U.S. automakers ask to share battery technology, Korean companies worry about leaking secrets

The Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday (March 25) that LG Energy Solution (LGES) CEO Kwon Young-soo said it was difficult for automakers to produce their own products based on huge technology patent fees and R&D costs. Battery. The report pointed out that the US and South Korean joint ventures are currently building seven electric vehicle (EV) battery plants in North America, including the battery joint ventures established by Stellantis N.V. with LGES and Samsung SDI, respectively.

General Motors (GM) has asked partner LGES to share some battery technology, South Korean government and industry sources said. LGES is concerned that GM, which owns the battery plant itself, will gain trade secrets as a result. Ford Motor Company made a technology sharing request when negotiating a joint venture with SK On, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SK Innovation. SK is concerned that information will flow through Ford to competitors.

Ultium Cells, a joint venture between GM and LGES, announced in January that it would spend $2.6 billion to build a third battery cell manufacturing plant in Lansing, Michigan. Ultium Cells will complete site preparation this summer and the new plant is expected to open by the end of 2024.

“The fate of Ford’s electrification is in your hands,” SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun said in an interview with Ford CEO Jim Farley, Thomson Reuters reported in October.

SK Innovation Co Ltd announced in October last year that it would double the number of EV battery researchers under its umbrella by the end of 2023, Yonhap News Agency reported.

As of January, LGES had a cumulative backlog of $217 billion.

LGES announced on Wednesday that it will spend 1.7 trillion won to build a new cylindrical battery factory in Queen Creek, Arizona. The new manufacturing facility will use the most advanced smart factory system with functions such as remote support, manufacturing intelligence, and logistics automation.

It’s the ghost of COVID-19 again. What if American children’s reading ability is lagging behind?

In the American classrooms, children who have just entered elementary school have tried to read the text again and again, but they can’t read the text.

Severely behind in reading ability
In March 2020, under the COVID-19 epidemic, people hid at home to reduce the chance of infection, and children continued their studies through remote courses. Now, after the children who completed kindergarten courses through remote classes entered elementary school and returned to the physical campus, research shows that an average of one-third of children in the United States have not reached the reading benchmark, and the proportion of these children who are seriously behind in reading is significantly higher than before the epidemic. increase a lot.

Not ready yet
The study mentioned that about 33% of second-grade students do not have the reading ability that second-grade students should have, which is 9% higher than before the epidemic, and 38% of third-grade students do not have the corresponding ability, which is 7% more than before the epidemic. According to a study by the University of Virginia, 35% of Virginia students scored lower than expected on language tests in the fall of 2021, a 20-year low.

Limited effectiveness of remote courses
The number one problem that many teachers encounter in class is that their children forget pronunciation. Some teachers in the first and second grades of primary school even have to review the kindergarten curriculum after school starts. Although the school still tried to continue teaching through remote courses during the blockade, even for experienced teachers, it is difficult to take into account each student when taking courses remotely and maintain the same quality as physical classes.

Vulnerable children may be the tail of a crane
Tiffany P. Hogan, director of the Language and Literature Laboratory at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, said that in some poorer schools, 60% of students identified as having backward reading skills, and the number was also affected by the epidemic. 2 times as much as before.

While children of all races are affected, black, Hispanic, low-income or disabled children are disproportionately affected and lag behind the most. “If students don’t have enough reading skills by the time they finish elementary school, the risk is considerable,” Hogan said. “They could be heading for a future in which they drop out of high school, fail to find a good job as an adult, or go to jail for their crimes.”

It’s not all the pandemic’s fault
In fact, the problem of reading crisis started before the outbreak of COVID-19.

In 2019, a number of domestic and foreign tests showed that the overall reading ability of Americans was gradually declining, and there was a trend of polarization. While there are many factors behind the decline, many experts point to a lack of teachers in schools who understand the importance of phonics and phonemic awareness — the basic skills that link English spoken and written letters.

