Ukraine expects record maize harvest, rising sales to China


Pavel Polityuk July 31, 2018

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s maize harvest may hit a record 27-28 million tonnes this year and sales to China could rise by 10 percent due to the trade war between Washington and Beijing, the country’s acting agriculture minister said.

Ukrainian acting Agriculture Minister Maksym Martyniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine September 8, 2017. Picture taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

China has accused the United States of triggering the “largest-scale trade war” with import duties, potentially giving a further boost to already booming grain and oilseed exports from the Black Sea region.

“For some positions, such as soybean, we will get an increase in exports to new markets,” Maksym Martyniuk told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Ukraine has exported 2.6 million tonnes of maize to China so far in the 2017/18 September-August season, out of total sales of 16.6 million tonnes.

Sponsored

“Maize will traditionally go to China. We can increase (maize) exports to China by up to 10 percent,” Martyniuk said, adding that maize could hit a record 27-28 million tonnes this year, compared with 24.1 million tonnes in 2017.

Weather conditions have favored crops sown late in the season this year and a strong maize crop may compensate for a drop in the 2018 wheat harvest, which is likely to decrease by 12-16 percent to 22-23 million tonnes due to poor weather.

Drought during the spring and torrential rains in summer have affected Ukrainian winter crops, raising concerns on a possible decrease in the harvest and its quality.

“Due to weather conditions, we will have a minus in winter crops, from rapeseed to winter wheat,” Martyniuk said.

“But the condition of late crops such as soybeans and maize is excellent and without extreme weather they will give an increase in comparison with last year, he said.

Ukrainian acting Agriculture Minister Maksym Martyniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine September 8, 2017. Picture taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

He said Ukraine might harvest at least 60 million tonnes of grain this year, versus 61.3 million a year earlier.

SUNFLOWER BLOOM

Martyniuk said the weather was favorable for the sunflower harvest and Ukraine, the global leading sunflower oil exporter, was likely to harvest 13.3 million tonnes of sunseed this year, the second highest harvest since 1991.

Ukraine harvested 61.3 million tonnes of grain in 2017, with most wheat harvested in Ukraine’s central and southern regions.

Martyniuk said recent rains across most Ukrainian regions had partially affected the quality of wheat, but it was too early to give an exact proportion.

“In the central and western parts of Ukraine almost all harvested wheat is forage class while in the southern regions there are no problems with quality and some regions managed to thresh wheat before the rains,” he said, adding it was not clear yet exactly how much milling wheat would be harvested.

Ukraine has harvested 17 million tonnes of wheat from 76 percent of the sowing area so far and market sources said around 10 million tonnes of the harvested wheat is milling wheat.

But Martyniuk forecast a possible deficit of wheat seeds for the forthcoming sowing, without giving any details.

Martyniuk said Ukraine was likely to keep its grain exports at last’s season level of around 40 million tonnes and had already shipped abroad 1.5 million tonnes of various grains.

Ukraine exported 39.4 million tonnes of grain in the 2017/18 season which runs from July to June, this included 17.2 million tonnes of wheat and 17.8 million of maize.

Editing by Matthias Williams and Alexander Smith

Source: Reuters “Ukraine expects record maize harvest, rising sales to China”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Advertisements

China’s Xi says economy has resilience and room to maneuver


Reuters Staff July 31, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China can win the battle against various economic risks and challenges and needs to maintain confidence, state radio quoted President Xi Jiping as saying on Tuesday.

China’s economy had resilience and room to maneuver, Xi was quoted as saying.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi says economy has resilience and room to maneuver”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


How U.S. tariffs on China minerals could hurt industry, consumers


Tom Daly July 31, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods threaten a niche trade in minor metals and rare earths used in everything from stomach remedies and jet engines to consumer electronics.

More than 6,000 items have been earmarked for a 10 percent import tariff, including – in some form – 32 of the 35 minerals the United States in May designated as “critical” to its economic and national security.

These minerals and products based on them accounted for well over $1 billion of U.S. imports from China in 2017, and traders warn U.S. consumers will end up paying a premium if tariffs are put in place, albeit one cushioned by the recent devaluation of the yuan.

Below is a list of mineral products in the tariff list where the United States relies heavily on China.

* Bismuth

No primary refined production of bismuth has taken place in the United States since 1997. Applications for this white metal with a pinkish hue range from stomach remedies to sprinkler systems, and China accounted for 77 percent of U.S. bismuth imports over 2013-2016, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This includes waste and scrap and totaled $22.8 million last year.

