Frantic Phone Call Failed to Halt China-Indonesia Sea Spat #entornoeconomico

Hours after reports of a confrontation between a Chinese coastguard ship and an Indonesian vessel in the South China Sea, a top Chinese diplomat called an Indonesian government official with a plea: Don’t tell the media, we are friends after all.

That request was rebuffed as officials in Jakarta called a press conference to complain about China’s actions. While Indonesia has largely been on the periphery of disputes between China and other nations over the South China Sea, the spat risks drawing the Southeast Asian nation into territorial contests in the oil-and-gas rich waters.

The Indonesian official said his government didn’t want to respond, but was forced to because China’s actions were especially provocative, and fitted a pattern of becoming more assertive in the waters. The official didn’t want to be named because of the sensitivity of the incident. The Chinese embassy didn’t answer four phone calls or reply to two e-mails asking about the call.

QUICKTAKETerritorial Disputes

The behind-the-scenes diplomacy reveals how both sides generally prefer to keep such incidents under wraps, albeit for different reasons. Indonesia has traditionally avoided publicizing incidents in the South China Sea as it seeks to preserve economically vital ties with China. Beijing is aware of the need for international support, especially as it prepares for a ruling in The Hague on the legality of territorial claims that cross over with the Philippines.

‘Harmonious Relations’

“In the past, when incidents such as this one have occurred, Indonesia has tended to downplay them or even cover them up in the interests of harmonious relations with China,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. “But if China starts to try and enforce its jurisdictional claims in Indonesia’s maritime domain, Jakarta will be left with no option but to publicize Chinese actions and push back against Beijing’s assertive behavior.”

China is Indonesia’s largest two-way trading partner and President Joko Widodo is relying on it to fund much of his country’s infrastructure needs. China, keen to create a new “maritime” Silk Road trading route to the Middle East and Europe to complement a revived overland route, was one of Indonesia’s larger foreign investors in the final quarter of 2015 and the government expects it to top the list in the next five years.

Indonesian officials say a fishing patrol caught a Chinese vessel on Saturday trawling within the exclusive economic zone derived from its Natuna islands, which look onto the western section of the South China Sea. Officers detained the crew and began towing the boat. As it neared the Natuna islands, at least one Chinese coast guard vessel rammed the Chinese boat to try and free it, Indonesia Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters.

The government later submitted a protest to China’s charge d’affaires Sun Weide in Jakarta over the incident, which it classified as a violation of the “sovereignty of Indonesia’s territorial waters,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

QuickTake map shows overlapping territorial claims of Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. {NSN O2OSHZ1ANZG8}
QuickTake map shows overlapping territorial claims of Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. {NSN O2OSHZ1ANZG8}

“We told the charge d’affaires that our relationship with China is very good and in this regard we should all respect international law,” Marsudi said. “I stress that Indonesia is not a party to the South China Sea dispute, so we are asking for a clarification about the incident.“

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing on Monday the incident took place in “traditional Chinese fishing grounds.” Hua said the Chinese vessel was “attacked and harassed” by an armed Indonesian vessel.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi talks to journalists during a press conference in Jakarta on March 2016.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi talks to journalists during a press conference in Jakarta on March 2016.
Photographer: Adi Weda/EPA

Chinese Passports

China claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways, based on a so-called nine dash line for which it won’t give precise coordinates. That has brought it into dispute with Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia, which also claim islands within the line.

In 2012, China issued passports showing the nine dash line encroaches on the exclusive economic zone off the Natuna Islands, but not the islands themselves. Indonesia hasn’t recognized the claim.

China’s actions in the South China Sea are testing Widodo, better known as Jokowi, who has made protecting fishing grounds against illegal encroachment a priority under his vision to turn his country into a global maritime power. The administration has blown up several dozen ships from Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries that were seized while fishing in the archipelago of 17,000 islands.

Natuna Warships

The Indonesian navy has in recent months started deploying more warships in the Natuna area and is pushing to reclaim airspace in the sensitive military area that’s currently controlled by Singapore. Natuna has 51 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves, a third of the country’s total, according to the energy ministry.

The latest incident was first publicized on Sunday by Susi Pudjiastuti, the fisheries minister, who has become a popular member of Jokowi’s cabinet for her strong stance against illegal fishing boats.

“The very heart of Jokowi’s ‘global maritime fulcrum’ vision is a determination to protect Indonesia’s sovereignty,” said Natalie Sambhi, a research fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre focusing on Indonesian foreign and defense policy. “Staying silent in this case will be a sign that his administration is willing to tolerate sovereignty violations when the going gets really tough.”

