Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday News Roundup

Strong buying by China has helped lift commodity prices around the world this spring, but growing evidence suggests that a sizable portion of this buying has been to build stockpiles in China, and may not be sustainable.

At least 90 large freighters full of iron ore are idling off Chinese ports, where they face waits of up to two weeks to unload because port storage operations are overflowing, chief executives of shipping companies said in interviews this week. Yet actual steel production from that iron ore is recovering much more slowly in China, and Chinese steel exports remain weak.
Here's good data that indicates that the Chinese buys are for stockpiling.
But we do see signs of change within the White House. Just as Secretary Geithner was finishing his high profile but low substance visit to China, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker was observed quietly arriving in Beijing for talks with the senior Chinese political leadership. The Chinese have made it clear, we are told, that the opinions of Chairman Volcker are more reliable than the at times sophmoric statements of Secretary Geithner.

The Treasury Secretary, do not forget, is seen in China, Europe and elsewhere as a representative of the largest US banks.

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