China Seeks Foreign Help in Risky Work Finding Oil in Disputed Sea

south china sea dispute

South china sea dispute: Beijing is looking for foreign contractors to help find oil and gas under the South China Sea but expects to meet resistance because other governments contest its claims and any discoveries may bring low returns.

China’s state-run China National Offshore Oil Corp. issued a tender last week for foreign companies to join it in exploring for fossil fuels in 22 tracts south of the country’s coastline. The blocks spanning a combined 47,270 square kilometers cover waters contested by Taiwan and Vietnam. Vietnam has been particularly outspoken since the 1970s about its claims.

Complicated matter

Foreign oil companies eyeing the bids, which close in September, probably worry that their ties to the Chinese maritime claim could spoil their reputation among rival South China Sea claimants or that any oil found would be a disputed asset, analysts say.
South China Sea Territorial Claims

“Given the area in question, there are risks around the sovereignty issue,” said Thomas Pugh, commodities economist with Capital Economics in London. “If they enter a deal with China and Chinese firms, they could risk not being allowed to work with other countries in the region who are disputing ownership of the area.”

Disputes over ownership continue

Discoveries themselves could also be contested by other countries, said Raymond Wu, managing director of Taipei-based political risk consultancy e-telligence. Full Story

The Chinese government is looking to foreign businesses to help find oil and natural gas under the South China Sea.

Yet China expects to meet resistance because other countries dispute Chinese territorial claims to much of the sea. In addition, observers say any oil and gas discoveries might not be very profitable.

Last week, China’s state-operated China National Offshore Oil Corporation made an appeal for foreign help. The company said it wants to work with foreign businesses in exploring for fossil fuels in 22 areas south of the country’s coast.

When combined, that represents more than 47,000 square kilometers of territory. The governments in Taiwan and Vietnam also claim those waters. Vietnam has been outspoken about its claims since the 1970s.

Foreign oil companies are now studying the Chinese offer, which closes in September. Experts say the companies may be worried that any work they do for China could hurt their ability to work for other countries. And they say the companies may also be worried that any oil or gas they find could be claimed by China’s neighbors.

Thomas Pugh works for the Capital Economics research service in London. He says if foreign companies start working with “China and Chinese firms, they could risk not being allowed to work with other countries…who are disputing ownership of the area.”

Raymond Wu is the managing director of e-telligence, a Taipei-based service that specializes in political risk. He also notes that any oil and gas discoveries could be claimed by other countries. Full Story

Ant Financial sees rich opportunities

Ant Financial sees rich opportunities
Ant Financial Services, China’s largest online payment operator, sees mobile wallet applications becoming the next big technology trend in the emerging markets of South America and Africa.
Kenny Man, head of international investment for Ant Financial, said over the next five years, emerging markets including those in South America and Africa will be priority for the company’s global partnerships. A clear trend is emerging whereby mobile wallet applications, and financial transactions done over mobile internet, are set for widespread acceptance in emerging market economies.

Over the past three years Ant Financial, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding has done nine partnerships. Within Asia, Ant Financial has forged partnerships with local companies in South Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong, Man said, adding that the company will continue to expand its footprint in the region.
“China has leapfrogged over traditional credit cards to the mobile wallet. That same change will be even more radical and faster in different parts of the world, whereby people will embrace mobile payments,” Man said.
Ant Financial, which just completed a US$14 billion series-C funding round in June from leading investors including Temasek, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Carlyle Group, and Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, formally known as GIC, has been increasingly active in expanding its technology and know-how through partnership in emerging Asia. Full Story

Ant Financial Services Group said on Monday it will extend its indigenous mobile payment technologies to economies along the Belt and Road Initiative and unveil a number of Alipay-like services this year.

The plan marks the company’s accelerated pace in expanding globally, adding to the existing five Asian markets where the financial technology powerhouse has announced investment plans since 2015.

“Technology exports will effectively save five to eight years’ time of our local partners in developing new technologies and conducting feasibility tests,” said Jia Hang, senior director of international business at Ant Financial.

The firm is counting on partners outside China to bring its model of online finance and local services to emerging Asian markets, where a substantial number of the population have no access to banking services and are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

Through strategic investments, the company can tap into the vast resources of one of the world’s most populous regions, Jia noted.

For instance, its investment in Thailand’s Ascend Money, an arm of the agricultural-to-telecom conglomerate, can give them access to local users and merchants.

