Archive for the ‘Commodities’ Category


Building Boom in China Stirs Fears of Debt OverloadJuly 6, 2011

WUHAN, China — In the seven years it will take New York City to build a two-mile leg of its long-awaited Second Avenue subway line, this city of nine million people in central China plans to complete an entirely new subway system, with nearly 140 miles of track.
And the Wuhan Metro is only one piece of a $120 billion municipal master plan that includes two new airport terminals, a new financial district, a cultural district and a riverfront promenade with an office tower half again as high as the Empire State Building.
The construction frenzy cloaks Wuhan, China’s ninth-largest city, in a continual dust cloud, despite fleets of water trucks constantly spraying the streets. No wonder the local Communist party secretary, recently promoted from mayor, is known as “Mr. Digging Around the City.”
The plans for Wuhan, a provincial capital about 425 miles west of Shanghai, might seem extravagant. But they are not unusual. Dozens of other Chinese cities are racing to complete infrastructure projects just as expensive and ambitious, or more so, as they play their roles in this nation’s celebrated economic miracle.
In the last few years, cities’ efforts have helped government infrastructure and real estate spending surpass foreign trade as the biggest contributor to China’s growth. Subways and skyscrapers, in other words, are replacing exports of furniture and iPhones as the symbols of this nation’s prowess.
But there are growing signs that China’s long-running economic boom could be undermined by these building binges, which are financed through heavy borrowing by local governments and clever accounting that masks the true size of the debt.
The danger, experts say, is that China’s municipal governments could already be sitting on huge mountains of hidden debt — a lurking liability that threatens to stunt the nation’s economic growth for years or even decades to come. Just last week China’s national auditor, who reports to the cabinet, warned of the perils of local government borrowing. And on Tuesday the Beijing office of Moody’s Investors Service issued a report saying the national auditor might have understated Chinese banks’ actual risks from loans to local governments.
Because Chinese growth has been one of the few steady engines in the global economy in recent years, any significant slowdown in this country would have international repercussions.
As municipal projects play out across China, spending on so-called fixed-asset investment — a crucial measure of building that is heavily weighted toward government and real estate projects — is now equal to nearly 70 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. It is a ratio that no other large nation has approached in modern times.
Even Japan, at the peak of its building boom in the 1980s, reached only about 35 percent, and the figure has hovered around 20 percent for decades in the United States.
China’s high number helps explain its meteoric material rise. But it could also signal a dangerous dependence on government infrastructure spending.

