Asia | - Part 3

All the Gold in China

This chart depicting the dramatic rise in China gold demand from Sharelynx appears to be making the rounds this morning and it really is stunning. Note that the 2013 demand total of nearly 1,600 tonnes shown below is considerably higher than the World Gold Council figure, but also considerably lower than some of the more bullish estimates.

Granted, most U.S. investors could care less about this sort of thing, that is, so long as share prices for such companies as Tesla and Facebook continue to rise.

But, others around the world have noticed the sharp increase in gold demand from the Middle Kingdom and the possible (actually, pretty likely) future impact on prices, the latest example being China ‘has more gold than official figures show’ in today’s Telegraph.

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Ukraine Crisis Escalates

This item at the new and improved Vox website depicts the situation in Ukraine where protests and the takeover of government buildings in the country’s eastern region have reignited the crisis that began over the winter and has been on simmer so far in the spring.

As noted in the report, this is how things started in Crimea before that region was annexed by Russia, so, in the words of Jesse Pinkman and Walter Williams, “There’s that.”

Here’s the latest via CNN:

I wouldn’t mess with that guy in the white ski mask.

Putin, the Arsonist

Along with some stern words from German Chancellor Angela Merkel both last week and again today, Der Spiegel came out with a number of reports and commentaries on Russia’s foray into Southern Ukraine that was accompanied by the cover image shown below.

Translation: The Arsonist: Who will stop Putin?

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All the Home Prices in China

Reuters reports that efforts to slow credit growth and other measures taken by the Chinese government have finally succeeded in slowing the rate of growth in property values as new home prices in 70 major cities rose 9.6 percent in January from a year ago, down from 9.9 percent the month prior and the slowest rate of appreciation since late-2012.

There’s a much bigger chart here showing all 70 cities for anyone who knows the difference between Xining and Tianjin. They still have a bit of a bubble on their hands, but, as Canada has proven in recent years, bubbly real estate markets can stay bubbly for a very long time.

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The Russians Have a Sense of Humor

We didn’t watch much of the 2014 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies last night but we did get to see the Russians poke fun at themselves for the glitch in the opening ceremonies that resulted in one of the five mechanical Olympic rings failing to expand.

This time, it was more than a hundred people on the ground who were instructed to temporarily mimic the mechanical glitch of the fifth ring as shown below.

Of course, the Russians probably aren’t laughing about what’s been going on in the Ukraine in recent days as the Putin-backed government was ousted over the weekend. The Russians won the medal count by a fairly wide margin over the U.S., Norway, and Canada, but the body count in Kiev overshadowed the games.

This Spiegel commentary looks back at the last two weeks and attempts to gauge the lasting impacts of the games in Sochi and the unrest in the Ukraine while noting that the Olympic games almost always involve politics somehow.

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