Tag Archives: China

Chinese Purchase Large Mexican Radio Station Near US Border

https://i1.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/phenix_TV.jpg?resize=310%2C163

The Chinese government has purchased a large radio station just south of California with the intent of pushing propaganda. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the US government is looking into the potential US issues with the sale. Having a broad reach into southern California, the station will be broadcasting pro-Beijing propaganda. Pushing over 77,000 watts, the station will have an incredibly far reach.

https://i2.wp.com/www.americanpartisan.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/phenix_TV2.jpg?w=322

Phoenix TV has been identified by U.S. intelligence agencies as a major overseas outlet used to spread propaganda and promote the policies of the communist government in Beijing. The Hong Kong television station also has close ties to China’s intelligence service and military.

While under investigation by the FCC, don’t expect any action to block this measure. Although located in Mexico most of its broadcast area is in the US, giving a certain level of jurisdiction but taking into consideration the level of influence the Chinese have with many sitting US Democrat politicians, including the recently exposed staffers for Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Chinese will get what they want.The Chinese have rapidly expanded their influence into South and Central America, and this is one more piece of a larger, more ominous picture.

Why would China be placing propaganda transmitters right off our border? It doesn’t take much to figure it out. They have designs on the US’ west coast. If you’ve slacked off on training, just remember others out there haven’t. The threats are real and that day is coming.

https://westernrifleshooters.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/2fujsj.jpg?w=619&h=820

https://westernrifleshooters.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/red-dawn-we-are-here-to-help.jpg?w=619&h=464

Source: American Partisan

Advertisements

China Hacked US Navy Contractor, Stole 614GB Of Submarine Missile Secrets

The U.S. Navy and the FBI are investigating a massive cyber breach that compromised the network of an unidentified Navy contractor, as Chinese hackers allegedly stole large amounts of data related to undersea warfare, including top-secret programs to develop supersonic anti-ship missiles for submarines by 2020, according to American officials, The Washington Post reported.

Submarine GIF

The data breach occurred earlier this year as the investigation is still ongoing. The officials said that the contractor was working at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a full-spectrum research, development, and testing arm of the Navy. The warfare center focuses on submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapons systems associated with undersea warfare.

According to the WaPo, Chinese hackers stole a total of 614 gigabytes of plans for cutting-edge weapons relating to various undersea programs, as well as sensor data, submarine information about cryptographic systems, and an entire library of submarine electronic warfare data.

Since the cyber attack, this has been a nightmare for the Pentagon, as the Navy warned The Washington Post not to release further details about the secret submarine missile program, in their report. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered the Pentagon inspector general’s office Friday to investigate the massive data breach.

Bill Speaks, Director of Media Operations for the Navy said, “There are measures in place that require companies to notify the government when a ‘cyber incident’ has occurred that has actual or potential adverse effects on their networks that contain controlled unclassified information.”

Speaks added that “it would be inappropriate to discuss further details at this time.”

During Admiral Philip S. Davidson nomination hearing to lead U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, he mentioned that Beijing could not develop submarine technology on their own — they had to steal it through cyberspace.

“One of the main concerns that we have,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, “is ­cyber and penetration of the dot-com networks, exploiting technology from our defense contractors, in some instances.”

“It’s very disturbing,” said former senator James M. Talent (R-Mo.), who is a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“But it’s of a piece with what the Chinese have been doing. They are completely focused on getting advanced weapons technology through all kinds of means. That includes stealing secrets from our defense contractors.” Talent had no independent knowledge of the breach.

Without breaching confidentiality, The Washington Post touch on the Sea Dragon project, which was one of the programs the Chinese were able to steal in the hack.

“The Sea Dragon project is an initiative of a special Pentagon office stood up in 2012 to adapt existing U.S. military technologies to new applications. The Defense Department, citing classification levels, has released little information about Sea Dragon other than to say that it will introduce a “disruptive offensive capability” by “integrating an existing weapon system with an existing Navy platform.” The Pentagon has requested or used more than $300 million for the project since late 2015 and has said it plans to start underwater testing by September.”