“If China’s good at anything, it’s infrastructure,” said Pieter P. Bottelier, a China expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. “But right now it seems the investment rate is too high. How much of that is ill-advised and future nonperforming loans, no one knows.”
For the last decade, as economists have sought to explain China’s rise, a popular image has emerged of Beijing technocrats continually and cannily fine-tuning the nation’s communist-capitalist hybrid. But in fact, city governments often work at odds with Beijing’s aims. And some of Beijing’s own goals and policies can be contradictory.
As a result, China’s state capitalism is much messier, and the economy more vulnerable, than it might look to the outside world.
In the case of Wuhan, a close look at its finances reveals that the city has borrowed tens of billions of dollars from state-run banks. But the loans seldom go directly to the local government. Instead, the borrowing is done by special investment corporations set up by the city — business entities whose debt shows up nowhere on Wuhan’s official financial balance sheet.
Adding to the risk, the collateral for many loans is local land valued at lofty prices that could collapse if China’s real estate bubble burst. Wuhan’s land prices have tripled in the last decade.
The biggest of the separate investment companies set up by the municipal government here is an entity known as Wuhan Urban Construction Investment and Development, created to help finance billions of dollars’ worth of projects, including roadways, bridges and sewage treatment plants.
According to city records, Wuhan U.C.I.D. has 16,000 employees, 25 subsidiaries and $15 billion in assets — including the possibly inflated value of the land itself. But it owes nearly as much, about $14 billion.
“U.C.I.D. is heavily in debt,” a company spokesman, Sun Zhengrong, conceded in an interview. “This may lead to potential problems. So we are trying to make some adjustments.” He declined to elaborate, saying the state company’s finances were “our core secret.”
Dozens of other cities are following a similarly risky script: creating off balance-sheet corporations that are going deeply into debt for showpiece projects, new subway systems, high-speed rail lines and extravagant government office complexes. And they are doing it despite efforts by the central government in Beijing to rein in the excess.
To limit the cities’ debt, Beijing has long prohibited municipalities from issuing bonds to finance government projects — as American cities do as a matter of course. Lately, too, China’s central government has put tighter limits on state-owned banks’ lending to municipalities. But by using off-the-books investment companies, cities have largely eluded Beijing’s rules.
Zhang Dong, a municipal government adviser who also teaches finance at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan, estimates that less than 5 percent of the city’s infrastructure spending comes from Wuhan’s general budget. “Most of it comes from off-the-books financing,” he said.
This system is not a secret from Beijing, which now says there are more than 10,000 of these local government financing entities in China. In fact, because Beijing now takes a large share of government tax revenue, local governments have had to find their own way to grow, and land development is primarily how they have done it.
But it is a risky game. A recent report by the investment bank UBS predicted that local government investment corporations could generate up to $460 billion in loan defaults over the next few years. As a percentage of China’s G.D.P., that would be far bigger than the $700 billion troubled-asset bailout program in the United States.
As frightening as that may sound, many analysts see no reason for panic — no imminent threat of an economy-collapsing banking crisis in China. That is largely because of Beijing’s $3 trillion war chest of foreign exchange reserves (much of it invested in United States Treasury bonds), and the fact that China’s state-run banks are also sitting on huge piles of household savings from the nation’s 1.3 billion citizens.
Because all that cash is protected by government restrictions on money flowing in and out of the country, a global run on China’s banks would be unlikely.
The real problem, analysts say, is that municipal government debt in China has begun casting a large shadow over the nation’s growth picture. If instead of investing in growth, China had to start spending money to gird the banks against municipal defaults, some experts see a possibility of China eventually lapsing into a long period of Japan-like stagnation.
A Recession Peril
Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economics professor and co-author of “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” has studied China’s boom. He predicts that within a decade China’s lofty property bubble and its mounting debts could cause a regional recession in Asia and stifle growth in the rest of the world.
“With China, you have the ultimate ‘this time is different’ syndrome,” Professor Rogoff said. “Economists say they have huge reserves, they have savings, they’re hard-working people. It’s naïve. You can’t beat the odds forever.”
By Beijing’s estimate, total local government debt amounted to $2.2 trillion last year — a staggering figure, equal to one-third of the nation’s gross domestic product. A wave of municipal defaults could become a huge liability for the central government, which is sitting on about $2 trillion in debt of its own.
And Beijing’s estimate of what the cities owe might be too low, in the view of Victor Shih, a professor of political economy at Northwestern University who has studied China’s municipal debt. He says that by now, after even more borrowing in early 2011 and some figures hidden from government audits, total municipal debt in China could be closer to $3 trillion.
