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Why the Yuan Won't Be an Issue at the U.S. China Summit

The United States rolled out the big guns for the second Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) with China since the Obama administration took office. The two-day talks began yesterday (Monday) with such luminaries as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke taking part in the Beijing summit.

The last Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the world's largest and third-largest economies was riddled with bickering over currencies and the placing of blame for the global recession. However, officials on both sides of the Pacific this time around have taken a more tempered approach in the hopes that more productive talks will emerge.

U.S. officials will undoubtedly make addressing the value of the yuan a priority, but if the meeting's cordial opening is any indication, they will do so humbly. That tactic would be well advised, considering the issue of currency valuation has been a major point of consternation between East and West.

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China Boosts Treasury Holdings as European Debt Contagion Sparks Investor Shift to U.S. Securities

China increased its purchases of U.S. Treasuries for the first time in six months in March as concerns about European debt contagion sparked an influx of foreign investments into dollar-denominated securities.

China's holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose by 2% to $895.2 billion, the first increase since last September, as the Asian juggernaut cemented its position as the top holder of U.S. government debt, according to the monthly Treasury International Capital report, known as TIC. The boost follows net sales of $11.5 billion in February.

Japan, the second largest holder of Treasuries, also was a net buyer in March, lifting its portfolio holdings to $784.9 billion, from $768.5 billion in February.

China's purchases were reflective of a deluge of foreign investment in U.S. debt securities as concerns about a European debt contagion and a rebounding U.S. economy sparked greater interest in purchasing U.S. corporate debt.

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China Continues Its Run on African Commodities With $23 Billion Nigeria Oil Deal

China signed a $23 billion oil deal with Nigeria Thursday, reducing Nigeria's fuel imports and positioning China within reach of high quality African oil reserves.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC) signed the deal to build three oil refineries with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which said this could be the biggest deal China has ever made with Africa.

Nigeria, Africa's leading oil producer, imports about 85% of its fuel because of the poor condition of its refineries. Shehu Ladan, head of NNPC, said at the signing ceremony that the added refineries would reduce the $10 billion spent annually on imported refined products.

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Can Corn Prices Make a Comeback?

Corn prices have slumped some 24% since January and more than 50% since hitting a record high $7.65 a bushel in June 2008. Now they are being further threatened by potentially the largest corn harvest in history.

Still, there's reason to believe that corn prices will rebound.

The summer season could be particularly harsh following a better-than-average spring, and rumors that China is gearing up to make a huge purchase so far has helped keep corn prices afloat - and could even send them higher. But before that happens there are some substantial headwinds for the crop to overcome.

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The Greek Debt Crisis Will Slow the Yuan's Advance

Poor Tim Geithner.

Pushed by angry U.S. legislators anxious to brand China as a "currency manipulator," the U.S. Treasury secretary tried to strong-arm China into revaluing the yuan - all because of an assumption that the Asian giant wasn't allowing its currency to appreciate.

Unfortunately for Geithner, those efforts were stymied by a flood of data that actually demonstrates that China's currency has significantly appreciated against the already-wheezing greenback.

To find why China should not revalue the yuan, please read on...

High Oil Prices: Four Ways to Profit From the Looming Zoom

Let's face it: Over the long haul, oil prices are headed higher -probably much higher. For U.S. consumers, high oil prices will represent a major challenge. For investors, however, those same high oil prices could stand as the profit opportunity of a lifetime. Read this report from Money Morning Executive Editor William Patalon III, and find out how high oil prices could shoot your portfolio to new highs.

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China-U.S. Trade Relations Plagued by Protectionism

China yesterday (Wednesday) slapped the U.S. chicken industry with the second set of tariffs in less than three months, further escalating tensions with its all-important Western trade partner.

China's commerce ministry said the new tariffs, which will impose charges of as much as 31.4% on imports of U.S. chicken, were a response to what it said were subsidies that created an unfair advantage for U.S. chicken producers.

China in February imposed a 105.4% duty on imports of U.S. poultry after a government investigation found that such products were being sold by the United States at less than the fair value. The new tariffs could altogether close off the market to U.S. poultry producers.

China and the United States have a long history of trade disputes, but these conflicts in recent years have escalated in both frequency and intensity as the two nations vie for global influence.

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The Winners and Losers in the 'Commodities New World Order'

In the "commodities new world order," commodity producers will be king.

