Rational Capitalist Speculator

Apr 15

China Threatens South East Asian Nations -

Tensions are rising once again between China and its regional neighbors. With tensions already strained between Japan and China, one might have assumed that Beijing’s leaders would look to avoid stirring up any more tensions. Now, however, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned several countries it is currently in dispute with not to provoke China as The Philippines apparently did with its legal challenge to China’s disputed claims over the South China Seas.

Chinese aggression could spur ASEAN unity

China has one major advantage over its rivals. With the exception of Japan, most of the other nations with territorial disputes with care are smaller ASEAN nations. ASEAN refers to the collective of South East Asian nations and provides a loose regional coordination structure for all member states. So far, China has been very effective in using the divide and conquer strategy to keep ASEAN nations from banding together and presenting a united front to Chinese aggression.

China has thus far looked to resolve issues one-on-one with ASEAN nations. Meanwhile, China has used members of ASEAN not involved in the dispute, such as Cambodia and Laos, to hold up any attempts at unified action within the framework of ASEAN. - (Valuewalk)

Apr 14

APR 10, 2014 - Eurozone outlook brighter on better German forecasts -

Cheap funding costs a boon for French firms -

Triggering the Next Stock-Market Rally -

Latam forecasted to grow 3% this year, but fiscal deterioration is serious -

Fracking regulation.  Via Big Picture Blog.

Fracking regulation.  Via Big Picture Blog.

U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia -

Yep saw something along these lines coming. See page 2.

China rules out short-term stimulus despite weak trade figures - FT.com -

In a speech to a forum on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan, Mr Li acknowledged some of the challenges facing the economy but insisted his government was capable of propping up growth while implementing difficult reforms to put it on a more sustainable base.

“The upturn of the Chinese economy is not yet on a solid footing. Downward pressure still exists and difficulties in some fields must not be underestimated,” Mr Li said. But “there are conditions in place for the Chinese economy to achieve sustained, sound growth”, he added. “We have the capabilities and confidence to keep the economy functioning within the proper range.”

On Thursday, Mr Li said the government’s target of “about” 7.5 per cent GDP growth this year was flexible, and Beijing would not act to pump up growth as long as “there is fairly sufficient employment and no major fluctuations”.

Since taking over the government last year, Mr Li’s administration has downplayed traditional GDP targets, with job creation and reform of China’s growth model at the top of the agenda.

In recent weeks, the government has announced a series of initiatives to boost infrastructure spending to prop up flagging growth but has refrained from the kind of massive stimulus it revealed in the wake of the global financial crisis.

“We will not resort to short-term stimulus policies just because of temporary economic fluctuations and we will pay more attention to sound development in the medium to long run,” Mr Li said on Thursday.

Trade figures released on Thursday showed that Chinese exports fell 6.6 per cent in March from a year earlier, missing forecasts for a 4.9 per cent rise.

Imports fell even further, contracting 11.3 per cent from a year earlier and sending jitters through global equity and commodity markets.

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In his speech, Premier Li championed the quick implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as a way to boost growth in China and the broader region.

The RCEP is intended to create a trade zone extending from New Zealand to India and taking in China, Japan, Korea, Australia and the 10 Association of South East Asian Nation member countries.

Many see it as a competing initiative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being championed by the US and has effectively excluded China. - (FT)

I certainly hope officials have things under control.  You see smoke but they say there is no fire.  Perhaps it’s just a barbecue.  

China bond auction failure reinforces slowdown concerns - FT.com -

Household balance sheets remain quite weak.  
— (This statistic is horrifying — PragCap)

Household balance sheets remain quite weak.  

— (This statistic is horrifying — PragCap)

Russian Fighter Jet Flies Repeatedly Within 1000 Yards Of US Warship In The Black Sea | Zero Hedge -

White House warns Russia of more 'costs' over Ukraine / (RCS): from article..."director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, had been in Kiev over the weekend" -

(Reuters) - The White House warned Russia on Monday that it would face further costs over its actions in Ukraine and said U.S. President Barack Obama would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon.

U.S. officials stopped short of announcing a new set of sanctions against Russia but said they were in consultations with European partners about the prospect.

The European Union agreed on Monday to step up sanctions against Moscow by expanding a list of people subjected to asset freezes and visa bans.

"Russia continues to engage in provocative actions in Eastern Ukraine. The mere presence of the troops, in addition to what else they’ve done inside Ukraine, creates a threat of destabilization within Ukraine," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

"I can assure you that Russia’s provocations - further transgressions and provocations will come with a cost. And I’m not here to specify what cost will come from which specific action, but there have already been costs imposed on Russia; there will be further costs imposed on Russia."

The next round of U.S. sanctions, which would be the fourth imposed since the Ukrainecrisis began, is likely to target Russians close to Putin as well as Russian entities, three sources familiar with the discussions said on Sunday.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that the United States was prepared to impose sanctions on individuals and entities in the financial services, energy, metals, mining, engineering and defense sectors.

The sanctions have been the most visible sign of U.S. anger at Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region in southern Ukraine last month, reflecting the deepest plunge in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.

Obama spoke to French President Francois Hollande about the crisis on Monday and praised Ukraine’s government for showing “great restraint” and working to unify the country, the White House said.

Carney also confirmed that the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, had been in Kiev over the weekend and decried what he called “false claims” leveled at the CIA by Russian authorities.

Head of the CIA in Kiev this weekend.  Fishy business abounds.

Finance Officials Push for Bold Action to Sustain Economic Growth -

Philippine, U.S. Envoys in Draft Defense Pact Amid China Strain -

Be glad for Greeks bearing gifts -