Oil Prices Slide as Investors Worry Energy Demand Is Slowing

oil prices slide as investors worry energy demand is slowing

HOUSTON — Saudi Arabia is slashing oil exports. U.S. crude oil in storage is dropping. Members of the European Union will soon sharply reduce how much fuel they buy from Russia. Those developments would normally send oil prices sharply higher. Yet oil prices have been sliding. The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, fell to about $80 a barrel on Friday from more than $90 at the start of the month. The global supply of oil appears to be falling, but many oil traders think that demand is heading down even…

Your Tuesday Briefing: Biden and Xi Discuss Taiwan

your tuesday briefing biden and xi discuss taiwan

Biden and Xi discuss Taiwan President Biden and Xi Jinping, China’s leader, met for nearly three hours yesterday. In their first face-to-face conversation as top leaders, the two men made a cautious pledge to improve the relationship between the U.S. and China, which is at its most rancorous point in decades. Taiwan was at the top of the agenda, and both leaders urged “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait in their summaries after the meetings. The summary from the U.S. said that Biden warned Xi that China’s aggressive stance…

Xi Jinping Now Holds Near-Absolute Power in China, Creating Risks

xi jinping now holds near absolute power in china creating risks

When China’s leader, Xi Jinping, led six dark-suited men onto a bright red stage on Sunday, the scale of his victory became clear as one by one he introduced the country’s new ruling inner circle. Each was an acolyte of Mr. Xi, making his grip over China’s future tighter than ever. Mr. Xi’s groundbreaking third term as leader, following a weeklong Communist Party congress, was entirely expected. But even seasoned observers who thought that they had taken the full measure of Mr. Xi have been astonished by how thoroughly he…

Biden Just Clobbered China’s Chip Industry

biden just clobbered chinas chip industry

Semiconductors are among the most intricate tools that human beings have ever invented. They are also among the most expensive to make. The latest chips — the sort that power supercomputers and high-end smartphones — are densely packed with transistors so small they’re measured in nanometers. Perhaps the only things more ingenious than the chips themselves are the machines that are used to build them. These devices are capable of working on almost unimaginably tiny scales, a fraction of the size of most viruses. Some of the chip-building machines take…

China’s Leader Xi Hails His Rule as He Prepares to Expand Power

chinas leader xi hails his rule as he prepares to expand power

Xi Jinping defended his hard-line reign on Sunday, presenting himself to a congress of China’s ruling elite as the leader whose tough policies had saved the nation from the ravages of the pandemic and was now focused on securing China’s rise amid multiplying global threats. Mr. Xi, who is poised to claim a groundbreaking third term as leader at the end of the weeklong Communist Party congress, used his opening report to argue that his decade in power had brought historic gains. He pointed to the party’s campaign against corrupt…

Book Review: ‘Chip War’ by Chris Miller

book review chip war by chris miller

Europe’s failure to grasp the importance of transistors comes through in a great story about the French president Charles de Gaulle sniffing at a transistor radio — a gift from Hayato Ikeda, the prime minister of Japan, in 1962. De Gaulle apparently found the radio distasteful, a tacky gizmo for the petite bourgeoisie. Only much later, in the Netherlands, did Europe make its own breakthrough in chip engineering, with the invention of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, a heart-stoppingly precise technology that continued to shrink transistors when the progress of miniaturization…

Biden Administration Clamps Down on China’s Access to Chip Technology

biden administration clamps down on chinas access to chip technology

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday announced sweeping new limits on the sale of semiconductor technology to China, a step aimed at crippling Beijing’s ability to access critical technologies that are needed for everything from supercomputing to guiding weapons. The moves are the clearest sign yet that a dangerous standoff between the world’s two major superpowers is increasingly playing out in the technological sphere, with the U.S. trying to establish a stranglehold on advanced computing and semiconductor technology that are essential to China’s military and economic ambitions. The package…

Businesses Brace for Currency Chaos in Asia

businesses brace for currency chaos in asia

Tigun Wibisana and Sandra Kok, who own the SiTigun cafe on Penang Island in Malaysia, are facing an excruciating decision that could make or break their business of 14 years: Can they increase prices to cover rising expenses without driving customers into the arms of their bigger rivals? The cost of the coffee beans that the couple, who are married, buy is spiraling because they are traded globally in U.S. dollars, and the Malaysian ringgit has fallen to a 24-year low. Compound that with an inflationary spike in prices for…

U.S. Said to Plan New Limits on China’s A.I. and Supercomputing Firms

u s said to plan new limits on chinas a i and supercomputing firms

The Biden administration has faced some criticism that it has moved slowly to curb China’s access to cutting-edge U.S. technology. For many administration officials, China’s recent progress in clearing a key technological hurdle in semiconductor manufacturing underscored the urgent need for more expansive regulation in the industry, people familiar with the discussions said. The export controls are part of a bigger strategy from the Biden administration to starve China of key technologies while pumping money into U.S. chip-making factories. The measures come as Beijing ramps up its aggression toward Taiwan,…

A U.S. ‘Ships Act’ Would Break China’s Control of the Seas

a u s ships act would break chinas control of the seas

Soon after President Xi Jinping of China took power, he instructed top Communist Party leaders in a 2013 speech to turn the country into a “maritime superpower.” China already has the world’s largest navy, though its ability to contend with U.S. naval forces remains in doubt. But leaders in Beijing have realized that maritime strength is not measured solely in firepower. Success in commercial shipping would have “great and far-reaching significance” for Chinese national strength and security, Mr. Xi told the Politburo then, reminding the party that throughout history the…