Trying to Rescue Reading Ability
Schools are now under pressure to improve students’ reading skills as quickly as possible, as almost all courses require reading skills as a basis. In order to solve this problem, the government has also invested billions of dollars in schools at all levels to help improve students’ reading skills.

But if schools can’t find teachers who make good use of their resources, the end result is quite limited.

Old-fashioned but effective, why are experts optimistic about sanctions on Russian banks?

The United States, Britain and the European Union have imposed a series of sanctions on Moscow after U.S. President Joe Biden set the tone for Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, and targeted several Russian banks to hamper their ability to raise funds in financial markets. Experts believe that bank sanctions, although old-fashioned and common, are the most powerful measure the United States can implement in the short term.

Internationally used sanctions
The Ukrainian crisis is heating up. After Russia announced that it recognized the two separated areas of eastern Ukraine as independent states and signed an agreement to give the Russian army the right to establish military bases, US President Biden has set the tone for Russia to start invading Ukraine and coordinating partners such as the United Kingdom and the European Union. , announced sanctions against Russia. Among them, Washington completely blocked Russia’s state-owned Development Bank (VEB) and the military bank PSB (Promsvyazbank), London locked up five banks including Bank of Russia (Bank Rossiya), and Brussels also offered to restrict Russia’s access to EU capital and financial markets s method.

Indeed, sanctions appear to have become the West’s main weapon in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. According to the legal professional body LexisNexis, since the United Nations Security Council established the first sanctions regime in Southern Rhodesia, today Zimbabwe, global sanctions actions have become increasingly complex. The purpose of sanctions is mainly to prevent the escalation of conflicts, resolve conflicts, curb nuclear proliferation, or combat terrorism and human rights violations.

Killer trump to block dollar transactions
In the face of a pushy Russia, experts believe that restricting the use of the dollar by Russian state-owned banks is the most powerful sanction; that is, bank sanctions are the most influential measure the U.S. can impose in the short term. Brian O’Toole, a former senior adviser to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said such sanctions would prohibit Russian banks from conducting any transactions in U.S. dollars, essentially freezing any dollar-denominated bank transactions at home and abroad. assets or liabilities.

The purpose of the bank sanctions is to block international payments between locked Russian banks and U.S. banks, in order to hit the Russian economy. Kay Georgi, an international trade lawyer, said that since most global trade transactions are conducted through the U.S. dollar, once the currency exchange is cut off, it may make it difficult for the target bank to conduct U.S. dollar transactions, which is an effective sanction.

Risk of financial instability
In fact, part of the purpose of the bank sanctions was to force Russia’s central bank to use its strong currency reserves to get out of trouble. Chris Weafer, head of Macro Advisory, believes that Russia has some defensive weapons against foreign attacks on financial stability in the face of sanctions: strong currency reserves, high oil prices, and 2021 With only 18% of its debt-to-GDP ratio in 2018, Russia is well-positioned to withstand tightening of existing sanctions.

But while Russia has large reserves of a strong currency, currently worth $635 billion, that could help counteract potential shocks, Elina Ribakova, an economist at the Institute of International Finance, said that even if Russia had enough Reserves, sanctions could still lead to a run, which would definitely have a severe impact on the domestic financial system, which would raise the risk of financial instability, including widening spreads and a sell-off in the ruble.

Whether it works or not depends on history
However, Igor Yurgens, vice-president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a powerful lobbying group, said the Russian central bank has been working on a current account program in China through which Converting cash would help mitigate the impact of sanctions, and while the situation is difficult, authorities have conducted technical stress tests and should be able to cope for a while. Sergey Aleksashenko, a former deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank, believes that the threat of Western sanctions is nothing more than an escalating virtual or information war between Russia and the West. In this confrontation, Putin’s weapon is the chariot, and the West is the sanctions.

So can bank sanctions really work? The Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, draws some conclusions from the history of U.S. economic sanctions, which is that sanctions alone are unlikely to have the desired effect if the goals are large or short-lived. Even if sanctions are comprehensive and have almost universal international support, they may not achieve their goals. The Persian Gulf War is an example, until the U.S.-led coalition launched Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Sanctions alone did not bring Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein out of invading Kuwait. .