* Barite

Used as a weighting agent in oil and gas drilling, barite is another mineral the United States mainly sources from China, which accounts for 69 percent of its imports. The value of these stood at $93.6 million last year, when U.S. domestic barite mine production fell.

* Antimony

A shiny semi-metal used in fire retardants, antimony, together with its powder form antimony oxide, accounted for $108.5 million of imports from China last year. China provided 62 percent of antimony metal and 70 percent of antimony oxide imports from 2013-16, according to the USGS.

* Natural graphite

Long used in steelmaking and more recently as anode material for lithium-ion batteries, natural graphite was not produced in the United States last year. China is the top supplier, accounting for 35 percent of imports over 2013-16, with a value of around $27 million in 2017, although Mexico and Canada are alternative sources.

* Tungsten

Used to harden steel, Chinese tungsten items had an import value of around $145 million last year. China, the world’s top producer of the metal, accounts for 34 percent of U.S. imports.

* Titanium

An element used in aerospace, titanium and titanium oxides had an import value of $84.9 million in 2017, while there was an additional $89.1 million of titanium dioxide pigment imports. China is a distant second to Japan with an 8 percent share of titanium sponge metal imports, but accounted for 24 percent of imports of titanium dioxide, used as a pigment in paints.

* Tantalum

Used in capacitors for consumer electronics and in super-alloy castings for jet engines, imports of tantalum items were worth $72.7 million last year. China accounts for 23 percent of the various import sources but a trader reported suppliers have been “really rushing” to ship in tantalum from China so it can clear customs before possible tariffs in late August.

* Cobalt

Most mined cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but China is a leading supplier of refined cobalt to the United States, according to the USGS. Various forms of cobalt last year accounted for $65.3 million tonnes of imports into the United States, where the main use is in super-alloys in aircraft gas turbine engines. China provides 15 percent of U.S. supply, just behind Norway.

* Rare earths

This group of 17 elements is used in magnets, consumer electronics, radars and lasers. The USGS puts the value of U.S. rare-earth compounds and metal imports last year at $150 million, with China making up 78 percent of imports over 2013-16. Separately, permanent magnets and articles intended to become permanent magnets – which could include rare earth oxides neodymium and praseodymium – accounted for $191 million of imports from China in 2017.

* Iron oxides and hydroxides

Iron oxide is mainly used as a pigment in construction materials. China provided 52 percent of the United States’ synthetic iron oxide pigments (IOPs), according to the USGS, which also notes, however, that “domestic and world resources for production of IOPs are adequate.” This category accounted for $94.6 million of imports.

Reporting by Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin

Source: Reuters “How U.S. tariffs on China minerals could hurt industry, consumers”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Poor US Initiatives in Asia to Counter China’s Belt and Road


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s predecessor Rex Tillerson planned to use so-called Quad to contain China militarily, but India is not willing to confront China while Japan wants better access to China’s vast market. As a result, Tillerson’s Quad dream was broken.

Now, Reuters says in its report “Wary of China’s rise, Pompeo announces U.S. initiatives in emerging Asia”, “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced $113 million in new technology, energy and infrastructure initiatives in emerging Asia on Monday, at a time when China is pouring billions of dollars in investments into the region.”

What Pompeo wants? Experts believe that Pompeo wants to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative, but if the US invests in energy and infrastructure just as China’s Belt and Road has been doing. The US is joining China’s Belt and Road as China welcomes others to join it.

Others may use the energy and infrastructure built under the Belt and Road initiative while China can also use those US invests in Asia as Pompeo says he wants a “free and open” Asia.

China can use the energy and infrastructure to move its labor-intensive industries to the “free and open” Asia, but the US has no such industries to move there. It means that the US will make investment solely to facilitate China’s resistance against Trump’s tariff hikes on its exports.

What is Pompeo doing? It is really puzzling.

If the US wants to contain China, resumption of its participation in TPP will be much more effective.

Do you think the US may win the trade war with such commanders?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade/wary-of-chinas-rise-pompeo-announces-u-s-initiatives-in-emerging-asia-idUSKBN1KK0V5.


Wary of China’s rise, Pompeo announces U.S. initiatives in emerging Asia


Lesley Wroughton, David Brunnstrom July 30, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced $113 million in new technology, energy and infrastructure initiatives in emerging Asia on Monday, at a time when China is pouring billions of dollars in investments into the region.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

In a policy speech delivered amid increased U.S. trade frictions with China and other Asian countries, Pompeo sought to define the economic aspect of President Donald Trump’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy, which aims to cast the United States as a trustworthy partner in the region.

