China is now the world's great locust... hopping from land to land in hopes of ever more commodity resources to placate its massive demands for growth [May 13, 2009: Commodities - It's China's World: We Just Live in It] Australia, Brazil, Canada, Africa, Southeast Asia, and now even its neighbor Russia with whom it's had an icy relationship.
- The Kimkan open pit mine in Siberia is a muddy square mile surrounded by birch and cedar forests so vast they seem to stretch to the ends of the earth. As with many places in Siberia, it is nearly impossible to drive here. Yet just under the surface, Russian geologists say, lies enough iron ore to build hundreds of millions of cars. That is why Chinese government officials and business executives are interested, despite a decades-old legacy of bilateral distrust along this stretch of Russia-China borderland.
- The encounter was emblematic of a business frenzy in this foreboding region, as Russian companies clamor to sign deals over Siberian resources — including iron, coal and timber — to sell into the insatiable Chinese market. Russian oil, too, is an increasingly sought-after commodity passing through Siberia to China.
- For resource-starved China, overland supply of Russian metals and oil is an important diversification away from seaborne shipments. The transborder commerce in this region helped China surpass Germany to become Russia’s largest trading partner early last year, with $39.5 billion in goods and services passing between the two countries in 2009. Last year the Russian Far East was the only region in Russia for which investment grew, rather than contracting.
- “Russia and China make a perfect couple,” Kingsmill Bond, the chief strategist at the Moscow investment bank Troika Dialog, wrote in a research report. “Russia has resources that China needs, while Russia needs capital and China has excess savings.”