China lays out official stance on trade talks with U.S.in white paper


On Sunday, China released a comprehensive white paper to formalize its positions on trade negotiations with the U.S. The set of statements come as the trade war escalates and Beijing threatens to hit back with a  retaliatory blacklist of U.S. firms. Here are some key takeaways from the press conference announcing the white paper:

U.S. ‘responsible’ for stalled trade talks

The “U.S. government bears responsibility” for setbacks in trade talks, chided the paper, adding that the U.S. has imposed additional tariffs on Chinese goods that impede economic cooperation between the two countries and globally.

While it’s “common” for both sides to propose “adjustments to the text and language” in ongoing negotiations, the U.S. administration “kept changing its demands” in the “previous more than ten rounds of negotiations,” the paper alleged.

On the other hand, reports of China backtracking on previous trade deals are mere “mudslinging,” Wang Shouwen, the Chinese vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative, said as he led the Sunday presser.

China ready to fight if forced to

China does not want a trade war with the U.S, but it’s not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary, said the white paper.

Beijing’s position on trade talks has never changed — that cooperation serves the interests of both countries and conflict can only hurt both — according to the paper. CNBC’s Eunice Yoon pointed out that Beijing’s latest stance repeats previous statements made back in  September.

Deals must be equal

Difference and frictions remain on the economic and trade fronts between the two countries, but China is willing to work with the U.S. to reach a “mutually beneficial and win-win agreement,” stated the paper. However, cooperation has to be based on principles and must not compromise China’s core interests.

“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” Wang said.

He said one needs not “overinterpret” China’s soon-to-come entity list, adding that it mainly targets foreign companies that run against market rules and violate the spirit of contracts, cut off supplies to Chinese firms for uncommercial reasons, damage the legitimate rights of Chinese companies, or threaten China’s national security and public interests.

China respects IP rights

The paper also touched on issues that are at the center of the prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute, including China’s dealings with intellectual property rights. U.S. allegations of China over IP theft are “an unfounded fabrication,” said the white paper, adding that China has made great efforts in recent years to protect and enforce IP rights.

Wang claimed that China pays the U.S. a significant sum to license IP rights every year. Of the $35.6 billion it shelled out for IP fees in 2018, nearly a quarter went to the U.S.

Investments are mutually beneficial

The white paper claimed that bilateral investments between the two countries are mutually beneficial rather than undermining for U.S. interests when taken account of “trade in goods and services as well as two-way investment.”

The Chinese government also pushed back at claims that it exerts influence on businesses’ overseas investments.

“The government is not involved in companies’ business activities and does not ask them to make specific investments or acquisitions,” said Wang. “Even if we make such requests, companies won’t obey.”

In response to China’s probe into FedEx over Huawei packages that went stray, Wang assured that “foreign businesses are welcome to operate legally in China, but when they break rules, they have to cooperate with regulatory investigations. That’s indisputable.”

The Shenzhen-based smartphone and telecom giant has been hit hard by during the trade negotiations as the Trump administration orders U.S. businesses to  sever ties with the Chinese firm.

Source link to /techcrunch

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Investigation into FedEx expected to be fair and just

Chinese authorities announced on Saturday that relevant department has decided to open an investigation into whether FedEx violated the legitimate rights and interests of its Chinese clients. Huawei recently revealed to the media that FedEx had diverted two parcels sent from Japan destined for an address in China to the US, and  two others from Vietnam to Hong Kong and Singapore respectively were also diverted to a US address after delay.

Source: Global Times | 2019/6/1 23:36:25

China’s entity list sends clear signal

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday that the country will release its non-reliable entity list. Foreign entities, individuals and companies that block and shut the supply chain, or take discriminatory measures over non-commercial reasons, and when their actions endanger the business of Chinese companies will be included in  the list.

Source: Global Times | 2019/5/31 20:09:26

US ambitions threaten Asian security

The annual Shangri-La Dialogue kicked off in Singapore Friday. Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will attend the event and make a speech, raising observers’ expectations on this year’s Dialogue.

China does not want but is not afraid of a trade war: white paper

China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and it will fight one if necessary. China’s position on this has never changed, the white paper pointed out.

US accusation of China IP theft, forced technology transfer unfounded: white paper

Accusing China of stealing intellectual property to support its own development is an unfounded fabrication.
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Trump declares national emergency over threats against US technology amid campaign against Huawei, as China opposes


CNBC news & Video:

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2019/05/15/trump-signs-executive-order-targeting-huawei.html

Key Points 

  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared a national emergency over threats against American technology, the White House said.
  • The move, done via executive order, is expected to precede a ban on U.S. firms doing business with the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.
  • The announcement comes as the U.S and China remain locked in a trade dispute.

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China slams U.S. blacklisting of Huawei as trade tensions rise

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Huawei ban reflects ‘Cold War mentality’

The latest ban on Huawei reflects Washington’s dangerous Cold War mentality that will lead to further US-China decoupling, which is also casting a shadow over stalled trade talks between the two countries and will hurt the global tech industry, Chinese analysts said on Thursday.

Why Washington cannot contain Huawei

The US cannot strangle Huawei, nor will it be able to contain the development of China and deprive the 1.4 billion Chinese people of their development rights.

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Punitive duties on US$200bil in goods raises stakes in trade talks .  https://youtu.be/82NLXvMtn64 Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrive..

