The top U.S. solar industry trade group on Thursday issued a set of voluntary guidelines to solar panel manufacturers that it said could help rid products installed in the United States of components built abroad with forced labor. Some U.S. lawmakers have voiced gorwing concern that the industry is dependent upon products, specifically the raw material polysilicon, linked to work camps in China’s Xinjiang region. The U.S. State Department has made a determination that Chinese officials are perpetrating genocide there, and imports of cotton and tomato products from the region were banned this year.
(Bloomberg) -- Corn prices climbed above $6 a bushel to the loftiest level in almost eight years after the U.S. said it expects China to buy an all-time high amount of the grain off global markets.A shortage of supplies and a need to replenish hog herds after a major outbreak of deadly African swine fever will continue to fuel China’s appetite for corn imports, with the total for the current season seen at 28 million metric tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beijing office said on Wednesday. That would be the most on record based on Bloomberg data going back six decades.The U.S. also predicts China, the top pork producer, will slash global corn purchases next year down to 15 million tons as it attempts to reduce reliance on foreign grains. Despite the sharp cut, that would still be the second-highest amount on record.“It’s a conservative figure” that will likely “be walked up in the coming months,” Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Illinois brokerage Allendale Inc. said in an interview.The forecasts imply further demand for already tight U.S. corn supplies, especially given concern about the condition of growing corn crops in Brazil. The majority of additional China purchases would probably be U.S.-based, Nelson said.China is expected to rely more on rice and wheat stocks in the next season due to the high price of corn. Still, demand for the grain isn’t expected to change until late 2021 or 2022, USDA officials in Beijing said in a statement.Corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade climbed as much as 2.84% on Wednesday to $6.0875 a bushel, the highest since May 2013. Prices have nearly doubled in the last year as China scooped up massive amounts of the grain to replenish pig herds that were decimated by the deadly African swine fever.Fresh outbreaks of the deadly virus have emerged, triggering concern that China’s demand for feed imports may wane and cool the biggest crop futures rally in almost a decade.In other markets, soybeans rose as much as 1.5% to $14.795, the highest in nearly seven years.Benchmark wheat futures gained as much as 2.8% to $6.80 a bushel, the priciest in nearly two months as cold weather in the U.S. Midwest threatens damage.Sugar and cotton advanced, still supported by dry conditions in cane crops for top shipper Brazil, and in West Texas, the biggest grower of the fiber in the U.S.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
China and Australia, two of the Asia-Pacific's biggest trading partners, have been locked in political conflict for the past year resulting in a series of trade disruptions that have not yet been resolved. Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. In the same week, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested World Health Organization investigators in Wuhan be armed with the same powers as United Nations-backed weapons inspectors. Since then, Beijing has targeted a number of Australian exports, including barley, beef, wine, lobsters and coal. Early in November last year, Beijing unofficially told Chinese traders to stop importing Australian coal, sugar, barley, lobsters, wine, copper and log timber in the biggest single trade "ban" so far. That followed informal bans on Australian cotton and coal in October. In May 2020, shortly after the conflict started, China imposed duties on Australian barley following an 18-month anti-dumping investigation. The duties imposed were at the highest end of possible penalties and rendered Australian barley uncompetitive in the Chinese market. That same month, Beijing stopped five meat processors from exporting beef to China. By December, it had blocked six abattoirs. In its filing, Australia claimed China deviated from WTO rules 26 times during its anti-dumping investigation, including improperly using third-party country sales to justify the dumping. Informal talks between the two trading partners in January did not resolve the issue and the Australian government said last month it would escalate the resolution process by asking the WTO to establish a dispute-settlement panel. The Australian wine industry and government are also considering a complaint at the WTO over the duties on Australian wine, though this has not been finalised. Since its accession to the WTO in 2001, China has launched four anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Australia, of which two were the barley and wine cases. Australia has initiated 87 cases against Chinese exports. Between 1995 and 2019, Australia was the sixth most prolific anti-dumping instigator among the 164 WTO members, after India, the United States, the European Union, Argentina and Brazil. Not quite. Australia's exports to China reached A$145.2 billion (US731.8 billion) in 2020. That was just 2.16 per cent less than 2019's total of A$148.4, which was the highest since 1988. The strength in iron ore prices comes from strong demand in China for steel, a key material needed to support the country's fast recovering infrastructure and construction sectors. The surge in iron ore made up for losses in banned exports from Australia, as well as all other exports that slowed due to political risks. Removing iron ore from the numbers, the Australian trade department said last month the value of trade with China for almost all other industries has fallen 40 per cent. For example, exports of coal and wine at the start of this year were near zero. Analysts also say China could soon be under pressure to find sufficient coking coal - used for making steel - from other countries. China produces a lot of its own thermal coal and is less reliant on Australian imports to fill any shortages. It does, however, rely on Australia's coking coal, as it is high-grade and hard to replace in terms of quality. Up to 60 vessels laden with Australian coal remain off the coast of China waiting to unload. By February, crew on some of the boats had been at sea for about six months and were running out of supplies. China allowed several vessels to dock on humanitarian grounds, letting crew disembark, but not clear cargo. China continues to call for Australia to show mutual trust and respect, and stop working alongside the US to interfere in its domestic politics and destroy its reputation. Want to know more? In every episode of the Inside China podcast, we take a deep dive into a specific topic, mixing independent reporting and exclusive interviews to bring you unique insights into an emerging potential superpower. Now, we are featuring regular updates on the coronavirus pandemic from across the country. Also each week, South China Morning Post journalist Finbarr Bermingham wraps up the latest economic data from China, delves deep into the ongoing US-China trade and tech war, and examines China's changing economic relationship with Europe, Africa and the Indo-Pacific in the China Geopolitics podcast. This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.