China Missiles

The incident follows others this year that have focused attention on China’s intentions in the disputed waters, including the placement of surface-to-air missiles on an island in the Paracel chain and preventing Philippine boats accessing fishing grounds in the Spratly chain.

The Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily, urged both sides to show restraint and focus on shared interests such as a high-speed rail link that China is building between Jakarta and Bandung.

“China does not wish for disputes with several neighboring countries in the South China Sea all at the same time,” the paper said in an editorial Wednesday. “The Natuna Islands belong to Indonesia,” it said. “China has no objection to it. But Indonesia’s EEZ is overlapping part of the nine dash line, which makes fishery disputes in the area inevitable.”

It’s unclear if the Chinese actions were calculated to test Indonesia’s resolve or were a captain going beyond the standard operating procedure, said Euan Graham, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. The exact location of the incident will be crucial as to whether Indonesia takes a harder position, he said.

“Intrusions around the EEZ are not new, and Indonesia under this administration and the previous ones have taken a deliberately non-confrontational approach,” he said. “What could flip that is if this was proven to be in violation of Indonesian sovereignty. It would be very difficult for the government to say one law applies to Thailand and Vietnam, and not to China.”

Bloomberg

Commentario:

 

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Costco abrirá tiendas en Madrid, Valencia y Barcelona

Costco —la segunda cadena comercial del mundo— prevé abrir este sábado su establecimiento en la localidad madrileña de Getafe, su segunda tienda en España tras la abierta en Sevilla. El plan estratégico de la compañía prevé estrenar nuevos centros comerciales en la capital de España, sus planes pasan también por abrir en Valencia y Barcelona.

Para el establecimiento de Getafe, la compañía ha invertido 40 millones de euros y ha contratado a unos 250 empleados, más de la mitad de ellos de esta localidad y alrededores, todos con contratos “permanentes” y ninguno temporal, ha explicado la directora general de Costco en España, Diane Tucci. “Quizás, si las ventas aumentan por encima de lo esperado, tengamos que contratar más”, ha añadido Tucci.

La compañía se ha implantado en el polígono industrial de Los Gavilanes, sobre una superficie de 14.000 metros cuadrados, y como puntos fuertes tendrá “marcas muy conocidas, de máxima calidad y a un precio muy competitivo”, ha explicado. De hecho, la directora general sitúa el ahorro que lograrán los socios respecto a otros competidores del “retailer” entre un 10 y un 60 %.

Pero Getafe no será su última apertura en España; Tucci ha avanzado que en el plazo aproximado de un año abrirán una tienda en el norte de Madrid (Las Rozas) —con características similares de inversión, tamaño y empleo que la de Getafe—, por lo que la contratación de personal podría iniciarse “antes del verano próximo”.

El plan estratégico de Costco para los próximos cinco años incluye la apertura de nuevos centros en Madrid, Valencia y Barcelona, lo que supondrá multiplicar por seis la inversión movilizada en el centro de Getafe, es decir, unos 240 millones de euros. En el caso de Madrid, explicó la directora general “podrá tener, por lo menos, cinco tiendas”.

Su directora general ha recordado que Costco es “un club de compras” —los compradores deberán hacerse socios pagando una pequeña cuota anual—. Un concepto que no es muy conocido en España, según reconoce Tucci, pero que ha sido muy bien acogido en Sevilla, donde implantaron su primera tienda española.

“Empezamos en Sevilla en mayo de 2004 con 17.000 socios y ahora tenemos casi 80.000. El éxito ha sido total”, ha destacado. En su opinión, los socios “entienden rápidamente el concepto Costco”, que ofrece a los usuarios establecimientos de gran tamaño con importantes ahorros y productos que tienen “una calidad muy buena”, especialmente en los frescos, carnicería o panadería.

“Uno de nuestros puntos fuertes son los productos frescos. Nos hemos dado cuenta, cuando hemos llegado a España, de que son muy importantes aquí, y tenemos que mostrar a nuestros socios que la calidad es superior a la mayoría de los ‘retailers'”, ha subrayado.

En este sentido, ha apuntado que será una prioridad contratar con proveedores locales porque, además, “tenéis productos increíbles en España, que a veces son poco conocidos en el extranjero” y que venderán en los diferentes países donde operan.

“Hemos empezado en Sevilla a exportar cada mes a todas las tiendas Costco del mundo como a Corea del Sur, Japón, Taiwán, Reino Unido y Australia, y también esperamos el día en que podamos enviar productos a EEUU”, ha explicado. Cuentan con proveedores españoles de aceite de oliva o de zumo de naranja, por ejemplo, o ropa para niños que sitúan en sus tiendas internacionales, ha detallado.

