SINGAPORE – Australia’s recent tensions with China have led more companies to consider diversifying into other parts of Asia – rather than focusing on China alone, said Australia and New Zealand Banking Group CEO Shayne Elliott.
ANZ – one of Australia’s biggest banks – has spoken with companies in Australia and New Zealand about opportunities in Asia, he told CNBC’s Will Koulouris on Thursday.
“One of our messages is: Asia is not just China. There is a big difference between opportunities in Japan, or Korea, or Singapore, or the Philippines or India, and we want to introduce people to that,” said Elliott.
Geopolitically, it opens people’s minds to be a little wiser about Asia’s multiple strategies, than just you know, choosing one place to do business.
Elliott said the latest developments have opened people’s minds to think more about their strategy in Asia.
“There are some good things about the issue recently. Geopolitically, it is opening people’s minds to be a little wiser about multiple strategies in Asia, than just you know, choosing one place to do business,” he told CNBC.
The CEO spoke with CNBC after release of the bank’s full year results, which reported full-year cash profit fell 42% to 3.76 billion Australian dollars. That’s better than the $ 3.51 billion Australian estimate, according to a Reuters poll.
Banks were under pressure as the Australian economy experienced its first recession in 30 years amid the coronavirus pandemic, and interest rates were at record lows.
When asked when revenues will get back on track, Elliot said the banking industry faces “some kind of crisis, fairly regularly” every 7 to 10 years.
“What they really mean is that you suddenly get this shock to our system and customers, whether they are mom and dad, small business, big business, suddenly have all the new needs they didn’t have before … This is actually time is full of opportunity, “he said.
He added: “So I didn’t know that anything would return to normal, I didn’t know that ANZ would ever look what it used to be.”
What will it look like, says Elliott, will be a focus on more digital, data-driven and sustainable finance initiatives.
“That’s what we really have to learn – investing in satisfying those customer needs, which is going to be very, very different,” he said.
‘Pakistan’s fate is linked to China’s growth’. We didn’t say this, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said this earlier this year. But history has shown that depending on China is not wise. Pakistan is studying this, but it’s a little too late. China wants a higher interest rate on its loans. They postpone infrastructure projects until an agreement is reached.
Meanwhile, Islamabad’s external debt continues to grow.
The Main Line Project in Pakistan is a railway line that runs from Karachi in the South to Peshawar in the North. This is Pakistan’s largest Chinese initiative. More than 2600 kilometers of railway line is being built at a cost of US $ 6.8 billion. Pakistan will only bear 10 percent of the project costs while the rest of the money will come from China not as an investment, but as a loan.
Pakistan wants to pay 1 percent interest on this loan. But China played hard and was forced to delay tactics. This project is a classic example of the Chinese way of working.
Refusing to fund its weather-resistant allies is bad optics. Agreeing to a bad deal is bad economy.
So what is China doing?
Squeeze Pakistan until it offers better terms.
And China can be very successful here because Pakistan’s rail network is a mess. It desperately needs a project to succeed. Pakistan’s Ministry of Railways claims the initiative will create 1,50,000 jobs. These estimates are not realistic but Main Line 1 is expected to improve transportation. Especially cargo transportation.
The restrictions are scheduled to start in January 2021. But because China does not agree with Pakistan’s proposal, phase-1 is expected to be postponed. Shaken under pressure from borrowers, Pakistan has approached the G-20. It has received $ 3.2 billion in aid. This offers Islamabad room to negotiate with Beijing.
But if China refuses to budge, can Pakistan get more loans? Western countries are hesitant to lend to Pakistan. They worry that their money will be used to repay Chinese loans. So there is a possibility that Pakistan will agree to a deal that doesn’t benefit Beijing. This is the first step in what is called the debt trap.
But China can lay this trap without worry because the Prime Minister of Pakistan has hinted at it. Imran Khan admitted this year that his country’s wealth was linked to China’s growth.
2020 marks 5 years of the China-Pakistan economic corridor. Less than 30 percent of projects have been completed. 40 percent of all energy projects run on coal turning Pakistan into a pollution hub. CPEC is supposed to industrialize Pakistan, turning it into a manufacturing hub.
On the other hand, the economic zone is empty. Only one Special Economic Zone in Gwadar is operating.
