China or US?

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From Gold Money

China has made some silly errors in its conflict with the US, reflecting the arrogance that often afflicts every state actor. But the appearance that China is being backed into a corner over Huawei, trade tariffs and Hong Kong is misleading. China is progressing her own plans, and they do not require an accommodation with America. With Russia in tow, she is now the chief foreign influencer for up to three-quarters of the world’s population, so it is American hegemony that’s being backed into a corner.  One day, this will be reflected in a currency shoot-out. This article concludes that the dollar is more at risk than the yuan, the opposite of perceptions in western capital markets.

Introduction

In the undeclared war between the US and China, the focus has been on the obvious battles. Huawei has been badly wounded but looks like surviving. The trade tariff battle continues and the battle in Hong Kong is ongoing and yet to be resolved.

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Gold To Benefit As Chinese Economy Hits The Wall

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

“No China Trade Deal Until 2020, Maybe 2021…Maybe Never”

Mike Gleason: Trade tensions with China have been one of the big stories in the financial press for the past year and a half. We’ve seen U.S. equity markets gyrate up and down. One day traders are euphoric on rumors that a deal with China will soon be reached. The next day, they’re depressed over news of escalating tariffs and some other negative developments. Most recently, we saw a big rally in the stock market on the announcement that some tariffs will be delayed by a few months, although with the further inversion of the yield curve here today, the day we’re talking, Wednesday, the stock market is giving pretty much all of that back. But that aside, I’d like to start by getting your assessment of the prospects for a trade deal here, Gordon. Do you think we’re going to see these tensions resolved in the next few months?

Gordon Chang: Certainly not. I don’t see a comprehensive trade deal until 2020, maybe 2021, maybe never. Problem is Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, doesn’t necessarily want a deal. He owns this trade war, quote-unquote, and if he makes significant compromises, he’s going to accept the political responsibility for that. You’ve got to remember that accumulating great power is of course an advantage, but it means he also accumulated great accountability. He can’t blame other people. So I think that the Chinese political system right now is pretty much frozen, and that means we’re not going to see a comprehensive deal. We’re probably not even going to see an interim arrangement, either.

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The Hong Kong Protests

It appears that the two steps forward, one step backwards approach of mainland China isn’t working as Hong Kong citizens are protesting again. The increasingly violent protests have plunged Chinese-ruled Hong Kong into its most serious crisis in decades, and the situation appears to be getting worse every week. What does it imply for the gold market?

Hong Kongers Protest

On Monday, Hong Kong’s Airport Authority canceled flights as demonstrators poured into its main terminal. What is going on in Hong Kong? The protests began over plans that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China. Although the bill was suspended, the protests continue, as people demand democratic reforms. The problem is that although Hong Kong – as a former British colony – still enjoys freedoms not seen in mainland China, they are on the decline. The protesters say that mainland China is meddling in Hong Kong, citing examples such as legal rulings that have disqualified pro-democracy legislators.

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Consumers In Surprising Places Are Borrowing Like Crazy

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

The Money Bubble is inflating at different speeds in different places. But apparently no culture is immune:

Household Debt Sees Quiet Boom Across the Globe

(Wall Street Journal) – A decade after the global financial crisis, household debts are considered by many to be a problem of the past after having come down in the U.S., U.K. and many parts of the euro area.

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Gold Corridor From Dubai To China Sought By China

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Gold corridor from Dubai to China sought by Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society
– New Asian gold trading corridor could boost demand for 1 kg gold bars
– Should increase turnover for yuan-denominated gold coins and bars – President
– Secure supplies of physical gold from Middle East and Asia for China
– China positioning itself as leading gold trading and owning nation

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Globalism in the Eyes of Two Beholders

By Rodger Baker – Re-Blogged From https://worldview.stratfor.com

The relative peace and prosperity in Europe may have shaped an idealistic approach to globalism.

The world over, the topic of globalism rarely fails to elicit a strongly held opinion. At its extreme in Europe, the march of globalization is accepted as a near-inevitability: In that view, it is no longer merely a path that should be taken, but the inexorable destination of humanity. As such, there is little room for assessing, much less understanding, alternative perceptions about the structure of the world, either internationally or domestically. Whether talking with a German economist, a British investor or an expatriate businessman in Spain, there is a near-bewilderment as to why anyone would want to pursue nationalism over globalism. As such, the bump in popularity for the Alternative for Germany party, the independence referendum in Catalonia and the Brexit are all seen as anti-historical trends. To them, the European Union remains the moral and political compass for the world, the guiding principle upon which the nation-state will be subsumed and a new global society will emerge.

