Search for:

China’s Corn Harvest Escapes Worst of Typhoon Flood Devastation

Article content

(Bloomberg) — Grain farmers in northern China have escaped the worst impact of the summer’s typhoons on production, with harvests of crops like corn set to rise in the coming year.

The torrential rains that lashed northern regions left dozens dead and fields flooded, raising fears that some agricultural production could be devastated. But broadly favorable weather over the growing season and increases in acreage are likely to more than offset the hit to yields caused by the deluge.  

Article content

“Even though the rains were heavy, overall weather conditions in the northeast were favorable most of the time,” said Ma Wenfeng, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co. “Output of grains, including rice, corn, soybeans and sorghum, is expected to rise.”

Guolian Futures Co. expects corn production in the northeast to increase by 4.1 million tons to 98.6 million tons in the 2023-24 season, which runs from October, according to a report from the brokerage on Friday. The region typically accounts for almost 30% of China’s total harvest of grains, including substantial portions of the national corn, soybean and rice crops.

High-quality rice production in the area did suffer, according to Beijing Orient’s Ma. But the impact on the market is likely to be limited because prices were already too dear for many of China’s cash-strapped consumers.

Corn yields, particularly in low-lying areas, will have been affected by the rains and may drop by as much as 10% in some parts, according to Citic Futures Co., which surveyed farmers and traders in the region. But overall production is expected to rise due to expanded acreage, it said.

Article content

In a report last week, China’s agriculture ministry forecast a 2.7% increase in total corn production to 285 million tons in 2023-24, noting that typhoon rains may have improved soil moisture levels in some northern regions.

The Week’s Diary

(All times Beijing unless noted.)

Monday, Sept. 18

  • China’s 2nd batch of Aug. trade data, including agricultural imports; LNG & pipeline gas imports; oil products trade breakdown; alumina, copper and rare-earth product exports; bauxite, steel & aluminum product imports
  • China August output data for base metals and oil products

Tuesday, Sept. 19

  • China Intl Copper Forum in Kunming, Yunnan, day 1
  • China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, day 1

Wednesday, Sept. 20

  • China sets monthly loan prime rates, 09:15
  • CCTD’s weekly online briefing on Chinese coal, 15:00
  • China’s 3rd batch of August trade data, including country breakdowns for energy and commodities
  • China Energy Summit & Exhibition in Beijing, day 1
  • China Intl Copper Forum in Kunming, Yunnan, day 2
  • China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, day 2

Thursday, Sept. 21

Article content

  • China Green Steel Summit in Shanghai, day 1
  • China Energy Summit & Exhibition in Beijing, day 2
  • China Intl Copper Forum in Kunming, Yunnan, day 3
  • China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, day 3

Friday, Sept. 22

  • China weekly iron ore port stockpiles
  • Shanghai exchange weekly commodities inventory, ~15:30
  • North Bund Intl Shipping Forum in Shanghai, day 1
  • China Green Steel Summit in Shanghai, day 2
  • China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, day 4

Saturday, Sept. 23

  • North Bund Intl Shipping Forum in Shanghai, day 2
  • China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, day 5

Sunday, Sept. 24

  • North Bund Intl Shipping Forum in Shanghai, day 3

On the Wire

A massive retreat of funds from Chinese stocks and bonds is diminishing the market’s clout in global portfolios and accelerating its decoupling from the rest of the world.

#Chinas #Corn #Harvest #Escapes #Worst #Typhoon #Flood #Devastation

UK residential rents rise at record pace in August

Receive free UK society updates

Residential rents in August jumped by 12 per cent on average across the UK, according to data from estate agent Hamptons, the largest annual increase on record.

London led the way with a 17 per cent year-on-year rise to £2,332 a month, which means tenants in the capital have experienced double-digit rent increases in 16 of the past 18 months.

Nationwide, landlords pushed monthly rents on newly let properties up to £1,304 on average in August, the largest annual increase since Hamptons began tracking the data in 2014. The sharp jump in rental costs comes as rising interest rates have increased mortgage payments.

“Each passing month has ushered in a new rental market record,” said Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, adding that rents across Great Britain have increased more in the past year than they did between 2015 and 2019. 

The unrelenting increases will add to the pressure in Westminster to tackle the rental crisis. A blame game erupted within the governing Conservative party at the end of last week, after the renters’ reform bill, which would end “no-fault” evictions in England, was delayed again.

Some supporters of the bill claim that its crucial second reading in the House of Commons is being held up by vested interests in the government whips’ office, where five of 16 whips own rental property.

The claim was rejected by one source in the whips’ office as “absurd”, instead insisting that any concerns that may have been flagged reflected those of the “wider parliamentary party.”

The sharp increases in London have put the capital at the forefront of a nationwide battle to cope with the spiralling cost of rented accommodation, which has become a key cost of living pressure for millions of households and prompted calls for political action. 

London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan repeated calls on the government for urgent action, including giving him powers to freeze rents in the city. “The national crisis in the rental market clearly demands further action from government,” Khan’s office said.

