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China’s Increasing Presence in European Electricity Sector

Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper, recently carried an article on China’s increasing influence over the European electric power supply network. The article quoted from the World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report of 2018, that Capgemini, a French consulting firm headquartered in Paris, had published. China, according to the report, is “the world’s second largest consumer of energy, the leading emitter of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), a significant energy equipment supplier, and a key player in critical resources. It has also become an important investor in electric companies.”

The report pointed out that a key strategy of Chinese expansion in Europe is to increase its control or influence over the continent’s electric power supply network. Chinese investment has already gained access to the electric sectors of Portugal, Italy, Greece, Malta, and the United Kingdom. It was due to the opposition of the German government that China did not have success in Germany. For energy experts, the control of the power supply network is of great strategic importance. Moreover, China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, and is in a leading position in the field of wind energy. The Chinese government is currently investing in large-scale research and development of electricity storage and aims to export Chinese-made batteries to the world in the near future.

However, the problem is that in the process of producing the above-mentioned green energy products, Chinese companies will emit a large amount of greenhouse gases. In addition, China also exports a large number of its own thermal power plants. In addition, the Chinese government will obviously be unable to achieve its goal of CO2 reduction, which is the total coal-fired power generation of less than 1,100 gigawatts, by 2020.

Source: Radio France International, November 6, 2018

African Swine Fever Hit Chongqing and Has Spread through 14 Chinese Provinces

According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced on November 4 that a case of African swine fever broke out in a farm in Xingyi Town in China’s southwestern city of Chongqing. That pushed the number of provinces plagued by the epidemic to 14. The Chongqing farm reportedly has 309 pigs, among which three have died from the disease.

Although there were two cases of African swine fever in Shanxi Province in Northern China, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced on November 3 that another outbreak had been detected in Yangqu County of Shanxi. The involved Shanxi farmer is raising 47 pigs; 25 have been diagnosed with the disease and 7 have died.

Although China has taken many measures, the ever increasing number of confirmed cases shows that the epidemic has not been effectively contained. Outbreaks have been detected in 14 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions: Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan, Jilin, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Tianjin, Shanxi, Yunnan, Hunan, Guizhou and Chongqing.

African swine fever has an acute death rate of 100 percent. Although it will not infect humans, there is no vaccine to prevent it. Infected or dead pigs can only be culled, buried or treated with chemicals so as to prevent the spread of the virus.

Source: Central News Agency, November 4, 2018

A Large Amount of Gold Is Flowing into China

Taiwanese online news site Tech News recently reported that multiple wealth management providers have been recommending to nearly all of their wealthy Chinese clients to stock up on gold. According to Swiss Customs data, in September, Switzerland imported 223.3 tons of gold and exported 118 tons. Both were peak points in the past two years. Most of the Swiss gold that was imported (around 70 percent) was from London and New York. The destinations for Swiss exports were mainly in Asia. India is one of the largest gold consumers; its September gold imports decreased by 115 tons. Unexpectedly, exports to Hong Kong alone increased from 3.3 tons to 28.7 tons. China and Hong Kong together saw that gold imports increased by 160 tons. Typically, gold stays in London and New York for banks to trade among themselves. However, this time physical gold has been flowing out and has never circled back.

Source: Tech News, October 30, 2018

China Finance Online: CCP Politburo Met to Discuss Strategy to Stabilize the Economy

China Finance Online, China’s only online financial information service listed on NASDAQ, recently reported that the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party met on October 31 to focus on the strategy for stabilizing the economy. The meeting reviewed the macro-economy for the past three quarters and confirmed an increase in the downward pressure, especially relating to long-term risks. The meeting also analyzed the primary cause of the current economic challenges and identified the “deep changes” that are occurring “externally.” As for the next steps, the meeting also specified the focal points for immediate action. These will include a new mention of “capital market reform” in addition to stabilizing the job market, the financial market, foreign trade, foreign investments, government investments and market expectations. Interestingly, the meeting did not mention de-leveraging policy, and did not mention real estate market adjustments. Experts expressed their belief that the meeting is an important and timely meeting, which acknowledged the significant pressure and “external changes,” and pointed in the direction of a market-oriented action list.

Source: China Finance Online, November 1, 2018

Sputnik: Russia to Finalize Digital Media Cooperation Plan with China by Summer of 2019

Sputnik reported that, during the 4th Russian-Chinese Media Forum, Alexey Volin, the Deputy Minister of Russia’s Digital Development, Communications and Mass Communication, told the reporter that the Russian side hopes to develop a digital media cooperation plan with China before the summer of 2019. The plan will include about 20 areas of cooperation: jointly organized forums, online conferences, exchanges of content distributed in the digital environment, the production of technical equipment, the development of on-line service software, and conducting collaboration between television and radio. This program aims to find answers for new media in a global digital environment.

Source: Sputnik, November 4, 2018

China News: China Postal Services Banned Pork in Packages

China News recently reported that the China Postal Services just announce a ban on mailing pork in postal packages. This is part of the national plan to control the African swine fever, which is spreading widely across China. The announcement also included detailed organizational and human resource level accountabilities throughout the Postal Service’s management structure as well as the Communist Party structure. The Postal Service is also coordinating with other government branches like public safety, market monitoring and administration, inspection and quarantine, as well as customs. The plan is also to ban any pork import channels from suspicious African areas. All postal branches are required to establish emergency procedures with dedicated personnel. Emergency exercises are strengthened and should join the local governments’ overall exercises. Two-way communications mechanisms have also been standardized and set in place. All branches are stocking up on necessary supplies that the exercises and real-life emergency handling require.

Source: China News, November 2, 2018