A massive explosion in a southern Chinese city is only the latest in a series of industrial accidents that have hit China in recent weeks. While the country’s economic boom has always been dogged by environmental and safety hazards, the frequency of disasters this summer has raised new questions about whether the country can maintain its pace of expansion without doing catastrophic harm to its people and the environment. "These accidents are happening all over China, and the scale … has become larger and larger," says Wen Bo, a senior fellow with the San Francisco–based NGO Pacific Environment. "You see something you have never seen before, and then you see it again on a larger and larger scale."
The July 28 explosion at a shuttered plastics factory in Nanjing rocked the surrounding neighborhood, killing at least 10 people and injuring another 300, according to state media reports. Investigators suspect the rupture of a propylene pipeline, possibly caused by workers who were dismantling the factory, triggered the midmorning blast. The explosion collapsed nearby structures, shattered windows in the surrounding area and sent columns of acrid black smoke into the air. "I heard a loud bang that lasted for about one second," said a teacher at the Nanjing Technical College of Special Education, which is about a kilometer northwest of the factory. "My first reaction was to run downstairs because I thought it was an earthquake … As soon as I got outside the building, I saw most of the windows on the first floor were shattered."
On the same day, thousands of barrels containing toxic industrial chemicals were spotted in the Songhua River in northeast China. Floodwaters had swept the containers from a nearby storage depot and into a tributary of the river, Jilin province environmental authorities reported. Some 7,000 barrels are estimated to have been lost in the river, including 3,000 that contained chemicals used in making synthetic rubber, among other applications. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said Thursday that "no abnormalities" had been detected in a test of the river’s waters.
Those disasters were preceded by a July 16 oil spill at the port city of Dalian in northeast China. Some 1,500 tons of crude spilled into the Yellow Sea when two pipelines belonging to the state-owned China National Petroleum…
If you eat meat, the odds are high that you’ve enjoyed a meal made from an animal raised on a factory farm (also known as a CAFO). According to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40% of all farm animals. This means that pigs, chickens and cows are concentrated in a small number of very large farms. But even if you’re a vegetarian, the health and environmental repercussions of these facilities may affect you. In his book Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, journalist David Kirby explores the problems of factory farms, from untreated animal waste to polluted waterways. Kirby talks to TIME about large-scale industrial farming, the lack of government oversight and the terrible fate of a North Carolina river.
What exactly is a factory farm?
The industrial model for animal food production first started with the poultry industry. In the 1930s and ’40s, large companies got into the farming business. The companies hire farmers to grow the animals for them. The farmers typically don’t own the animals — the companies do. It’s almost like a sharecropping system. The company tells them exactly how to build the farm, what to grow and what to feed. They manage everything right down to what temperature the barn should be and what day the animals are going to be picked up for slaughter. The farmer can’t even eat his or her own animals. People who grow chickens for Perdue in Maryland have to go down to the market and buy Perdue at the store.
We collectively refer to these facilities as factory farms, but that’s not an official name. The government designation is CAFO, which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Basically, it’s any farm that has 1,000 animal units or more. A beef cow is an animal unit. These animals are kept in pens their entire lives. They’re never outside. They never breathe fresh air. They never see the sun.
Problems in China continue to mount. Money supply is growing rampantly out of control, property prices are in a bubble, exports are weak, commodity speculation is pervasive, and GDP growth is more of a mirage than real.
New local-currency loans totaled 294.8 billion yuan ($43.2 billion), compared with 253 billion yuan in October, according to data released by the People’s Bank of China on its Web site today. The median forecast of 19 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was 250 billion yuan.
M2, the broadest measure of money supply, rose a record 29.74 percent in November from a year earlier.
China’s banking regulator plans to slow new lending to between 7 trillion yuan and 8 trillion yuan next year, a person familiar with the matter said this week. China is trying to ensure that there is enough credit to support an economic recovery without increased risks of bad loans and asset bubbles.
“We believe slower credit growth in 2010 will be key to avoid a boom-bust scenario in the economy,” Wang Tao, a Beijing-based economist for UBS AG, said in a report.
The government “plans to control property prices by accelerating property investment and increasing supply,” economists Lu Ting and T.J. Bond said in an e-mailed note today. That contrasts with efforts in 2006 to cool prices by controlling investment, the economists said.
China Is Overbuilding Already
Note the insanity. China want to control prices by building more. It already has completely empty shopping centers, condos, and even a completely empty city.
China’s Empty City
That is an amazing video of a completely empty city.
China Has Trouble Maintaining Demand Growth
In spite of obvious speculation and overheating in the housing sector,
America used to mistreat her land and water like this.
This sort of thing, by the way, is how you manage to produce things with a wage of $1 or $2/day and undercut first-world producers.
When we have "free trade" with China, this is what we are supporting. This is what we’re serving up on their people. This is what our government and corporations all say is ok – so long as it is hidden from us, and happens "over there."
