Chinese manufacturing growth slumps to its lowest point for a year

Activity in factories and workshops is close to contraction, official index shows, as sector struggles with falling demand and struggling property market

China’s manufacturing growth dropped in December to its lowest level of 2014, an official survey showed on Thursday, as the sector struggles with weak domestic demand.

After a rough 2014, the world’s second-largest economy looks set to start the new year on a weak note, reinforcing expectations that Beijing will roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdown which may trigger job losses and debt defaults.
A property slump is expected to last well into 2015, companies will continue to struggle to pay off debt and export demand may remain erratic, leaving only the services sector as the lone bright spot in the economy.

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Guest Post: 2014 – A Russian Viewpoint

Via The Vineyard Of The Saker blog,

Introduction:
By any measure 2014 has been a truly historic year which saw huge, I would say, even tectonic developments. This year ends in very high instability, and the future looks hard to guess. I don't think that anybody can confidently predict what might happen next year. So what I propose to do today is something far more modest. I want to look into some of the key events of 2014 and think of them as vectors with a specific direction and magnitude. I want to look in which direction a number of key actors (countries) “moved” this year and with what degree of intensity. Then I want to see whether it is likely that they will change course or determination. Then adding up all the “vectors” of these key actors (countries) I want to make a calculation and see what resulting vector we will obtain for the next year. Considering the large number of “unknown unknowns” (to quote Rumsfeld) this exercise will not result in any kind of real prediction, but my hope is that it will prove a useful analytical reference.

The main event and the main actors
A comprehensive analysis of 2014 should include most major countries on the planet, but this would be too complicated and, ultimately, useless. I think that it is indisputable that the main event of 2014 has been the war in the Ukraine. This crisis not only overshadowed the still ongoing Anglo-Zionist attack on Syria, but it pitted the world's only two nuclear superpowers (Russia and the USA) directly against each other. And while some faraway countries did have a minor impact on the Ukrainian crisis, especially the BRICS, I don't think that a detailed discussion of South African or Brazilian politics would contribute much. There is a short list of key actors whose role warrants a full analysis. They are:

The USA The Ukrainian Junta The Novorussians (DNR+LNR) Russia The EU NATO China

I submit that these seven actors account for 99.99% of the events in the Ukraine and that an analysis of the stance of each one of them is crucial.

Forget Toasters & Spiderman Towels, Chinese Banks Lure New Deposits With iPhones & Mercedes

Amid the European crisis in 2012, European banks reached deep deep down to encourage depositors to lodge their savings in these highly levered financial institutions. Most notably, now defunct Bankia, which offered no lesser gift than a Spiderman Towel in exchange for a EUR300 deposit. So, one wonders just how desperate they are – and just how close to total collapse – when Chinese banks are offering Mercedes Benz, iPhones, or a gold pendant to encourage cash as Bloomberg reports one analyst warns, “Chinese banks are hemorrhaging their deposits.”

Where The Minority Rules In America

“An increasingly muscular minority political base is here to stay,” says Politico, and nowhere is that minority more in charge in America than shown in the following map. As the white population continues to age (only 51% of Under-5s were white in 2010), racial minorities will pick up the slack (by 2027, minorities will out-number whites nationally among those under 30).

Even CIA Admits Torture Doesn’t Work

Seton Hall Law School Professor Jonathan Hafetz made an important point today:

CIA director, John O Brennan, admitted that the agency “has not concluded that it was the use of EITs [“Enhanced Interrogation Techniques aka torture] that allowed us to obtain useful information from