In its latest overseas move, Ant Financial linked up this month with Indonesia’s second-largest media firm Emtek to form a payment platform within BlackBerry’s messaging service, which covers 63 million users in the country. Full Story

Ten years ago, Alipay was just a rapidly growing online payments service. Today, Alipay is the modern gateway to Ant Financial’s ecosystem of financial services, from wealth management and insurance to lending and credit scores.

Ant Financial was initially launched to support online payments. Today, it’s the largest fintech player globally.

As the financial affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Ant Financial encapsulates a fintech ecosystem that starts with its dominant mobile payments service, Alipay, and expands into credit scoring, wealth management, insurance, and lending.
At $150B, the current valuation of Ant trumps the market capitalizations of leading financial institutions around the world, from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to Banco Santander and The Royal Bank of Canada.
As China undergoes a cashless revolution, many view Ant as a mobile payments company.

But Ant — which today counts nearly 600M Alipay users, plus 110M+ Alipay partners across 15 countries — is much bigger than payments alone.

100M+ users use all 5 of Ant’s key functions, meaning that they not only use Ant’s payments function to make everyday purchases, but also use Ant to take out loans, buy insurance, check credit scores, and invest assets in Ant’s money market fund — Yu’e Bao.

That’s not to say Ant doesn’t face its share of challenges. In the last year, Chinese regulators have clamped down on China’s burgeoning fintech sector. Full Story

 

United Airlines CEO: No one will be fired in passenger-dragging incident

United Airlines incident

United Airlines will not fire employees involved in the recent dragging of a passenger from his seat, an incident CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday called “a system failure.”

Executives of the Chicago-based airline sought to assure investors that United is working to learn from the recent uproar over viral videos of Chicago Aviation Department security officers dragging Dr. David Dao from a Louisville-bound flight. Dao was removed from the plane at O’Hare International Airport after he refused to give up his seat to make room for airline employees.

“This is a true learning opportunity and will ultimately prove to be a watershed moment for our company as we work harder than ever to put our customers at the center of everything we do,” Munoz said on a conference call discussing the airline’s quarterly earnings.

There was “never consideration” of firing an employee over the incident, he said.

The airline is reviewing policies around handling oversold flights to prevent similar incidents, including talking to some passengers and employees about how the airline can take a more “commonsense approach,” Munoz said.

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It’s too soon to say whether the April 9 incident has affected customers’ willingness to travel with United, particularly since it happened during the week before Easter, when the airline typically sees fewer passengers, executives said. Full Story

 

United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz said Tuesday that no one will be fired for the airline’s recent debacle involving a passenger being dragged off an overbooked flight.

“The buck stops here. And I’m sure there was lots of conjecture about me personally,” the apologetic CEO said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday. “Again, it was a system failure across various areas, so no, there was never a consideration for firing an employee.”

The company has been embroiled in controversy ever since a video surfaced of Dr. David Dao being dragged off an overbooked flight in Chicago.

The fiasco has hurt shares of United Continental, which dropped about 4 percent on Tuesday, despite the company reporting better-than-expected earnings late Monday.

Munoz once again apologized for the confrontation, saying, “The incident on Flight 3411 has been a humbling learning experience for all of us here at United and for me in particular. In addition to apologizing to Dr. Dao, as well as all of the passengers aboard, I also want to apologize to all our customers. You can and should expect more from us and as CEO, I take full responsibility for making this right,” he added during Tuesday’s conference call.

Munoz reiterated that United will make policy changes, including not using law enforcement to take passengers off a flight unless there is a security issue and requiring that crews be booked at least an hour before takeoff. Full Story

What is quantitative easing?

Qhat is QE?

What is quantitative easing? We are entering a new paradigm; get used to forever Quantitative Easing – QE, though it will be given other names along the journey to make it appear more palatable. The US and by default worldwide debt is set to soar to preposterous levels; get used to it and embrace this fact for nothing has changed since we got off the Gold standard and nothing will change until the system collapses, though waiting for that day might prove to be fatal as the masses are completely asleep.

If a national debt of almost $22 trillion is shocking to some; imagine how they will feel when the debt soars to $100 trillion. Many might say no way in hell that is going to come to pass. Take a look at the national debt numbers in the early 1900s. Go back to 1900 and then fast forward to the present. Once upon a time, our national debt was less than 1 million USD.

Now if you told people back then it would be at $22 trillion one day; would the reaction not be the same? We will go on record to state that there is a good chance that worldwide debt will surge to $1000 trillion before the masses discover the emperor is naked, fat, bald and ugly; until then they will continue to believe he is a handsome prince. It currently stands at $247 trillion.

