Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Four companies sign deal to develop LNG Canada but much work to be done, says CEO
THE CANADIAN PRESS APRIL 30, 2014 4:55 PM
"Oh please buy all of BC, Pretty Plueeeze!"
"Oh please buy all of BC, Pretty Plueeeze!"
VANCOUVER — Four companies have signed on to develop LNG Canada, the entity behind a proposed liquefied natural gas project, which B.C. Premier Christy Clark says has reached an important milestone.
Shell Canada, PetroChina, Korea Gas Corp. and Mitsubishi are taking part in the project located in Kitimat, B.C.
LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz says the agreement does not mean that a final decision to build the project has been made.
He says such a massive undertaking comes with significant investment challenges and there's much work to be done including an environmental assessment and consultations with First Nations and communities.
Calitz says LNG Canada also needs assurances of an ample labour pool and will work closely with the federal and B.C. governments to ensure the project is economically viable.
Clark has said the project will decide the province's economic future and that the government is taking steps to provide skills training for future LNG workers.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The world's biggest art factory: Inside the Chinese village where thousands of artists recreate iconic paintings for sale overseas
- Dafen Oil Painting Village is a suburb of Shenzhen in China's Guangdong province
- Here artists produce up to 60 per cent of the total global volume of reproduction artworks
By DAMIEN GAYLE
PUBLISHED: 18:08 GMT, 23 July 2013 | UPDATED: 04:02 GMT, 24 July 2013
Knock-off masterpieces: A painter works on a copy of a portrait in a studio at Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province
A vendor waits for customers in a gallery: The Dafen district is believed to be the largest mass producer of oil paintings in the world
Known as Dafen Oil Painting Village, the district is believed to be the largest mass producer of oil paintings in the world.
Artists here manufacture some 60 per cent of the total global volume in such knock-off canvases, according to the China Daily.
Many of the artists are trained in the required techniques at Chinese art academies.
But faced with the difficulty of making a living from their own compositions, they produce dozens of replicas of iconic paintings daily to make ends meet.
Prices on DafenVillageOnline.com, a website set up to sell works directly to consumers overseas, average about $60 (£40), but many are no doubt passed on wholesale for far less to be sold in many countries for similar prices.
Start them young: A two-year-old boy, the son of a vendor, sits watching cartoons on an old computer surrounded by dozens of rolled up and hanging canvases at a gallery at Dafen
BY CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON — Just as the global economy has all but recovered from debt-fueled crises in the United States and Europe, economists have a new worry: China. They see a lending bubble there that threatens global growth unless Beijing defuses it.
That's the view that emerges from an Associated Press survey this month of 30 economists. Still, the economists remain optimistic that Beijing's high-stakes drive to reform its economy — the world's second-largest — will bolster Chinese banks, ease the lending bubble and benefit U.S. exporters in the long run.
"They've really got to change the way they do business," said William Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Asset Management. "But they have a good track record of doing just that. I'm an optimist about their ability to make this transition."
The source of concern is a surge in lending by Chinese banks. The lending was initially encouraged by the government during the 2008 global financial crisis to fuel growth. Big state-owned banks financed construction of homes, railroads and office towers. But much of the lending was directed by local officials for pet projects rather than to meet business needs.
On Monday, the International Monetary Fund issued a warning about China's private debt. It released a report citing "rising vulnerabilities" in China's financial system, including lending outside traditional banks. Lending by that "shadow" banking system now equals one-quarter of China's economy, the report said.
The IMF also pointed to recent defaults in credit card and other debt sold to investors by banks and heavy debts owed by local governments.
If it continues, "this could spark adverse financial market reaction both in China and globally," the IMF said.
The bubble has caused land prices in China to double in five years, according to an estimate by Nomura, a Japanese bank. Outstanding credit surged from 130 percent of the economy in 2008 to 200 percent in 2013, according to Capital Economics, a forecasting firm.
