China’s Price Controls Won’t Crash a Booming Metals Market
David Fickling, 17 June 2021
China’s government is on a campaign to rein in prices for industrial metals. If it wants the plan to work, it needs to address the cause, not the symptoms.
State-owned companies have been ordered to control their risks and limit exposure to overseas commodities markets, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News this week. Government stockpiles of copper, aluminum and zinc will also soon be released to fabricators and manufacturers, a measure that could be expected to reduce prices. Continue reading “Article: China’s Price Controls Won’t Crash a Booming Metals Market”
Police seize assets worth over $70 million in money laundering investigation
RNZ, 16 June 2021
Police have seized over $70 million – mostly cash – linked to an international pyramid scheme in China and Canada.
The High Court has approved a settlement between Police and Xiaohua (known as Edward) Gong that enables the forfeiture of over $70m.
It is New Zealand’s largest ever forfeiture under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009. Continue reading “Article: Police seize assets worth over $70 million in money laundering investigation”
The Big Difference Between a Digital Dollar and a CBDC
Joe Weisenthal, 15 June 2021
Outside of perhaps China, right now the big use case for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) seems to be just talking about them. Crypto is cool right now and people are interested in digital money, so government and central bank officials are also spending a lot of time talking about their visions of how fiat currencies could be brought into this new realm.
However, there’s still a lot of ambiguity about how, say, a digital dollar would be designed, or what exactly it would accomplish. We’re still at the talking stage. Continue reading “Article: The Big Difference Between a Digital Dollar and a CBDC”
Chinese Trolls Show That Information Can’t Be Stopped, Nor Should It Be
Emilio Iasiello, 14 June 2021
Beijing has been engaged in a battle for public opinion for several years, aggressively promoting a positive vision of China to counter criticisms for its involvement in human rights violations, intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, its engagement with Taiwan and the South China Sea disputes, and its suspected involvement in the COVID-19 outbreak. In 2017, senior Party leaders acknowledged that “the main battlefield for public opinion” occurs on the extensive borderless Internet where people receive their news, express their thoughts, and promote and argue their political and ideological viewpoints. Beijing understands how the Internet is essential in disseminating China-friendly narratives, while at the same time deflecting criticisms and reassigning blame. In essence, it is how Beijing seeks to preserve its image while tarnishing those of others. Continue reading “Article: Chinese Trolls Show That Information Can’t Be Stopped, Nor Should It Be”
China Resident Indicted For Laundering Millions Of Fraud Proceeds Through Big Island Properties
Department of Justice, 14 June 2021
HONOLULU – A federal grand jury returned an indictment on June 10, 2021, charging Yao Zhungjun, 50, of Beijing, China, a former project manager at J.R. Simplot Company, an entity operating out of China, which had acquired the Jacklin Seed Company, a producer and marketer of grass seed and turfgrass based in Liberty Lake, Washington, with conspiracy to commit money laundering as part of multiple schemes to defraud Simplot, and route the proceeds through real estate developments in Hawaii.
Judith A. Philips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to the indictment, Yao solicited grass seed orders at artificially inflated prices from Chinese customers and then negotiated kickback payments from those customers in exchange for rebate payments from Simplot. Christopher Claypool, Jacklin’s general manager, approved and Yao collected millions of dollars in kickbacks from just one Chinese grass seed distributor, Beijing Oasis, on more than $10 million in rebates Simplot paid to Beijing Oasis. Continue reading “Article: China Resident Indicted For Laundering Millions Of Fraud Proceeds Through Big Island Properties”
South Korea Changes Course and Begins Investigating CBDCs
John Anlyt, 13 June 2021
The central bank of South Korea (BOK) announced this week the launch of a second specialist team to supposedly develop a digital currency central bank (CBDC) a year after dissolving their first group of researchers.
The entity said it will rededicate itself to studying everything related to the creation and implementation of a CBDC, and the formation of the new research group appears to be a direct response to China’s plans to issue a digital yuan.
The announcement surprised the crypto ecosystem as it signifies a turnaround in South Korea . A little less than a year ago, the BOK stated that there was almost no possibility of a CBDC in the country, which is why the cryptocurrency and digital currency research task force was dissolved .
The beginning of 2020, with China’s firm decision to launch its own CBDC, caused the BOK to change its stance on the issue and claim that it is now ” in the process of investigating ” the possible issuance of its digital currency.
The BOK clarified that its team of researchers will be small, with an initial appointment of eight members specialized in areas as varied as IT, human resources, economics and management.
Popular exchange LocalBitcoins has been suspending user accounts in some countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia without notice . As reported by Forbes these weeks, some users can no longer withdraw their bitcoins from the platform, who only communicated that it is due to a “process of improvements.”
The exchange made no further public comment on the matter. The first complaints began to be noticed last week , when LocalBitcoins users in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and Pakistan expressed that they could not withdraw their Bitcoins without deleting their accounts.
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Musk Denies Bitcoin ‘Pump And Dump’—And Says Tesla Will Resume Transactions Once This Mining Goal Is Reached
Jonathan Ponciano, 13 June 2021
As the cryptocurrency market’s weeks-long rout continues, Tesla’s billionaire CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter Sunday afternoon to refute claims that he engaged in a bitcoin pump-and-dump scheme earlier this year and said the electric-vehicle company would once again invest in the world’s largest cryptocurrency once its mining operations constitute a “reasonable” amount of clean energy usage. Continue reading “Article: Musk Denies Bitcoin ‘Pump And Dump’—And Says Tesla Will Resume Transactions Once This Mining Goal Is Reached”
Corporate Welfare Props Up the Billionaire Class
GRACE BLAKELEY, 13 June 2021
Last year, during the peak of the global pandemic, the world created more than seven hundred new billionaires. In the year since, another five hundred have been created — but the total wealth on the Forbes list has increased from $5 trillion to $13 trillion, the largest increase ever recorded in any one-year period. China topped the list for the highest number of new billionaires, with the United States coming in second.