Satellite imagery captured! Shows military activity at multiple locations along the Ukrainian border

Satellite images captured by the US company Maxar Technologies show military activity in Belarus, Crimea and various locations in western Russia near the Ukrainian border, including at least 50 newly deployed aircraft in northwestern Belarus. Helicopters, and a battle group consisting of combat vehicles, personnel carriers and support equipment is also deployed at Millerover Airport, about 25 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Marsal Technology has been tracking the build-up of Russian troops for many weeks. According to satellite images taken, helicopters, including troop transport helicopters and ground attack helicopters, have recently been deployed near the Ukrainian border, and more countermeasures have been deployed there. Ground attack aircraft, air defense units and UAV equipment.

Reuters could not independently confirm the authenticity of the satellite images, but these satellite images are completely contrary to the official Moscow withdrawal statement. At that time, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued a statement pointing out that after the military exercise, most of the Russian troops will be withdrawn to the base, and even announced that the train will be transported. The picture of the tank is the proof.

U.S. President Biden said today that he is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine and has been spreading fake news to try to create an excuse for a possible military attack in a few days, but Russia says it has no such intentions , and accused Western countries of spreading fear irresponsibly.

The “Russian-Ukraine conflict” may evolve into three directions! Flushing Loomis Cyrus analyzes potential outcomes

Rising tensions between Russia, Ukraine and NATO have rattled the world and worried many investors that a major geopolitical event could shock financial markets, but even seasoned diplomats have difficulty predicting global Every move of a leader. Flushing’s Loomis Cyrus Macro Strategy team outlines three scenarios and how the potential outcomes could affect financial markets.

  1. Stalemate
    Russia, Ukraine and NATO will likely continue to stand still, with neither side taking action that would significantly escalate the situation. The Loomis Cyrus macro strategy team at Flushing believes that this situation will remain the status quo, with no additional impact on financial markets and no change in government or central bank policy.
  2. Local invasion
    If Russia chooses to invade Ukraine locally, it is expected to start occupying its territory, and may also launch a fierce cyber attack on the country or its allies. In this case, the Macro Strategy Team of Flushing Loomis Cyrus believes that the United States may Russia imposes some sanctions, and Europe’s response is less certain, because many European countries see Russia’s economic interests and will want to have a constructive relationship with Russia.

Flushing’s Loomis Cyrus macro strategy team expects a strong risk-off reaction in the market, but once it is determined that a full-scale invasion will not happen, the market will quickly return to normal, and U.S. Treasuries and the dollar are expected to rebound briefly. Risk sentiment may have some impact on the euro, but the fundamentals of the euro are expected to provide long-term support for the euro, energy prices are expected to rebound, and prices will rise even further if sanctions are included, and the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank will maintain Carefully tighten the original financial easing policy.

  1. Full Invasion
    The U.S. and NATO are expected to impose tougher sanctions on Russia if it opts for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Loomis Cyrus macro strategy team at Flushing believes that the U.S. Congress may drop the Build Back Better Act The budget, turned to forging a bipartisan agreement to increase military and security-related spending, and possibly include higher taxes.

The macro strategy team of Loomis Cyrus in Flushing believes that the market will have a strong risk aversion reaction, and funds will turn to safe assets such as US government bonds and the US dollar. Soaring, and if Russia uses aluminum, titanium and uranium as leverage against the West, the prices of those commodities will also suffer.

The Loomis Cyrus macro strategy team at Flushing believes that the Federal Reserve may temporarily postpone the original interest rate hike plan, and the European Central Bank may also increase bond purchases if it sees that credit spreads are affected, but no matter Any move will be the result of market behavior, not fundamental deterioration.

Russia holds a lot of leverage against Western countries
The Russian government has control over VSMPO-AVISMA, a Russian company that produces more than 30 percent of the world’s titanium, such as Airbus about 65 percent, Boeing 35 percent, and Embraer (Embraer) All titanium metal comes from this company.

