Sunday, May 11, 2014

Global Mischief Making: The Treasury Secretary Heads to China

On Sunday and Monday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be in transit to Beijing, China where he will hold discussions with senior Chinese officials on the U.S., Chinese and global economic outlook. He is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Monday evening.

According to  the Treasury, the Secretary will "discuss progress on China’s reform agenda, efforts to level the playing field for U.S. workers and firms, and preparations for the upcoming U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue."

Nothing good ever comes out of these meetings. Chinese officials are certain to be wary of the U.S., especially given the way the U.S. is cozying up to Japan. These talks won't be about free markets, but about second tier crony deals between the two countries.


  1. China-Russia discussing currency swaps package
    May 9, 2014

    Top officials from China and Russia met on Thursday in Beijing to prepare for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic trip to Shanghai next week even as the European Union prepares to initiate a fresh round of sanctions against Moscow.

    Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli held preparatory talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Shuvalov in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

    Zhang told Shuvalov that China would stress on increasing the already vibrant bilateral investment between the two nations. China is Russia’s fourth largest source of foreign direct investment.

    Beijing is keen on substituting the US dollar with the yuan in all of China’s trade with other countries. The Chinese currency now trades directly with the Japanese yen, the Australian dollar, the Brazilian real, the EU’s euro, the New Zealand dollar and many other currencies.

  2. Chinese gold demand 694 MT YTD, Silver In Backwardation

    Total Chinese wholesale gold demand year to date reached 694 metric tonnes in week 18 (28-4-2014/30-4-2014), annualized 2004 tonnes. During that week 23 metric tonnes of gold were withdrawn from the vaults of the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) in only three days! The SGE was closed on May 1 and 2. If the SGE would have been open for trading five days in week 18 withdrawals could have reached 39.16 tonnes, which is slightly higher than the yearly average of 38.5 tonnes. Chinese gold demand remains robust.

  3. Treasury says debt payments could be prioritized in default scenario

    (Reuters) - The Treasury Department has admitted for the first time that the government is technically capable of prioritizing payments if Congress triggers a default crisis by failing to raise the country's borrowing authority.

    In a letter to Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling, a senior aide to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the New York Federal Reserve, which pays the principal and interest on government debt, would be "technically capable" of continuing to make those payments while Treasury halted other payments if the United States was unable to borrow more money. The official stressed, however, that such a system is untested.

    Lew and other Treasury officials insisted during last October's debt limit crisis, when the U.S. came close to defaulting on some government obligations, that "prioritization" - a contingency strategy where bond payments are made while other outlays such as Social Security payments are halted - was not feasible.

  4. Russia Banks Should Be Targets in Sanctions, Boehner Says

    Russian banks should bear some economic penalties for Vladimir Putin’s government and President Barack Obama needs to push harder to get a tougher response from European nations, House Speaker John Boehner said.

    “You go after their banks,” Boehner said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” in an interview broadcast today. “I’m concerned that we’ve not pushed the Europeans hard enough to take a firmer line against the Russians. And our allies in the region are scared to death.”

    While U.S. officials have discussed targeting sectors of the Russian economy, such as energy and finance, they have so far only sanctioned 45 individuals and 19 entities, including SMP Bank and Bank Rossiya. The European Union is preparing to punish Russian companies that expropriated assets in Crimea, and may approve a list early next week, EU officials said.

    “What Putin is doing is making the world less safe, and certainly making Europe less safe,” Boehner said.