Huawei gaining support despite US ban

Year 2018 review: Huawei and the technology cold war, competition in spheres of influence

Huawei CFO arrest violates human rights as US takes aim at Huawei, the real trade war with China

From trade war to global anarchy?

Employees believe Huawei will survive widespread bans in West with ‘Wolf spirit’ culture

 Huawei unveils server chipset as China cuts reliance on imports

Why Huawei’s 5G technology is seen as a threat by the US

China hits back at US tariffs


Duties show Beijing unfazed by Washington’s pressure

China on Monday struck back at US tariffs on Chinese goods, announcing duties of between 5 percent to 25 percent on more than 5,100 products from the US worth tens of billions of dollars.

The measured but firm response from Chinese officials highlighted China’s defiance toward maximum pressure from US officials amid a fresh escalation in the trade war, while also seeking to avoid a full-fledged trade war with the US, analysts said.

China will impose an additional tariff of 25 percent on 2,493 items such as liquefied natural gas and 20 percent on 1,078 items, including fruits and chemicals, starting June 1, the Customs Tariff Commission under the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a statement Monday night.

China will also impose an additional tariff of 10 percent on 974 items, such as vegetables and seafood, and 5 percent on 595 items, including smaller planes, according to the statement. In total, the tariffs cover 5,140 US products worth $60 billion.

The statement said that China’s measures were in response to the US’ decision to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

“The aforementioned US action has led to an escalation in China-US trade frictions and is against a consensus reached by the two sides to address trade differences through consultations,” it said, adding it hurts both sides’ interests.

Following China’s tariffs, US stocks tumbled on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 2.17 percent shortly after market opening. Shares of major US companies which rely on Chinese markets also nosedived, with machinery maker Caterpillar stocks down 4.54 percent and aircraftmaker Boeing shares down 3.38 percent.


Firm response

“I think the response is firm but measured,” said Huo Jianguo, vice chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies in Beijing, pointing out that the measures were specifically aimed at responding to the US action.

The US on Friday raised duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from the 10 percent imposed since September 2018, to which China responded with tariffs on $60 billion in US goods.

“While the Chinese tariffs cover less US products than the US tariffs do on Chinese goods, it is sufficient to show that China is not going to back down from pressure,” Huo said.

China’s response comes about an hour after US President Donald Trump warned China against retaliating on Monday. “China should not retaliate – will only get worse!” Trump tweeted, while repeating false accusations against China.

The Chinese tariffs also followed fresh threats from US officials to impose tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods with details expected to be announced on Monday US time.

“Since the US has resumed the trade war, we should hit back hard… to show the Americans that they will not gain anything from their tough approach,” He Weiwen, a former senior Chinese trade official, told the Global Times. “But we should also not close the door to talks.”

Door open

Though China was forced to impose the tariffs, it also did so in a way that avoided a further escalation and left room for negotiations, said Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University’s Center for Economic Diplomacy.

“The country still left some room in the hope that bilateral trade tensions would not further escalate, and that there would be possible future talks with the US,” Song said.

Chinese and US officials concluded the 11th round of negotiations in Washington on Friday without reaching any deal. There were no plans for future talks as of press time on Monday.

But in light of the drastic turn of events in the trade talks, China has prepared for all scenarios, officials and analysts said.

“The Chinese side will never succumb to external pressure and we have the resolve and ability to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,” Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a routine press briefing on Monday.

“Again, we hope the US side could work with China and meet China halfway to address each other’s reasonable concerns based on mutual respect and equal terms,” he said.

But if the US wants to further escalate the trade war, China will respond in kind and there are many other tools it could take to inflict pain on the US economy, including targeting US financial markets, analyst noted.

Stay focused

However, while fighting back is necessary, it is also equally important for China not to lose focus in carrying out stated reform and opening-up efforts aimed at ensuring long-term growth for the Chinese economy, analysts said.

“We need to commit to our policies because we must keep things at home in good shape. That goes without saying,” Huo said, noting that China should continue its reform and opening-up efforts.

Continuing reform and opening-up measures will not only help cope with pressure from the US, but could also ensure long-term growth for the Chinese economy, analysts said.

In the short term, though, China needs to properly evaluate the potential damage of the trade war on Chinese companies and workers and take necessary measures to help them weather the impact.

Yu Yongding, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that given China’s deep role in the global value chain, it is hard to evaluate the impact on the Chinese economy, but China needs to prepare for the worst.

“In any case, the Chinese economy will be able to withstand the impact, and China’s monetary and fiscal policies still have room,” he said at a seminar in Beijing on Saturday.

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World markets plunged further on Tuesday following heavy losses on Wall Street after China delivered a swift rebuff to Donald Trump by imposing retaliatory tariffs on $60bn of US imports. Beijing ignored warnings from Trump about the dangers of escalating the trade conflict and ..

 

Tall tales won’t help US win trade war

The Chinese side is obviously more realistic while the US is falsifying. This will, to a large extent, influence how the two countries digest the trade war impacts.

Source: Global Times

 

US’ maximum pressure policy is useless

China’s stance is clear-cut. It is willing to reach a deal but will never make concessions on issues of principle, nor trade its core interests. In contrast, the US’ attitude is  swaying. Driven by unrealistic anticipation, it has drifted between expressing  optimism that exceeds the actual situation and arbitrarily waving the tariff tick. China has clarified its stance and will try to push the situation in a good direction. If the US is to play a roller coaster-style thriller game, it will bear the consequences.