No matter what the situation, it is important to remember that Russia still holds a lot of leverage against the West, not only in oil and gas, but also in the global supply chain. The Macro Strategy Team of Flushing Loomis Cyrus It is believed that the market may underestimate Russia’s role in the global supply chain, and will continue to pay close attention to regional developments.

Russia says withdrawing troops, White House: No evidence seen

On the 15th, the Russian military said that some troops were withdrawing from the vicinity of Ukraine. European and American stock markets rose across the board, while oil and gold prices fell. But U.S. President Biden said in a statement that the U.S. has not confirmed Russia’s claims, and there is still an obvious possibility of an invasion. Russian President Vladimir Putin also did not commit to a full withdrawal of troops, saying that it depends on the follow-up situation. The outside world believes that the release of the withdrawal license is only for negotiation, and Putin will do everything in his power to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.

On the 15th, the Russian Ministry of Defense released photos of tanks and howitzers driving on the rail platform, as well as tanks driving in the snow, saying that these military deployments are returning to the base, but did not disclose the location and time of the photos, nor the whereabouts of the vehicles. The U.S. is also skeptical of Moscow’s intentions, with Biden saying sanctions against Russia could have a major blow to the U.S. economy, including rising prices and disrupting energy supplies, but stressing that “if we don’t support freedoms at risk today, tomorrow There will definitely be a higher price to pay.”

CNN reported that if the Russian-Ukrainian crisis pushes oil prices to around $110 a barrel, U.S. inflation will exceed 10%. JPMorgan Chase warned that any disruption to the Russian oil trade would see oil prices rise above $120, and that if oil rose to $110, U.S. gross domestic product would lose about 1% next year.

Putin insists that Ukraine cannot join NATO, so the move would pose a major security threat to Russia. When the German Chancellor met Putin on the 15th, he promised that NATO expansion was not on the agenda, but Putin said, “They told us that it will not happen tomorrow. When will it happen? The day after tomorrow? History makes no difference.”

Biden said 150,000 Russian troops were now concentrated near Ukraine and Belarus, up from an earlier U.S. estimate of 130,000. “Russia claims the withdrawal is fine, but we haven’t confirmed that. In fact, our analysts say Ukraine is still in a very dangerous situation,” he said.

Ukraine also expressed skepticism about Russia’s withdrawal statement, saying it had to see it. The NATO secretary general also said that so far he has seen no sign of Russia reducing its military presence on the Ukrainian border, adding that NATO would like to see a large and sustained withdrawal of troops. However, the cyber-attack war has already begun, with a series of cyber-attacks on the Ukrainian military, the Ministry of Defense and major banking websites on the 15th. But the U.S. said it had not yet identified who was behind it.

Russia is a producer of many commodities, ranking first in the production of natural gas, oil, nickel, palladium, copper, coal, potash, wheat, etc. Disruptions to Russian exports, regardless of Putin’s decision or economic sanctions, will push up the cost of goods, exacerbating global inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions.

Russia is the world’s largest supplier of palladium to catalytic converters that clean vehicle exhaust, and an intrusion could disrupt the teetering auto supply chain. In 2018, in order to fight against Russia, the United States launched actions against seven major Russian chaebols and related companies, including Rusal, a Russian aluminum producer. Since Rusal is the world’s third aluminum and alumina producer, it accounts for 6% of global aluminum and alumina production. U.S. sanctions have sent aluminum prices soaring 30 percent.

Nikkei: TSMC’s Arizona plant will be delayed up to 6 months

According to the latest report from the “Japan Asian Review”, sources pointed out that the construction schedule of TSMC’s 5-nanometer fab in Arizona has been delayed, compared with the original plan, which will be delayed by 3 to 6 months. It means that the expansion of the world’s largest wafer foundry overseas will be more difficult than in Taiwan.

