things you won’t read about in the MSM

Update: June 17 2009:

From the comments – good catch Gordo.  At least the National Post has a Bloomsbury item on this non-news event.

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Update: June 16 2009:

This is very significant news, because, as Michael Barnett writes in an email, one of the following must be true:

1. The Japanese are trying to secretly divest themselves of about 25% of their US debt. (They own about $600B in US debt.)

2. The Japanese are acting as Chinese or North Korean agents in trying to help them divest themselves of US debt in secret.

3. There is an enormous sum of counterfeit US debt out there and these guys are trying to sell some of it.

None of these cases bodes well for the US debt market.

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June 14 2009:

So, apparently two Japanese nationals were apprehended at the Italian / Swiss border carrying $134 Billion in US Treasury bearer bonds.   

1 3 4 Billion….Kind of blows the doors off the tired customs dude asking whether you are carrying $10K doesn’t it? 

At any rate, you might think that two people carrying the equivalent of 1/4 of the entire Canadian debt might rate a front page mention in more than a couple of our intrepid journals, and yet – mysteriously quiet.  [sound of crickets].   For instance, if you or I were to have in our possession the equivalent to the entire GDP of several african nations, and we were caught at a border with it, maybe the local, nay the international press might be interested.  If they’re fake it’s a story.  If the bearer bonds are real, its also a story!  

Go here to read some analysis… Its weird, but then again….

careful what you wish for

On occasion and what with the economy in the tank, some folk muse openly about imposing carbon based penalties on China – a new form of protectionism if you will.   The implications of this need to be understood before our poll happy politicians attempt to score domestic points – fortunately some cautionary thoughts are available over at Marginal RevolutionRTWT.

  • It can be very hard to identify and isolate the energy inputs into an exported product, especially if the host government is uncooperative and a lot of money is at stake.
  • Last I checked China was funding a big chunk of our government’s debt.  Confronting them would have to be bundled with a regime of extreme fiscal conservatism and unilateral foreign policy.
  • Chinese citizens wanting clean air at home are possibly our biggest ally so let’s not alienate them.