Source: Global Times

 

US companies set to pay price of trade row with China

US-based software company Oracle attracted a lot of attention in recent days after firing hundreds of employees, mainly engineers, from its China team.

Source: Global Times

 

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Punitive duties on US$200bil in goods raises stakes in trade talks .  https://youtu.be/82NLXvMtn64 Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrive..
https://youtu.be/LaBEvT4O634 https://youtu.be/qW6ocYsE2F8 The US will raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion wo…

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US hits China with higher tariffs, raising stakes in trade talks



Punitive duties on US$200bil in goods raises stakes in trade talks.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrives at the the Office of the United States Trade Representative for negotiations on a trade deal

The United States pulled the trigger Friday on a steep increase in tariffs on Chinese products and Beijing immediately vowed to hit back, turning up the heat before a second day of trade negotiations.

President Donald Trump got a briefing from his trade negotiators after the first day of talks with the Chinese side on Thursday, but made no move to hold off on the tariffs — dashing hopes there might be a last-minute reprieve as the negotiations continued.

Minutes after the US increased punitive duties on $200 billion in imports from 10 to 25 percent, the Chinese commerce ministry said it “deeply regrets” the move and repeated its pledge to take “necessary countermeasures”, without elaborating.

Locked in a trade dispute for more than a year, officials from the world’s two biggest economies returned to the bargaining table late Thursday, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Since last year, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, gutting US agricultural exports to China and weighing on both countries’ manufacturing sectors.

Trump began the standoff because of complaints about unfair Chinese trade practices.

The US team met with Trump late Thursday night to brief him and “agreed to continue discussions” on Friday, the White House said in a statement.

AFP / Jonathan WALTER US-China trade

Lighthizer and Mnuchin met the Chinese delegation for about 90 minutes Thursday evening and they had a working dinner with Liu.

“We hope the US and the Chinese side can meet each other halfway and work hard together to resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultation,” the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement.

Despite optimism from officials in recent weeks that the talks were moving towards a deal, tensions reignited this week after Trump angrily accused China of trying to backpedal on its commitments.

“They took many, many parts of that deal and they renegotiated. You can’t do that,” Trump said on Thursday.

But he held out hopes of salvaging a deal.

“It’s possible to do it,” Trump said. “I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi (Jinping).”

At the same time, he said he would be happy to keep tariffs in place. And he has threatened to extend the tough duties to all Chinese goods.

Michael Taylor, a managing director for Moody’s Investors Service, said the tariff hike “further raises tensions” between the two countries.

“While we believe that a trade deal will eventually be reached between the US and China, the risk of a complete breakdown in trade talks has certainly increased,” Taylor said.

– Tariffs increase –

The renewed tensions roiled global stock markets this week and unnerved exporters, though Chinese shares led gains across most Asian and European markets on Friday.

AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wait to greet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for trade talks

Liu said on his arrival in Washington that the prospects for the talks were “promising,” but warned that raising tariffs would be “harmful to both sides,” and called instead for cooperation.

“I hope to engage in rational and candid exchanges with the US side,” he told Chinese state media.

“Of course, China believes raising tariffs in the current situation is not a solution to the problem, but harmful to China, to the United States and to the whole world.”

The higher duty rates will hit a vast array of Chinese-made electrical equipment, machinery, auto parts and furniture.

But due to a quirk in the implementation of the higher tariffs, products already on ships headed for US ports before midnight will only pay the 10 percent rate, US Customs and Border Protection explained.

That could effectively provide a grace period for the sides to avert serious escalation.

AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds An anti-China protester (C) yells at a pro-China demonstrator outside the Office of the United States Trade Representative as US and Chinese officials hold tariff negotiations in Washington

“While we are disappointed that the stakes have been raised, we nevertheless support the ongoing effort by both sides to reach agreement on a strong, enforceable deal that resolves the fundamental, structural issues our members have long faced in China,” said business lobby the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

The US is pressing China to change its policies on protections for intellectual property, massive subsidies for state-owned firms, and reduce the yawning trade deficit.

Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said the two sides had clashed over how much of the final trade agreement should be enshrined in a public document, something Beijing has long resisted.

“What the Chinese step-back primarily says is they don’t want to publicly acknowledge that their existing laws, especially on IP, are flawed,” he told AFP.

Washington is counting on the strong US economy to be able to withstand the impact of higher costs from the import duties and retaliation better than China, which has seen its growth slow.

A Chinese central bank advisor told state-run Financial News that Trump’s tariff hike and Chinese retaliation would lower economic growth by 0.3 percentage points.

It is “within a controllable range”, the advisor Ma Jun saidA.

By AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

China vows to counter US tariffs

Beijing has many ways to make Washington pay


Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (left) shakes hands with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (center) alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as Liu arrives at the Office of the US Trade Representative for trade negotiations in Washington DC, Friday. Photo: AP

After months of truce, the trade war between China and the US escalated on Friday, after the US shrugged off widespread warnings and moved to hike tariffs on Chinese goods, drawing a firm response from China, which vowed to retaliate.

