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China’s overcapacity results from state interference in markets, say analysts

washington — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is on a five-day visit to China, where she expressed concern to Chinese officials Friday about state subsidies that fuel manufacturing overcapacity in industries such as electric vehicles, solar panels and semiconductors.

U.S. officials and economists have warned that China’s overcapacity — when its production ability significantly exceeds what is needed in markets — will further drive down prices and cost jobs, especially if China seeks to offload excess production through exports instead of domestic consumption.

U.S. President Joe Biden, in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday, said China’s “unfair” trade policies and “non-market” practices harm the interests of American workers and families.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin gave reporters at a regular briefing Wednesday a rundown of the conversation the two leaders had on trade, according to Beijing. He said “the U.S. has adopted a string of measures to suppress China’s trade and technology development and is adding more and more Chinese entities to its sanctions lists. This is not ‘de-risking,’ but creating risks.”

So, when is an industry at overcapacity?

Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said that for capital-intensive industries such as steel, oil refining and semiconductors, when capacity utilization is below 75% for an extended period of time, most observers would label that excess capacity.

Hufbauer told VOA that China’s massive government-stimulated and bank-financed investment has resulted in almost all the country’s capital-intensive manufacturing industries having overcapacity.

“If China does pursue a massive export ‘solution,’ that will hurt manufacturing firms in Japan, the E.U., Korea and other industrial countries. But low prices will be welcome in many developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia,” he said.

A report last week by the New York-based Rhodium Group, which researches the Chinese market, shows that the utilization rate of China’s silicon wafer capacity dropped from 78% in 2019 to 57% in 2022. In 2022, China’s lithium-ion battery production reached 1.9 times the domestic installation volume, showing that the problem of overcapacity in clean energy fields is emerging.

China’s exports of electric vehicles, solar cells and lithium batteries have increased even more significantly. Data shows that in 2023, China’s electric vehicle export volume was seven times that of 2019, while its solar cell export volume in 2023 was five times that of 2018, an increase of 40% from 2022.

The report notes that while temporary overcapacity may be harmless and a normal part of the market cycle, it becomes a problem when it is perpetuated by government intervention.

The Rhodium Group’s report says that China’s National People’s Congress in March focused on industrial policies that benefit high-tech industries, while there is little financial support for household consumption.

“This policy mix will compound the growing imbalance between domestic supply and demand,” says the report. “Systemic bias toward supporting producers rather than households or consumers allows Chinese firms to ramp up production despite low margins, without the fear of bankruptcy that constrains firms in market economies.”

Overcapacity a decade ago

China’s structural overcapacity problem is not a new phenomenon. Rhodium Group’s report says the last time China had large overcapacity issues was from 2014 to 2016, a few years after the government launched a massive stimulus package in response to the global financial crisis that began in 2008. The stimulus package centered on infrastructure and real estate construction, triggering major capacity build-up in a range of associated industries.

In 2014, as the demand for real estate and infrastructure construction weakened, there was obvious overcapacity in heavy industrial products such as steel and aluminum.

“Ultimately, China’s excess capacity is due to state interference in the market,” said Derek Scissors, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “Genuinely private participants can’t sustain excess capacity for long because it causes losses. But state support for production of some goods and services, called “strategic” or something like that, enables companies to survive despite these losses.”

Scissors said China’s overcapacity in the new energy sectors of electric vehicles, solar panels and batteries concerns the Biden administration as it wants to expand those sectors in the U.S.

“The U.S. has raised concerns about Chinese overproduction for years,” he told VOA. “What’s changed is there is now emerging American industrial policy clashing with long-standing and widespread Chinese industrial policy.”

The Rhodium Group’s report says China’s surge in exports of new energy products over the past few years could be devastating for market-constrained producers in advanced economies such as the U.S.

Beijing’s policy planning will exacerbate the growing imbalance between domestic supply and demand, it reads, putting China on the road to trade confrontation with the rest of the world.

Adrianna Zhang contributed to this report.

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Looks like senile Donald Trump is back in hiding

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Last month Donald Trump’s handlers pulled him from the campaign trail, while leaking that his campaign couldn’t afford to keep doing rallies. It was obvious at the time that they were really just trying to get him out of the public eye, because his rally speeches had become so senile that they were generating headlines about his cognitive collapse.

Of course pulling your senile candidate from the campaign trail is a good way to generate headlines about the fact that you’re hiding him. It took the media a few weeks to finally catch on, but they eventually started talking about his disappearing act. So Trump’s babysitters put him out there for a pair of events on the same day earlier this week.

But Trump once again came off as senile, at one point vowing to deport crime victims and such. So now Trump has once again disappeared from the campaign trail. He’s nowhere.

How long will Trump remain in hiding this time? How long before the media calls it out this time? And will anyone in the media finally acknowledge that Trump’s disappearing act is because he’s too senile to be out there?