Western strategist already fear that China has rapidly expanded military capabilities through technological advancements and the militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea, which could complicate the U.S. Navy’s ability to remain dominant in the East. Such hacks of latest US naval military technology will only make China an even greater competitor in the ongoing arms race between the two superpowers, which as the IMF and the Rand corporation forecast will be won by China some time over the next 2 decades.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/bofa%20superpower.jpg

The report of a massive military data breach via Chinese hackers comes just as President Trump sits down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – who aligns himself with Beijing – in a historical summit in Beijing. How many more hacks will Washington tolerate until President Trump snaps and punishes Beijing with even harsher penalties while sending an even greater US military presence in the South China Sea? As a reminder, NATO recently declared that a major cyber attack on one of its members could be grounds for a declaration of war.

Source: ZeroHedge

Billionaire Chairman Of Chinese Conglomerate Anbang Detained

Wu Xiaohui’s detention is the highest-profile development in a sweep of China’s financial industry by corruption investigators that began in earnest in January

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/06/04/anbang%20chairman_0.jpg

Anbang Insurance, China’s hyperacquisitive insurance rollup, which was responsible for a sizable portion of China’s merger spree between 2014 and 2016, and which has since been accused of being a money laundering vehicle, of wreaking “havoc” with the Chinese insurance market, and was a potential investor in Jared Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue building until the deal fell apart in March, announced that its billionaire Chairman Wu Xiaohui, is “unable to perform his duties” due to personal reasons, confirming Chinese media reports that the tycoon had recently been detained by authorities.

On Tuesday, China’s Caijing reported that Wu – whose net worth was recently estimated at over $1 billion – was taken away by Chinese authorities, citing unidentified people. The report said that officials from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission met with a small group of Anbang staff on June 10 and didn’t provide specific reasons for Wu being taken. Curiously the report, which did not explain if Wu was assisting with a government investigation or was himself the target of a price, was later deleted from the magazine’s website.

A person familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post that Wu had been “assisting relevant investigations” and previously had always returned to his office or home after a few hours of questioning. Wu hasn’t returned since he was taken away at the end of last week, the person said.

Last week, the FT reported that Wu was barred by Chinese authorities from leaving the country, however Anbang denied the report.

Xiaohui led Anbang’s rapid rise and abrupt emergence in the international business arena,  where the company became known for its ambitious takeover bids. In October of 2014, Anbang bought the Waldorf Astoria in New York for $1.95 billion, a record for a single American hotel, and later closed the property while it converts most of the rooms to luxury condominiums. In early 2016, Anbang agreed to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts, owner of 16 high-end hotels in the U.S., from Blackstone for about $6.5 billion. One hotel next to a major naval base later dropped out of the purchase amid national security concerns. About the same time as Anbang agreed to the Strategic purchase, it made a surprise $14 billion offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, starting a bidding war with Marriott International Inc. A few weeks later, Anbang unexpectedly walked away from the bid, having forced Marriott to increase its offer by about $1 billion. Anbang also had an agreement to buy Fidelity & Guaranty Life, however the deal was canceled in April after the Chinese company failed to meet transaction deadlines.

https://s16-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=https%3A%2F%2Fs.thestreet.com%2Ffiles%2Ftsc%2Fv2008%2Fphotos%2Fcontrib%2Fuploads%2Fanbang_600x400.jpg&sp=0b1122de1f61d995c0953329ebe6d029

Most notably, Anbang had been in talks to invest in the proposed redevelopment of 666 Fifth Ave. in New York, the marquee building of Kushner Cos., the family company of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Talks broke off in March.

However, once Beijing cooled on offshore M&A amid a crackdown on shady financial dealings encouraging capital flight, the company quickly became a target for domestic anger, suffering the wrath of local regulators over his company’s risky reliance on life insurance policies to raise funds, as well as an opaque corporate structure, profiled extenisvely by the NYT.

In a statement posted on its website, Anbang announced that other senior managers have been authorized to carry out Wu’s responsibilities and operations are normal.