Though Chinese and US officials are continuing talks, the renewed tensions between the world’s two largest economies significantly complicated ongoing negotiations, dimmed the prospects of any potential trade agreement and stoked fear that a full-fledged trade war could still break out. And the US is to blame for the risky turn of events, Chinese officials and analysts stressed.

After days of repeated threats, US officials on Friday noon (Beijing Time) increased an existing 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent, breaking a truce reached by the leaders of the two countries in December 2018 and highlighting the unreliable and unpredictable nature of the US administration.

Minutes after the US tariff hike took effect, China struck back. In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that China “will have to take necessary countermeasures,” while still urging the US to meet China halfway in ongoing negotiations in Washington.

Even as tensions escalated, officials pushed through with the 11th round of negotiations as they try to make a last-ditch effort to bring the months-long talks back on track for a trade agreement.

The Chinese delegation was seen arriving at the Office of the US Trade Representative at around 5 pm on Thursday US time and left about an hour and half later. The talks will continue on Friday morning, according to US media reports.

“We are now at a very delicate place, where further negotiations have become significantly more difficult… the risk of a further escalation also increased,” Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University’s Center for Economic Diplomacy, told the Global Times on Friday. “We cannot allow this to become normal. That would be dangerous.”

Forced retaliation

Chinese officials have repeatedly stressed that China does not want to fight a trade war, but Washington’s aggressiveness and belligerence left them no other option but to fight back, analysts said.

“China will also have to make good on its own words, otherwise, it will be at a huge disadvantage to the US team at the negotiations,” said He Weiwen, a former senior Chinese trade official, told the Global Times on Friday, referring to China’s earlier vow to retaliate if the US went ahead with the tariff threat.

Though the MOFCOM on Friday did not say what countermeasures China will take and when it will implement them, there are many ways China can inflict pain on the US economy, according to analysts.

“The most direct countermeasure would be raising existing tariffs on US goods or imposing tariffs on more US products,” Song said. “However, we cannot rule out other policy tools.”

Song pointed out that with the overall trade relationship souring, US companies’ operations and investments in China could also be impacted, given the rising anger among the Chinese public toward the US.

In the wake of renewed tensions, calls on Chinese social media to boycott US products rose, including US films, iPhones and computers. “Why retaliate? All we need to do is boycotting US products,” one internet user said on Sina Weibo.

Chinese analysts also suggested that China could target the US financial system, the backbone of the US economy, including unloading China’s holdings of US Treasury bonds.  Big US corporations and products, such as agricultural goods, will also likely encounter more scrutiny and resistance in China.

“Such an impact on US companies and industries will not be less severe than from the tariffs,” Song said.

Many US business groups have expressed strong opposition to the  tariffs. On Wall Street, US stocks have also suffered losses in the past few days, as have stocks in major bourses across the world.

Complicated outlook

While it remains to be seen whether trade officials could still make a breakthrough at the talks, it is clear that the escalation complicates the talks and dims prospects for a deal, analysts said.

“I don’t expect too much from this round of talks,” a source in Washington  familiar with the talks told the Global Times on Friday, noting that US President Donald Trump had miscalculated.

“He initially wanted to show how he forced China into making concessions,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “But that is like forcing China not to sign the deal quickly.”

However, citing US eagerness, other observers have also argued that there is still a chance for the two sides to reach a deal.

“I think there is still a chance for the two countries to reach an agreement,” Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday, noting that the two sides still appear eager to reach a deal, despite their tough rhetoric.

In what appears to be an attempt to leave room for talks, US officials offered a grace period for the tariff hike. Trump also said on Thursday that a deal is still “possible” this week and that he might speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone, CNBC reported.

Asked about the phone call, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Friday that he was not aware of such a plan but the two leaders have maintained close contact.

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When Will the U.S. Dollar Collapse?


collapsing dominos with international currency symbols on them

A dollar collapse is when the value of the U.S. dollar plummets. Anyone who holds dollar-denominated assets will sell them at any cost. That includes foreign governments who own U.S. Treasurys. It also affects foreign exchange futures traders. Last but not least are individual investors.

When the crash occurs, these parties will demand assets denominated in anything other than dollars. The collapse of the dollar means that everyone is trying to sell their dollar-denominated assets, and no one wants to buy them. This will drive the value of the dollar down to near zero. It makes hyperinflation look like a day in the park.

 

Two Conditions That Could Lead to the Dollar Collapse
Two conditions must be in place before the dollar could collapse. First, there must be an underlying weakness. As of 2017, the U.S. currency was fundamentally weak despite its 25 percent increase since 2014. The dollar declined 54.7 percent against the euro between 2002 and 2012. Why? The U.S. debt almost tripled during that period, from $6 trillion to $15 trillion. The debt is even worse now, at $21 trillion, making the debt-to-GDP ratio more than 100 percent. That increases the chance the United States will let the dollar’s value slide as it would be easier to repay its debt with cheaper money.

Second, there must be a viable currency alternative for everyone to buy. The dollar’s strength is based on its use as the world’s reserve currency. The dollar became the reserve currency in 1973 when President Nixon abandoned the gold standard. As a global currency, the dollar is used for 43 percent of all cross-border transactions. That means central banks must hold the dollar in their reserves to pay for these transactions. As a result, 61 percent of these foreign currency reserves are in dollars.