Make all the excuses you want America, this is what you’re supporting every time you buy anything made in China or containing Chinese componets.
Go walk around your house and pick up 10 random items. Look for the "made in" tag on the back or bottom. What’s it say? Now consider this – it is virtually impossible today to buy a piece of consumer electronics, a toy, an automobile or even a toaster without some part of it coming from China.
YOU are why this is happening.
These are not old photos, or someone’s Photoshop experiment.
They’re real, they’re current, and they are what our hedonism, demand for $20 DVD players and "cheaper and faster" from everyone has resulted in, all so our "corporations" can report "record profits."
Those "great earnings" the last two quarters were in fact generated by firing Americans and shifting yet more production over to China, where they poison their air, water and ground with wild abandon, all so we can have a "strong" stock market and our banksters can loot us some more.
Back in August 2010, Zero Hedge was ostracized for daring to first point out the massive distortion to the US unemployment rate as a result of the collapse in the labor force participation rate, and the far less realistic modeling of the US labor force. We said that while the US unemployment rate was shown to be steadily declining, the real unemployment rate when one factors in a realistic participation rate is well above 10%. It still is.
Since then not only tenured Wall Street weathermen but Janet Yellen herself has admitted the unemployment rate is no longer a meaningfu...
In the strive for zero labor factories we are nearly there. Is 90% good enough?
China Daily reports Manufacturing Hub Starts Work on First Zero-Labor Factory. A manufacturing hub in South China's Guangdong province has begun constructing the city's first zero-labor factory, a signal that the local authorities are bringing into effect its "robot assembling line" strategy.
Dongguan-based private company Everwin Precision Technology Ltd is pushing toward putting 1,000 robots in use in its first phase of the zero-labor project, China National Radio reported. It said the company has already put first 100 robots on the assembly line.
"The 'zero-labor factory' does not mean we will not employ any humans, but what it means is that we will sc...
After 2 volatile days, a return to more calm on Thursday as the S&P 500 fell 0.13% and the NASDAQ 0.17%. The daily Greek drama continues; IMF Managing Director Christine Lagare told a German newspaper that a Greek exit from the euro zone was possible but that this would probably not herald the end of the euro currency. On Wednesday, both U.S. and European equities rallied after Greece said it had stated crafting a “staff level agreement” with its international bailout supervisors. However, European officials rebuked the claims on Thursday, saying there was some way to go before any agreement could be drawn up and that they were surprised by the upbeat sentiment from Greece.
Indexes look much the same as we entered the week.
The tug of war between the bulls and bears has created an unusual situation this year, a historically tight trading range! The chart below reflects that the Dow Jones has traded within a 6.68% high to low trading range this year. That is the 4th tightest trading range through May, in the past 115 years.
CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
The inset table to the right looks at future performance of the Dow following narrow trading ranges through May. As you can see, most of the time the market has ended the year to the upside. Will it be different this time?
Early last week, stocks broke out, with the S&P 500 setting a new high with blue skies overhead. But then the market basically flat-lined for the rest of the week as bulls just couldn’t gather the fuel and conviction to take prices higher. In fact, the technical picture now has turned a bit defensive, at least for the short term, thus joining what has been a neutral-to-defensive tilt to our fundamentals-based Outlook rankings.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the t...
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Understanding the new normal of a business model is key to the success of any company. The managment of companies need to adapt to the changing demand, but first they must recognize what changes are taking place. Big Pharma's business model is changing rapidly, and much like the airline industry, there will be but a handful of pharma companies left at the end of this path.
Most Big Pharma companies have traditionally done everything from research and development (R&D) through to commercialisation themselves. Research was proprietary, and diseases were cherry picked on the back of academic research that was done using NIH grants. This was in the heyday of research, where multiple companies had drugs for the same target (Mevocor, Zocor, Crestor, Lipitor), and could reap the rewards on multiple scales. However, in the c...
Bitcoin, the virtual digital currency, has been called the future of banking, a dangerous fad, and almost everything in between, but we're finally about to get some solid data to help settle the debate.
On Monday, the Nasdaq (NDAQ) stock exchange said it would ...
Chris Kimble likes the idea of shorting the US dollar if it bounces higher. Phil's likes the dollar better long here. These views are not inconsistent, actually, the dollar could bounce and drop again. We'll be watching.
Phil writes: If the Fed begins to tighten OR if Greece defaults OR if China begins to fall apart OR if Japan begins to unwind, then the Dollar could move 10% higher. Without any of those things happening – you still have the Fed pursuing a relatively stronger currency policy than the rest of the G8. So, if anything, I think the pressure should be up, not down.
UNLESS that 95 line does ultimately fail (as opposed to this being bullish consolidation at the prior breakout point), then I'd prefer to sell the UUP Jan $25 puts for $0.85 and buy the Sept $24 call...
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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