 

Clarida hints at the Forever QE reality

In a Feb. 22 speech, Clarida acknowledged no doubts. He said that radical monetary policy has worked, that it will continue to work, and that it may well become more radical. He contended that low-interest rates are here to stay and that new policy “tools” must be sharpened and kept at the ready. As to potential adverse consequences of administered rates and the mind-control games meant to “anchor” our collective expectations of the future, he mentioned none.

Certainly, rates are astoundingly low—Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently was able to count $11 trillion of bonds worldwide quoted at yields of less than zero. Clarida said that the decline in the so-called neutral rate of interest “is widely expected to persist for years.” Full Story

Stories like this barely receive much media attention, and the masses are too busy dealing with the problems on reality TV or being misdirected by highly politicised B.S. News that only serves to allocate even more time to trivial matters. These developments indicate that developed nations like the US and most of western Europe will become increasingly hostile places to live in. This topic is beyond the scope of this publication, but the trend is in place, the US is no longer the bastion of Freedom and will soon not make it even to the top 10 of the best places to live in.

 

In The Forever QE Era; strong corrections have to be embraced

In terms of the stock market, until the Fed changes its mind, all sharp corrections have to be viewed as buying opportunities, and backbreaking corrections have to be placed in the category of “once in a lifetime events”, provided of course the trend is positive. That is what we are here for; to inform you if the trend is positive (Up) or negative (down). The world is going to witness a Fed that has decided to make a cocktail of Coke, Heroin, Crack and Meth and take it all in one shot. Imagine what a junkie on this combination of potent drugs is capable of doing, and you will have an idea of where the Fed is heading in the years to come.

Now the Gold bugs will cry “I told you so”. Our response to this statement; not so fast little bugs. While precious metals will do well, we think stocks in key sectors (and we are not referring to Gold stocks) will pulverise the precious metals sector in terms of returns. One such area is robots (particularly Sex-bots) and AI.

Courtesy of Tactical Investor

 

Random views on QE

What is Quantitative Easing?

Quantitative easing is an unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to increase the money supply and encourage lending and investment. When short-term interest rates are at or approaching zero, normal open market operations, which target interest rates, are no longer effective, so instead a central bank can target specified amounts of assets to purchase. Quantitative easing increases the money supply by purchasing assets with newly created bank reserves in order to provide banks with more liquidity.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Quantitative easing, or “QE,” is the name for a strategy that a central bank can use to increase the domestic money supply.
  • QE is usually used when interest rates are already near 0 percent and can be focused on the purchase of government bonds from banks.
  • QE programs were widely used following the 2008 financial crisis, although some central banks, like the Bank of Japan, had been using QE for several years prior to the financial crisis. Full Story

Quantitative Easing Explained

Quantitative easing is a massive expansion of the open market operations of a central bank. It’s used to stimulate the economy by making it easier for businesses to borrow money. The bank buys securities from its member banks to add liquidity to capital markets. This has the same effect as increasing the money supply. In return, the central bank issues credit to the banks’ reserves to buy the securities.

Where do central banks get the credit to purchase these assets? They simply create it out of thin air. Only central banks have this unique power. This is what people are referring to when they talk about the Federal Reserve “printing money.”
Lower interest rates allow banks to make more loans. Bank loans stimulate demand by giving businesses money to expand. They give shoppers credit to purchase more goods and services.

By increasing the money supply, QE keeps the value of the country’s currency low. This makes the country’s stocks more attractive to foreign investors. It also makes exports cheaper.

Japan was the first to use QE from 2001 to 2006. It restarted in 2012, with the election of Shinzo Abe as Prime Minister. He promised reforms for Japan’s economy with his three-arrow program, “Abenomics.”
The U.S. Federal Reserve undertook the most successful QE effort. It added almost $2 trillion to the money supply. That’s the largest expansion from any economic stimulus program in history. Full Story

 

Why do we need quantitative easing?

The aim of QE is simple: by creating this ‘new’ money, we aim to boost spending and investment in the economy.
We are tasked with keeping inflation – rises in the prices of goods and services – low and stable.

The normal way we meet our inflation target is by changing Bank Rate, a key interest rate in the economy.

When the global recession took hold in late 2008, we quickly lowered Bank Rate from 5% to 0.5% to support the UK’s economic recovery. Lower interest rates mean it’s cheaper for households and businesses to borrow money – which encourages them to spend and invest, whether that’s a family buying a new car or a company wanting to build a new factory.

But there’s a limit to how low interest rates can go. So when we needed to act to boost the economy, we turned to another method of doing so: we introduced quantitative easing. Full Story