Note: The next most popular currency after the dollar is the euro. But it comprises less than 30 percent of central bank reserves. The eurozone debt crisis weakened the euro as a viable global currency.

China and others argue that a new currency should be created and used as the global currency. China’s central banker Zhou Xiaochuan goes one step further. He claims that the yuan should replace the dollar to maintain China’s economic growth. China is right to be alarmed at the dollar’s drop in value. That’s because it is the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury, so it just saw its investment deteriorate. The dollar’s weakness makes it more difficult for China to control the yuan’s value compared to the dollar.

Could bitcoin replace the dollar as the new world currency? It has many benefits. It’s not controlled by any one country’s central bank. It is created, managed, and spent online. It can also be used at brick-and-mortar stores that accept it. Its supply is finite. That appeals to those who would rather have a currency that’s backed by something concrete, such as gold.

But there are big obstacles. First, its value is highly volatile. That’s because there is no central bank to manage it. Second, it has become the coin of choice for illegal activities that lurk in the deep web. That makes it vulnerable to tampering by unknown forces.

Economic Event to Trigger the Collapse
These two situations make a collapse possible. But, it won’t occur without a third condition. That’s a huge economic triggering event that destroys confidence in the dollar.

Altogether, foreign countries own more than $5 trillion in U.S. debt. If China, Japan or other major holders started dumping these holdings of Treasury notes on the secondary market, this could cause a panic leading to collapse. China owns $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury. That’s because China pegs the yuan to the dollar. This keeps the prices of its exports to the United States relatively cheap. Japan also owns more than $1 trillion in Treasurys. It also wants to keep the yen low to stimulate exports to the United States.

Japan is trying to move out of a 15-year deflationary cycle. The 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster didn’t help.

Would China and Japan ever dump their dollars? Only if they saw their holdings declining in value too fast and they had another export market to replace the United States. The economies of Japan and China are dependent on U.S. consumers. They know that if they sell their dollars, that would further depress the value of the dollar. That means their products, still priced in yuan and yen, will cost relatively more in the United States. Their economies would suffer. Right now, it’s still in their best interest to hold onto their dollar reserves.

Note: China and Japan are aware of their vulnerability. They are selling more to other Asian countries that are gradually becoming wealthier. But the United States is still the best market (not now) in the world.

When Will the Dollar Collapse?
It’s unlikely that it will collapse at all. That’s because any of the countries who have the power to make that happen (China, Japan, and other foreign dollar holders) don’t want it to occur. It’s not in their best interest. Why bankrupt your best customer? Instead, the dollar will resume its gradual decline as these countries find other markets.

Effects of the Dollar Collapse
A sudden dollar collapse would create global economic turmoil. Investors would rush to other currencies, such as the euro, or other assets, such as gold and commodities. Demand for Treasurys would plummet, and interest rates would rise. U.S. import prices would skyrocket, causing inflation.

U.S. exports would be dirt cheap, given the economy a brief boost. In the long run, inflation, high interest rates, and volatility would strangle possible business growth. Unemployment would worsen, sending the United States back into recession or even a depression.

How to Protect Yourself

Protect yourself from a dollar collapse by first defending yourself from a gradual dollar decline.

Important:  Keep your assets well-diversified by holding foreign mutual funds, gold, and other commodities.

A dollar collapse would create global economic turmoil. To respond to this kind of uncertainty, you must be mobile. Keep your assets liquid, so you can shift them as needed. Make sure your job skills are transferable. Update your passport, in case things get so bad for so long that you need to move quickly to another country. These are just a few ways to protect yourself and survive a dollar collapse.

US Trade Deficit With China and Why It’s So High

The Real Reason American Jobs Are Going to China

The U.S. trade deficit with China was $375 billion in 2017. The trade deficit exists because U.S. exports to China were only $130 billion while imports from China were $506 billion.

The United States imported from China $77 billion in computers and accessories, $70 billion in cell phones, and $54 billion in apparel and footwear. A lot of these imports are from U.S. manufacturers that send raw materials to China for low-cost assembly. Once shipped back to the United States, they are considered imports.

In 2017, China imported from America $16 billion in commercial aircraft, $12 billion in soybeans, and $10 billion in autos. In 2018, China canceled its soybean imports after President Trump started a trade war. He imposed tariffs on Chinese steel exports and other goods. 

Current Trade Deficit

As of July 2018, the United States exported a total of $74.3 billion in goods to China. It imported $296.8 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result, the total trade deficit with China is $222.6 billion. A monthly breakdown is in the chart.

US$211.1
Jul 18
US$202
Jan 18
US$205
Feb 18
US$210
Mar 18
US$210
Apr 18
US$214
May 18
US$213
Jun 18
US$211
Jul 18

Causes
China can produce many consumer goods at lower costs than other countries can. Americans, of course, want these goods for the lowest prices. How does China keep prices so low? Most economists agree that China’s competitive pricing is a result of two factors:

A lower standard of living, which allows companies in China to pay lower wages to workers.
An exchange rate that is partially fixed to the dollar.

If the United States implemented trade protectionism, U.S. consumers would have to pay high prices for their “Made in America” goods. It’s unlikely that the trade deficit will change. Most people would rather pay as little as possible for computers, electronics, and clothing, even if it means other Americans lose their jobs.

