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CHINA

Traveler's Photo Traveler 06 June 2019 - 07:44 AM

A couple of articles about how much the Chinese need US dollars, and how hard it is getting to obtain them. Interesting reading. Kind of blows off that "sell the treasuries" option many folks thought was actually viable.
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J-CA's Photo J-CA 06 June 2019 - 11:13 PM

View PostTraveler, on 06 June 2019 - 07:44 AM, said:

A couple of articles about how much the Chinese need US dollars, and how hard it is getting to obtain them. Interesting reading. Kind of blows off that "sell the treasuries" option many folks thought was actually viable.
1. These are in part pre-trade-war issues working their way through the Chinese economy, reframing them in terms of current politics is probably wrong.
2. This is the opposite of blowing off the "sell the treasuries" option, if the China actually needs USD because they can't borrow in USD then selling treasuries is the way to acquire USD regardless of the credit risks of the individual borrowers in China.
3. It is very important to remember that the Chinese economy is in the midst of a reversion to true fascism, currency controls are a big part of that. Every moderately rich Chinese person with significant overseas assets to flee to is another citizen that is a threat to the authority of the central government.
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Traveler's Photo Traveler 07 June 2019 - 07:10 AM

I meant "sell the treasuries option" as being some sort of cudgel that China could wield to retaliate, not that it would be bad. They already sold >1t to support their economy two years ago without the slightest hiccup. Although at the last auction, the buyer ratio was the lowest ever, at slightly over 2:1.

And the yuan is back at 7. All those rich Chinese are not very happy.
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D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 07 June 2019 - 07:49 AM

One sure indicator that someone really hasn't a clue is when they proclaim that China could crash our economy by "calling in" the debt they hold.
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LFC's Photo LFC 07 June 2019 - 12:26 PM

To those of you with more local knowledge do you have any idea how big a deal this is to the average Chinese when you look across the entire range of products in their food supply?

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An outbreak of African swine fever, a highly contagious disease that’s been called “pig Ebola,” is ravaging Asia’s pig industry with no signs of letting up.

The current outbreak of the virus, which kills almost all animals it infects, began in China in August. Since then, some 22 percent of the country’s pig herd has been lost to the disease and to culling, Christine McCracken, an animal protein expert at Rabobank, told Vox.

African swine fever is also now spreading in several countries neighboring China, including Mongolia, Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The map below shows current outbreaks in Asia, as reported to the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.

The disease, which was discovered a century ago in Kenya, is particularly deadly to pigs because it spreads easily and there is no treatment or vaccine. The only way for pig producers to prevent it is to kill all animals that have been infected or potentially exposed, or to put strict biosecurity measures in place.

Officials in China have tried in vain to get the outbreak under control to protect the country’s roughly 440 million pigs, which make up more than half of all pigs on earth. So far, it says it has culled 1.2 million pigs, putting thousands of small producers out of business. McCracken and others say that is a significant underestimate.

By the end of the year, she estimates China may lose as many as 200 million pigs. That’s an astonishingly high number, considering that a single pig can produce 200 pounds of food. It’s also remarkable when you compare it to the 250 million poultry in 63 countries that were culled following the outbreak of avian flu in China in 1996.

This African swine fever outbreak, in other words, is much worse than that avian flu outbreak in terms of livestock losses. “It’s historic; there’s never been anything like this in the history of modern animal production,” said McCracken. “And it’s a frightening situation only in that there is no current control.”

Though China is the epicenter and the worst-affected country, Vietnam has also been forced to cull 2 million of its 30 million pigs, according to Reuters. And tourists have brought the disease into several countries in Europe, including Poland and Romania, where it’s spreading among wild boar.

“This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet,” Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at City University of Hong Kong and expert on African swine fever, told the Guardian. “It makes the foot and mouth disease and BSE [mad cow disease] outbreaks pale in comparison to the damage that is being done.”
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George Rowell's Photo George Rowell 07 June 2019 - 09:51 PM

Shanghai. I ate pork yesterday and asked two people about swine fever and they had not heard about it. So, not much news coverage maybe. The impact so far seems minimal and the price is about $4US a lb. No a panic yet at least.