This episode is a lesson for all countries that are fighting over Chinese funds. This fund has one purpose, to set a debt trap.
The ongoing global abundance of supplies and the COVID-19 pandemic have had a major impact on crude oil prices. Despite recovering after the March 2020 fall in oil prices, the international benchmark Brent seems stuck around $ 40 per barrel. This is hampering the efforts of many oil-dependent countries to increase hydrocarbon production as a means of stimulating economic growth to reduce the damage caused by the pandemic. Brazil’s oil industry, however, continued to run despite sharply lower oil prices, the the impact of COVID-19, and the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming US presidential election.Latin America’s largest economy has seen its vital oil industry hold up strong in the face of the economic and geopolitical challenges that severely impact the region. Data from Brazil’s petroleum regulator, the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP-Portuguese acronym) show that oil production has remained steady but has increased since the worst COVID-19 pandemic to hit in May 2020. For September, Brazil produced averaging almost 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, which while almost 6% lower than the previous month was only 1% lower than the same period in 2019. Much of the decline in oil production can be attributed to the non-economic closure of water wells shallow offshore and significantly reduced capital spending in response to low oil prices.
While global energy consumption has fallen dramatically during COVID, Brazil is experiencing strong demand for a mixture of light and medium sweet crude. Petrobras national oil company records reported oil exports of more than 1 million barrels per day for September 2020 and oil cargoes averaged 983,000 barrels per day during the third quarter of 2020. While Brazil’s overall oil production weakened during September 2020, mainly due to the closure of shallow water oil fields and land wells, the production of the all-important pre-salt continues to grow at a rapid pace. According to data from ANP, the pre-Brazilian salt fields during September pumped an average of nearly 2.6 million barrels per day, a healthy increase of 13% over the previous year. Pre-salted oil production now accounts for 70% of Brazil’s total petroleum production compared to 61% in September 2019.
Demand for light and medium sweet crude produced from pre-salt fields off Brazil’s coast remains strong despite declining demand for petroleum as a whole globally. This is important to note because demand for light sweet crude remains strong despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on energy consumption. At the end of September 2020, Brazil became the third largest supplier of crude oil to energy-hungry China. It can partly be attributed to implementation from IMO2020 on 1 January 2020 by the International Maritime Organization which seeks to substantially reduce the sulfur content of maritime fuels to 0.50% m / m (mass by mass). Asian refiners too ramped up production as they anticipate a faster than expected economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The refinery also chooses to source large quantities of high-quality, low-sulfur Brazilian crude at a discount to build up the inventory. This is also a motivation for Beijing to take the opportunity to increase strategic oil reserves by buying Brazilian crude oil at depressed prices.
The sharp rise in Asian demand for Brazilian oil since early 2020 was responsible for China’s September 2020 imports from the Latin American country which surged 52% year-on-year to 4.49 million tonnes. During the first nine months of 2020, China’s imports from Brazil totaled 33.69 million tonnes, 15.6% greater than the same period the previous year. The figures reflect an increasing thirst for Brazil’s high-quality low sulfur content and relatively high API gravity crude, making it cheaper and easier to refine into high-quality, low-sulfur fuel that meets increasingly stringent sulfur regulations.
Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras, is responsible for boosting the Latin American nation’s production growth, especially in the pre-salt fields, especially as international energy companies cut capital spending in response to sharp weakening in oil prices. For the third quarter of 2020, Brazil’s national oil company reported daily production of 2.95 million barrels of oil equivalent, which is 80% weighted for crude oil and other petroleum fluids. Petrobras was responsible for producing 94% of the Latin American nation’s total crude oil and 96% of its natural gas during September 2020. The company pumps 64% of Brazil’s increasingly important pre-salt crude. Overall, Petrobras pumped 2.6% more oil and natural gas for the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year earlier. Importantly, the company’s pre-salt production for the quarter surged 21% year-on-year to an average of 1,651,000 barrels per day. This significant spike in pre-salt production can be attributed to the increased activity of Petrobras in the offshore Buzios, Tupi and Atapu oil fields located in the pre-salt Santos Basin. The fields produce medium sweet crude with an API gravity of 27 to 29 degrees with a sulfur content of around 0.27% which explains its popularity among Asian refiners.
