market is ripe to pop and that the Chinese currency will crash.

It’s been exactly two years now since turmoil in China’s currency markets threw investors around the globe into panic. After the shock in late August of 2015, another tantrum followed in early 2016. Since then concerns about China have diminished. The consensus seems to be that Beijing once again has regained control. Nonetheless, Anne Stevenson-Yang remains skeptical. The co-founder of the influential research firm J Capital warns that the speculation in the Chinese real estate market is getting evermore excessive. “There is little comfort that the economy can go on for much longer without some catastrophic adjustment”, says the American who’s one of the most distinguished experts on China. She expects that China’s currency will devalue significantly and explains why the Chinese government is cracking down on HNA and other Chinese companies that have been on an overseas buying spree.

Ms. Stevenson-Yang, many investors don’t seem to care much about China anymore. How is the situation inside the Middle Kingdom two years after the currency shock of August 2015?

Everyone in China – from the government at every level to the people who work in banks, construction companies and real estate companies – is one hundred percent focused on how to push growth with more investment. That’s all people think about. Everybody is maniacally focused on the questions if investments will continue and if investments can continue to drive growth.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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