As Bloomberg notes, the news adds to the intrigue surrounding one of the country’s most aggressive overseas deal makers, which only came into being in 2004. Since it embarked on a global takeover spree three years ago, Anbang has drawn attention for making preemptive offers and disrupting transactions already in place. Wu has personally negotiated deals without using traditional investment banks.

Wu, who is married to the granddaughter of Chinese revolutionary and statesman, Deng Xiaoping, doesn’t speak English and often travels with translators. The vast majority of Anbang is collectively owned by relatives of Wu or his wife, Zhuo Ran, the New York Times has reported, although its corporate structure is so opaque it is difficult to trace ownership.

As the FT reported earlier, Xiaohui’s detention is the highest-profile development in a sweep of China’s financial industry by corruption investigators that began in earnest in January, when a well-known financier was escorted from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong by Chinese police and taken across the border. Xiao Jianhua has not been heard from since, and there has been no official confirmation that he is under arrest.

Source: ZeroHedge

Pivot To Asia Failing (video)

https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/0sCrxhJtMTLTXJuCQCXa4g--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAwO2lsPXBsYW5l/http://globalfinance.zenfs.com/images/US_AHTTP_REUTERS_OLUSBUS_WRAPPER_H_LIVE_NEW/2016-09-23T164709Z_2_LYNXNPEC8M14G_RTROPTP_3_CHINA-STOCKS-MSCI-GOLDMAN_original.jpg

LONDON (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs (GS.N) is cutting almost 30 percent of its 300 investment banking jobs in Asia outside Japan in response to a slowdown in activity in the region, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Wall Street bank is reducing the number of bankers working on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and equity and debt capital markets deals, the sources said. It will be left with slightly more than 200 bankers across Asia.

Most of the jobs cuts are likely to take place in Hong Kong, Singapore and China, where Goldman’s main Asian offices are located, according to the sources, who said the process was underway.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment.

The company, whose investment banking revenue fell 11 percent to $1.79 billion in the second quarter, has been hit by a lacklustre environment for deals across Asia.

The total value of M&A deals across the Asia-Pacific region has dropped to $572.9 billion so far this year, from $745.7 billion in the same period of 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Goldman said in July it had embarked on a cost-cutting plan that would save $700 million a year in response to a “challenging backdrop” for revenue.

It still tops the Asia-Pacific M&A league tables but in the first half of the year it came third after JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Citi (C.N) as the biggest bank by revenue in Asia, according to data published on Friday by industry analytics firm Coalition.

One of the sources said no managing directors in Asia were in the running to be made partners this year while three existing partners in the region had been stripped of their titles.

RETRENCHMENT

Goldman and other big investment banks are grappling with a harsh environment after the region’s economies and markets failed to deliver sustained growth after the 2008 financial crisis. The banks’ business has also been eroded by local competitors.

In 2015 Goldman reduced the number of its investment bankers in Singapore – a hub for Southeast Asia – to about 35 from 50, several sources said.

There have been further departures this year, including its Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner.

Many of Goldman’s European rivals have announced plans to scale down their operations in Asia.

Barclays (BARC.L) said in January that it would cut about 1,000 staff in its investment bank operations worldwide, with the bulk happening in Asia, while Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) decided to close its equities research desk in India.

Other European banks including BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) are expected to scale back operations in non-core Asian markets while last year Asia-focused Standard Chartered (STAN.L) shut down its equities franchise.

Goldman employs just over 100 bankers in China, where it was one of the first foreign investment banks to start operations. But like other banks it has been hit by a drop in Chinese trading volumes and competition from local banks.

By Pamela Barbaglia | Yahoo Finance

Xi Jinping Calls for ‘New World Order’ Dominated by China and Russia (video)

Render The West Powerless Within Ten Years

https://i1.wp.com/images.chinatopix.com/data/thumbs/full/92319/600/0/0/0/the-new-world-order.jpg

The men who would be kings of the world: Putin and Xi (Photo : Getty Images)

Chinese president Xi Jinping has called on Russia to join China in forming a “New World Order” dominated by both countries that he expects to realize in the next 10 years.