Just found out the low end price for pork is 12 yuan/jin or about $1.6/lb.
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George Rowell's Photo George Rowell 07 June 2019 - 09:56 PM

View PostTraveler, on 06 June 2019 - 07:44 AM, said:

A couple of articles about how much the Chinese need US dollars, and how hard it is getting to obtain them. Interesting reading. Kind of blows off that "sell the treasuries" option many folks thought was actually viable.
There is talk about trading in local currencies backed by gold. Easier said than done.
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J-CA's Photo J-CA 08 June 2019 - 03:44 PM

 LFC, on 07 June 2019 - 12:26 PM, said:

To those of you with more local knowledge do you have any idea how big a deal this is to the average Chinese when you look across the entire range of products in their food supply?
Not local to me but I know from talking to some pork producers that did a tour in China that their sanitary controls at their barns are a disaster, they run their barns like Canadians did in the 1960's, and I imagine the tours are conducted to show off the best ones. Their newer megabarns will come out of this whole experience much stronger though, they will fix their issues and many more small farmers will have been driven out of the industry.

If you have noticed that trade retaliation from China towards Canada has been refusing the buy Canadian canola and now messing with pork import licenses. Conveniently their demand for Canola meal is way down due to the culls and their pork production is, I presume, way up in the short term from premature slaughters for the same reason. When they finally do get this under control rebuilding the stocks will drive pork prices way up, but I imagine that they will suddenly find little issue with imported products at that point.
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Traveler's Photo Traveler 03 July 2019 - 06:51 AM

It has been quiet on the trade front lately, but things are heating up. trump just put Huawei back in play. Our good buddy Eli Lake didn't think much of it. He cited this article, which the IT folks here might find alarming.

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29% of all devices tested had at least one default username and password stored in the firmware, enabling access to the device if administrators don’t change these credentials.
• We identified 76 instances of firmware where the device was, by default, configured such that a root user with a hard-coded password could log in over the SSH protocol, providing for default backdoor access.
• 8 different firmware images were found to have pre-computed authorized_keys hard coded into the firmware, enabling backdoor
access to the holder of the private key.
• 424 different firmware images contained hardcoded private SSH keys, which can enable a man-in-the-middle to manipulate and/or decrypt traffic going to the device.
[...]
The Huawei device was the only device that contained hard-coded default credentials and hard-coded default cryptographic keys.

I only read the exec summary and key findings. Be interested in the pros here think about this. Seems awfully fishy to me, but what do I know?
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LFC's Photo LFC 03 July 2019 - 09:29 AM

 Traveler, on 03 July 2019 - 06:51 AM, said:

I only read the exec summary and key findings. Be interested in the pros here think about this. Seems awfully fishy to me, but what do I know?

I trust the Chinese government even less than the U.S. government on these things.
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Traveler's Photo Traveler 03 July 2019 - 09:40 AM

Yeah, one guy on BB pointed out the US has them too. I said fine, but which country do you want controlling your IOT? Kind of idiotic.
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D. C. Sessions's Photo D. C. Sessions 03 July 2019 - 09:48 AM

It's not a big deal to have a default password and keys -- if you don't, you can't modify the system at all when it arrives.

Now, if those passwords and keys are unchangeable, THAT is totally unacceptable.
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Traveler's Photo Traveler 03 July 2019 - 10:57 AM

Does "hard coded" mean unchangeable?

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pre-computed authorized_keys hard coded into the firmware
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LFC's Photo LFC 03 July 2019 - 01:12 PM

 Traveler, on 03 July 2019 - 10:57 AM, said:

Does "hard coded" mean unchangeable?

Depends. If it's in firmware it should be changeable. The problem comes when you have people with less expertise setting things up. Not everybody is going to be a super star when it comes to putting together the network and passwords will be left behind. It is important that the vendor selling this kind of equipment make it clear and in your face that you need to wipe out any default access.
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AnBr's Photo AnBr 03 July 2019 - 01:37 PM

Most firmware should be flashable, but if not done right it can brick the device. You really have to know your stuff and the device really well to write a firmware update. Updates are usually developed by the hardware manufacturer. I would imagine that 3rd party programmers would normally have specs provided by the manufacturer. If not they would probably need to RE the device, not a trivial task in most cases.
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George Rowell's Photo George Rowell 03 July 2019 - 09:30 PM

blob:https://www.bloomberg.com/3090a5b7-7a9b-460d-9f24-5dff92dc362
China boasting 2025 : Notice the bit about Xi putting himself in a vulnerable position . Who said this on TRS? Hint Traveler. Well done that man.
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Traveler's Photo Traveler 04 July 2019 - 08:43 AM

George, link didnt work.
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George Rowell's Photo George Rowell 04 July 2019 - 05:56 PM

I get a 404 error too. The Bloomberg clip revealed how powerful members of the Chinese communist party were unhappy with the attention that XI drew to China in the Chinese AI 2025 'Leading the World' initiative. They said his boastfulness had caused alarm and counter measures from America, weakening Xi's authority in the party. Pretty much what you predicted.
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