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.


“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.


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.

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

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.


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’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: “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

China’s Progress in Exascale Computing

Exascale computing (quicker than 1 billion billion operations per second) is well accepted as the next crown of supercomputing.

Its research and development (R&D) plan is the forefront of creation and competition of high-end information technology. Both the US and Japan have drawn up their exascale computing plan for the production of an exascale computer by 2020 or later. says in its report “Breaking boycott! Tianhe 3 exascale computing prototype has passed acceptance test” that China drew up a plan in 2016 on 2-phase development of exascale computers. The first phase focuses on the research of key technology for exascale computer with the production of 3 prototypes of exascale computer while the second phase will be the research and development of exascale computers.

Lead by the National University of Defense Technology, China has developed Tianhe 3 exascale prototype system and has it passed acceptance test on July 22. China has thus begun the second phase of essential R&D of Tianhe 3 exascale computer 200 times quicker and with memory capacity 100 times larger than Tianhe 1.

Since 2015, the US has banned the export of supercomputer CPU to China to prevent Tianhe from maintaining its no. one ranking among supercomputers in the world. However, China is entirely able to obtain crown technology on its own. It has now succeeded in mastery of five major homegrown core technologies of Tianhe series of supercomputers: the CPU, accelerating CPU, the interlink communication router and interlink interface chips and the operation system (the software).

At present, the Tianhe 3 exascale prototype system has achieved 4 major homegrown creations, i.e. the three chips of the “Maichang” multi-core processor (Matrix-2000+), interlinking interface chip and router chip, 4 kinds of calculation, storage and services knobs, more than 10 PCP circuit boards, various new-type hardware subsystems and various software subsystems.

That will enable Tianhe 3 exascale computer to do lots of jobs such as Large-scale space and aviation data wind tunnel, weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, excessively large scale calculation and simulation for life scientific research, the development of a new generation of artificial intelligence, etc.

Those, including the exascale supercomputer are indeed crown jewels of technology. Can China steal those crown jewels from the US? Sorry, the US is also developing such technologies but cannot be sure to achieve results before China. Can China steal from the US what the US does not have?

Therefore, to stop China obtaining those crown jewels no one in the world has now, US only and last resort is to start a trade war with China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on’s report, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at

Powerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22s

China’s most advanced jet is one of the few fifth-generation fighters in active service. Here’s how it compares to its closest US counterpart

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 July, 2018, 9:29pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 July, 2018, 9:29pm

China’s new J-20, officially named Weilong or powerful dragon, is one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets and the country’s answer to the American F-22 Raptor.

In mid July the PLA Airforce released a video of a nighttime training exercise involving the stealth fighter as a demonstration of its combat readiness.

The Chinese warplane was developed by the Chengdu Aerospace corporation, which began testing them in 2011 before the first planes entered service in March 2017.

So far a few dozen J-20s have been produced for the PLA although the manufacturer is continuing to build more.

The F-22 Raptor was developed by Lockheed Martin for the exclusive use of the US Air Force. Exports even to America’s closest allies are banned to protect its stealth technology.

Its maiden flight was in September 1997 and it entered service in December 2005. In 2011 production was terminated because of the high costs involved and lack – at the time – of any aircraft that could challenge its dominance.
America is planning to upgrade the fighter in future but for now it remains, along with the Weilong, one of the most advanced fifth generation fighters in the world.

Both single-seat fighters have stealth capabilities, which means they are designed to avoid detection by radar. Here is how the two compare.
Design characteristics

The J-20 and F-22 are a similar size. The J-20 is 20.3 metres (66.6ft) long and has a 12.9 metre wingspan compared with the F-22’s 19m length and 13.6m wingspan.
Made of advance alloy materials, they also have similar empty weight of around 19,000kg.

The J-20’s loaded weight is slightly heavier, of around 32,000kg compared with the F-22’s 29,000kg, however the American fighter can take off with a maximum weight of 38,000kg, 2,000kg more than the J-20.

Both planes have a ceiling of 20km and a maximum speed of over Mach 2 (2,470km per hour) – faster than the speed of sound. The F-22 has a comparatively shorter range – with a combat radius of 800km, while the J-20’s large internal fuel tank can sustain a longer combat radius of 1,100km.

The F-22 is powered by afterburning turbofan F119-PW-100 engines, which enable it to super cruise at a speed of Mach 1.82. The engines have vectoring nozzles which enable it to perform agile manoeuvres event at supersonic speeds.

