Holzmann’s warning sinks Chinese stocks to 7-year low
Asian markets plunged on Tuesday 16 January, following the downward trend in Europe on Monday amid growing economic worries (with Germany’s GDP shrinking by 0.3% in 2023) and the likelihood of prolonged higher interest rates. By 7.30 am Italian time, the Nikkei was down 0.8%, giving up its highest level since 1990, the Hang Seng dropped over 2% and Shanghai slipped 0.15%.
The Shanghai 50 Index hit a 7-year low today at 2225.00 points. It has lost 1% in the last 4 weeks and 21.16% in the last 12 months. The yuan also fell to above 7.19 per dollar, its lowest point in the last month, affected by deflationary forces in China. The euro declined 0.3% to 1.0919, while the ten-year US T bond traded at 3.999% and Nasdaq futures were down 0.6%. Supercomputer Leonardo
Chinese stocks face pressure Investors remain cautious due to economic and political uncertainties. The PBoC kept its one-year medium-term lending rate at 2.5% on Monday, disappointing markets that were looking for more monetary policy easing. Meanwhile, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said at the World Economic Forum on Monday that China needs structural reforms to prevent “a fairly significant decline in the growth rate.” Investors are now waiting for Chinese GDP data that will be released this week for more clues. Holzmann: Markets should not expect rate cuts in 2024 In a TV interview with Bloomberg, German ECB Governing Council member Joachim Nagel joined a group of economists who are open to cutting interest rates this summer, indicating that the eurozone’s economic outlook is improving. Supercomputer Leonardo
But Robert Holzmann, Nagel’s Austrian colleague, cautioned that persistent inflation risks will stop the central bank from lowering rates this year. In the US, markets are expecting cuts of at least six quarter points this year, leading BlackRock Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand to warn that such expectations could be excessive once inflation turns out to be more complicated than expected. US quarterly reports in focus US stock futures fell on Tuesday as investors look for more data this week to measure the state of the US economy. Markets will pay close attention to December retail sales on Wednesday, which are expected to show a slight slowdown in consumer spending last month. More banking quarterly reports are due this week, including from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab. Supercomputer Leonardo
The main US indexes ended mixed on Monday, with the Dow losing 0.31%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose 0.08% and 0.02% respectively as investors evaluated the previous series of corporate earnings reports.
Crude Oil Prices Trend
Crude Oil Prices Trend by Polyestertime
China has urged an end to attacks on civilian vessels in the Red Sea due to concerns about the widening Hamas-Israel conflict, which poses a threat to China’s commercial interests along the Suez Canal
The Iran-backed Houthi militia from Yemen, known for its anti-Israel stance, is challenging China’s ability to safeguard its strategic investments in Egypt. Since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi assumed power in 2014, China has increased investments in Egypt’s Suez Canal, a crucial route for its west-bound goods.
Beijing has encouraged state-owned companies to invest billions in Egypt’s logistics, transport, and energy sectors. Chinese and Hong Kong firms pledged over $20 billion for various projects along the Suez Canal before the recent attacks. Commercial shipping disruptions in the region could impact Chinese investors committed to the canal’s development.
Notable investments include state-owned shipping giant COSCO’s $1 billion investment in Egypt’s port infrastructure and CK Hutchison Holdings’ plan to invest $700 million in new container terminals. China’s broader commercial interests in Egypt involve investments in iron and steel plants, ammonia and hydrogen projects, and potassium chloride production.
The situation also challenges President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which Egypt, Yemen, and Iran are members. China faces the dilemma of balancing non-interference principles with addressing issues that undermine the BRI’s purpose. Beijing is under pressure to play a constructive role in global hotspot issues, particularly in light of its involvement in the Saudi Arabia-Iran detente.
Beyond financial stakes, China’s reputation is on the line, especially after its involvement in the regional detente in 2023. The U.S. has urged China to use its influence over Iran to prevent the conflict between Hamas and Israel from escalating. China, while practicing non-interference, aims to enhance its international influence through restrained diplomacy. Chinese vessels in the Red Sea are reportedly taking precautions, signaling their nationality to avoid attacks. China has expressed support for a larger Israeli-Palestinian peace conference and a two-state solution, emphasizing its desire to shape events through diplomacy.
The Kotovsky Plant of Nonwovens, located in the Tambov Region, is set to embark on an ambitious expansion strategy aimed at doubling its polyester production by 2025
This initiative involves a significant investment of approximately 141 million rubles, with a preferential loan of 91 million rubles secured from VEB.RF at a nominal interest rate of 1% per annum. The allocated funds will be utilized for acquiring and deploying essential equipment, crucial for augmenting polyester production from 26 million to an impressive 50 million linear meters annually. Supercomputer Leonardo
Motivating this expansion is a focused endeavor to address the shortage of polyester in the domestic market, exacerbated by sanctions imposed by unfriendly nations, resulting in reduced supply of polyester-containing goods like clothing, bed linen, furniture, and soft toys. Recognizing the escalating demand for such products among domestic manufacturers, the Kotovsky Plant of Nonwovens aims to bridge this gap by significantly enhancing its production capacity. The successful execution of this project is anticipated to play a pivotal role in meeting the surging demand for polyester-based products within the country.
