Asia-Latin America Round-up — 26 May 2017

Highlights

Why China Must Figure Out How to Feed the Whole World — Bloomberg
Worth it just for the opening gif, this article is a great overview of how China is tackling the challenge of feeding over 1 billion people (one third of which are now expanding into middle class, meat-rich diets) in a world where we’ll need to feed 9 billion people by the middle of the century. Read the whole thing, but the first map is one of the more striking facts.

Miami International Airport officials attempt to land Tokyo-Miami flights — South Florida Business Journal
MIA’s Asia Task Force met with representatives of Japan Air Lines (JAL) last week in Miami to discuss the potential for non-stop flights between Tokyo and Miami. According to MIA, there are more than 415,000 passengers traveling between Asia and Miami, making Miami the busiest U.S. market for travel to Asia that does not have nonstop passenger flights.

Brazil’s Car Wash Scandal Reveals a Country Soaked in Corruption — Bloomberg
Eurasia Group is saying there’s a 70% chance President Michel Temer won’t make it to the end of his term on Jan 1, 2019. This week’s mass protests which culminated with the torching of a government building in Brasília certainly don’t look good, to say nothing of political allies looking for the proverbial exits. This #longread from Bloomberg is good for putting context to Brazil’s perpetual crisis, and what, if anything, will change.

China-Latin America

China's CNPC to invest $2 billion in Peru oil, gas block: Perupetro — Reuters
State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) plans to invest $2 billion in an oil and natural gas block in southern Peru in coming years, according to Rafael Zoeger, the head of Peru's state energy agency Perupetro. CNPC's block 58 has some 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, according to government data, enough to increase Peru's total gas reserves by 27.7 percent. The CNPC block is in the Cusco department next to the extant Camisea natural gas field.

China supports construction of modern emergency operations center in Peru — Andina
China’s government is funding construction of a modern National Emergency Operations Center (COER) to supplement Peru's National Civil Defense Institute's (Indeci) emergency response capacity. The $16.8 million center is being funding by the state China Aid program.

Why Argentina’s Macri Switched Gears on China, Now His Favorite Business Partner — World Politics Review
Argentina reafirma sus lazos con Asia y consolida su inserción en el mundo — Invest and Trade Argentina
The first article oversells Macri’s (and Argentina’s) about-face - Macri’s family has been doing business with China for decades, and Macri is just leaning back from CFK’s “all-in” approach to getting Chinese financing to support her crippled economic policy. However, the piece is interesting for noting the agreements signed at the Belt and Road Forum that totaled "more than $30 billion of Chinese investments in Argentina on everything from energy and agriculture to transportation and mining, capped by a Chinese plan to build two nuclear power plants at a cost of $12.5 billion.”

The Argentine Agency for Investment and International Business, for it’s part, provides a bit more detail on the agreements, which they say are only $15 billion in investments. The Atucha III nuclear plant begins construction next year, and the other plant will not break ground until 2020.

Chile shares China's vision of integrated future — Belt and Road Portal
Chile is looking to plug into China. "China, given its population, economic scale and projection, is the future, the future of the global economy and the future of innovation: the knowledge-based economy,” says Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz. The article notes that Chile signed e-commerce agreements with China's online retailer Tmall.com, adding to existing accords with Chinese online retail giant Alibaba. The accords seem similar to those signed by Argentina last month.

Asia-Latin America

Japan finances Buenos Aires Automatic Train Stop rollout — Rail Journal
Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is going to finance the rollout of Automatic Train Stop (ATS) on the Buenos Aires suburban rail network. The $49.5 million loan is cofinanced by the Tokyo branch of Deutsche Bank and covers 85% of the procurement cost for the system, which will be rolled out on all eight lines covering 1500km of track and 280 trains over the next four years. The equipment is being procured through Marubeni Corporation and will be manufactured in Japan by Nippon Signal.

Korea Southern Power Co. constructs plant in Chile — Korea Herald
Korea Southern Power has built an independent power plant in Chile, the first by a Korean company. The 517 megawatt Kelar plant is in the Mejillones region located in the port city of Antofagasta. While the type of power plant is not specified (although it’s likely natgas), it is expected to supply 25% of the regional energy needs.

China Econ/Policy

China Spends $16.5B on US Commercial Real Estate in 12 Months to Claim Top Investor Spot — Mingtiandi
The Trump effect hasn’t been felt in real estate yet. China surpassed Canada as the top investor in US commercial real estate in the 12 months ending March 31st – pouring over $16.5 billion into US properties. At $60.9 billion, overall global investment in the US was down 39 percent from its 2007 peak. China’s investments in the US market grew by 10 percent year-on-year, accounting for 22.8% of investment in the US. Real Capital Analytics (RCA) provided this information in the latest edition of their US Cross-Border Investment Compendium report.

Chinese publisher pays $68M for Midtown dev site — The Real Deal
WanXin Media purchased a Midtown office building and vacant lot at 7-15 West 44th Street for $68 million. According to a statement, WanXin, a Chinese publishing company, plans “to develop a boutique luxury hotel and Chinese cultural center” on the site, which has 90,000 buildable square feet. The site is down the block from the Algonquin Hotel, famous for it’s round table.

Belts, Roads, and Strategic Trade Policy — NYT
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman goes back to his economic geography roots, and notes that in addition to being good for China’s dwesmtic market; "Good highways across central Asia and down to South Asia could change that, giving China a new centrality in the world’s economic geography.”

A Silk Road to South America? — China.org.cn
This is a very odd piece in support of the Belt and Road Initiative from a very statist, top-down point of view. The closest it gets to talking about private sector participation is referencing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. 

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