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Give us 5 minutes, and we’ll give you the world. Around the clock, Voice of America keeps you in touch with the latest news. We bring you reports from our correspondents and interviews with newsmakers from across the world.

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President Biden sticks it to Fox News


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Here’s the thing about Bidenomics. President Biden has rebuilt the economy in such obvious and overwhelming fashion, even those who don’t want it to be true can’t pretend anymore. In other words, even Fox News now has to admit how strong the economy is, because its audience already knows it’s true.

To that end, President Biden and his 2024 campaign are now sticking it to Fox News by assembling all the times that Biden’s booming economy has forced Fox to admit the truth:

BREAKING: The Biden campaign just put together this hilarious ad highlighting Fox News having to cover Biden’s booming economy. Retweet so all Americans see.

— Biden’s Wins (@BidensWins) April 5, 2024


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US official urges China to address ‘industrial overcapacity’

washington — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on China Friday to address its industrial overcapacity, reform its trade practices and create a “healthy economic relationship” with the United States.

“The United States seeks a healthy economic relationship with China that benefits both sides,” Yellen said in remarks in the industrial southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. “But a healthy relationship must provide a level playing field for firms and workers in both countries.”

Yellen also met with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng and other high-level central bank officials Friday. During the meeting, Yellen told Chinese officials that their industrial overcapacity, particularly in green energy sectors, threaten American production of electric vehicles and solar panel parts.

China has supported its solar panel and EV makers through subsidies, building production capacity far beyond the domestic market’s demand and exporting its products globally. Although this production has massively cheapened prices for these green products — crucial in efforts to fight climate change — American and European governments worry that Chinese products will flood the market and put their own domestic production at risk.

During a meeting Friday with Guangdong province Governor Wang Weizhong, Yellen said the U.S. and China must communicate regarding areas of disagreement, including green industrial policy.

“This includes the issue of China’s industrial overcapacity, which the United States and other countries are concerned can cause global spillovers,” she said.

China has sought to downplay these concerns, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin noting earlier this week that China’s green production is a positive in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Wang said U.S. reluctance to export technology to China, a policy related to U.S. fears of industrial overcapacity, meddles with global supply and demand.

“As for who is doing nonmarket manipulation, the fact is for everyone to see,” he said. “The U.S. has not stopped taking measures to contain China’s trade and technology. This is not ‘de-risking,’ rather, it is creating risks.”

Beyond addressing overcapacity, Yellen also expressed concerns about Chinese trade practices.

Yellen said China has pursued “unfair economic practices, including imposing barriers to access for foreign firms and taking coercive actions against American companies.”

She urged Chinese officials to reform these policies.

“I strongly believe that this doesn’t only hurt these American firms,” Yellen said in a speech at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Guangzhou. “Ending these unfair practices would benefit China by improving the business climate here.”

Yellen’s visit to China, her second, marks the first visit by a senior U.S. official to China since November meetings between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Both He and Yellen said the U.S. and China need to, in He’s words, “properly respond to key concerns of the other side” to form a more cooperative economic relationship.

Yellen said, “It also remains crucial for the two largest economies to seek progress on global challenges like climate change and debt distress in emerging markets in developing countries and to closely communicate on issues of concern such as overcapacity and national security-related economic actions.”

She added that U.S. efforts to push Chinese policies are geared toward reducing global risk.

“This is not anti-China policy,” she said. “It’s an effort for us to mitigate the risks from the inevitable global economic dislocation that will result if China doesn’t adjust its policies.”

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«РВ»: артиллеристы уничтожили предателя из РФ, примкнувшего к неонацистам

Боевик ликвидирован в бою у границы.

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В Нью-Джерси произошло новое землетрясение магнитудой 4.0

Эпицентр находился в семи километрах от города Глэдстоун, расположенного в часе езды от Нью-Йорка.

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Что будет с рублем, нефтью и биржей на неделе с 8 по 14 апреля


Курсу рубля играют на руку высокие процентные ставки, цены на нефть преодолели зону сопротивления, на рынке акций возможны сильные движения котировок. Об этом рассказали “Российской газете” финансовые аналитики.

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Подпольщик Лебедев сообщил о поражении склада боеприпасов ВСУ в Харькове


Склад боеприпасов, по предварительным данным, поражен в Харькове. Об этом сообщил представитель пророссийского подполья Сергей Лебедев.

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The largest map of the cosmos hints that dark energy is changing. It could prove Einstein wrong and upend a pillar of modern physics.

hubble ultra deep field faint galaxiesAstronomers are mapping millions of galaxies in our universe to better understand dark energy.

