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With China dominating financial headlines and world commodity markets, economist Dambisa Moyo takes a timely look at its strategy of stockpiling natural resources and financial assets. To tally the hundreds of billions of dollars China has invested, Moyo tours the world from Russia to Africa to South America. China is mostly playing nice, she concludes, although the leaders of the world’s second-largest economy are willing to use cutthroat tactics. She offers a balanced account of China’s prominent role, eschewing breathless fearmongering but also refusing to let China off the hook for questionable practices. This artful study examines the big picture beyond China’s buying spree, delving into its political pressures at home and cataloging resource scarcities abroad. While not an investment guide, this analysis provides valuable insight into the forces driving commodity markets. getAbstract recommends Moyo’s reporting to readers seeking an enlightening financial and political perspective on global markets and, notably, on China.


A Worldwide Shopping Spree

China’s rapid growth and aggressive acquisitiveness present the world with a new type of superpower, one that’s investing heavily in natural resources to support its large population in the future. From oil fields in Venezuela to copper mines in Chile, from ports in Greece to computer manufacturers in the United States, China’s government and companies have searched far and wide to increase their reach in the world economy.

China possesses financial and physical assets. As of 2011, China held 8% of all US public debt, but its seemingly insatiable appetite for oil, coal, food and water is even more striking than its financial positions.

With more than $3 trillion in foreign currency reserves as of 2012, China has plenty of cash, and it’s spending tens of billions of dollars every year. The breathtaking shopping list of Chinese investments, including outright purchases, loans and swaps, includes:

  • $1.25 billion for the personal computer division of IBM.
  • $1.8 billion for Swedish brand Volvo.
  • $3 billion for Mount Toromocho, a copper-rich mountain in Peru.
  • $5.6 billion to operate two piers and container ...

About the Author

International economist Dambisa Moyo is the author of Dead Aid and How the West Was Lost. Time magazine named her one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2009.

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