When debt has built up that fast in the past — as in the United States during the housing bubble — financial crises have typically followed.
"That should be setting alarm bells off," said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics.
When debt finances excessive building, eventually too few people or companies are willing to buy all the houses, apartments and offices. That can send prices sinking and trigger loan defaults by developers and property owners. Banks typically then curtail lending, thereby slowing growth.
Most economists think China's government would bail out its state owned banks and provide enough money so they could continue lending. It would also support any companies whose bankruptcy would threaten growth.
"I don't think anybody important is going to be allowed to go broke," Cheney said.
China's government has adopted a reform program intended to strengthen its financial sector and transform its economy with more consumer spending and less dependence on construction and investment.
The IMF said those efforts could make growth more sustainable and boost consumption. But it said progress "remains incomplete."
Premier Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, promised in March to give market forces a "decisive role" in allocating loans. Days later, the government let a corporate bond default for the first time, rather than bailing out the investors, to encourage more market discipline.
Also that month, China cleared the way for the first five privately owned banks. The government hopes they will lend more to entrepreneurs and private businesses and provide competition for the state-owned giants.
The measures are having some effect. New lending slowed in March. And the expansion of China's money supply rose at its slowest rate since 1997. Home sales in the first quarter declined 5.7 percent from a year earlier.
But there's been a cost to China and the global economy. The economy's growth slowed to 7.4 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with a year ago. That was down from 7.7 percent in last year's fourth quarter. While still far ahead of developed economies such as the United States, that rate was well below the double-digit growth China had enjoyed for decades.
The AP survey collected the views of private, corporate and academic economists on a range of issues. Most said they thought China's slowdown posed a threat to countries that ship huge amounts of commodities — including iron ore and copper — to China. Among them, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia and Australia have already felt the sting.
Sun Wong Sohn, an economics professor at California State University's Smith School of Business, estimated that each percentage point decline in China's growth rate shaved about 0.3 percentage point from global growth.
Consumption accounts for only 55 percent of China's growth, the government said last year. That compares with 70 percent in the United States. But if China's government succeeds in its reforms, it could benefit U.S. companies by enabling more Chinese consumers to buy U.S. goods and services.
"It's what we've been calling on them to do," said Phillip Swagel, an economics professor at the University of Maryland and former Treasury Department official.
Among the economists' other views that emerged from the AP survey:
— The United States would benefit from lifting a government ban on exporting crude oil and promoting more natural gas exports. Oil and gas drilling has boomed in recent years in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and other states, prompting oil companies to call for a lifting of the ban.
— U.S. economic growth and hiring will pick up in the second half of the year. The economy is expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.1 percent from July through December, up from only 2.3 percent in the first half of the year. And the unemployment rate will fall to 6.2 percent by the end of this year, they forecast. The rate is now 6.7 percent.
— Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will manage the unwinding of the Fed's stimulus programs without causing a surge in interest rates or panicking investors. Nearly three-quarters of the economists said they were "somewhat confident" in Yellen's ability to do so. Six were "very confident." Only two said they were "not confident at all."
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/28/4987091/ap-survey-chinas-lending-bubble.html#storylink=cpy
Recent reports of crackdowns by Chinese officials on young female fans who write slash have sent waves of alarm throughout international fandom waters.
A new investigative report from Anhui TV claims that Chinese authorities have arrested at least 20 people for the crime of writing male/male fanfic—mostly polite, introverted young women in their 20s.
The increased attention to slash is part of a recently announced Internet "cleanup" by China's National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. It's apparently been tasked with deleting any kind of pornographic online content.
The whitewashing reportedly includes all text, pictures, videos, and advertisements. It also seems to include slash fic—specifically male/male slash and its Japanese cultural counterpart, yaoi or Boys Love. In China, it all falls under the term "dan mei."
