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Fahrenheit Oil and Gold: China & the Final War for Resources

By Bill Ridley            Printer Friendly Version
November 18, 2004

www.jameswinston.com/

In their 1999 seminar treatise entitled, Unrestricted War: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America, Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui state that in order for China to become a dominant global power over the United States, “The Final War over Resources”, must be successfully concluded.

Though this could be easily blown off as People’s Liberation Army hyperbole, a closer look at the facts shows us that the United States is in a very vulnerable position on a number of fronts with China. And so with it, is the U.S. dollar.

As long time readers of the OI news know, the resurgence of gold and the fall of the dollar have a multiple factors working together. Going forward into 2005, China’s “final war for resources” will be a key factor in the further depreciation of the greenback.

The U.S. government has been keeping a lid on the brewing problems with China because of the delicate situation which has the Chinese central bank holding billions in U.S. dollars and treasury bonds which Washington fears they might sell.

China has been instrumental in helping the U.S. government bank roll its deficit and consequently, this reliance on the Chinese to support the U.S. debt has the government up against a rock and a hard place. This problem is made worse each day by the huge trade imbalance favoring the Chinese economy.

The U.S. dollar reserves of China’s central bank soared 271% to $449 billion from 2000 to April of 2004. And while they have been filling their coffers with the greenback their balance of trade with the U.S. is also building. The trade deficit with China last year was a record $124.1 billion and this year, it’s increased a further 28%.

Meanwhile, the United States is financing its ever ballooning budget deficit, which is projected officially to be $521 billion in 2004.

Zhu Min, general manager and advisor to the President for the Bank of China was quoted in the China Daily earlier this year saying that: “The United States is benefiting from China using its trade surplus to buy U.S. Treasury paper as a reserve currency, along with other Asian nations. But in the long run, this is not sustainable.... China will focus more and more on domestic demand, which is growing fast. Then we won't be able to finance the U.S. deficit."

And now that’s what’s happening. China is reportedly selling off their hoard of U.S. dollars to help build their much needed infrastructure and spend heavily to secure global resources.

A United Nations report points out that China’s recent prosperity has raised the living standard of 160 million Chinese who once existed in poverty. Behind them are another 800 million who are awaiting their turn to live a life once thought unattainable. The demand of goods and services from this group means an even greater global demand for resources.

The desire of China to tie up resources has been evidenced by China Minmetals Corp. who had been in exclusive talks with Noranda, one of Canada’s largest mining companies, in an attempt to buyout the company for an estimated $7 billion.

There was tremendous opposition to this plan however. Canadians argued that the Chinese government’s strategic interests in securing mineral supplies, and its management methods, could be contrary to the interest of Noranda, its workers, and the communities where it operates mines and processing facilities.

Some opponents to the deal also cited U.S. Congressional hearings that alleged that Minmetals has profited from forced labor from Chinese prisons.

But this is only one bid of many which has China trying to lock up global resources.

Very troubling for the United States is the fact that China has negotiated a new oil supply deal with Iran which would see Iran receiving both arms and cash. China has long standing alliances with Iran and is searching for new energy reserves to drive its booming economy. This new deal with China is not only an agreement to buy oil and gas from Iran but also to develop Iran’s Yadavaran oil field. After this field is developed, Iran will export 150,000 barrels of crude per day to China. This agreement has been valued at $70 billion.

China’s demand for oil outpaced its supply capabilities in 1993. China is now the world’s third largest importer of crude after the U.S. and Japan and their demand is growing. From January to October, China imported 99.6m tonnes of crude oil, exceeding the 91m tonnes imported in the whole of 2003, said reports quoting the General Administration of Customs. Imports of crude oil in 2004 are expected to reach 120m tonnes, the second largest in the world after the US.

Demand for electricity is also on the rise in China. Despite record production of coal and a 15% rise in power generation over the first 10 months of the year, dozens of Chinese cities suffered brown-outs during this past summer. And this winter it looks like many will be left without heat for extended periods. The China Daily reports that Beijing has only 50% of the coal it needs this winter, while Jilin has stores of 40%, half the level of this time last year.

So the multi billion dollar question is what happens when China starts selling U.S. dollars to help expand their infrastructure and secure their resources?

Well you’re already seeing it. Interest rates go up, the dollar goes down, and gold takes flight upwards. Not to mention upward pressure on oil, gas, coal, copper and other key commodities.

The implications of this fact are staggering. And demand for commodities will be overwhelming. Insightful investors who can see this trend and position themselves now in growth oriented equities holding gold, oil, copper and other key commodities will be sitting pretty if a few years time and will have weathered the U.S. dollar collapse better then most.

This is the hugest threat to the U.S. economy right now yet it’s hardly ever mentioned by the mainstream media.

Given the strong economic growth of China and the uncertain purse strings it holds on U.S. dollars and treasury bonds, I can’t help but wonder how this might tie in with their aggressive militaristic actions lately.

Last week a Chinese nuclear powered submarine cruised into Japanese territorial waters in an apparent test of Japan’s will to enforce its own sovereignty. At stake here are under water natural gas riches in the East China Sea very close to the border of Japan’s economic zone. The government of Japan is worried that China may try and tap into gas pools within their jurisdiction.

One fact which doesn’t sit well with the Bush Administration is that U.S. intelligence reports claim China’s military provided training to both the Taliban and al Qaeda. Though U.S. officials are at a loss to explain why the Chinese provided this training some analysts believe it was an attempt to gain influence over these terrorist groups.

Given China’s need for commodities, its human rights offenses, and their hawkish military actions one must wonder if the Chinese government really has a detrimental agenda for America.


The writings of People’s Liberation Army Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, state that the aggressor nation “must adjust its own financial strategy, use currency revaluation or devaluation as primary weapons, and combine means such as getting the upper hand in public opinion and changing the rules sufficiently to make financial turbulence and economic crisis appear in the targeted country or area, weakening its overall power, including its military strength. Whether it be the intrusions of hackers, a major explosion at the World Trade Center, or a bombing attack by bin Laden, all of these greatly exceed the frequency bandwidths understood by the American military..."


Conclusion

U.S. dollars and U.S. bonds are under pressure. The budget and trade deficits are hitting new highs on a regular basis. The U.S. economy is in an unbelievable no-win situation where the Fed is damned if it raises interest rates and damned if they don’t. This situation is unsustainable and it’s unrealistic to believe their will be a painless solution.

It’s a given that China needs more of every commodity. To what means they will take to get them remains to be seen.

Regardless of the unknown factors, the facts we are aware of support the premise that in order to protect yourself, diversification into gold, oil and other key commodities makes good sense not only to profit but help keep your wealth intact in the face of a depreciating dollar.

Bill Ridley
Publisher
www.jameswinston.com

 

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