In a vitriolic speech delivered at the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party this July, Xi urged Russia and its president Vladimir Putin to join China in a military alliance that will render NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) “powerless” and “put an end to the imperialist desires of the West.”

This China-Russia alliance is intended to put more pressure on the United States, China’s main antagonist in the South China Sea, by stretching its military forces even thinner with more naval deployments to Europe.

But more important for China, a military alliance with Russia along the lines of NATO will mean Russia will be obligated to fight alongside China should a war break out in Asia against the U.S.

“The world is on the verge of radical change,” said Xi to his communist comrades. “We see how the European Union is gradually collapsing, as is the US economy — it is all over for the new world order.”

“So, it will never again be as it was before. In 10 years we will have a new world order in which the key will be the union of China and Russia,” said Xi.

Putin has so far not publicly responded to the offer of a military alliance. Putin, however, has long been in favor of a broader military and economic relationship with China. He described both nation’s existing cooperation as an “all-embracing and strategic partnership.”

Xi’s speech was described as incendiary by the West.

Xi’s bitter comments came as China faces mounting military challenges and international censure stemming from its obstinate refusal to accept the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. This court ruled on July 12 that China has no legal basis to claim historic rights within the “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea.

Xi is also facing a dangerous leadership challenge within the Communist Party of China from powerful factions allied with former Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. Xi is purging leaders in the communist party and the People’s Liberation Army allied with Hu and Jiang as he strives to transform China into a one-man dictatorship under his rule in the mold of Mao Zedong.

Analysts viewed Xi’s bellicose statements against the West as an attempt to bolster his flagging credentials in the wake of the humiliating South China Sea verdict by the arbitration court. Xi is widely seen as the architect of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Beijing is calling on citizens to be vigilant against anti-government agitators who may be agents of the West.

By | China Topex

China Still Harvesting Organs From Prisoners On A Massive Scale

https://i2.wp.com/i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160623141334-falun-gong-protesters-hong-kong-exlarge-169.jpgFalun Gong members stage a protest against China’s state forced organ harvesting in Hong Kong.

A new report claims that China is still engaged in the widespread and systematic harvesting of organs from prisoners, and says that people whose views conflict with the ruling Chinese Communist Party are being murdered for their organs.

The report — by former Canadian lawmaker David Kilgour, human rights lawyer David Matas, and journalist Ethan Gutmann — collates publicly reported figures from hospitals across China to show what they claim is a massive discrepancy between official figures for the number of transplants carried out throughout the country.

They blame the Chinese government, the Communist Party, the health system, doctors and hospitals for being complicit.

“The (Communist Party) says the total number of legal transplants is about 10,000 per year. But we can easily surpass the official Chinese figure just by looking at the two or three biggest hospitals,” Matas said in a statement.

The report estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 organs are transplanted each year in Chinese hospitals.

According to the report, that gap is made up of executed prisoners, many of them prisoners of conscience locked up for their religious or political beliefs. China does not report its total number of executions, which it regards as a secret.

The report’s findings stand in stark contrast to Beijing’s claim that, since the beginning of 2015, China has moved from almost completely relying on organs from prisoners to the “largest voluntary organ donation system in Asia.”

At a regular press conference Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China has “strict laws and regulations on this issue.”

“As for the testimony and the published report, I want to say that such stories about forced organ harvesting in China are imaginary and baseless — they don’t have any factual foundation,” she said.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission, which oversees organ donations in China, did not respond to a request for comment for this piece.

https://i1.wp.com/i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160623141634-china-hospital-exlarge-169.jpg
Patients queue at a hospital in China. More than 300,000 people require organ transplant operations every year.

Secret transplants

According to the report, thousands of people are being executed in China in secret and their organs harvested for use in transplant operations.

So who is being killed? The authors say mainly imprisoned religious and ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, underground Christians, and practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

While much of China’s organ transplant system is kept secret, official figures show that 2,766 volunteers donated organs in 2015, with 7,785 large organs acquired.

Official figures put the number of transplant operations at around 10,000 a year, which the report disputes.

The authors point to publicly available statements and records released by hospitals across China claiming they carried out thousands of transplant annually, and interviews with and official biographies of individual doctors who claim to have carried out thousands of transplant operations during their careers.