También comercializan en nueve países aceitunas de mesa, azafrán y vinos de Rioja y Ribera del Duero españoles, entre otros, con su marca propia “Kirkland Signature”.

Comentario:

Costco es una marca que todas las casas en Estados Unidos conocen, puedes ir allí y encontrar todo a un precio competitivo. Vende todas las grandes marcas y por cada uno de los productos Costco tiene una versión propia  por su marca Kirkland, por esa marca venden de jabón hasta ropa y una gran variedad. Siempre ofrecen mas de una opción por un tipo de producto ya que por Kirkland traen otra al mercado. Los precios en general son muy competitivos porque venden al por mayor y no se puede comprar solo una unidad, por ejemplo, no se puede comprar solo un cepillo  de dientes, se tiene que comprar seis.
Las ganancias de Costco no vienen tanto de lo que vende, sino de la taza que cobran para poder comprar allí, se debe hacer socio antes de poder entrar en el establecimiento y cobran desde setenta a cien euros al año, depende del nivel de socio ( bussines, executive, etc).
Ofrecen servicios de llantas y ventas de coches, les dices que modelo te gustaría y buscan por todo el país y te encuentran el mejor precio.
Dentro de su menú de servicios también ofrecen agencias de viajes y ópticas.

Daniela Joya

Fuente: Economia

#EnternoEconomico More than 500,000 people homeless in the United States: report

More than 500,000 people – a quarter of them children – were homeless in the United States this year amid scarce affordable housing across much of the nation, according to a study released on Thursday.

The report, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said the number was down slightly from 2014. Many U.S. cities are confronting a sluggish economic recovery, stagnant or falling wages among the lowest-income earners and budget constraints for social welfare programs.

Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Hawaii have all recently declared emergencies over the rise of homelessness, and on Thursday Seattle’s mayor toured a new encampment for his city’s dispossessed.

“Despite national estimates, New York City continues to experience near record homelessness,” said Giselle Routhier, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group.

According to HUD’s latest tally, nearly 565,000 people were living on the streets in cars, in homeless shelters or in subsidized transitional housing during a one-night national survey in January. Nearly one-fourth were aged 18 or under.

That number was down 2 percent from the previous year’s count and 11 percent from 2007, HUD said.

The actual U.S. homeless population is likely higher than HUD’s snapshot suggests because many people living without the means to put a roof over their heads are beyond the reach of the survey, sleeping on a friend’s couch or a relative’s basement.

HUD reported separately this month that roughly 1.49 million individuals used a shelter in 2014, up 4.6 percent from 2013, agency spokeswoman Heather Fluit said.

Even as homelessness has waned nationally, 17 states posted increases, including the two most populous – New York and California, up nearly 10 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, from last year.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia recorded declines, with the biggest drops found in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Michigan and New Jersey.

“I am glad it’s trending downward, but a 2 percent change (nationally) is pretty much flat,” said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in Washington.

A lack of affordable housing, combined with slumping pay at the lower end of the U.S. wage scale, has been cited by analysts as a driver of homelessness in a number of U.S. cities.

“We are 7 million units short of affordable housing for low-income people – that’s a big gap,” Roman said.

Reuters

China has shut down its stock market after a 7% meltdown in 15 minutes #enternoeconomico

China has shut its share market for the day after a meltdown in early trade.

Shares plunged 5% when the market opened, triggering a new “circuit-breaker” closure of markets for 15 minutes.

When trade resumed, the selling continued, with the benchmark CSI300 falling through 7%, triggering an automatic shutdown of trading for the rest of the day.

The market was only open for around 15 minutes of trade.

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It’s the second time this week that China has had to shut its markets under the new rules designed to avoid panic selling of shares. But today, the circuit-breakers were invoked much faster than they were earlier in the week.

Michael McDonough of Bloomberg Intelligence tweeted these comparison charts showing the price action through the two affected days. As you can see, today’s sell-off was much more dramatic:

Chris Weston, chief markets strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne, believes the current rules for the circuit breakers will need to be adjusted, as they are proving ineffective, even with the market power of China’s so-called “national team” of state financial institutions that intervene to guard against tumbling stock prices by buying shares.

“The distance between the initial 5% circuit break (the 15 minute window) and the full halt of the market at 7% is just way too narrow,” Weston told Business Insider. “When the market hits 3.5% to 4% we see everyone panic and put in their sell orders. When the 15 minute window ceases the market shoots through to 7% straight off the bat.

Business Insider

Commentario: Basically now instead of only being able to buy stock up to 50% on margin, now one can purchase stock 100% on stock. Making purchasing stock more frivolously, without much attention.