However, the engine is the J-20’s weakest link. Plans for China to develop its own advanced turbofan engines fell behind schedule. This meant the manufacturers had to rely on inferior engines – either the Chinese WS-10B or Russian-made AL-31FM2/3 – which severely affects its manoeuvrability and stealth capacity at supersonic speeds.

However, the new WS-15 engine, which is expected to be available next year, will go a long way to addressing this problem.

The J-20’s frontal and side stealth capacities are believed to be excellent. But it is thought to be more vulnerable to radar from the rear compared with the F-22.

To maintain stealth, both fighters carry their weapons in internal bays. The J-20 can carry up to six air-to-air missiles, fewer than the F-22. But thanks to larger space in each bay, the J-20 can carry longer range missiles and the LS-6 precision-guided bomb.

So far it has not been confirmed to have any guns, although some analysts believe it would be able to carry extended guns.

China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet lines up for combat duty, boosting firepower in the sky
The F-22 can hold up to eight short or medium-range air-to-air or air-to-ground missiles. It also has an M61 Vulcan gun in addition to four under-wing drop tank points, which allow it to carry extra fuel or missile launchers.

Both aircraft possess highly integrated avionics and sensor equipment, featuring a low-observable, active electronically scanned array (AESA) that can track multiple targets in any weather.

It was reported by Shenzhen TV that the J-20’s Type AESA radar system is “totally similar” to the F-22’s AN/APG-77 system.

The F-22 production was axed because of its high cost – US$62 billion for the whole project, which equates to US$339 million per aircraft.

The J-20’s research and development cost was estimated to be more than 30 billion yuan (US$4.4 billion), with a cost per aircraft of US$100-110 million.

Source: SCMP “Powerful Dragon v Raptor: how China’s J-20 stealth fighters compare with America’s F-22s”

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

Timing Right, Diplomacy Corrected, Still US Will Lose to China

Trump has chosen the right timing, though a little too late, in starting his trade war with China in order to stop China’s rise and prevent it from surpassing the US.

China has already begun the reform to switch from export- and investment-geared to innovation- and creation-geared economic growth.

For such a reform, it has been carrying out its Belt and Road plan to move most of its export-oriented labor intensive industries to Silk Road economic belt and Made in China 2025 plan for creation- and creation-geared economic growth.

The US fears that the Made in China 2025 plan, if completed, will eliminate US technology dominance and US hegemony along with it. Therefore, it started a trade war with China to force China to scrap the Made in China 2025 plan.

As China has only moved a few export-oriented enterprises to Silk Road economic belt and as China has only carried out its Made in China 2025 plan for a few years far from achieving its goal, Trump should be regarded as having chosen the right timing to start his trade war to stop China’s rise. If China has moved the industries and completed the Made in China 2025 plan, the US will simply be unable to attain its goal to stop China’s rise.

However, Trump underestimated China strength of resistance until he lost the first round of his tariff battle with China. China’s retaliation of tariff hikes hits hard at his stronghold, the farmers in several states whose votes enabled him to win the presidential election and become the president now. China, however, seems intact in spite of the tariff hikes on its exports.

China even has the humor to broadcast in the US a cartoon with soyabean as its protagonist to laugh at Trump.

Trump, though furious, realizes that his weapons are limited. He threatens to impose tariff hikes on all China’s $500 billion exports to the US, but US Congress opposes that. It has already adopted a bill to cut or eliminate tariffs on toasters, chemicals and roughly 1,660 other items made outside the United States, of which nearly half are produced in China according to a Reuters analysis of government records.

Trump now realizes that since it is hard to win the trade war with China, it will be utterly impossible for the US to win the worldwide trade war he plans to start with EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and other countries.

He was wise to have changed his mind and reached a truce with EU. He will perhaps not be too harsh in dealing with Japan, South Korea and other countries.

The problems for him are that those countries are all America’s competitors. They certainly will not join the US in its trade war with China. On the contrary, they will exploit the trade war to take over America’s share in their most profitable Chinese market.

In addition, if Trump strikes too hard at China with tariff hikes in the trade war, he will make American people suffer and thus become unpopular. As a result, he may be unable to be reelected in the 2020 election.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, has no such worry. Chinese people will not hate him even if the trade war gives rise to some hardship in their livelihood as they are very clear that the trade war has been started by the US and that Xi refuses to be subdued as Xi cherishes their China Dream.

Lack of popular support and ability determines that the US has no chance to win the trade war.

The above has made very clear that Trump is unable to have popular support in his trade war.

His withdraw from TPP that Obama established to contain China shows his lack of vision, understanding and skill to deal with the contradiction between his goals to protect US interests and stop China’s rise.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.