Slash is only one form of the many kinds of fanfiction on the Internet, and fanfiction in general is rarely more shocking than your average romance novel. But it seems some Chinese authorities have targeted slash and the young women who write it as a particularly appalling form of online pornography.
The lengthy report followed male police in Zhengzhou in Henan province as they pursued and arrested 28-year-old Wong Chao Jun, the admin of the now-offline site Dan Mei Fiction Web (DMXSW.com), a popular fanfic archive. Even though the website's servers were housed in the U.S., where such content is perfectly legal, authorities arrested Chao Jun and closed the archive. Other popular fanfic archives, like jjwxc.net, stayed online but deleted all of their fanfiction categories.
The police officers also arrested young women who participated on the website, all the while expressing horror that the young women had fallen into such a shocking pastime. The report stated that most of the 20 fans who'd been arrested for writing fanfiction across the nation had been "introverted" women in their 20s. One young woman, Xiao Li, was described as being polite and "very obedient."
Another young woman broke down on camera, discussing how she fell into writing slash as though making up stories on the Internet is akin to buying a gateway drug.
Then again, in China, apparently it is. Last year, in its previous crackdown on the web, China boasted that it had killed 225 websites, 4,000 web channels, and 30,000 blogs. Members of the public are also encouraged to report any website they find that contains pornographic or offensive content.
The police officers in the report expressed disgust at the activity of writing fanfiction; one stated that he believed writing and reading slash "promotes homosexuality," a comment that angered Chinese netizens. Offbeat Chinanoted that many of China's slash fangirls have defiantly labeled themselves “rotten women (腐女)" in order to highlight the banality of what they do. On Weibo, 咖啡呆丶LM angrily responded:
This is not cleaning the cyberspace. This is pure discrimination. I may never see a rainbow flag fly above China in my life time.
Recently U.S. media had a field day with the non-news that Johnlockfanfiction is extremely popular in China. The international Sherlock fandom is used to coming under media scrutiny and even ridicule from unexpected places. But the titillating shock value of straight women writing gay male romance has much more weighty implications in some parts of the world. In some countries, such as China and Australia, the legality of erotic fanfiction is questionable, and male/male slash and yaoi nearly always receive a harsher response from authorities than its heterosexual counterpart. In Canada, a manga fan was jailed for months in 2012 for transporting yaoi across the U.S. border before being released.
But despite the crackdown, it's unlikely that the popularity of slash fanfic in China will dwindle.
After all, even if the Chinese government could confiscate the laptop of every fangirl in the land, they'll have a far harder time eliminating the real source of slash fandom on the Internet: The simmering sexual tension between the characters we all love.
Lawmakers stay largely silent over Chinese takeover of US bank branches
China is buying land in the US and will be immune to our LAWS?! We export jobs to China and they bring them back in the form of slavery – our labor laws will have no effect. What’s next, the importation of tanks and soldiers to protect their investment?http://www.dailypaul.com/207657/idaho-to-be-first-chinese-state
It’s no secret that America is in big trouble, and the New World Order plan is the purposed way out by corporate elitists that want to become ever so more powerful by way of the destruction of America. The values that have made Americans prosperous are no longer in the big picture, as huge debt was used to force upon us true hell, leaving treasonous solutions up to corrupt politicians and their corporate ring masters to further the New World Order game plan.
“Officials of the China National Machinery Industry Corporation have suggested developing a technology zone occupying 10,000 to 30,000 acres south of the Boise airport for industry, retail centers and homes.”
So people that don’t get their pay checks, are vets, social security that we paid into, what happened to those funds? Will China just take control of everything by force or by laws or just both.
I think the Fed will have a difficult time explaining that allowing Chinese state-backed banks to takeover American banks is what our market needs. There has been signs leading up to what we will see during the next urban drills with NATO troops.
U.S. lawmakers have been unusually silent about federal regulators’ decision to allow a Chinese bank to take over 13 bank branches in New York and California, suggesting that they think American banks have much to gain.
