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China's draconian export curbs on rare earth minerals needed by the rest of the world for frontier technologies is escalating into a serious diplomatic and trade clash with the United States and other leading powers.
Japan's foreign minister Katsuya Okada issued what amounted to a formal protest at top-level meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing over the weekend, saying the sudden cut-off was "affecting the global production chain".
It is the latest sign of rising pressure after angry complaints by companies outside China that rely on this family of 17 metals for hybrid cars, mobile phones, superconductors, navigation, and a host of high-tech industries.
The last US mine shut 14 years ago, discouraged by tough US environmental rules. The US General Accounting Office said China now has a "dominant position" with market power. "Rebuilding a US rare earth supply chain may take up to 15 years," it said.
Baotou Steel High Tech Co said in February that it was building storage space for 200,000 tonnes of rare earth oxides. The company has since been told to stockpile metals by party bosses in Inner Mongolia. China Daily reports that Baotou and Jiangxi Copper are aligning their policies and now "virtually control" the market.
China claims it will need a growing proportion of these metals for its own industries, but US and Japanese officials say privately that Beijing's methods are not in keeping with the WTO ethos. Japan has already drafted a "Strategy For Enhancing Stable Supplies of Rare Metals" and has been stockpiling.
Rare earth metals are sprinkled in iPads, BlackBerrys, plasma TVs, lasers, wind turbines, hybrid engines, and smart bombs. They cannot easily be replaced, if at all. Neodymium enhances magnets at high heat, and cerium is used in catalytic converters. Rare earth ores are not in fact rare, merely scattered and costly to extract. There are ample reserves in the US, Australia, Canada, Russia, and Greenland. A number of explorers are reopening mines but will not produce significant amounts until mid-decade.
Everyone is aware of the idea of a “Treasury bubble” making the rounds.
A lot of people—myself included—think that the Fed, the Treasury and the
American Zombies are colluding in a triangular trade in Treasury bonds,
carrying out a de facto Stealth Monetization: The Treasury issues the debt
to finance fiscal spending, the TBTF banks buy them, with money provided
to them by the Fed.
reply to post by Rockpuck
posted by st udio
this is all an open secret now, but when the panic hits, everyone will get out of
Treasuries all at once, which is a matter of hours...
and commodities & gold will skyrocket as a result, then
the hyperinflation hits the taxable economy
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes re- ferred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 331,000 over the month to 8.9 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
because they were unable to find a full-time job
Whereas hyperinflation is the loss of confidence in a governments debt.
Deflation would be a good thing because it would return value to the money
Now, the fed has in fact doubled the money supply since the crisis.
'where does it end?'
The only difference between us and the PIIGS is confidence and there's no one big enough to bail us out if that confidence is lost for whatever reason.
Well we could always monetize the debt.. PIIGS couldn't do that, they gave their economic sovereignty to Brussels.. we however can turn the printing press on till there is no more debt..