“Most of the government entities that borrow can’t even make the interest payments on the loans,” Professor Shih said.
Around the clock, seven days a week, the construction crews burrow to build Wuhan’s $45 billion subway system. One segment snakes beneath the mighty Yangtze River.
“For most areas we dig down 18 to 26 meters,” said Lin Wenshu, one of the planning directors of the Wuhan Metro. “But for part of this line we’ve had to go down 50 meters because there’s high pressure and a lot of mud from the river,” he said. “But the citizens want a subway system, and so we’re going to build it as fast as possible.”
In all, city officials say there are more than 5,700 construction projects under way in Wuhan. In some neighborhoods, workers demolish old homes with little more than sledgehammers and their bare hands to make way for shopping malls, high-rise apartment complexes and new expressways.
Having seen Beijing, Shanghai and other coastal metropolises thrive on big infrastructure projects, cities thousands of miles inland, like Wuhan, are trying to do likewise. Wuhan wants to become a manufacturing and transportation hub for the heartland — China’s version of Chicago.
But it is a dream built on debt. This year, relying largely on bank loans, Wuhan plans to spend about $22 billion on infrastructure projects, an amount five times as large as the city’s tax revenue last year. And aspirations notwithstanding, Wuhan is still relatively poor. Residents here earn about $3,000 a year, only about two-thirds as much as those in Shanghai.
But Wuhan has made the most of the soaring value of its land. In the northwest part of the city, for example, bulldozers have cleared a huge tract more than twice the size of Central Park. A dozen years ago it was a military air base.
Giant billboards advertise a new purpose: future home of the Wangjiadun Central Business District, featuring office towers and luxury apartments for 200,000 people. That assumes, of course, that financing for the project — a web of loans and deals based largely on the underlying value of the land — holds up.
Planning began in 1999, when the city decided to relocate the air base. After the city ran short of cash for the project, in 2002, it turned to a deep-pocketed Beijing developer, the Oceanwide Corporation. Oceanwide agreed to chip in $275 million and pay some of the infrastructure costs in exchange for a prime piece of the land.
Since then, the city has sold large plots of the former air base to other developers, while earmarking yet other parcels for future sale to help pay for the new business district.
There is no question that China needs new infrastructure and transportation networks if it is to meet its goal of transforming most of its huge population into city dwellers. Less certain is whether the country can afford to keep building at this pace, and whether many of these projects will ever pay off in terms of the economic development they are meant to support.
Beijing helped ratchet up the municipal building boom in early 2009, when in response to the global recession, it pressed local governments to think big and announced a huge economic stimulus package. That unleashed a wave of government-backed bank lending.
“What we’re seeing was not very common before 2008,” said Fu Zhihua, a research fellow at the Research Institute for Fiscal Science. “Now, all cities are rushing headlong into this.”
And now, try as it might, Beijing seems unable to stop the stampede.
Part of the problem may be incentives in China’s Politburo-driven economic system. Simply put, municipal officials in China keep their jobs and earn promotions on the basis of short-term economic growth.
“The fact is, local governments in China compete to grow G.D.P. in order to get promoted as government officials,” said Zeng Kanghua, who teaches finance at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.
Ruan Chengfa, Wuhan’s 54-year-old local Communist party secretary, who was promoted earlier this year from mayor, has certainly benefited politically from his “Mr. Digging” reputation.
He declined to be interviewed for this article. But in a speech in February, he said, “If we want Wuhan to have leapfrog development and enhance people’s happiness, then we must build subways and bridges.”
Pressure From Beijing
Wuhan is starting to show symptoms of financial stress.
Despite selling about $25 billion worth of land over the last five years, according to Real Capital Analytics, a research firm based in New York, Wuhan is struggling to pay for its projects. City officials have announced a big increase in bridge tolls. Under pressure from Beijing to reduce Wuhan’s debt, they have promised to pay back $2.3 billion to state-backed creditors this year.
Whether the city would do this by borrowing more money or selling land or assets is unclear. But rolling over old debts with new borrowing is not uncommon among Chinese cities. In 2009, for instance, Wuhan’s big investment company, Wuhan U.C.I.D., borrowed $230 million from investors and then used nearly a third of the money to repay some of its bank loans.
Mainly, Wuhan’s leaders are counting on property prices to continue defying gravity, even if some analysts predict a coming crash.
In a report this year, the investment bank Credit Suisse identified Wuhan as one of China’s “top 10 cities to avoid,” saying its housing stock was so huge that it would take eight years to sell the residences already completed — never mind the hundreds of thousands now under construction.
But criticism has not deterred Mr. Ruan, the local party secretary, who has vowed to keep his foot on the shovel. “If we don’t speed up construction,” he said in the speech in February, “many of Wuhan’s problems won’t be solved.”