It added that the government should increase housing benefits and invest “the £4.9bn a year that’s needed to deliver the affordable housing that London needs”. 

Both the Conservatives and the main opposition Labour party, which is well ahead in the polls with a general election expected next year, have previously signalled they are unlikely to introduce powers to impose rent controls.

The government said: “Evidence shows that rent controls in the private sector do not work,” adding that the government was investing billions in affordable housing and that households struggling with housing costs could access a range of financial help.

Ben Twomey, chief executive of campaign group Generation Rent, said rent control and an increase in benefit payments were needed to “give breathing space to renters while construction is ramped up to tackle the underlying shortage”. He also called for council tax reform to discourage “homeowners [hoarding] more space than they really need”.

Rents rising faster than wages has strained affordability. The median London renter paid 30 per cent of their gross income, the highest in at least five years, based on a 12-month rolling average compiled by DataLoft. Excluding the capital, UK average rent accounts for a quarter of earnings.

In Scotland, where the government has limited rises for sitting tenants to 3 per cent, rents on newly-let properties jumped a record 13 per cent year on year, Hamptons said, as landlords tried to capture as much rental uplift as possible in between tenancies.

#residential #rents #rise #record #pace #August

3 steps crypto investors can take to avoid hacks by the Lazarus Group

Cryptocurrency users frequently fall prey to online hacks with Mark Cuban being just the latest high-profile example how nearly a million dollars can leave your digital wallet.

It is possible to substantially bolster the security of your funds by heeding three simple guidelines that will be outlined in this article. But before delving into these, it’s crucial to understand the type of threat that exists today. 

FBI has clear evidence on the Lazarus Group

The Lazarus Group is a North Korean state-sponsored hacking group, known for their sophisticated attacks linked to various cyberattacks and cybercriminal activities, including the WannaCry ransomware attack.

WannaCry disrupted critical services in numerous organizations, including healthcare institutions and government agencies by encrypting files on infected computers and demanding a ransom payment in Bitcoin (BTC).

One of its earliest crypto-related hacks was the breach of South Korean crypto exchange Yapizon (later rebranded to Youbit) in April 2017, resulting in the theft of 3,831 Bitcoin, worth over $4.5 million at the time.

The Lazarus Group’s activities in the cryptocurrency space have raised concerns about its ability to generate funds for the North Korean regime and evade international sanctions. For instance, in 2022 the group was tied to a number of high-profile cryptocurrency hacks, including the theft of $620 million from Axie Infinity bridge Ronin.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) blamed Lazarus Group for the Alphapo, CoinsPaid and Atomic Wallet hacks, stating that losses from all of these hacks add up to over $200 million the group has stolen in 2023.

This month, the FBI have attributed Lazarus Group to a $41 million hack of the crypto gambling site Stake, which was carried out through a spear-phishing campaign that targeted some of its employees.

Lastly, according to blockchain security firm SlowMist, the $55 million hack of the crypto exchange CoinEx was carried out by the North Korean state sponsored hackers.

Most hacks involve social engineering and exploit human error

Contrary to what movies usually display, meaning hackers either gaining physical access to devices or brute forcing passwords, most hacks occur through phishing and social engineering. The attacker relies on human curiosity or greed to entice the victim.

Those hackers may pose as customer support representatives or other trusted figures in order to trick victims into giving up their personal information.

For instance, a hacker might impersonate a company’s IT support and call an employee, claiming they need to verify their login credentials for a system update. To build trust, the attacker might use public information about the company and the target’s role.

Related: North Korean crypto hacks down 80%, but that could change overnight: Chainalysis

Phishing attacks involve sending deceptive emails or messages to trick recipients into taking malicious actions. An attacker might impersonate a reputable organization, such as a bank, and send an email to a user, asking them to click on a link to verify their account. The link takes them to a fraudulent website where their login credentials are stolen.

Baiting attacks offer something enticing to the victim, such as free software or a job opportunity. An attacker poses as a recruiter and creates a convincing job posting on a reputable job search website. To further establish trust, they may even conduct a fake video interview, and later inform the candidate that they have been selected. The hackers proceed by sending a seemingly innocuous file, like a PDF or a Word document, which contains malware.

How crypto investors can avoid hacks and exploits

Luckily, despite the increasing sophistication and capabilities of hackers today, there are three simple steps you can take to keep your funds safe. Namely: 

  • Use hardware wallets for long-term storage of your crypto assets, not directly connected to the internet, making them highly secure against online threats like phishing attacks or malware. They provide an extra layer of protection by keeping your private keys offline and away from potential hackers.
Common crypto hardware wallets. Source: Enjin
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, on all your crypto exchange and wallet accounts. This adds an extra security step by requiring you to provide a one-time code generated by an app like Google Authenticator or Authy. Even if an attacker manages to steal your password, they won’t be able to access your accounts.
  • Be extremely cautious when clicking on links on emails and social media. Scammers often use enticing offers or giveaways to lure victims. Use separate “burner” accounts or wallets for experimenting with new decentralized applications and for airdrops to reduce the risk of losing your funds. 

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.