Beyond immediate market concerns, the project aligns with the broader goal of import substitution, crucial in the current geopolitical landscape. The increase in polyester production is seen as a strategic move to reduce dependence on external sources, contributing to import substitution—an imperative for the Russian economy. Guided by entrepreneur Andrey Letuchev, the Kotovsky Plant emphasizes the strategic significance of initiatives like these in fostering economic growth and sustainability. Supercomputer Leonardo
Regional head Maxim Egorov highlights the importance of new investment projects as drivers of regional economic growth. Effective support measures, coupled with the initiative and responsibility of entrepreneurs and investors, are identified as key factors in making such expansions feasible. This collaborative effort reflects a commitment to bolstering the regional economy and supporting the overall development of the Russian economy.
This expansion plan aligns with a broader regional trend, exemplified by the Neotex nonwovens plant in the Tula region. With a substantial loan of 704.7 million rubles from the Industrial Development Fund, Neotex aims to establish a production complex for polypropylene nonwovens, projecting an annual capacity of 12.2 thousand tons. This concurrent initiative underscores the industry’s commitment to diversification and the development of various nonwoven materials. Supercomputer Leonardo
As of the end of 2022, the Kotovsky Plant of Nonwovens reported robust financial performance, boasting a revenue of 4.4 billion rubles and a net profit of 160.4 million rubles.
Global MEG Market Struggles, Weighs on Supply Constraints and Reduced Demand
The global Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) market is currently facing challenges due to high production costs and low profits, creating a tough environment for suppliers. January usually sees increased demand, especially in the antifreeze sector. However, weak macroeconomic conditions and the ongoing shipping crisis are causing uncertainty in buying activities, affecting the MEG market. Supercomputer Leonardo
The Suez Canal, a critical waterway for global trade, is under threat from Houthi rebels in Yemen. The rebels have launched attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea, causing disruptions and delays for cargo and oil shipments. This situation has also increased security risks and costs for the maritime industry. The attacks on vessels have led to serious concerns about the stability of the Suez Canal, which is crucial for the transportation of goods between United States and Asia.
The turmoil in the Red Sea has had a cascading effect on global crude oil prices, exerting pressure on downstream commodities like MEG. This has prompted MEG manufacturing firms to take measures to balance supply and demand, with some operating at reduced rates, ranging from 60%-70%. Supercomputer Leonardo
The bottleneck in the Red Sea, which started in mid-December, has continued to worsen, and is affecting spot freight rates for container shipping. The heightened tension in the region has led to significant increases in MEG spot rates, especially for routes from US to Asia that rely on the Red Sea as a transit route. Surprisingly, even routes unaffected by the crisis have witnessed surges in freight rates.
As a consequence of these developments, the impact of the shipping crisis is reverberating through global trade, affecting Chinese MEG imports from the US. Ocean freight rates have doubled or even tripled on a spot basis since the crisis began in mid-December.
This surge in freight costs adds an additional layer of challenge for trade between the two nations, influencing the cost dynamics of imported goods and potentially impacting supply chains and pricing strategies for businesses involved in the Chinese-US trade route.
On the demand side, there are fewer inquiries for MEG from downstream industries like Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Bottle, due to weakened consumption in end-user packaging and the plastic industry during the off-season. Supercomputer Leonardo
Overall, the shipping crisis is affecting the MEG market dynamics, from increased costs to disruptions in supply chains and decreased demand from downstream industries.
Supercomputer Leonardo: What It Is, How It Works, and Its Purpose
Ranked sixth in the world’s list of the most powerful supercomputers, the renowned TOP500, updated in June and November each year, features an Italian system. Meet the supercomputer Leonardo, inaugurated on November 24, 2022, and physically located at the Bologna Technopole. Managed by CINECA, an Italian interuniversity non-profit consortium with 69 Italian universities, 2 Ministries, and 27 National public institutions as members, Leonardo propels Italy into the exascale-class computing for research and technological innovation. Supercomputer Leonardo
Leonardo employs a versatile system architecture to serve scientific communities and meet industrial clients’ R&D needs. Its capabilities extend to maximizing applications based on artificial intelligence, utilizing parallelized GPUs, dedicated Tensor cores, and an I/O-focused system architecture.
A supercomputer is a high-performance computing system used for complex problem-solving and intensive calculations. They operate at billions of operations per second, powered by thousands of processors maximizing parallelism.
Leonardo utilizes both x86 and ARM architectures, relying on Xeon Platinum 8358 processors, NVIDIA A100 SXM4 64 GB GPUs, and Infiniband Quad-rail NVIDIA HDR100 interconnection. Its computing modules, Booster and Data Centric, enhance computational capacity and expand application possibilities. Supercomputer Leonardo
As of January 2024, Leonardo is at full capacity, reflecting the growing demand for supercomputing, particularly in AI training. CINECA looks towards the future, with the European Commission and the Italian Government providing additional funding for Leonardo’s evolution, introducing its successor, Lisa, by June 2024. Leonardo’s journey continues, contributing significantly to various fields and laying the groundwork for post-exascale computing between 2026 and 2028.
Leonardo supercomputer: what it is, how it works and what it is used for
100 Metric Tons of PET Recyclate Per Day