Xu Yan contributed research.

China’s Cities Digging Up Mountains of Debt – NYTimes.com

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Widowmaker’ Oil Trade Lives Up to Its Name

OIL COMMODITIES MARKETS ECONOMY INTEREST RATES INFLATION FUEL PRICES GASOLINE FUTURES NYSE FTSE
CNBC.com
| 12 May 2011 | 03:10 AM ET
Big oil traders who bet on a rise in gasoline prices relative to heating oil ahead of the summer driving season may have thought they broke the curse of a “widowmaker” trade even as oil prices crashed.
They were dead wrong. Some of the traders who shun the big, directional bets that hedge funds love have crowded into a common springtime trade: betting gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) will hold at a premium to heating oil futures as consumption accelerates into the summer.
They have been counting their winnings since March, when the spread staged its biggest seasonal rise since 2007.
The surge accelerated earlier this week as the Mississippi River swelled, threatening refinery operations in Louisiana and Tennesse.
But then came Wednesday, when gasoline futures collapsed in the biggest absolute drop in more than two years.
The spread dropped by over 17 cents, the biggest one-day move since September 2009.
“There will be widows. Some people got pretty whipsawed. But that trade is not for the faint of heart,” said Stephen Schork, editor of the Schork Report.
Indeed, lately it’s been a stomach-churning ride. The spread has moved by more than 6 cents in either direction in four of the past eight trading sessions; prior to last week it moved by such a margin only nine times in two years.
First, the U.S. Energy Information Administration came out with data showing an unexpected build in gasoline stocks as the threat level for refineries from the Mississippi river abated.
This, coupled with mounting concerns that gasoline pump prices near the critical $4 a gallon level will cause U.S. consumers to balk, pushed many bulls to the exit.
RBOB gasoline at one point slumped by over 30 cents or 8.95 percent.
The price drop was so big it triggered a five-minute trading halt in all three oil major contracts for the first time since Sept. 22, 2008.
Victims
The “widowmaker” trade tends to be popular among trading houses and hedge funds which house some of the biggest speculative traders in the market.
One victim is said to have lost $500 million on a single bet in the summer of 2008 when gasoline failed to reach a premium to heating oil, contrary to the usual pattern.
On Wednesday, traders said a big Europe-based oil trading company was forced to stop out, or reverse its long position on gasoline to prevent further losses.
Volumes spiked to the highest level in hitory as dealers rushed to place orders.
“If you were long you were happy this time yesterday and you’re probably not so happy now,” said an oil trader with a European bank. “The flood story freaked everyone out. The market attracted tourists and then we overshot.”
U.S. refineries, which ramped up their gasoline production by 111,000 barrels-per-day last week, according to the EIA, are also set to take a hit if the slump in the futures market is carried to spot markets over the coming few days.
The price crash in theory wiped off more than $5 in profits for every barrel of crude processed into gasoline.
Traders who sensed that the price may have been reaching a peak were relieved on Wednesday to have sold near the top.
The signs were already there. Gasoline demand has been on a continuous slump since the second week of April according to EIA’s 4-week average gasoline supply data.
“Luckily, I sold this morning. I’m too scared to watch it,” said a gasoline trader with a bank.
Before Wednesday’s crash, gasoline was trading at a record premium to heating oil, according to Reuters data going back to 2008.
Others saw the plunge as symptomatic of a new oil trading environment, characterized by huge price swings following last week’s record drop in oil prices, for no obvious reason.
In percentage terms gasoline price fell by less than crude in last week’s price crash, but on Wednesday they led the whole complex lower, analysts said.
“Last week’s steep slide has increased volatility in the market, and we are still responding skittishly to that.
Often in the period after a crash like that things become a little more volatile,” said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy.
Flagship commodity fund Astenbeck II run by top Phibro trader Andrew Hall was one name that suffered a double-digit loss last week as oil prices tumbled.

commodities – ‘Widowmaker’ Oil Trade Lives Up to Its Name – CNBC

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Clive Capital On the Commodity Slam…sorry,we mean, Outlook

Until we learn which hedge funds REALLY got clobbered, Chris Levett’s $5 billion Clive Capital, which lost $400 million, will be known as the hedge fund that just got clobbered by the commodities dump.