NASA/ESA/H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski, A. Koekemoer, R. Windhorst, and Z. Levay

  • For decades, astronomers have puzzled over dark energy and why it’s pushing our universe apart.
  • New data from the largest 3-D map of our universe suggests we may be wrong about dark energy.
  • Dark energy was thought to be an unchanging force, but it may not be so constant, after all.

Scientists have constructed the largest 3-D map of our universe to date, and it’s come with a couple of interesting surprises.

“So far, we’re seeing basic agreement with our best model of the universe, but we’re also seeing some potentially interesting differences,” Michael Levi said in a statement released by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on Thursday.

Levi is the director for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, DESI, which produced the new map. The instrument consists of 5,000 tiny robots attached to a telescope in Arizona that collects light from various stages of our universe.

Illustration of a telescope looking back in time to the early stages of the universe.DESI helps astronomers look 11 billion years back in time to the earliest stages of our universe.

NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Marenfeld and DESI collaboration

Astronomers use DESI to look back in time, billions of years ago, to understand how our universe has changed and evolved. One of the driving forces behind that evolution is also one of our age’s biggest mysteries in physics: dark energy.

Dark energy is the name astronomers have given to the unknown force that is driving our universe to expand faster and faster over time. But since its discovery in 1998, dark energy has eluded scientists, who know little about what it is or why it behaves the way it does.

DESI’s detailed map could change that. It suggests that dark energy may be completely different than scientists thought, shaking a foundational pillar of our understanding of the universe.

Dark energy may not be Einstein’s constant after all

Millions of galaxies appear as web-like structuresDESI has collected light from millions of galaxies to create the largest 3-D map of our universe, to date.

Claire Lamman/DESI collaboration

Dark energy, as we understand it right now, is terrifying to think about because it means our universe is expanding faster and faster until one day galaxies will be moving away from us so quickly that their points of light in our night sky will wink out of existence.

That’s the future we’re headed for if dark energy continues at the rate it’s going. And until Thursday, that’s what many astronomers thought: that dark energy was a constant, unchanging force.

That’s why astronomers have thought that dark energy could be the same thing as Albert Einstein’s “cosmological constant,” which was an extension of his theory of general relativity. Einstein abandoned the idea as his “greatest blunder” in the 1930s, as astrophysicist Ethan Siegal explains, but a constant dark energy would have vindicated him.

However, this mysterious force may not be so constant, after all.

Photo of Albert Einstein on his porch at home in Princeton, New Jersey.Photo of Albert Einstein on his porch at home in Princeton, New Jersey.

Ernst Haas / Contributor

Preliminary estimates from DESI’s new data suggest dark energy may be evolving and weakening. That’s the new revelation scientists announced at a meeting of the American Physical Society this week.

“If true, it would be the first real clue we have gotten about the nature of dark energy in 25 years,” Adam Riess, a Nobel laureate for his co-discovery of dark energy, told Quanta Magazine.

For now, this is just a hint. The data is not strong enough to be sure or to claim a discovery, Quanta reported. But the hint is enticing.

“The idea that dark energy is varying is very natural,” Paul Steinhardt, a Princeton University cosmologist, told the magazine. If it were constant, “it would be the only form of energy we know which is absolutely constant in space and time.”

If later data confirms these early hints of inconstant dark energy to be true, that would change what we know about the makeup and future of the universe. It would also bring scientists closer to solving the mystery of the universe’s accelerating expansion.

diagram of the history of the universeDark energy is causing our universe to expand at an accelerating rate.


“If this holds up, it could light the way to a new, potentially deeper understanding of the universe,” Riess said. “The next few years should be very revealing.”

The ‘golden era of cosmology’

DESI measured the most distant part of the universe, 8-11 billion years ago, with record precision.

Other major universe-mapping observatories are hitting the skies in the coming years. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory is about to get outfitted with the world’s largest digital camera, which will allow it to map the entire southern sky over a decade, including more than 20 billion galaxies.

giant camera black segmented tube with lens inside on a white engineering mount in a cleanroom with a person in a white cleansuit standing at the bottom of the lens that rises about five feet above the person's headDeputy Project Manager Travis Lange shines a flashlight into the LSST Camera.

Jacqueline Ramseyer Orrell/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

The European Space Agency’s Euclid telescope is already in space, where its mission is to study dark energy. NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is expected to launch in 2027 and conduct its own inquiry on the issue.

For its part, DESI aims to map 37 million galaxies by the end of its survey.

“We are in the golden era of cosmology, with large-scale surveys ongoing and about to be started, and new techniques being developed to make the best use of these datasets,” Arnaud de Mattia, a researcher with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and co-leader of the DESI team that interprets its cosmological data, said in the press release.

“We’re all really motivated to see whether new data will confirm the features we saw in our first-year sample and build a better understanding of the dynamics of our universe,” Mattia said.

Read the original article on Business Insider