“Simply by adding up a handful of the hospitals that have been profiled in this (report), it’s easy to come up with higher annual transplant volume figures than 10,000,” the authors write.

According to official statistics, there are more than 100 hospitals in China approved to carry out organ transplant operations. But the report states the authors have “verified and confirmed 712 hospitals which carry out liver and kidney transplants,” and claims the number of actual transplants could be hundreds of thousands larger than China reports.

‘Ghoulish and inhumane practice’

The apparent gap in official transplant figures, the report claims, is filled by prisoners of conscience.

According to Amnesty International, “tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been arbitrarily detained” since the government launched a crackdown on the practice in 1999.

China regards Falun Gong as a “cult” and claims followers engage in “anti-China political activities.”

“The government considers Falun Gong a threat to its power, and has detained, imprisoned and tortured its followers,” says Maya Wang, China researcher for Human Rights Watch.

The report says detained Falun Gong practitioners were forced to have blood tests and medical exams. Those test results were placed in a database of living organ sources so quick organ matches could be made, the authors claim.

This massive supply of organs served to benefit hospitals and doctors, making for an ever growing industry.

The report’s authors testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday.

“The Chinese government has been trafficking in organs for profit for far too long and we have strong evidence that Falun Gong practitioners were singled out for organ harvesting,” said Representative Chris Smith, who co-chairs the committee.

In a statement released online, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Chinese government’s “ghoulish and inhumane practice of robbing individuals of their freedom, throwing them in labor camps or prisons, and then executing them and harvesting their organs for transplants is beyond the pale of comprehension and must be opposed universally and ended unconditionally.”

‘Good intentions’

For decades, Chinese officials strenuously denied that they harvested organs from prisoners, calling claims to the contrary “vicious slander.”

Finally in 2005, officials admitted that the practice took place and promised to reform it.

Five years later however, Huang Jiefu, director of the China Organ Donation Committee, told medical journal The Lancet that more than 90% of transplant organs still came from executed prisoners.

China carries out more executions annually than the rest of the world put together, at least 2,400 in 2014, according to Death Penalty Worldwide. Official Chinese figures are not reported.

In late 2014, China announced that it would switch to a completely voluntary donation-based system.

This pronouncement was greeted with great skepticism however, given that between 2012 and 2013, only around 1,400 people signed up to donate (compared to the more than 300,000 in need of organ transplants every year).

Since then, the government has seen limited success in getting people to sign up to the national register.

One 86-year-old woman, surnamed Zhou, told CNN she had wanted to donate her organs in 1996 but at the time her local Red Cross chapter had never heard of someone doing so.

“Since I wasn’t able to have a medical career myself, I want to make a contribution after I die,” she said.

Zhou said that while her family was mostly supportive of her decision, “in China, the conventional wisdom is that it’s improper to mutilate a body when someone is dead.”

While people like Zhou have stepped forward to fill the gap left by prisoners, experts warn that there is nothing to stop those condemned to be executed from also “volunteering,” and regulations legalizing the use of prisoners’ organs remain in force.

The 2014 announcement “is only at best a statement of good intentions but has no force of law,” the medical journal BMJ said.

The phasing out of executed prisoners’ organs is a “semantic trick,” Professor Li Huige of Johannes Gutenberg University said in a recent report commissioned by the European Parliament.

Why will China struggle to end organ harvesting from executed prisoners?

He pointed to statements by Huang to Chinese state media that “death row prisoners are also citizens.”

“If (they) are willing to atone for their crime by donating organs, they should be encouraged,” Huang told People’s Daily.

By redefining prisoners as regular citizens, Li says, “China’s national organ donation system may be abused for the whitewashing of organs from both death row prisoners and prisoners of conscience.”

In an open letter to the Lancet, five doctors wrote that “China is still using death row inmates’ organs. The only difference is that these organs are now been classified as citizens’ voluntarily donated organs.”

Huang did not respond to a request for comment. Speaking to the New York Times, he said his comments had been “distorted” and were not in keeping with government policy.