“I was very surprised by the Federal Reserve’s decision to open the doors to China’s banking system,” Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) told The Hill in a statement. “I have called a hearing of [my] subcommittee … because Congress needs to know if the Obama Administration is giving away the store in its negotiations with China. What I want to know is, do American banks have access to China’s markets? Are we giving Chinese banks better access than China gives American banks?”
Members of both parties usually relish the chance to bash China on everything from government subsidies to the yuan’s exchange rate. Yet the decision by the Federal Reserve to certify a Chinese bank acquisition for the first time was met by near-universal silence.http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/asia-pacific/227035-lawmakers-largely-silent-on-chinese-takeover-of-us-bank-branches
The increasingly controversial Federal Reserve offered a green light for banks controlled by the Communist Chinese dictatorship to gobble up American financial institutions and enter the U.S. banking market despite national security concerns, sparking warnings among critics about the rapid spread of the brutal regime’s influence within America. Analysts, meanwhile, called the unprecedented approval a “landmark step” for regulators that could have global implications. http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/sectors/item/11344-fed-approves-first-communist-chinese-takeover-of-us-bank
For the first time ever, U.S. banks are now open for purchase by the Chinese Government through subsidiary corporations. If you had any doubts before over where global economic power is shifting to, the evidence should be crystal clear now. China is on the move to buy anything of concrete value, including U.S. properties and gold, and is obviously in preparation to expand its financial influence around the world. The point? China is being groomed by globalist organizations to become the next major economic hub, or engine, while America is being set up for massive system failure. The writing is on the wall for anyone with eyes... http://www.alt-market.com/msm/770-federal-reserve-allowing-china-to-take-over-banks-in-us
Reports say China is also building game-changing aircraft carriers, stealth jet fighters and advanced weapons that can pave the way for ending the dominance of the United States at sea.
“In the event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default, it could have a catastrophic effect on not just financial markets but also on job creation, consumer spending and economic growth,” the report said.“Credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, US interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.”…“Considering the experience of countries around the world that have defaulted on their debt, not only might the economic consequences of default be profound, but those consequences, including high interest rates, reduced investment, higher debt payments, and slow economic growth, could last for more than a generation,” the report states.
From Steve Quayle’s web ALERT page http://www.stevequayle.com/index.php?s=33&d=602
CHINESE VIEWING THEIR FUTURE HOMES IN UPSCALE DC NEIGHBORHOOD.THE CHINESE OWN THIS COUNTRY BEHIND THE SCENES, AS PRIVATE CITIZENS PROPERTY PLEDGED AS SECURITY FOR THEIR BUYING OUR DEBT!
I have a friend who lives in a VERY upscale neighborhood near D.C. Her neighbors are names we have all heard of. A few days ago, she found 34 Chinese “so-called” tourists in her front and back yard taking pictures. They were all dressed very nicely. She is a devout Christian and did not want to offend, so she went outside and asked them what they were doing there. They said they were just “tourists” who thought these homes were beautiful. She asked them how they got to her neighborhood. They said their bus was parked elsewhere and they had walked in. My friend said nothing like this has ever happened in her neighborhood. She became especially concerned when they asked if they could come into her home and take pictures! Of course, she said, no. This has left her (and me!) very troubled. What is going on? Are they sizing up the area and looking for their future homes? It was just so bizarre…..SQ NOTE; they are going to take the homes and they have already chosen the neighborhoods in specific areas down to the very houses they are going to take when they attack us-Our Government knows this well and is complicit.
BY NEIL IRWIN
An announcement Tuesday by the obscure-sounding Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, better known as SWIFT, may not get much ink. China's currency, it reported, was used in 8.66 percent of global trade finance transactions in October, the group said. It's now the No. 2 most widely used currency for trade finance, supplanting the euro.
But that is a lot more important than it might sound. It gives an important window into how the global economy is changing--and why America's long reign of economic dominance is at risk.
