October 12, 2010

Is the Mekong River Shrinking?

The New York Times says the Mekong is shrinking and China may be hoarding its flow but from where I sat for lunch today along the river at the Laotian border it is very high and rising....


Sinomania! On Assignment

Exploring Chinese influence in southeast Asia before making my way through China until I reach Chongqing. I will be posting as I can....


October 08, 2010

Chinese Household Wealth May Double in 5 Years

A new report by Credit Suisse says Chinese personal wealth my increase to $35 trillion by 2015 second only to the USA. The huge number of Chinese with increasing discretionary incomes will reshape the global economy according to the private bank. Sectors expected to see significant growth in China include transportation & communications, recreation & education, housing & utilities, and healthcare....

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October 06, 2010

US China Policy Should Be Campaign Issue

Christine O'Donnell the much maligned Republican nominee for Deleware's open US Senate seat says China has a secret plan to take over America. O'Donnell made the claim in a 2006 debate for the nomination. The transcript of her remarks obtained by The Washington Post contain several lies about China that have currency in anti-China circles: China is "taking American oil" by drilling off the coast of Florida; in China you are "not allowed to be Christian" or read the Bible. But the flap over her remarks do point out the necessity to bring US policy on China and Americans ignorance about China and Chinese people into national focus.

China policy should - must - be a national campaign issue in the next election cycle in 2012. See my new group Americans for a New China Policy....

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October 04, 2010

China Saves Greece

Chinese PM Wen Jiabao is touring the EU on feel good missions to assure China's support for the region's economies and currency. Wen will attend an East-West Summit in Brussels and meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Over the weekend in Greece Wen announced that Beijing would buy Greece's debt in a confidence bid on Greek turnaround. One commentator sees opportunity with recent Greek programs to push solar power. As regular readers know China is developing container terminals and greatly expanding the port at Piraeus in a larger shipping and logistics strategy. You can read my 2008 report on it here....

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October 01, 2010

National Day 2010: To the Moon and Beyond

Amid quiet celebrations for the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic the Chinese space program launched the Chang'e II lunar probe. The probe will eventually settle into a close orbit around the moon to survey a possible landing site. It will eventually either crash onto the moon or be sent into the solar system. The rocket launch was broadcast on national television and took precedence over reports of wreath laying at the Monument to the People's Heroes at the center of Tiananmen Square in the national capital.

For perspective, Russia and the USA achieved orbiting lunar modules almost a half century ago in 1966...


China Moves Towards Credit Default Swaps

Two significant reforms underway this week in China: Beijing approved expanding Shanghai's interbank market to a "National Interbank Loan Trading System" with 21 big banks signed up for interbank lending and word in Lujiazui is that real Credit Default Swaps are coming. And Reuters reports today that short-term commercial paper will be traded in the interbank market creating a new vehicle for short term financing and away from dependence on bank lending.

Bank lending has expanded enormously in China in answer to the Panic of '08. Today over 45 trillion Yuan or $6.8 trillion US dollars in bank lending are outstanding a number not far off that in the USA....

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Andy Xie Changes His Mind

China hand Bill Bishop at Forbes' China Tracker blog calls out Andy Xie for now saying Chinese real estate is not a bubble but may have peaked and will decline slowly thanks to government actions. Again I ask what became of the China Crash Call? Will Marc Faber, Jim Chanos, Gordon Chang, the editorial boards of the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Nomura Securities, etc., change their tune too....?

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MSM Discovers South-North Water Diversion Project

A flurry of news stories on China's longstanding ambitious plan to divert water resources from the Yangtze River basin north are gaining currency in the mainstream media. The source appears to be this report in Wednesday's LA Times. Most of the reporting is critical with China gatekeeper Orville Schell asserting that China is attempting to "re-plumb" the nation a task "no country" has yet done successfully.

Schell's comment is particulary odd given his location in northern California. What of the 700+ miles of canals and pipelines in the California Aqueduct system that bring northern California's water south? Or the Colorado River aqueduct that taps the Colorado River 250 miles east of Los Angeles? Both diversion projects had their critics and opponents before they were built directly by the US federal government in the 1930s.

See my April 2009 post on China's diversion project here...

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