Investors who need proof need only consider recent events. Iron ore prices are at record levels, and the annual-price-setting arrangement has broken down. Venezuela President Hugo Chávez has signed "dark side" agreements with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for Russian companies to develop Venezuela's oil-and-mineral resources. China may have invested $1 trillion or so in U.S. Treasuries, but the Asian giant's only truly successful investment so far has been the 17% stake it took in Canadian-resources player Teck Resources Ltd. (NYSE: TCK).

Welcome to the commodities new world order. These events serve notice that - as we put the global financial crisis behind us - the commodity "haves" will set the agenda ... while the commodity "have nots" will fall farther and farther behind.

To discover the identities of the new-world-order winners – and losers – please read on...

India and Brazil Join U.S. in Pressuring China to Let Yuan Appreciate

President Barack Obama's efforts to pressure China to let the yuan appreciate gained momentum Thursday when the central bank presidents of Brazil and India both spoke out against China's exchange rate policy. Speaking ahead of a Group of 20 (G20) meeting scheduled for this weekend in Washington, the Indian and Brazilian central bank heads surprised […]

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World's Factories Manufacturing at Record Rates, Fueling Global Economic Recovery

The world's factories are churning out products at record rates, fueling the global economic recovery at a faster pace than thought possible just a few months ago.

The latest figures show factory output is growing at a record rate from the United States to China to Europe and beyond. And as manufacturing expands, economists expect the world's economies to continue to expand, creating jobs and putting money in consumer pocketbooks.

As long as companies have plenty of cash to finance expansion, output from the world's factories should continue to grow, according to Money Morning Contributing Writer Shah Gilani, who recently launched the Capital Wave Forecast, a new trading service based on capital flows.

Recent surveys show U.S. companies are sitting on almost $1 trillion in cash.

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How to Profit From China's Economic Role Model: Singapore

China's economic model has been extremely successful. But, they didn't pull it out of thin air. In fact, they had a very important role model - Singapore - that might just show investors hotter returns than the overheated Chinese stock market. Read this report to find out how to make extreme gains from Singapore.

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Three Ways to Profit From the World's Luckiest Country – Australia.

When the late Donald Horne called Australia the " Lucky Country" in 1964, the professor and well-known social critic meant it as an insult: He believed that while other countries were getting rich by developing special skills and embracing new technology, Australia prospered just because it happened to sit on a pile of valuable natural resources.

Well, in the global world of 2010, skill and technology are " two-a-penny" ubiquitous in an emerging-markets world in which billions of industrious people are competing against one another. In this new reality in today's world, natural resources are the key to global wealth.

And Australia is a prime beneficiary of that new reality.

For three ways to profit from this "new reality," please read on...

Despite Talk of a Bubble, Indonesia Is Still a Profit Haven for Investors

Several readers who know of my affinity for Indonesian stocks have sent me articles reporting that one of the country's bank officials had expressed discomfort over the Jakarta's rising stock market and raised the specter of new capital controls.

I have been investing in emerging markets for a long time, and have found that the news services often pick up these kinds of comments from random officials that are then contradicted a day later by some other random official.

And that was the case this time, too.

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China Deepens Ties with Iran and Venezuela In Spite of U.S. Consternation

Just as the United States makes an impassioned push for tougher economic sanctions on Iran, China is reportedly increasing its gas exports to the volatile Middle East nation.

Chinaoil- the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp's (CNPC) trading unit- shipped two cargoes totaling 600,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran in exchange for $55 million, according to Reuters. The cargoes were Chinaoil's first direct sales to Iran since at least January 2009, according to Reuters data.

Additionally, Unipec- the trading arm of the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) (NYSE ADR: SNP)- agreed to sell 250,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran.

The sales couldn't come at a worse time for the United States. Washington has spent months lobbying the international community to tighten sanctions on Iran, which is openly expanding its uranium enrichment capacity.

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Buy, Sell or Hold: Is Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) the Right Prescription for Your Portfolio?

In 2008, the journal Health Affairs reported that 25% of China's adult population  - about 375 million people - was "overweight" or "obese."

That number is expected to double by 2028, and obesity is just one health issue in a densely polluted nation that finds itself battling a growing list of ailments.

So it's no surprise that China's pharmaceutical market has been surging at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 16% -- the fastest pace in the world, according to research by market-intelligence leader IMS Health Inc. (NYSE: RX). IMS Health estimates that by 2020 the Chinese market for pharmaceuticals will be $110 billion, second only to the United States.

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