Testifying before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, Francis Delmonico, president of the Transplantation Society, praised Huang as a “principal ally to change the outrageous practice” of using prisoners’ organs.

Shanghai Medical Tourism Products & Promotion Platform

Also read: Prisoners In China Had Their Livers, Kidneys and Corneas Ripped While Alive

Source: China Daily Mail

No End In Site For Bulk Shipping’s Perfect Economic Storm

https://i2.wp.com/maritime-executive.com/media/images/article/Photos/Vessels_Large/Cropped/Storm_bulker_rogue_wave2_16x9.jpg

Off the coast of a nearly deserted island below the southern tip of Hong Kong, at least 10 massive ships that normally carry hundreds of thousands of tons of coal or iron ore lie idle near one of the world’s busiest sea routes.

These empty vessels paint a grim picture for the dry bulk shipping business that veterans of the industry say is grappling with an unprecedented crisis of too many ships and not enough cargoes. The hollow boats underscore the global economic doldrums that policymakers are struggling to overcome.

“This is the worst we have seen in recent times. We have been hit by a perfect storm – huge order books, China slowdown, the end of quantitative easing, lurking European monetary crisis, glut in oil and commodity prices,” said Kaushik Neogy, a commercial manager at Wallem Commercial Services in Hong Kong.

Shipping is a cyclical business that is often at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of the global economy. However, the dry bulk sector has been dashed upon the rocks of vessel oversupply and slowing economic growth.

The industry has suffered from large capital inflows from private equity players who invested in ships in a bet on sustained demand from emerging markets, particularly China. Instead, the world’s second-largest economy is growing at its slowest pace in 25 years, reducing the need for the coal and iron ore that fuels its manufacturing sector.

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, has lost about 98 percent of its value from a peak of 11,793 points in May 2008, marking the lowest level since records began in 1985.

“This is pretty much the worst I have seen in my career,” said Tim Huxley, chief executive officer of Hong Kong-based Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, who has been in the business for over 30 years. “For the bulk carrier industry, this is going to be a grim year and next year is not going to be any better.”

At the height of the market, dry bulk vessels could command daily fees of about $185,000 but that has dropped to about $4,000 to $6,000 a day now.

With operating costs for dry bulk ships at about $5,500 to $7,500 per day, depending on the size of the vessel, the global commodities meltdown has made it hard for many operators to cover costs.

CHINA IMPORTS DROPPING

Vessel rates are unlikely to recover soon especially as China’s voracious appetite for coal and iron ore slows.

Coal imports to China may drop eight percent this year to 152.1 million tons, according a forecast from shipping services firm Clarkson. Shipments of coal, both for power generation and steel making, have plunged since 2013 when they reached 264.9 million tons.

China’s monthly iron ore imports peaked at a record 96.27 million tons last December but then dropped 14.6 percent to 82.19 million tons in January this year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

The decline suggests annual imports may have peaked in 2015 at 952 million tons as production at China’s steel mills has slowed. In contrast, India imported just 15 million tons in 2015.

There are no signs of an economic pick-up any time soon. Last month, the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecasts for the third time in less than a year to 3.4 percent, while money managers in a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey this week said a U.S. recession is the biggest unlikely risk they are worried about.

While demand for bulk shipping has slumped, supply has scarcely blinked. Clarkson calculate the total global fleet capacity at 1.81 billion deadweight tons with a further 300 million tons of capacity coming on line over the next three to four years, the result of a hangover of the boom years when shipping was profitable.

Wah Kwong’s Huxley believes the industry is losing up to $20 billion a year in operating costs. The losses are pushing smaller companies such as Oslo-headquartered Western Bulk to sell parts of their business while others take the merger route to create giants to grab market share.

China’s government drove the merger of former rivals China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company and China Shipping Group to create China Cosco Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS). At an event in Shanghai on Thursday, Xu Lirong, the chairman of the newly formed company, acknowledged this is the most difficult period the shipping industry is experiencing since the financial crisis.

“The merger is crucial to the development of both companies,” said Xu.

by Reuters in The Maritime Executive