CThe growing scourge of trade against Australia has disrupted exports worth up to $ 19 billion a year, according to new analysis, sparking calls for the Morrison government to seek a reset in relations to prevent further economic losses.
Labor Party agriculture and resources spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said: “How much harm will our economy have to suffer before Scott Morrison admits his mistakes, engulfs his pride, and uses the appropriate level of energy to improve our relationship with our largest trading partner?”
Although it is difficult to calculate the costs of the trade war, research by the Perth USAsia Center at the University of Western Australia shows the total value of exports to China of the seven industries impacted by both declared and undeclared sanctions was $ 47.7bn last year.
That includes $ 19.3 billion in merchandise exports, plus $ 12.1 billion in education services and $ 16.3 billion in travel services. However, the impact of the warnings in the last two segments is muted as Covid has closed international borders.
Experts warn that a number of industries – such as coal and beef – have experienced disruptions that are expected to reduce trade volumes, but not to zero.
Australian slaughterhouses hit by a technical import permit ban are trying to cancel them to restore trade, while other slaughterhouses continue to operate. Some products, including barley which is now charged at 80%, may end up being sold to a different market, albeit at a lower price.
Farmers fear wider disturbances
The National Farmers Federation said farmers “continue to be concerned about the disruption, real and laudable, of the trade in agricultural products to China including barley, beef, wine and most recently, cotton.” China accounts for 28% of Australia’s annual agricultural exports.
The chief executive of the NFF, Tony Mahar, said that “it is imperative that Australia-China relations continue to develop in a positive way, based on mutual benefit and respect”. He called on the government, through appropriate ministers, to continue reaching out to their Chinese partners in search of dialogue.
The trade minister, Simon Birmingham, reiterated to the Australian Guardian on Tuesday evening that Australia continues to “open its doors to engaging in respectful inter-ministerial dialogue” with China.
He said Australia believed in “a partnership in which countries respect each other’s sovereignty and encourage cooperation where possible”.
Dr Jeffrey Wilson, research director of the Perth USAsia Center, said Australia’s efforts to open a bilateral dialogue with China on trade measures had failed. Birmingham has been “consistently rejected” in its attempts to open lines of communication with its Chinese counterparts since May.
Wilson said one credible option open to Australia is to refer the matter to an independent referee through the World Trade Organization.
“Australia also has a very good chance of success in the case of barley, cotton and coal. This will be consistent with Australia’s longstanding commitment to rules-based multilateralism as a principle informing foreign policy, “he said.
But Wilson said the solution – proposed by some commentators – that Australia had to “smoothen” relations with China was in some ways politically unrealistic, because there was a lot of tension in the partnership “that couldn’t be removed”.
“And also, on major substance issues – foreign interference, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and the militarization of the South China Sea to name a few – should Australia compromise its foreign policy for short-term trade gains.”
Australians and Chinese ‘will be losers’
The Labor Party trade spokesman, Madeleine King, urged the government to “seek advice from Australian mining and agricultural companies as well as executives with deep business relations with China.”
“This should hold a forum to listen to company leaders who are very concerned about the relationship,” he said.
“This will give the government practical advice while showing everyone that we value our trade relationship with China.”
King also called on the government to be “more measured” in how it communicates about China and “stop McCarthyist-style operations” from backbenchers such as Tasmanian senator Eric Abez, who sued three Chinese-Australians appeared on public investigations unconditionally condemning the “dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party”.
“At every opportunity, the prime minister and senior ministers must emphasize that the people of Australia and China will be the losers from reducing the volume of trade between our two countries,” said King.
The future of coal exports is in the air
Australian Government still trying to clarify the impact about Beijing’s latest reported move to prevent purchases of Australian coal and cotton.
BHP was revealed earlier this month that some Chinese customers have recently delayed coal purchases, but a spokesperson was unable to elaborate on any details such as the volume affected.
“Our understanding is that it is a very urgent verbal direction that you need to stop importing Australian coal now,” said Jo Clarke, correspondent for global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus.
“Colleagues have seen ships with Australian coal queuing to go to Chinese ports suddenly being pulled out of queues and diverted to other destinations.”
