Morning Reading – January 11, 2011

Web Urbanist: The Empty City of Ordos, China: A Modern Ghost Town

It’s been called the Dubai of northern China, showered with wealth, packed with public infrastructure and located near to precious natural resources in a region plagued by water-supply troubles. But the urban center of Ordos City, known as ‘Kangbashi New Area’, has been mostly deserted for five years. Kangbashi isn’t a ghost town due to economic issues, contamination or any other common cause of such abandonment – the government simply can’t convince people to move there.

FT BeyondBRICs: Bangladesh stocks: a rollercoaster ride

Whoever said emerging markets were no longer volatile? Shares in Bangladesh bounced back a dizzying 15 per cent on Tuesday after two days of losses so dramatic that the exchange temporarily shut itself down and protesting investors took to the streets.

FT BeyondBRICs: China bears should look to the skies

What do the Petronas Towers, the Burj Khalifa and the Empire State Building have in common? Well, aside from each of them at one point being the world’s tallest skyscraper, they were also all built just before the onset of economic disaster.

FT BeyondBRICs: Chart: the Chinese renminbi’s hidden descent

But if American policymakers feel aggrieved at Beijing’s lack of movement on the currency front, they should spare a thought for China’s other major trading partners. It is a little noted fact that since being de-pegged from the dollar in June 2010, the renminbi has actually fallen on a trade weighted basis (see chart after the break). Sharp declines against the euro and the yen have more than offset the currency’s small gains against the dollar.

FT Alphaville: The illustrated, erstwhile, safety of senior bank debt

Via Old Mutual Dynamic Bond Fund — a glance at how much the world of bank debt has really changed after moves towards burden-sharing for senior debt investors.

FT Alphaville: P-p-p-ick up a Portuguese private placement

Spot the odd one out, Portuguese government medium-term note sales edition — click chart to enlarge:


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