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.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time documenting the student loan bubble which has now ballooned to $1.3 trillion and has recently led The White House to reexamine how student debt is handled in bankruptcy. Further, we’ve taken an in-depth look at delinquency rates in an effor to determine just how dire the situation has become. As it turns out, nearly one in three students in repayment is 30 days or more past due and recent data out of the St. Louis Fed indicates that far more delinquent borrowers are becoming “seriously” delinquent (i.e. never going to pay...
This is discouraging. There seems to be a prevailing attitude, even among very intelligent people (personal observation), that science is just another subject of equivalence to religion, or apparently astrology, in explaining life in the big universe. Or, subjects that are not within the realm of science are imagined to be a science based on a misunderstanding of what science is.
This misunderstanding of science may reflect a failed education system, and unfortunately, we may be traveling backwards. The highest percent of non-skeptics were in the youngest age group where a majority of people think astrology is at least "sort of" scientific.
In China, in contrast, 92% of people polled said they do not believe "in horoscopes." The exact question the researchers asked may in part explain the discrepant results. And I wonder, did some Americans get Astrology confused with Astronomy? Also not good.
Seven of the eight indexes on our world watch list traded higher this week, with China's Shanghai Composite as the top performer, up 2.48%. India's SENSEX was the outlier to the south, with a -3.53% contraction. In fact, the average of the seven gainers was an impressive 1.52%. But the SENSEX pulls the overall average down to 0.89%.
The Shanghai Composite looks to be in bubble mode, up 92% from its interim trough in late October.
Here is an overlay of the eight for a sense of their comparative performance so far in 2015.
Here is a table of the 2015 data performance, sorted from high to low, along with the interim highs for the eight indexes. All eight indexes are in the green, with the top five gains ranging 14.72% to 35.83%. Not bad for a mid-April checkpoint.
King Dollar has been on a role since last summer, up over 20% in less than a year. When looking back on the US$, the rally has been rare and nearly historic. Majority of the rally took place inside the steep rising channel above. Over the past month the US$ might have put in a double top. Over the past few days, the US$ has slipped a little below rising support at red arrow above.
Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
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As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...
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...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
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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