4 June 2019 FT — Articles to Read

4 June 2019


Question: What is the fastest growing segment of incarcerated prisoners?


Merged Chinese steelmakers set to exceed output of US industry – Pg. 1

–          A planned merger of China’s largest steelmaker and a domestic rival is set to create a group whose combined production exceeded that of the entire US streel industry last year, as Beijing pushes on with efforts to consolidate its vast steel sector

–          The two companies had combined crude steel output last year of 87m tonnes, surpassing total US steel output of 86.6m tonnes, …

–          That would put the combined group only just behind the world’s top steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, which produced 92.5m tonnes of crude steel in 2018

–          China is the world’s top consumer of steel.  It used 828m tonnes last year as its own production grew 6.6% to a record 928m tonnes, driven by strong demand from the property sector

–          …falling car sales in China have begun to erode steel demand and the possibility of output exceeding domestic demand this year raises the prospect of domestic steelmakers using exports as a pressure valve – something that would depress prices globally

–          With demand flagging and iron ore prices rising, European steel producers in particular have been hit.  Last week, ArcelorMittal cut production for the second time in a month, complaining of cheap imports from China

–          Beijing aims to consolidate its fragmented steel sector so that the top 10 producers account for 60% of steel production, up from 35% now.  Beijing has forced steelmakers to cut 200m tonnes of capacity since 2016


Scientists sound alarm on gene-editing technique in babies – Pg. 2

–          The technique used by a controversial Chinese scientist to produce the world’s first gene-edited babies significantly increases the risk of dying early, ….

–          Although the CCR5 mutation prevents the HIV virus from entering human immune cells and therefore protects against Aids, it has the opposite effect on some other pathogens


China’s middle class youth loses faith in American dream – Pg. 3

–          For young Chinese wealthy enough to travel, what they find abroad no longer looks as impressive as what they have at home

–          Chinese in their teens and twenties have no direct experience of inflation, shortages and corruption that brought their parents’ generation on to the streets.  Long commutes, high housing prices, uncertain jobs and a percolating #metoo movement occupy their attention instead

–          (Prof Note: After one of my classes yesterday I was able to speak with a young Chinese student.  She was happy to be going back to China upon graduation.  When I asked why not stay in the U.S. she said she missed China.  I asked why.  While she mentioned family and friends she also stated, “public transportation and ease of getting food [I assumed she meant deliver]”.  Personally, I agreed with her assessment)


Beijing warns students of increased problems travelling to US – Pg. 3

–          “Visa issuances for Chinese students studying in the United States have been restricted.  The visa review period has been extended, the validity period has been shortened, and the refusal rate has increased”…

–          Millions of Chinese have lived or studies in the US, and hundreds of thousands currently attend US high schools, colleges and graduate schools.  Application volumes for the top 30 – 50 US institutions are rising steadily

–          But even China hawks have been reluctant to block Chinese student visas more broadly because of the importance of the country’s students to US university budgets


Urban Renewal – Pg. 7

–          Across the developed world, an urban model anchored around education, rather than commodities, is taking hold, inspired by a US example

–          Universities exercise a powerful migratory effect

–          Many graduates come from nearby towns, and are more likely to settle in places where they have studied

–          In the UK, half of young people do not enter higher education


Big banks gear up for digital coin release – Pg. 12

–          Thirteen of the world’s biggest banks are preparing to launch digital versions of big global currencies in 2020 after years of research convinced them that the technology underpinning crypto currencies could be used to make trading less risky and cheaper

–          The technology, which is used in blockchain networks, enables participants to share information instantly on an open-access ledger that cannot be altered or erased

–          In theory the technology could do away with the need for reams of paperwork and processing, but banks must first confront legal and regulatory hurdles on everything from risk management to privacy before deploying it widely


US downturn risk growing, warns Morgan Stanley gauge – Pg. 19

–          The US market cycle has shifted from an expansionary phase to a downturn for the first time since 2007, …

–          The Wall Street bank cautioned that a “phase-change” in its gauge has typically pointed to “higher chances of recession or a bear market”

–          America’s benchmark S&P 500 index dropped 606%, or 6.4% on a total return basis that includes dividends


Top Fed policymaker pushes banks to step up preparations for Libor’s demise – Pg. 19

–          The LIBOR holds huge sway in financial markets, underpinning trillions of dollars’ worth of mortgages, bonds, corporate loans and derivatives – but it was plunged into controversy when it emerged that traders had sought to rig the benchmark for their own benefit

–          Libor-linked rates remain embedded in at least $420tn worth of contracts around the world but regulators want to shift to more durable, tamper-proof alternatives


Answer: Women