In Asia, globalization is seen as a potential path, but not an inevitable one, and is viewed more often in economic than political terms. The nation-state firmly remains the unit of political and social organization, and while there are numerous initiatives to enhance cooperation among national entities, there is little movement toward the creation of a pan-national umbrella along the lines of the European Union. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), one of the most aggressive Asian attempts at pan-national cooperation, explicitly promotes a policy of noninterference in national politics, recognizing the very different systems in each member country, rather than seeking to replace them with a regionwide political and economic structure.

Over the past 12 months, I have engaged with business leaders, government officials, researchers and members of the media in London, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Barcelona and The Hague, and in Auckland, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. Over the course of those discussions, a distinct difference in worldview between the “elites” of Europe and those of Asia became apparent. I use the word elite loosely here to describe the thin layer of society with the economic and social freedom to observe and assess the world in a manner disconnected from daily life. These are the economists, political scientists and bankers, the pundits, heads of major corporations, politicians and journalists. Their views shape much of the popular narrative, but one that often misses the underlying realities and beliefs held by a large portion of the societies in which they reside.

Now, all such broad-brush assessments are, by their nature, simplistic and superficial. There are certainly those in Asia who subscribe to the ideals of extreme globalism, and some among the European elite who recognize clearly that the Continental vision is just that — a vision and not an inevitability. But nonetheless, I noted the striking difference in tone between those I met in Europe and those in Asia. In part, the geopolitical developments in each region over the past several decades could explain this dichotomy.

 

Whereas Europe views the United States in ideological terms, Asia sees it in transactional terms.

Following the end of the Cold War, with the exception of the breakup of Yugoslavia, Europe has experienced perhaps its most stable multidecadal period in centuries. The European experiment appeared to be working. The peace and prosperity that spread across the continent allowed for the European Union to spread in kind, absorbing elements of the former Soviet bloc and even parts of the former Soviet Union itself. In guiding the economic and political directions of individual European nations, the European Union sought to erase the underlying nationalism that had riven Europe for millennia. But that noble goal failed to take into account the realities that remained below the surface. These were exposed dramatically with the global financial crisis in 2008, which forced the differences between the economic, social and political predilections underlying its systems to the surface once again, leaving the Europeans struggling with the growing gap between the globalized ideal and the national realities.

In Asia, no substantial periods of post-Cold War peace and cooperation ever really materialized. Even as it emerged as the region’s dominant economic regional power, China’s attention focused inward as it sought to manage internal social upheavalJapan fell into economic malaise. The two Koreas (despite a brief moment of sunshine) continued to spar. Extra-constitutional political change swept across Southeast Asia. The financial contagion that spread throughout the Asia-Pacific in 1997 sharpened many of these trends, leaving simply no long space of regional economic prosperity and political integration. Moves toward regional economic cooperation never went so far as seeking a common currency or centralized economic authority, and they certainly avoided linkage of economics and domestic politics.

Those differences in fortune play into the way each region views and reacts to both the perceived changes in U.S. policy direction and to rising nationalist sentiment around the world. In Europe, U.S. President Donald Trump is seen as globalization’s greatest threat, caricatured as the dangerous buffoon — a mirror image of the U.S. perception of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. European nations have found it difficult to manage relations with the United States because they cannot accept that it may be sliding away from the extreme vision of globalization. In Asia, there are concerns about the direction of U.S. policy, but less in regards to globalization and more in terms of its direct economic and security effects. Whereas Europe views the United States in ideological terms, Asia sees it in transactional terms. Thus Asian leaders like Japan’s Shinzo Abe and even China’s Xi Jinping have been more adept at interpreting and engaging with Trump.

The geopolitical currents that have brought the continental neighbors to these dichotomous viewpoints will continue to shape the perceptions of their thought leaders, who in turn influence the political, economic and social directions of their societies. It’s clear that globalism will continue to evolve, both as an ideal and as a reality. Where it ends up may be a matter of perspective.

 

Rodger Baker leads Stratfor’s analysis of Asia Pacific and South Asia and guides the company’s forecasting process. A Stratfor analyst since 1997, he has played a pivotal role in developing and refining the company’s analytical process, internal training programs and geopolitical framework.

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Global EV and Related Climate Alarmist Colossal Messes

By Larry Hamlin  Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

EVs have been hyped by the climate alarmist renewable energy activist crowd as an effective approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions regarding transportation energy consumption, which for many nations is a large portion of their total energy use.

EVs are fundamentally energy handicapped due to the low energy density of batteries versus the high energy density available in fossil fueled vehicles which results in significantly reduced mileage capabilities for EVs compared to fossil fueled vehicles.

These EV mileage limitations versus fossil fueled vehicles become even more exaggerated when additional energy demands are needed to support vehicle air conditioning and heating loads, hill climbing requirements and operation in cold temperatures that decrease battery stored energy capabilities.

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