Posts tagged ‘coal’

The China Vacuum, Sucking Up Assets

That's not Hoover making that sucking noise - it's China

That's not Hoover making that sucking noise - it's China

Shhh, if you listen hard enough you can hear a faint sucking sound coming from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. In the midst of the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, China is rolling around the globe sucking up international assets as if it were a Hoover vacuum cleaner. As a member of the current account and budget surplus club, China is enjoying the membership privileges. Evidence is apparent in several forms.

Most recently, Chinese state oil and gas company, Sinopec (China Petrochemical Corporation) has bid close to $7 billion for Addax Petroleum, an oil explorer with significant energy assets in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Another deal, newly announced not too long ago, occurred on our own soil when another Chinese company (Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co.) made a bid for the ailing Hummer unit of bankrupt General Motors. Just as we have begun exporting our obesity to China through McDonald’s and KFC, now we are sharing our lovely gas guzzling habits.

In May, The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

Chinese companies and banks have also agreed to a string of credit and oil supply deals worth more than US$40 billion with countries such as Brazil, Russia and Kazakhstan, in line with efforts to secure its energy supply.


Beyond the oil markets, China is also hungry for other hard assets. The failed $20 billion investment in Chinalco (Aluminum Corporation of China) by Rio Tinto garnered a lot of press. But other deals are making headlines too.  Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. (MCC) is planning a $5.15 billion thermal coal project in Queensland state, Australia in conjunction with Waratah Coal Pty Ltd. China has a voracious appetite for coal -its coal imports are estimated to surpass 50 million tons in 2009.

Cash is king, especially in crises like we are experiencing now, however we want to be careful that we don’t give away the farm out of desperation. Making tough decisions to preserve assets, like cutting expenditures and expenses, is a better strategy versus making fire sale disposals of crown jewels.  Becoming energy independent and investing in environmentally sustaining technologies will serve our long term economic interests better as well.

 If we’re not careful, that active Chinese Hoover vacuum cleaner is going to come over to our home turf and suck up more than just our loose change.

Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®  

Plan. Invest. Prosper. 

*DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients own certain exchange traded funds, RTP and was short MCD, but at the time of publishing SCM had no direct position in YUM, Sinopec (China Petrochemical Corporation), Addax Petroleum, Chinalco (Aluminum Corporation of China), Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. (MCC),Waratah Coal Pty Ltd or any security referenced in this article. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.

July 17, 2009 at 4:05 am 5 comments

Cap and Tax Passes in the House

Empty Wallet

The U.S. House of Representatives passed The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), also named the “Waxman- Markey” bill, by a 219-212 vote. The masses are calling it the “Cap and Trade” bill, while detractors are blasting it as the “Cap and Tax” bill.

Joe Petrowsky, CEO of Gulf Oil, sees this bill costing businesses $50-100 per ton of carbon created, which will be passed through as a tax to energy consumers in the form of an annual $1,000+ tax (about $250-$350 per individual). Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, calls it a $2 trillion tax on consumers over 8 years.

Click Here for CNBC Interview

The House passed this bill just as the economy is shuttering on its knees and a rising skepticism is brewing over the validity of global warming –  see Kimberley Strassel’s, journalist at The Wall Street Journal, article entitled, The Climate Change Climate Change dated June 26, 2009. Australia is in the process of killing its “Cap and Trade” proposals and many critics point to Spain’s failing carbon initiatives and 18% unemployment as evidence for the program’s shortcomings.

Despite one’s views on the validity of global warming, what cannot be disputed is our reliance (addiction) to oil as we import 70% of our oil demand. Is the time and scope of this bill the silver bullet for our crude dependence as we try to survive through this “Great Recession?” I think not.

Billions of humans across the globe are aspiring to achieve our standard of living here in the U.S., so even those against a “Cap and Trade” system, including myself, need to appreciate the massive energy investment we need to make. The U.S. is considered the “Saudi Arabia” of coal due to our vast reserves, and therefore we must find efficient and cleaner ways to use this abundant commodity. We need to throw the kitchen sink at nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, bio-fuels and other alternative energy technologies, even as we look to expand our fossil fuel resources.

But rather than forming randomly created silos of hoarded research across hundreds of universities, why not create domestic centers of excellence that collaborate with both academic and private sector participants. By integrating monetary incentives (i.e., exclusive commercial patent rights), incredible advancements and breakthroughs can be achieved. Historically, when the United States has focused on a task, we’ve been able to achieve greatness – for example sending a man to the moon. Heck, recently NASA mastered the art of converting urine into water!

Bold new steps need to be taken to solve our energy crisis, but I’m afraid this “Cap and Tax” bill is not the right answer.

June 29, 2009 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

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