China is the world’s largest economy. It also has the world’s biggest population. It must divide its production between almost 1.4 billion residents. A common way to measure standard of living is gross domestic product per capita. In 2017, China’s GDP per capita was $16,600. China’s leaders are desperately trying to get the economy to grow faster to raise the country’s living standards. They remember Mao’s Cultural Revolution all too well. They know that the Chinese people won’t accept a lower standard of living forever.

China sets the value of its currency, the yuan, to equal the value of a basket of currencies that includes the dollar. In other words, China pegs its currency to the dollar using a modified fixed exchange rate. When the dollar loses value, China buys dollars through U.S. Treasurys to support it. In 2016, China began relaxing its peg. It wants market forces to have a greater impact on the yuan’s value. As a result, the dollar to yuan conversion has been more volatile since then. China’s influence on the dollar remains substantial.

Effect
China must buy so many U.S. Treasury notes that it is the largest lender to the U.S. government. Japan is the second largest. As of September 2018, the U.S. debt to China was $1.15 trillion. That’s 18 percent of the total public debt owned by foreign countries.

Many are concerned that this gives China political leverage over U.S. fiscal policy. They worry about what would happen if China started selling its Treasury holdings. It would also be disastrous if China merely cut back on its Treasury purchases.

Why are they so worried? By buying Treasurys, China helped keep U.S. interest rates low. If China were to stop buying Treasurys, interest rates would rise. That could throw the United States into a recession. But this wouldn’t be in China’s best interests, as U.S. shoppers would buy fewer Chinese exports. In fact, China is buying almost as many Treasurys as ever.

U.S. companies that can’t compete with cheap Chinese goods must either lower their costs or go out of business. Many businesses reduce their costs by outsourcing jobs to China or India. Outsourcing adds to U.S. unemployment. Other industries have just dried up. U.S. manufacturing, as measured by the number of jobs, declined 34 percent between 1998 and 2010. As these industries declined, so has U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace
.
What’s Being Done
President Trump promised to lower the trade deficit with China. On March 1, 2018, he announced he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. On July 6, Trump’s tariffs went into effect for $34 billion of Chinese imports. China canceled all import contracts for soybeans.

Trump’s tariffs have raised the costs of imported steel, most of which is from China. Trump’s move comes a month after he imposed tariffs and quotas on imported solar panels and washing machines. China has become a global leader in solar panel production. The tariffs depressed the stock market when they were announced.

The Trump administration is developing further anti-China protectionist measures, including more tariffs. It wants China to remove requirements that U.S. companies transfer technology to Chinese firms. China requires companies to do this to gain access to its market.

Trump also asked China to do more to raise its currency. He claims that China artificially undervalues the yuan by 15 percent to 40 percent. That was true in 2000. But former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson initiated the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in 2006. He convinced the People’s Bank of China to strengthen the yuan’s value against the dollar. It increased 2 to 3 percent annually between 2000 and 2013. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew continued the dialogue during the Obama administration.

The Trump administration continued the talks until they stalled in July 2018.

The dollar strengthened 25 percent between 2013 and 2015. It took the Chinese yuan up with it. China had to lower costs even more to compete with Southeast Asian companies. The PBOC tried unpegging the yuan from the dollar in 2015. The yuan immediately plummeted. That indicated that the yuan was overvalued. If the yuan were undervalued, as Trump claims, it would have risen instead.

Source: The Balance

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The Damocles index by Nomura warns of fiscal tension in Malaysia, score accross coountries, the hits and misses 1996~20118


PETALING JAYA: Allowing a larger fiscal deficit and running the risk of a sovereign credit rating downgrade in 2019 could cause balance of payments stress, given Malaysia’s high short-term external debts and low foreign exchange (forex) reserves, said Nomura.

Following the reversal of fiscal reforms like goods and services tax (GST) and the removal of fuel subsidies, the new government now faces the tough choice of either cutting spending at the cost of growth, or allowing a larger fiscal deficit and the risk of a sovereign credit rating downgrade in 2019.

According to a Nomura global research report, Malaysia’s Damocles score in July 2018 was 86.9, below the 100 threshold.

The Damocles index by Nomura summarises macroeconomic and financial variables into a single measure to assess an economy’s vulnerability to a currency crisis.

The oil price slump of 2014 to 2016 was a major shock for Malaysia, one of the few net-oil and gas exporters in Asia.

“While Bank Negara initially expanded forex reserves to defend the ringgit, it eventually allowed a sharp depreciation in 2015 which boosted export competitiveness.

“Malaysia has proved resilient and its current account remained in surplus, benefiting from a diversified economy and fiscal reforms,” said Nomura.

Three countries in the region, namely, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, have a Damocles score of zero, while Vietnam has a moderate Damocles score of 35.

The Bank of Thailand is signalling policy normalisation to build policy space and reduce financial stability risks following a prolonged period of exceptionally low interest rates. This is as headline consumer price index (CPI) inflation returned to within the 1% to 4% inflation target and economy growing at potential.

Thailand’s current account surplus as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has been sizeable since 2015, driven by weak domestic demand and, more recently, growing tourism revenues as well as an export recovery.

“Over this period, forex reserves rose sharply, and they are now at very favourable adequacy levels relative to both imports and short-term external debts.