Clarke said China operates an informal quota system that limits international coal imports to around 270 million to 290 million tonnes per year – a system that has been in place since the coal price crash in 2016 threatens the viability of domestic coal mines in China.
This means that sometimes there will be disruption of coal imports to China towards the end of the year, if the quota has been met.
Clarke said Australia exported more coal to China in the first nine months of 2020 than the same time last year, because several other Chinese suppliers had reduced their own exports and because other Australian target markets such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had stopped importing. as much coal as possible.
Australia exported nearly 75 million tonnes of all types of coal to China between January and September this year, up 14% from the same period last year, according to figures compiled by Argus.
“At some point Beijing said, ‘no more Australian coal’. The pragmatic said it was because Australia had fulfilled its quota, ”he said.
“The real concern, when I talk to the market, is what happens next year, whether Beijing plans to change the system because of diplomatic tensions with Canberra or whether quotas will restart as normal. We don’t know that yet. “
Meanwhile, iron ore – a valuable Australian export – appears to have avoided the impact of trade tensions so far.
“This year we haven’t even heard them whisper back Australian iron ore,” he said. However, he said China was developing other options that could provide alternative supplies in the long term, such as Guinea.
Foreign Ministers Marise Payne and Birmingham and their officials will face questions about the handling of Chinese relations during the Senate forecast hearing on Wednesday and Thursday.
A Swiss startup is testing devices that rely on nanotechnology to speed up cancer diagnosis, a goal shared by many researchers and entrepreneurs around the world.
Nanotechnology is a promising approach, according to the National Cancer Institute. Apart from diagnosing cancer earlier and sooner, this has the potential to assist in making treatment decisions. The hope for a nano-oncology application is that it is also less toxic than chemotherapy.
Founded in 2017, Artidist hopes his device can do both, starting with breast, lung and pancreatic cancer, according to Marija Plodinec, co-founder and CEO of the company. Artidis employs 22 people in Switzerland and the US
The Artidis device relies on proprietary nanomechanical biomarkers and clinical data analytics to diagnose cancer in biopsied tissue.
The device – also known as Artidis – relies on proprietary nanomechanical biomarkers and clinical data analytics to diagnose cancer in biopsied tissue. Biomarkers can also measure cancer aggressiveness, allowing for customized treatment.
Results were available in less than three hours, beating the days it took after a traditional biopsy, Plodinec wrote in an emailed response to questions forwarded by a spokesperson. A cancer biophysicist, Plodinec began researching the technology used by Artidis in 2008 when he was a graduate student at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
“Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and I wanted to find a device that would reduce the stressful period of uncertainty before you receive a cancer diagnosis,” wrote Plodinec.
Since its founding three years ago, Artidis has raised $ 15.1 million in seed money from investors including Bernina Bioinvest and SMD MedicalTrade AGboth based in Switzerland.
With a view to expanding in the US, Artidis hopes to raise another $ 20 million in Series A funding by the end of 2020. The company aims to enter the market by 2022 and is currently finalizing pre-submission files for submission to US Food. and Drug Administration, says Plodinec. Hospitals and health systems will be able to buy or lease accompanying devices and software, he said.
In a study involving 545 patients in Switzerland from 2016 to 2019, Artidis proved effective in detecting breast cancer in routine clinical settings. Presented at the June meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, this study also demonstrates the potential of a tool for assessing future tumor growth.
“Secondary analysis suggests that this new technology will be able to subclassify breast cancer subtypes into more or less aggressive subgroups, which can define a patient’s treatment plan and thereby reduce over-treatment and under-treatment,” Dr. Rosemarie Burian, lead investigator of the study and a gynecologist at the Breast Center at Basel University Hospital, said in a statement announcing the results this summer.
Artidis plans to launch a multi-center study for breast cancer in the US later this year and a similar study in Europe in early 2021, Plodinec wrote. A proof-of-concept study on lung and pancreatic cancer is also scheduled to begin in early 2021.
In the US, Artidis has collaborated with MD Anderson Cancer Center at Texas Medical Center in Houston, Plodinec said, adding that the company is in talks with other US cancer centers.
“Artidis can be used to analyze any living tissue, so the potential for growth is enormous,” he wrote.