 

 

Now You Can Buy A Bulletproof Blanket Specifically Made For Kids To Use During School Shootings #entornoeconomico

It’s come to this. We’ve now had so many mass shootings that entrepreneurs see space in the market for a bulletproof blanket, made specifically to shield small children from gunfire.

The Bodyguard Blanket, made by a company called ProTecht, is a bulletproof 5/16-inch pad, made from the same materials used by our military, except it’s for kids. They even come in different sizes.

If mass shootings weren’t such an integrated part of our culture, you’d think this was an SNL skit or an Onion article. Kids are being gunned down in their 1st grade classrooms, but what can we do? No we’re not talking about gun laws, just arm your children with these bulletproof shields, you’ll sleep easier at night.

Here are some facts about the blanket, according to the company’s website. The bold statements are direct quotes.

Bodyguard blanket can be easily fastened around a child or adult, and is amazingly lightweight. 

Bulletproof BlanketBodyguard Blanket

 

When seconds count, Bodyguard blanket can provide a quick, simple solution for maximum protection against a school intruder.

Bulletproof BlanketBodyguard Blanket

Bodyguard blanket can provide protection when used properly in many settings. These include, home, highway (cars and trucks), workplace, shopping center, amusement park, sporting event or any other location where people reside.(Because you should now expect to be shot literally anywhere you go.)

Bulletproof BlanketBodyguard Blanket

It’s important to note that the company isn’t condoning gun violence — they write that as gun law debates continue in Washington, our kids continue to be in danger everyday, thus the creation of the Bodyguard Blanket.

It’s more of a sign that we’ve become so desensitized. We expect school shootings to happen. After Sandy Hook, hearing about shootings and their fatalities is now a matter of measuring it against the grisly murder of twenty 6-year-olds and their teachers. “At least this one wasn’t as bad as Newtown.”

That shouldn’t be our standard. We shouldn’t be used to it.

When our energy and creativity is being channeled in a way to create bulletproof nap mats for tiny children in their elementary school classrooms because it’s a product every child could use, it’s a sign that we’ve given up.

Business Insider

Commentary: I personally do not believe this is the solution, kids should not have to prepare themselves for a shootout at grade school. We should protect our youth the way we protect our government offices and personal, with firearms. Teachers should be trained be train to use a firearm and to put themselves in front of their students. Every grade school campus should have a police officers. We should implemet military defensive strategies to the staff not the kids. There should not a be a Kevlar market for kids, the smallest and least expensive blanket is over $1000. This should not be on a school supply list.

The Big Mac index #entornoeconomico

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THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2015 was $4.79; in China it was only $2.74 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time.

Burgernomics was never intended as a precise gauge of currency misalignment, merely a tool to make exchange-rate theory more digestible. Yet the Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of at least 20 academic studies. For those who take their fast food more seriously, we have also calculated a gourmet version of the index.

This adjusted index addresses the criticism that you would expect average burger prices to be cheaper in poor countries than in rich ones because labour costs are lower. PPP signals where exchange rates should be heading in the long run, as a country like China gets richer, but it says little about today’s equilibrium rate. The relationship between prices and GDP per person may be a better guide to the current fair value of a currency. The adjusted index uses the “line of best fit” between Big Mac prices and GDP per person for 48 countries (plus the euro area). The difference between the price predicted by the red line for each country, given its income per person, and its actual price gives a supersized measure of currency under- and over-valuation.

COMENTARY: This was not meant to be an accurate tool, but more of a reference to know the trend of a currency in the future. It is handy when comparing one currency to another.

SOURCE: The Economist

Alex Joya

Seven Italian firms probed in olive oil scam #entornoeconomico

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Prosecutors in Turin launched the probe following a tip-off from a specialist journal, La Stampa reported.

They carried out tests on 20 of the most popular brands of extra virgin olive oil – the highest quality you can buy – sold across Italian supermarkets and found that the labels on nine of the bottles falsely claimed to be extra virgin.

The other four producers suspected of commercial fraud are Coricelli, Santa Sabina, Prima Donna and Antica Badia.

The companies have allegedly flouted the strict rules governing the production of extra virgin olive oil, a process which is expensive and time-consuming.

But despite the complicated production procedures, extra virgin olive oil is an easy product to tamper with, making it extremely difficult for consumers to taste the difference.

Chemical tests are supposed to be carried out by producers before the highly-demanded product can be labelled and sold as extra virgin.

Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry last year seized €10 million worth of fake olive oil as part of a food fraud crackdown.

“We’re closely following the investigation,” Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said.

Commentary: Now the consumer knows that several Italian firms oil, is not what it was advertised to be. They will take their demand else where. Spain is a direct competitor with Italy, in terms of olive oil. I expect for sales of olive oil in Spain to spike a briefly moment.

Fuente: The Local

Alex Joya