“The fiscal deficit is expected to widen slightly in 2018, as the government increases spending to support populist policies targeting low-income earners, in the run-up to the election in early 2019,” said Nomura, adding that real interest rates are falling gradually and remain marginally positive, as inflationary pressures have been stubbornly weak.

Over in Indonesia, a negative terms-of-trade shock in 2014 raised the Damocles score in 2014 to 2016, but it has fallen back to zero due to Bank Indonesia’s build-up of forex reserve buffers and government reforms that improved foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.

While depreciation pressures have risen again in 2018, BI has acted decisively with 125 basis points in policy rate hikes to date.

“We expect another 25 basis points, with the risk of more.

“Bank Indonesia maintains a flexible forex regime and a dual-intervention framework in forex and bond markets, as well as introduced macro-prudential measures, like requiring residents to hedge external exposure,” said Nomura.

The research house added that Bank Indonesia has also strengthened policy coordination with the Finance Ministry, which is implementing policies to reduce the current account deficit, while prioritising a credible 2019 budget despite upcoming presidential elections.

Sword of Damocles hangs over Sri Lanka

PETALING JAYA: Sri Lanka is at risk of an exchange rate crisis mainly due to its still-weak fiscal finances and a fragile external position.

Sri Lanka charted the highest Damocles score of 175, among 30 emerging market (EM) economies.

The Damocles index by Nomura summarises macroeconomic and financial variables into a single measure to assess an economy’s vulnerability to a currency crisis.

A score above 100 suggests a country is vulnerable to an exchange rate crisis in the next 12 months, while a reading above 150 signals that a crisis could erupt at any time.

Sri Lanka has large refinancing needs, with foreign exchange (forex) reserves of less than five months of import cover and high short-term external debt of US$ 7.5bil.

“Political stability also remains an issue, as recent resignations have weakened the government (its term ends mid-2020) and despite retaining a simple majority, complicates the task of continuing to implement International Monetary Fund (IMF)-induced reforms.

“However, without IMF support, the risk of a currency crisis would be higher,” said Nomura in its global research report.

Meanwhile, South Africa, Argentina, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine are currently vulnerable to an exchange rate crisis, having Damocles scores of more than 100.

“Based on our definition, Argentina and Turkey are experiencing currency crises, while Argentina, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Ukraine have turned to the IMF for assistance, leaving Pakistan and South Africa as the standouts.

“As investors focus more on risk, it is important not to lump all EMs together as one homogeneous group; Damocles highlights a long list of countries with very low risk of currency crises,” said Nomura.

Eight countries, namely, Brazil, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Peru, Philippines, Russia and Thailand, have Damocles scores of zero.

It is notable that China’s Damocles index has maintained since dropping to 36.9 in late 2017 from 62.4 in October 2017.

The index far below the 100 threshold suggests that the risk of an exchange rate crisis in China is limited.

Nomura concurred that China’s balance of payment position remains healthy, given it has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves at US$3.1 trillion, as of July 2018.

“However, we highlight that its pockets are not as deep as they once were, given that current account deficits at minus 0.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first half of 2018 may occur more frequently, net direct investment inflows may moderate further, and external debt has risen significantly.

“Moreover, we see domestic challenges from weakening aggregate demand and other fundamental problems, and external risks from the escalation in China-US trade tensions and trade protectionism,” said Nomura.

As for India, its Damocles score has fallen to 25 in the third quarter of 2018, from 56 during 2012 to 2013.

India’s most recent currency crisis occurred in 2013 and was due to weak domestic macro fundamentals and worsening external funding conditions. Since then, consumer price index (CPI) inflation has moderated to about 4.5% in 2018 from 9.7% in 2012, as has the current account deficit at an estimated -2.5% of GDP, compared to minus 5% in 2012. Furthermore, India’s central bank has a sufficient forex reserve buffer of 9.3 months of import cover versus 6.4 in 2012.

“However, given India runs a current account deficit, it remains vulnerable to bouts of global risk aversion. Higher oil prices and portfolio outflows are its key external vulnerabilities.

“Aside from these, the key risks stem from the government turning more populist ahead of the 2019 general elections (worsening domestic fundamentals) and a sharper-than-expected domestic growth slowdown (triggering equity outflows),” said Nomura.

The Damocles index comprises eight indicators that are found to be the best predictors of exchange rate crises in the 30-country sample, in which there have been 54 crises since 1996. It includes five single indicators which are import cover, short-term external debt or exports, forex reserves or short-term external debt, broad money or forex reserves and real short-term interest rate.

On the other hand, the three joint indicators are non-foreign direct investment (FDI) gross inflows of one-year and three-year, fiscal and current account, as well as current account and real effective exchange rate deviation. To date, Damocles has correctly signalled 67% of the past 54 crises in Nomura’s sample, including the Asian financial crisis (1997 to 1998), Russian financial crisis (1998) and the 2018 EM currency crises in Argentina and Turkey.

“The advantage of Damocles lies in its objective nature in letting the data speak, not clouded by conventional misperceptions or biases based on past experiences. While the results achieved are encouraging, but given the inherent limitations of any early warning system, it would be foolish to make any exaggerated claims.