Pompeo said Washington wants a “free and open” Asia not dominated by any one country, an apparent reference to China’s growing economic clout and heightened tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

“Like so many of our Asian allies and friends, our country fought for its own independence from an empire that expected deference,” Pompeo told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We thus have never and will never seek domination in the Indo-Pacific, and we will oppose any country that does.”

“These funds represent just a down payment on a new era in U.S. economic commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo said he will visit Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia this week, where he planned to announce new security assistance.

U.S. officials said the American strategy does not aim to compete directly with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which involves dozens of countries in an estimated $1 trillion of mostly state-led infrastructure projects linking Asia, parts of Africa and Europe, but rather to offer a more sustainable alternative by encouraging private-sector investment.

Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University trade professor and former head of the IMF’s China division, said the U.S. initiatives are tiny in comparison to China’s.

“In both scale and scope, these initiatives pale in ambition relative to comparable initiatives by China,” Prasad said. “It also highlights the distinction between China’s approach of bold and grand government-led initiatives and the much more modest role of the U.S. government.”

Analysts said it was difficult to see the U.S. effort generating much excitement in the region, especially given Trump’s habit of undercutting his policy makers on issues ranging from trade to dealings with North Korea.

“The announcement of $113 million to fund economic engagement for the entire region feels a bit underwhelming,” said Daniel Russel of the Asia Society Policy Institute, until last year the State Department’s top diplomat for East Asia.

‘AMERICA FIRST’

Countries in the region have been worried by Trump’s “America first” policy, withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and pursuit of a trade conflict with China that threatens to disrupt regional supply chains.

The United States first outlined its strategy to develop the Indo-Pacific economy at an Asia-Pacific summit last year.

It used the term “Indo-Pacific,” defined by Pompeo as a region stretching from the U.S. West Coast to India’s west coast, to highlight a broader and democratic-led region in place of “Asia-Pacific,” which from some perspectives had authoritarian China too firmly at its center.

Among the new investments outlined by Pompeo, the United States will invest $25 million to expand U.S. technology exports to the region, add nearly $50 million this year to help countries produce and store energy resources and create a new assistance network to boost infrastructure development.

Pompeo said the United States has signed a $350 million investment compact with Mongolia to develop new water sources. He said the U.S government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation was also finalizing an agreement to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation and other reforms in Sri Lanka.

Speaking at the same event, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Washington also eased export controls for high-technology product sales to India.

Ray Washburne, president of the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation, said it hopes to double the $4 billion it currently has invested in the Indo-Pacific “in the next few years.”

Brian Hook, Pompeo’s senior policy adviser, told reporters before Pompeo’s speech that Washington is not competing with China’s mostly state-led initiatives.

“Our way of doing things is to keep the government’s role very modest, and it’s focused on helping businesses do what they do best,” Hook said.

Critics of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative have said it is more about spreading Chinese influence and hooking countries on massive debts. Beijing has said it is simply a development project that any country is welcome to join.

Additional reporting by Marius Zaharia in Hong Kong, Daphne Psaledakis and David Lawder in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Will Dunham and Yara Bayoumy

Source: Reuters “Wary of China’s rise, Pompeo announces U.S. initiatives in emerging Asia”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China proposes eased rules on foreign strategic investment in listed companies


Reuters Staff July 30, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s commerce ministry has proposed some rule-changes to facilitate foreign strategic investment in listed companies, its latest move to ease foreign investment curbs amid Beijing’s trade dispute with the United States.

In draft rules posted on its website on Monday, the ministry proposed to loosen certain terms regulating such foreign strategic investment, including reducing the amount of assets it requires foreign investors to hold to qualify for such investments in Chinese listed companies.

The lock-up period facing foreign investors after they invest in A-shares of listed companies would be reduced to one year from three at present, according to the draft rules.

The statement said draft rules would apply to “strategic investment” made by foreign investors to obtain and hold for a certain period of time listed companies’ A-shares through agreements, the issuance of new shares, tender offers and other means as stipulated by laws and regulations.

The public consultation period for the proposed rules runs until Aug. 29, the statement said.

Reporting by Yawen Chen and Kane Wu; Editing by Richard Borsuk

Source: Reuters “China proposes eased rules on foreign strategic investment in listed companies”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


CCTV Footage Shows J-20’s Super Maneuverability


Mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Frantic flights! Marveling big maneuvering move of a pair of J-20’s” yesterday shows a CCTV footage on J-20’s marveling performance.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Frantic flights! Marveling big maneuvering move of a pair of J-20’s” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report. The video footage on J-20s can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2018-07/12598449.html