CHINA’S presence has been felt on every continent. Now it is growing in Antarctica. Over the past two decades its annual Antarctic spending has tripled to $55m, three times its Arctic investment.
As with the Arctic, China is explicit about its polar objectives. In July President Xi Jinping said China should explore the poles and the oceans in order to take advantage of resources. The Southern Ocean is full of fish. A large petroleum field was recently discovered in West Antarctica. The continent also has deposits of coal and other valuable minerals. The Protocol on Environmental Protection, a document signed in Madrid in 1991 by countries involved in Antarctica, has imposed a mining ban until 2048, when it is to be reviewed. But Anne-Marie Brady, author of a new book on China’s polar strategy, says that despite this protection, the eventual exploitation of Antarctica is inevitable.
Chinese lenders paid the highest rate of interest since June to borrow government funds today, reflecting tighter monetary conditions in the world’s second-largest economy.
The People’s Bank of China auctioned 30 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) of three-month treasury deposits on behalf of the Ministry of Finance at 6 percent, according to a statement on its website. Interest-rate swaps and money-market rates also advanced as the central bank refrained from adding funds via reverse-repurchase agreements.
When the world was digesting news of Detroit’s bankruptcy in July, the biggest ever by a municipality in the US, attention in China turned to the highly indebted government of Jiangsu province. Provincial, city and county authorities were thought to be sitting on some US$126 billion in debt while the region’s shipbuilding industry, a major generator of revenues, foundered due to overcapacity.
The province in east China was labeled a “ticking time bomb” and potentially the venue for the country’s first local bankruptcy. Stories of Huaxi village in central Jiangsu, where the local party chief had erected a skyscraper and an enormous temple complex on farmland, seemed to exemplify the rampant spending officials had engaged in for more than a decade.
Renren Games, the online gaming business of Chinese social network Renren, began a mass layoff — it is reported it’s about 50% – 60% of some 700 employees — from early this month.
Joseph Chen, CEO of Renren, confirmed it in an internal e-mail yesterday. He acknowledged the irrational expansion and declining of Renren Games in the past quarters. But he said their eventual goal was still have Renren Games go IPO.
Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are maintaining our recommendation on the Chinese exploration and production company CNOOC Ltd. at Neutral. Although the company reported strong revenues in the third quarter, we are less bullish on the near term due to cascading realizations, a flattish production outlook for 2013 and the absence of catalysts. CNOOC’s growth profile should get a boost over the next 3 to 5 years from numerous development projects offshore China, international growth from recent acquisitions, and intensive exploration and development programs with its partners. Finally, the February acquisition of Canadian energy producer Nexen Inc. brought CNOOC substantial reserves in the Canadian oil sands.”