Meanwhile, global GDP shrank by 3.3 percent in 2020 and unemployment rates are around 1.5 percentage points higher than they were before the pandemic in most economies. This doesn’t simply raise moral questions about the distribution of wealth during a pandemic — it requires us to ask exactly how those at the top are doing so well while demand in the global economy is so subdued. Continue reading “Article: Corporate Welfare Props Up the Billionaire Class”
Wall Street Faces All the Same Reflation Doubts After CPI Beat
Sam Potter and Anchalee Worrachate, 10 June 2021
After weeks of drift and doubt, Wall Street was looking for a decisive signal on price growth to help put the reflation trade back on track. Instead it got another mixed message.
Prices paid by U.S. consumers rose in May at the fastest pace since 2008, yet the details of data released Thursday supported the Federal Reserve’s view that the jump will prove transitory.
As investors digested the numbers, an initial increase in Treasury yields lasted little more than an hour, and by lunch they were extending recent declines. Tech stocks led the equity advance, with the Nasdaq 100 outperforming as more economically sensitive sectors lagged. Continue reading “Article: Wall Street Faces All the Same Reflation Doubts After CPI Beat”
Hong Kong to test linking China’s digital yuan with domestic payments
Reuters, 08 June 2021
Hong Kong is to test connecting China’s digital yuan with its domestic payments network, officials said on Tuesday, the second stage of trials of China’s digital currency in the financial hub.
China’s e-CNY is one of the most advanced central bank digital currency (CBDC) projects among major economies. Chinese officials say the project will be initially domestically focused, but cross-border trials are also under way in Hong Kong. Continue reading “Article: Hong Kong to test linking China’s digital yuan with domestic payments”
Wirecard: German Parliament slams Scholz and Merkel
Reuters, 07 June 2021
A committee of lawmakers in the Bundestag has published its inquiry into the Wirecard fraud affair. The damaging report comes months before Germany’s general election.
The public inquiry into the Wirecard scandal published its concluding report on Monday, criticizing Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The parliamentary committee consisting of opposition lawmakers ended a monthslong investigation into the scandal with the publication of a 675-page draft report. Continue reading “Article: Wirecard: German Parliament slams Scholz and Merkel”
The Wheels Are Coming Off Tesla
JIM COLLINS, 04 June 2021
After today’s brutal miss on the jobs number — 559,000 actual vs. a 671,000 estimate was a 16.7% miss — the normal feedback loop commenced. Economy not that hot = interest rates down (the yield on the 10-year UST has ticked down today to 1.58%) = Nasdaq up. This has been the state of affairs in 2021. Is what it is. I don’t fight it, I just use these mindless bounces to reset my short positions.
Without entering into a long-winded diatribe about Elon Musk, Bitcoin, self-driving, etc., let me just note one key point that has become increasingly apparent to those of us who actually analyze fundamentals this week: the wheels are coming off Tesla (TSLA) . That is true both literally – Tesla has announced two separate recalls this week, the first covering 5,974 Models 3/Y in the U.S. and 734 in China over potentially loose brake caliper bolts and the second covering 7,696 3/Ys in the U.S. owing to potentially loose seatbelt fastener connections – and figuratively. Continue reading “Article: The Wheels Are Coming Off Tesla”
China threatens money launderers with higher fines
PENG QINQIN and LIAO ZHAOLONG, 03 June 2021
China is planning to beef up its law against money laundering with higher fines and a broader scope, according to a draft revision that would be the first update to the law in more than 14 years.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Tuesday released a draft of the revised Anti-Money Laundering Law that aims to adapt to changing financial practices and growing money laundering risks at home and abroad.
The revision would extend the scope of the law, which came into effect in 2007, to improve enforcement against terrorist financing and stipulate nonfinancial parties’ obligations in preventing money laundering. It would also increase fines for violating the law and failing to comply with preventive measures. Continue reading “Article: China threatens money launderers with higher fines”
Operation HAECHI-I intercepts $83M in online financial crimes
Help Net Security, 02 June 2021
Amid an exponential increase in online fraud, an INTERPOL-coordinated operation codenamed HAECHI-I mobilized more than 40 specialized law enforcement officers across the Asia Pacific region. Over six months of coordinated intelligence collection and joint operations, police were able to intercept a total of $83 million in illicit funds transferred from victims to the perpetrators of cyber-enabled financial crime.
Officially concluding last week, Operation HAECHI-I focused particularly on five types of online financial crime: investment fraud, romance scams, money laundering associated with illegal online gambling, online sextortion and voice phishing. Continue reading “Article: Operation HAECHI-I intercepts $83M in online financial crimes”
Free market illusions: What is the US’ endgame in China?
Ramzy Baroud, 02 June 2021
Why does the US advocate a free market while stifling it too? The current US-China economic war is a perfect example of this perplexing question. The legacy of Milton Friedman, the founder of America’s modern political economy, was a representation of this very dichotomy: the use and manipulation of the concept of the free market.
Through the Chicago School of Economics, whose disciples have proved most consequential in the formation of the American approach to foreign policy, especially in South America, Milton constantly championed the virtues of the free market, emphasising a supposed link between freedom and capitalism and insisting that governments should not micromanage markets. Continue reading “Article: Free market illusions: What is the US’ endgame in China?”