Let's back up. Suppose you're a textile manufacturer in Malaysia, and you want to sell your goods all across Asia and beyond. You sell those goods on credit, letting buyers pay you later for goods shipped today. But what currency should that credit be extended in? You might prefer it be denominated in Malaysian ringgit. Your buyers would prefer their home currencies--the Indonesian rupiah, the Thai baht, whatever. So you settle on something neutral--a currency that is viewed as having stable value and which each party can easily convert funds into and out of.
For decades, that has meant you finance this trade in dollars, and only dollars. This is one important piece of America's role as issuer of the "global reserve currency," a result of the dollar functioning as the bedrock of the global financial system.
But the SWIFT data show that the renminbi, China's currency (also known as yuan), is fast becoming the dollar's major competition for dominance in global trade. It held only a distant second place in October, to be sure. the dollar accounted for more than 81 percent of global trade finance, to less than 9 percent for renminbi. But the speed with which China's currency has gained market share as a tool for international trade is astonishing. In January 2012, it accounted for less than 2 percent of trade finance, behind the dollar, euro, and yen. One can easily imagine the renminbi being the dominant currency for financing trade within Asia within a few years.
It is no accident. The Chinese government has long sought a role as a financial power to match its economic might. It has sought to establish Shanghai as a financial capital on par with London or New York. Internal advocates of reform, particularly at the People's Bank of China, have used this nationalistic goal to push for the changes that China will need to undertake if it to achieve those goals: Allowing a more free flow of capital in and out of China, backing away from its aggressive interventions to depress the value of the currency, and encouraging the development of modern bond markets.
Encouraging the use of yuan in trade finance has been perhaps the most successful aspect of China's financial rise to date. In the new SWIFT report, quite logically China itself and Hong Kong (a special administrative region of China which has its own currency) account for the vast majority of the renminbi-denominated trade finance, 58 and 21 percent respectively. But China is making inroads beyond its own borders, with Singapore, Germany, and Australia counting for much of the remainder.
And the PBOC has established linkages with a range of foreign central banks, first in Asia and now in Europe, that will help ensure that banks around the world can get access to renmimbi when they need it. These "swap lines," including one agreed to in October with the European Central Bank, should help give businesses confidence that they can finance trade with renmimbi without the fear that there will be a sudden freeze-up in money markets that mean they can't convert their funds.
A German exporter, for example, can have confidence that if his bank has trouble getting access to yuan for whatever reason, the ECB can get access to the currency through the PBOC and then extend emergency loans to European banks.
There is an interesting parallel: This is exactly the tool that the U.S. Federal Reserve used during the 2008 crisis to help flood the global financial system with dollars at a time banks were hoarding them. At the peak, in December 2008, the Fed's liquidity swap lines amounted to $580 billion with 14 foreign central banks. The Fed was the lender of last resort to the world; the fact that it would do such a thing is part of the reason the dollar is the global reserve currency.
So China is taking concerted measures to make renminbi a more useful currency for global commerce, and it is starting to pay off in its usage for trade finance. Should America care? Does this matter for the United State's financial future?
The dollar's status as reserve currency creates an "exorbitant privilege," as it has been called, insulating the United States from many of the vicissitudes of global financial flows and making long-term U.S. interest rates lower than they would be otherwise. It also has some costs, most notably keeping the value of the dollar higher than it would otherwise be on global currency markets, which makes U.S. exporters a bit less competitive.
On one level, the rise of China as a financial giant could be good for the world. There's no obvious reason that when a Malaysian company and an Indonesian company do business, they should use the currency of a country that is 9,000 miles away and speaks a different language. And for China, leadership in the financial sphere could help speed along a process of maturing as a leader on the world stage. If China becomes Asia's banker, it might be too busy making money to be a geopolitical threat.
In the meantime, put China's rise in trade finance on a long list of ways that the United States can't count on being the only global hegemon around forever.