The report pointed out that several people familiar with the matter pointed out that TSMC originally planned to enter production facilities in September 2022. However, TSMC has notified suppliers a few days ago that it will delay the time to enter the equipment until February or March 2023. As for the main reason for TSMC’s lagging schedule, in addition to the continuous outbreak of the epidemic in the United States, which has caused a shortage of local labor, related buildings must pass different types of complex regulations. In contrast, in the past, TSMC’s plan to build a new plant in Taiwan usually only takes 15 months to enter production equipment, and sometimes it can even be as early as 12 months.

The report emphasized that the entry of production equipment is regarded as a milestone in the construction schedule of the new fab, and it also represents how long it will take for the new fab to enter mass production. Because usually after the equipment is stationed, the relevant personnel must spend a year to adjust, and finally, after reaching the standard, it finally officially enters the stage of mass production and gradually improves the yield rate. Therefore, in response to the current delay, TSMC is trying to remedy its delay, hoping to enter the stage of production equipment in 2022 according to the original schedule.

However, in response to the delayed entry of equipment at the Arizona plant, people familiar with the matter emphasized that this not only means that TSMC will delay the mass production time of the plant. Because TSMC’s original schedule will have a buffer period of its own, and TSMC has previously stated that the factory expects the official mass production time to be in the first quarter of 2024. For related reports, TSMC responded that the project is currently on schedule, and its production plan has also remained unchanged.

In addition, the report also quoted market sources as saying that due to the epidemic, the supply chain of related factories is facing disruption, and that it usually takes longer to set up factories overseas than domestic factories. Delays at TSMC’s Arizona plant. In addition, TSMC also has to negotiate the details of the subsidy program with government units when setting up a local factory in the United States, learn local regulations, and apply for various licenses abroad. These factors will also make the learning curve longer than building a factory in Taiwan. long.

And, to make matters worse, there’s currently a lot of competition in Arizona for all kinds of tech hires. That includes competition from processor leader Intel, which has forged long-term relationships with state and local governments and communities during its 40-year local presence. Combined with Intel’s plans to spend $20 billion to expand its production line in Chandler, Arizona, which is only 50 kilometers away from TSMC’s soon-to-be-completed fab, Intel has already hired about After 12,000 technical employees, it plans to hire about 3,000 more employees to meet the needs of expansion, which also puts pressure on TSMC to hire technical employees locally.

Conversation between former Chinese and US finance ministers: The biggest challenge in the world is inflation

Former Chinese Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson attended the Global Wealth Management Forum-Shanghai Suhewan Summit in mid-January, and the two participated in a closed-door dialogue event, content on February 11 public.

Lou Jiwei spoke at the meeting on issues such as global inflation, labor shortages, tight supply chains and the energy crisis. He said the woes encountered by the global economy do not fully apply to China. China’s epidemic control measures to prevent imports from abroad and prevent domestic rebounds are relatively effective, and there is no inflation.

He expects that the fiscal and monetary policies of various countries will be adjusted this year, reducing the pressure on price increases, but the biggest uncertainty for the world is still the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) epidemic. If the vaccine can be generally and effectively vaccinated, the flow of people and goods can gradually return to normal, and the global recovery will be relatively strong.

Paulson: Worry about tariffs
Paulson agrees that the biggest problem right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. He is concerned about the lack of coordination among countries and the rise of protectionism in this context. He also cautioned that protectionist acts such as tariffs, as well as more and more technology blockades, are in danger of “going to the extreme”. “We need to withstand the pressure of ‘decoupling’, and the global mechanism will become more and more important in the future,” he said.

Lou Jiwei: Pay attention to Fed policy
Lou Jiwei said that if the timing of the exit of fiscal and monetary policies is inappropriate, it may trigger a financial crisis. When he was asked whether the spillover effect from the shift in monetary policy in major economies, represented by the Federal Reserve, would lead to a new round of financial crisis, he said that what should be paid attention to now is that when the ultra-loose monetary policy is withdrawn, it is very It is easy to trigger those possible risks.

