Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
By Oiwan Lam
Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post – the views are the author’s alone.
According to a New York Times report in early September, the Chinese Central Bank has invested over $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bills, bonds and debt securities. Of that, $376.3 billion has been put into the mortgage backed securities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 21% of the Chinese government’s foreign currency reserve.
Back in mid-August, Lew Mon-hung, a representative of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, wrote in several mainstream newspapers in Hong Kong to criticize the investment decision. His opinion has been censored by mainland Chinese mainstream media, but distributed widely on the internet. Chenjian is among one of the mainland bloggers distributing Lew’s viewpoint:
(translated from Chinese)
As a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and with my experience in the finance sector, I am here to question the decision makers at the central government finance sector: you guys are the family’s failure, where do you get the balls to take people’s money to buy such a huge amount of fannie and freddie’s securities. Now they are bankrupted, how are you to take the responsibility?
By Juhie Bhatia
Health authorities in China reported this week that nearly 53,000 children have become sick after consuming tainted infant formula. As the effects of these contaminated dairy products become more widespread, many are discussing the alternative to formula — breastfeeding.
First on Zimbabwe, now on Darfur, Western countries have lost out at the U.N. Security Council to African states backed by China and Russia.
A Western attempt to get sanctions imposed on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s government flopped on July 11. Three weeks later, when it came to renewing the mandate of peacekeepers in Darfur, Western countries bowed to demands to include wording that made clear the council would be ready to freeze any International Criminal Court indictment of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide. The United States abstained, but that made no difference to the vote.
What’s with farming these days? The humble, even if slightly romantic vocation, is attracting a new breed of participants as investing in farmland and agriculture becomes the latest fad in the world of investments.
With financial markets in tumoil and commodity prices at record highs, traditional financial players such as investment banks and hedge funds, and even sovereign wealth funds of cash-rich emerging economies are increasingly looking at farm land as the next major investment avenue.
The motivations are varied — from pure financial punting to concerns about food security. Underlying all this is the belief that the rapid economic expansion of China and India could add more than a billion people between them to the ranks of consumers of meat and wheat-based products. And then there is the growing demand for land to grow crops for biofuels.
China’s surprise decision late on Thursday to slash subsidies on fuel prices has been welcomed as a sign that Beijing is intent on reducing the pace of oil demand growth in the world’s second biggest energy consumer.
That, in theory, should help contain the upward spiral in world oil prices that took crude to a high of nearly $140 a barrel last week. Nine out of 10 analysts polled by Reuters immediately after the news took that line. But there is a contrarian view.