Clive was “at a loss to explain what had caused crude oil markets to be “annihilated,” Clive’s management said, according to the FT.
We assume Levitt’s will bounce back. But for some smaller funds, what happened last week was game over.
Until then, check out what Clive Capital was saying about commodities in October.
Below is a summary from their October letter to investors. We published Clive’s macro view in November.
From Clive Capital’s October letter to investors:
Energy
— Bullish on gas, power, and emissions
  • Estimates for U.S. onshore oil production growth are continually revised up
  • In Asia, Chinese oil demand continues to beat expectations
  • With floating inventories of crude and products continuing to whittle away, oil fundamentals appear to be tightening. Onshore commercial inventories would be the next to draw, which should be supportive to oil spreads in general.
  • Ethanol shortages in 2011 look increasingly possible, which would be supportive for gasoline, particularly in Brazil and the U.S.
  • Gas is expected to remain in a competitive position versus Coal all winter long and throughout 2011.
  • Germany will reach 2008 level power consumption by the end of 2011 if current growth trend is sustained.
Precious Metals
— Bullish on Precious Metals Growing fears over the value of the major paper currencies as well as the persistence of ultra low real rates across the world should be bullish for Precious Metals as a group going forward. We made no major changes to our Gold positioning and should continue to benefit from a move higher in prices… PGM’s also rallied in October; with Palladium outperforming Platinum and seeing Palladium prices reach 9-year highs. The longer-term bullish supply story is not only a function of constrained supply but also of increased cost pressures (particularly in the face of a strong South African Rand and power tariff increases), which are reducing producer profit margins despite these higher prices. On the demand side, tighter emissions legislation around the world has been a positive driver for many years. The implementation of regulations for off-road vehicles (e.g. those used in agriculture, construction) in Europe and North America in 2011 as well as demand from stationary fuel cells should add two further demand components to markets that are already struggling/unable to supply enough metal for all the other uses.
Base Metals
Bullish on Copper and Tin Market balances for 2011 are pointing towards market deficits in Copper, Tin and Lead while Nickel and Zinc should see small surpluses… Copper mine supply is expected to expand by less than 500kt in 2011 (compared to annual refined production of around 19mt)… To put this into perspective, global demand is expected to expand by around 700kt (with the bulk of that growth coming from China and using very conservative assumptions for the G3). As such, there is a strong likelihood that the market will record an even bigger deficit in 2011 than the estimated 300-400kt deficit in 2010. Add in the growing likelihood of physically backed Base Metal ETFs and one could easily envisage a scenario where several metals, particularly Copper and Tin, trade well into record territory in 2011 while others, such as lead, Zinc and Nickel (which are still well below their respective 2007/08 peaks) will see prices rising closer to those prior highs.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/check-out-what-clive-capital-was-saying-about-commodities-before-the-annilhilation-2011-5#ixzz1LrXHGfGX

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Clive Capital On Commodity Outlook


Also read:

Clive Capital Investor Letter on the Commodity Slam 

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Gold falls, silver drops 4 pct after bin Laden death

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Gold fell from a record high on Monday and silver notched its biggest one-day loss in seven weeks after the killing of Osama bin Laden sapped the safe-haven premium out of precious metals.


Silver bounced off early lows after falling as much as 11 percent, as speculators scaled back their bullish bets on increased futures margins and a technical overhang after a 170 percent rally over the last 12 months to a record high last week.
Gold initially rose to a record high for a fourth consecutive session, but news of the al Qaeda leader's killing by U.S. forces sent gold down almost 2 percent. The CBOE gold volatility index, a gauge of bullion investor anxiety, posted its biggest-ever two-session gain since its inception in September last year.
"People are pulling out of gold and going back into the equity market, as the news had a de-risking effect on the geopolitical environment," said Steven Faber, analyst at Haber Trilix Advisors, which manages $2 billion in assets.
Investor buying later lifted bullion off its lows after data showed U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in April for a second straight month but input prices reached their highest level in nearly three years.
Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,558.09 an ounce by 2:26 p.m. EDT (1826 GMT), after hitting a record high for a fourth straight session at $1,575.79. U.S. June gold futures settled up 70 cents at $1,557.10 after ranging from $1,540.30 to $1,577.40.

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>Glencore Versus Goldman

Short term yes, mid-long term, the commodity bull market still has some years ahead. If anything more like 1997, than 1999, when people were alredy calling the top in tech boom/bubble after doubling in 2 years, only to see the market triple form there again!!

April 14, 2011, 10:23 am

Glencore Versus Goldman

AP Photo/Richard DrewHenry M. Paulson Jr., then chief executive of Goldman Sachs, on the bank’s first day of trading in 1999.

Glencore, which on Thursday formally announced its plans for an initial public offering, is drawing comparisons to Goldman Sachs.
But how similar are the global commodities trader and the global investment bank?
They’re both stalwarts in their respective industries. They’re both highly secretive about their businesses. And they’re both have corporate structures with influential partnerships at their cores.
The financial profiles aren’t all that different, either.
Glencore’s public offering could value the company at $60 billion. Recently trading at $160 a share, Goldman had a market capitalization of roughly $87 billion.
Glencore has the edge on revenue, notching $145 billion in 2010, an increase of 36 percent over the prior year. Goldman reported revenue of $39 billion in 2010, falling 13 percent from 2009. But Goldman is more profitable with net income of $8.3 billion, compared with $3.8 billion at Glencore.
Perhaps the most striking similarity is the timing of their respective initial public offerings. Glencore and Goldman both picked opportune moments to go public — that is when the market offered the best potential for peak pricing.
Goldman went public in May 1999. It was the middle of the dot-com boom when financial firms were generating enormous fees and profits from taking technology companies and other upstarts public.
The investment bank raised $3.7 billion from its I.P.O., then the second-largest debut ever after Conoco’s offering in 1998. Shares of Goldman jumped 33 percent on the first day of trading, to close at more than $70. The bubble burst a year later, and Goldman’s stock stumbled in the bear market that followed.
Glencore’s offering, which is expected to take place in May, comes when gold, metals and the like are booming. And it is a commodities bull market, as Goldman recently said, that may be nearing its end.

