Tim Duy at Tim Duy's Fed Watch reports that the renminbi, dollar and yen are on a collision course. China is buying yen at a time where the yen is hitting record highs. If Japan responds by buying dollars, then China has managed to get Japan to help maintain the value of their dollar holdings as well as their ability to sell them. Well worth reading in full.
CHINESE STRATEGISTS SEE EXERCISES IN YELLOW SEA AS PART OF EFFORT TO ENCIRCLE CHINA WITH AN ASIAN NATO
Dai Xu at China.org.cn argues that the US is trying to build an Asian NATO to encircle China.
JAPANESE CONSIDER OPTIONS AFTER ATTACK ON TANKER
Takeo Kumagai and Pradeep Rajan at Platts report that the Japanese are considering how to increase security at the Straits of Hormuz after the bomb attack on the M Star VLCC. One option being considered is to only send tankers through the strait during the day time. However restricting passage to daytime hours would add to the congestion in traffic through the strait. Japan is stuck with importing oil through the Strait of Hormuz--80% of their oil supplies pass through it.
GREEK ECONOMY SHRINKS BY 1.5% IN THE SECOND QUARTER
The BBC reports that the Greek economy shrank by 1.5% in the second quarter from the first. The economy shrank by 3.5% from this time last year.
"That adds to 0.8% decline in GDP recorded for the first three months of the year, suggesting that the decline in the economy is speeding up."INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION IN INDIA RISES 7.1%
Kartik Goyal and Unni Krishnan at Bloomberg report that industrial production in India increased 7.1% in June from a year earlier. 7.1% is the slowest rate in 13 months and some see it as evidence that the economies in Asia are cooling.
TURKEY USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST PKK
Daniel Steinvorth and Yassin Musharbash at Der Spiegel report that photos have been taken of dead PKK members which seem to demonstrate that Turkey used chemical weapons to kill them. German politicians are demanding an explanation from Ankara.
TOP IRAQI MILITARY COMMANDER SAYS US EXIT IS COMING TOO SOON
BBC reports that the top Iraqi military commander has indicated that the US plan to remove all its troops by 2011 is too soon. He said that the army will only be ready to take control of the situation in 2020.
IRAQ WILLING TO ACCOMMODATE IRANIAN PIPELINE TO SYRIA
Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that the Iraqi oil ministry has published a press release stating that the government has no objection to a gas pipeline from Iran crossing Iraqi territory to Syria.
"'Iraq does not mind facilitating the extension of the Iranian gas pipeline through its territory to Syria and the Mediterranean Sea,' Iraqi oil minister Hussein al-Sharistani said in the statement"CHINA AND IRAN AGREE TO BROADER OIL AND GAS COOPERATION; LUKOIL RESUMES GASOLINE EXPORTS TO IRAN; IRAN CANCELS TWO LNG PROJECTS
The Tehran Times reports that Iran's oil minister and China's vice premier met and agreed to broaden their cooperation in the oil and gas sector. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Lukoil has resumed exports of gasoline to Iran.
"In July, Russia’s energy minister Sergei Shmatko said Russian companies would be ready to supply fuel to Iran if there were commercial interest and attractive terms."However, the sanctions appear to be having an effect on Iran's natural gas plans, canceling two LNG projects Spencer Swartz reports in the Wall Street Journal. LNG technology is mostly held by Western firms.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO US BIODIESEL DUMPING
Isis Almeida at Platts reports that the European Commission is investigating whether US biodiesel exporters are avoiding anti-dumping duties by sending the product through a third country like Canada or exporting B19--19% biodiesel, 81% diesel--which is not subject to the anti-dumping tax.
US biodiesel receives a subsidy of $1/gal ($300/mt) if blended with diesel, which the European Union says represents unfair competition.CONGRESSMEN SEEK TO KILL $100 MILLION IN AID TO LEBANESE ARMY ON HEZBOLLAH FEARS
This led the European Commission to slap provisional anti-subsidy and antidumping duties on imports of US biodiesel in March 2009. The measure was extended for five years last July, with definitive antidumping duties on US biodiesel of Eur200-400/mt ($274-$548/mt).
Daniel W. Drezner at Foreign Policy reports that members of the US Congress are seeking to stop $100 million in aid to the Lebanese Army.
"Now, I understand the Congressional impulse to do something here -- I really do. What I don't understand is how Congress thinks that withholding aid from the Lebanese military will weaken Hezbollah. Congress seems to think that anything that aids the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) will concomitantly aid Hezbollah. The latter group, however, has independent sources of financial, political and military support. It's better to think of the LAF as a competing power base than as a conduit to Hezbollah. Anything that weakens national institutions in Lebanon empowers the groups that can survive in a more anarchical environment -- and gee, whaddaya know, that would include Hezbollah."INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS UP
Courtney Schlisserman and Tim Homan at Bloomberg report that initial jobless claims for the week ended August 7th rose by 2,000 to 484,000, the highest level since February.
"The number of people receiving unemployment benefits dropped, while those getting supplemental benefits surged by 1.34 million reflecting the government’s extension of eligibility."HUD TO OFFER $1 BILLION IN INTEREST FREE LOANS TO FOLKS FACING FORECLOSURE
Lorraine Woellert and Kathleen M. Howley at Bloomberg report that HUD is to offer $1 billion in interest-free loans to help out folks who have lost income and are facing foreclosure on their homes.
"The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to make loans of as much as $50,000 for borrowers “in hard hit local areas” to make mortgage, tax and insurance payments for as long as two years, according to a statement released today. The Treasury Department will also provide as much as $2 billion in aid under an existing program for 17 states and the District of Columbia, according to the statement."