“For instance, Brazil’s Damocles score of zero implies very low external vulnerability; yet the Brazilian real (BRL) has depreciated more than 10% in August alone due to an uncertain presidential election outlook,” said Nomura. – The Star

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From Industrial 4.0 to Finance 4.0

America vs China: odds narrowing


Leaders meet: A file picture showing Trump welcoming Xi to the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida during the latter’s visit to the US recently. Xi has a growing economy too behind him, whatever the hiccups. Trump only promises one, without any clarity or logic. – AFP

THE contrast could not be greater. While United States president Donald Trump raves and rants – and belts this or that person – China’s president Xi Jinping looks measured and assured as he offers a global future to the world.

Xi is no angel of course, as his political opponents would know, but his system conserves and protects him, as Trump’s would not. If only Trump were the leader in a centrally controlled political order – but even then his temperament would blow it apart.

Leadership, like politics, is the art of managing the possible. Trump does not understand this, and does not know how. Xi does, knows why, and knows how.

He has a growing economy too behind him, whatever the hiccups. Trump only promises one, without any clarity or logic.

His plan to boost the American economy, based primarily on slashing corporate tax from 35 to 15%, is likely to flounder in an American Congress seriously concerned about its causing the fiscal deficit to balloon.

Already Trump has had to climb down from trying to secure funds from Congress for his dreaded border wall with Mexico in order to avoid budgetary shutdown in September.

The stock market has fallen back from the boost to the price of banks and industrial products following his election. Interest now has returned to what might be termed “American ingenuity stocks” such as Google, Apple and Microsoft on Nasdaq – a proxy for much that is great about America, which Trump’s immigration and closed-door policies threaten to destroy.

Meanwhile Xi has been rolling out his “Belt and Road” plans – something he first envisaged at the end of 2013 – for greater world connectivity and development, committing funds from China and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and engaging global financial institutions such as the World Bank.

Malaysia, for instance, will be an actual beneficiary with additional projects thrown in. China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner. But the US has not been a laggard, being Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner. And indeed the US remains the largest foreign investor in Malaysia, both new investments and total stock.

A staggering statistic not often recognised is that total American investment in Asean is more than its investment in China, Japan and India COMBINED!

The point, however, is that this position is being eroded. Trump’s policies are hastening this process. Abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) means there is no American strategic peaceful challenge to the Chinese economic juggernaut in Asia-Pacific.

Balance is important to afford choice. Absence of choice means serious exposure to risk. Price, quality and after-service standards are affected, not to mention a new geostrategic economic underlining.

Over-dominance by China in the region is a price not only countries in the region will pay, something that most probably is on Trump’s mind. It is a price that America too will sooner or later have to pay.

China’s Belt and Road proposition is not without its challenges, of course. India is deeply suspicious of the connectivity with Pakistan which cuts across India-claimed Azad Kashmir, about 3000km of it.

The link to the Pakistani port of Gwadar, in southwest Baluchistan on the shores of the Arabian Sea, is seen by India as a Chinese presence at the entrance to the Indian Ocean and a hawk eye on the Indian sub-continent. With the Chinese also in Sri Lanka, India is circumspect on China’s Belt and Road initiative.

There have also been commentaries on some uneconomic linkages which extend right across the English Channel.

All these reservations, however, do not take into account the benefit of connectivity to economies, the time it often takes to get those economic benefits and, most of all, the patience, persistence and long view of history of China and its leaders.

One of the most striking things about the Belt and Road map is that America is not there. Of course, Xi Jinping does not preclude America just as much as the US did not say that China was not permanently excluded from the TPP. And of course, in the Old Silk Routes and shipping lanes, the New World – America – had not been discovered.

But in their revival, led by now rising and then ancient China after 150 years of national humiliation to the present time, there is the irony that the last three quarters of a century of America world dominance is on course to be marginalised, if not supplanted, by the old Eurasian world centred in an ancient civilisation.

Trump does not seem to understand history. The art of the deal is purely transactional. Short-tempered and short-term gratification does not a strategy constitute.

So we have leader, system and economic promise distinguishing the two leaders – and the two countries.

Instead of America first, what we are seeing is Trump hurrying America’s decline relative to a rising China.

We are not seeing a world changed from people wanting to be like a kind of American to being people wanting to be a kind of Chinese. Actually, the Chinese people themselves want to be like a kind of American, with all that wealth, influence and power.

What we are seeing is China – not America – leading the way to that desired, if not always desirable, end. It is China that is driving the next phase in the evolution of world economic development.

Under Xi Jinping, China appears to be heroically moving towards an epochal point in its Peaceful Rise. With Donald Trump, America is being led backwards and inwards, with all the problems of its governance now all coming out. It is in grave danger of losing in the peaceful competition.

Not knowing how to play that game – certainly under its current President – there remains the danger of the status quo power lashing out against the rising one.

The Greek historian Thucydides observed: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

A Harvard professor has studied what is now called the Thucydides Trap and found in 12 out of 16 cases in which this occurred in the last 500 years, the outcome was war.

There are many potential flash points against the background of China’s rise – the North Korean Peninsula and the placement of THAAD missiles in the south, the South China Sea – where Trump may temperamentally find cause to lash out. This is the trapdoor he might take the world down because of failure to compete peacefully.

By munir majid – crux The Star

Tan Sri Munir Majid, chairman of Bank Muamalat and visiting senior fellow at LSE Ideas (Centre for International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy), is also chairman of CIMB Asean Research Institute.
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