Glencore Versus Goldman – NYTimes.com

Glencore Versus Goldman – NYTimes.com: “- Sent using Google Toolbar”

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FT.com – Commodities News and Market Data
April 06, 2011

ETFs linked to the coal industry have seen an upsurge in interest following the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan and flooding in Queensland which has disrupted coal production in Australia.


View article…


>below are some excerpts from Jim Rogers interview:

Dollar will be debased; gold and silver to hit new highs

Chinese economy:

There is some overheating and inflation

setback in urban, coastal real estate is under way

China has been overbuilding ever since I have been visiting. There is at least eventual demand for much of it, but that does not preclude some bankruptcies in the future.

Europe:

I think we are getting closer and closer to the point where someone in Europe is going to have to take some losses, whether it's the banks or the countries, but somebody has to acknowledge that they are bankrupt.

Following is an interview that The Daily Bell had with Jim Rogers:

Jim Rogers: Dollar will be debased; gold and silver to hit new highs
05 April 2011 | http://www.commodityonline.com

Daily Bell: We've interviewed you before. Thanks for spending some time with us once again. Let's jump right in. What do you think of the Chinese economy these days?

Jim Rogers: There is some overheating and inflation, which they are wisely trying to cool – especially in urban, coastal real estate. They have huge reserves so will suffer less than others in any coming downturn.

Daily Bell: Is price inflation more or less of a problem?

Jim Rogers: More. At least they acknowledge inflation and are attacking it. Some countries still try denying there is inflation worldwide. The US is even pouring gasoline on these inflationary trends with more money printing instead of trying to extinguish the problem.

Daily Bell: Is China headed for a setback as you suggested last time we spoke?

Jim Rogers: Did I say a setback or a setback in real estate speculation? I think you will find it was the latter. Yes, the setback in urban, coastal real estate is under way.

Daily Bell: They are allowing the yuan to float upward. Good move?

Jim Rogers: Yes, but I would make it freely convertible faster than they are.

Daily Bell: Will that squeeze price inflation?

Jim Rogers: It will help.

Daily Bell: Why so many empty cities and malls in China? Does the government have plans to move rural folk into cities en masse?

Jim Rogers: That is a bit exaggerated. China has been overbuilding ever since I have been visiting. There is at least eventual demand for much of it, but that does not preclude some bankruptcies in the future.

Daily Bell: Is such centralized planning good for the economy?

Jim Rogers: No. Centralized planning is rarely, if ever, good for the economy. But the kind of construction you are describing is at the provincial level – not the national level.

Daily Bell: The Chinese government is worried about unrest given what is occurring in the Middle East. Should they be?

Jim Rogers: We all should be. There is going to be more social unrest worldwide including the US. More governments will fall. More countries will fail.

Daily Bell: Are they still on track to be the world's biggest economy over the next decade?

Jim Rogers: Perhaps not that soon, but eventually.

Daily Bell: Any thoughts on Japan? Why haven't they been able to get the economy moving after 30 years? Will the earthquake finally jump-start the economy or is that an erroneous application of the broken-windows fallacy?

Jim Rogers: It has been 20 years. They refused to let people fail and go bankrupt. They constantly propped up zombie companies. The earthquake will help some sectors for a while, but there are serious demographic and debt problems down the road.

Daily Bell: The Japanese were going to buy PIGS bonds. What will happen now? Does that only leave China?

Jim Rogers: Obviously the Japanese have other things on their mind right now. I think we are getting closer and closer to the point where someone in Europe is going to have to take some losses, whether it's the banks or the countries, but somebody has to acknowledge that they are bankrupt. The thing that the world needs is for somebody to acknowledge reality and start taking haircuts.

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