“Especially when asset prices in some countries have reached high levels, if the timing, intensity and pace of fiscal and monetary policy withdrawals are improper, it is likely to trigger a crisis,” he said.

He also mentioned that the 2008 global financial crisis was different from the current situation. At that time, Wall Street institutions held a lot of “toxic assets”. Once the chain bankruptcy would bring about a systemic crisis, the solution was completely different from now. Another difference is that the current global leverage ratio is high, and there are not many tools to stimulate economic growth. In this case, the spillover effect of the Fed’s policy shift is also much larger than last time.

Paulson said that financial crises always happen, and after the hard times in 2008, he learned that global coordination is very useful in times of crisis, so the United States and China have dialogues on macroeconomic policy and financial fields. important.

How can China-US cooperation be?
Paulson recalled at the meeting that in 2008 and 2009 he cooperated sincerely with his Chinese counterparts to avoid the more serious impact of the financial crisis. He has since witnessed China escape its own predicament by implementing economic stimulus measures and avoiding a global recession. “We never know when a crisis will come, but we need to be prepared to act quickly,” Paulson said.

Paulson said that although the political systems, values ​​and economic systems of China and the United States are different, there are also very important common interests, such as the issue of climate change and the stability of the global order. Both sides need to develop a framework to determine where and how to compete and cooperate, and how to deal with differences between the two countries.

“Of course we can and must cooperate,” he said, looking forward to seeing more cooperation between the U.S. and China on trade and working together to advance some institutional changes. But for now, the first thing to focus on is working together to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

Lou Jiwei also agreed that China and the United States have room for cooperation in addressing climate change, public health crises, and security. He also mentioned that some current U.S. practices are not conducive to both China and the U.S., such as imposing additional tariffs on China, which actually increases the burden on U.S. consumers. He said that in this context, the cancellation of tariffs will benefit American consumers and help to suppress the current high inflation in the United States.

U.S. Urges China to Deliver on Purchase Pledge. China: No Winners in Trade War

中美貿易|美國敦促中國兑現採購承諾 中方:貿易戰沒有贏家

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to a call by U.S. officials for China to take concrete action to fulfill its commitments to U.S. purchases under a U.S.-China trade agreement.

U.S. officials on Feb. 7 called on China to take “concrete action” to fulfill its commitments in the first phase of the U.S.-China trade agreement, according to British media reports.

On February 7, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to the call at a regular press conference, saying that for specific questions about the U.S.-China economic and trade relationship, please check with the competent Chinese authorities.

Zhao Lijian stressed that as a matter of principle, the nature of Sino-US economic and trade relations is mutually beneficial and win-win, and there is no winner in a trade war.

He said: “As for some specific issues arising in the economic and trade relations between the two countries, both sides should properly resolve them in the spirit of mutual respect and equal consultation. The U.S. side should work together with the Chinese side to promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations,” he said.

According to the British media, the U.S. official said Washington is losing patience with Beijing, saying that in recent months, Beijing has “shown no real signs” that China will reduce the gap in its two-year procurement commitment to the United States, which expires at the end of 2021.

The official added that Washington is seeking “concrete action” rather than “talk for talk’s sake” and that the U.S. will continue to pressure China to show “serious intent” to honor its procurement commitments.

Sullivan: Russia could invade Ukraine at any time

烏克蘭局勢|沙利文:俄羅斯隨時可能入侵烏克蘭

The U.S. and its allies are prepared for any scenario that develops in Ukraine, including a Russian attack on the Ukrainian capital Kiev, said Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, in an interview with Hossein News.

Russia’s satellite news agency Rosatom quoted Sullivan as saying on Feb. 6 that the U.S. assesses that Russia “could invade Ukraine any day or two weeks from now, or opt for a diplomatic solution. Russia denies that it has plans to invade its neighboring country.

My job is not to predict when that will happen, but to be prepared for any scenario, including a Russian invasion of Ukraine’s capital,” Sullivan said.