South Korea has said that it would reduce its dependence on China for rare earth minerals.The Country has reduced imports of Rare Earth Minerals from 7398 tons in 2005 to 2655 tons in 2009.Note most of the reduction came after South Korean Chaebols Samsung and LG shifted their production from CRTs to LCD and Plasma Display Panels.The country now imports 65% of its REE requirements from China and most of the rest from Japan.The country plans to increase cooperation with traditional ally USA and Japan to meet future demand for these commodities.However I have my doubt whether South Korea can reduce its dependence.South Korea has embarked on a major Green Stimulus which is the biggest as a percentage amongst Developed Countries.This is going to mean increased demand for rare earth minerals which are essential for Magnets in Wind Turbines and Batteries and Catalytic Converters for Electric Vehicles.Japan is already planning huge investments into developing alternate supply sources,perhaps South Korea needs to show that urgency as well

Saint Gobain like Semiconductor Giant TSMC is betting on Copper Indium Gallium Selenium (CIGs) Technology rather than the mainstream crystalline silicon technology.CIGs is getting the most significant investments these days compared to other thin film technology.Yesterday Ascent Solar (ASTI) got an IEC certification for its flexible modules which would enable it to target the mainstream rooftop market from niche applications earlier.Miasole has improved the efficiency and costs of it CIGs greatly while Nanosolar can’t be counted out because of its strong backers.Solyndra however remains mostly in the shadows despite around $1 billion in private investment.Stion is another strong contender partnering with TSMC and also thinking of opening a plant in Taiwan on its own as well.Saint Gobain is already a big player in the solar market as it suppliers glass to a lot of solar companies for their modules.Getting into panel manufacturing will further allow it to get a foothold of this new potentially giant industry.Du Pont,Dow Chemicals,Corning all have considerable presence in the solar equipment market as well.

Brazil,Peru,Colombia and now South Korea have all joined the “Buy Dollar and Sell Local Currency” Club.The Brazilian Real has appreciated by 34% in the last 2 years while similar stories lie behind Peru and Colombian interventions as well.With yields at near zero,Developed World Investors are pouring money into debt,equity and commodities fueling some of the Emerging Markets to all time highs.Some of the valuations like the Indian market are already stretched with local investors shunning the bubble markets.Countries with large Export Sectors like South Korea are particularly sensitive to currency appreciation and are joining in the chaos that the currency markets have become.The $4 Trillion Currency Markets are too big for a single country to take on as the Swiss found out losing Billions of Dollars in the process.The Currency Chaos is set to persist as the Financial System has become Unstable with Huge Debts,Moral Hazard and Central Bank Meddling.Gold has touched an all time high of $1300 with Silver following closely.With such volatility in Currencies,Business has become quite difficult with faith in currencies eroding at a fast pace.

Global Imbalances back to pre-Lehman Days Global Imbalances are growing deeper by¬† the day as the world returns to its unsustainable pre-Lehman days of Unbalanced Trade.Trade Surplus countries like Germany,Japan and China are again Exporting much more than they are Importing.The US has again become the world’s punching boy in terms of Trade Deficits running […]

While Japan is a big player in the Solar Energy Manufacturing Market,there are other significant players like USA,China,Germany which have not protested against this discrimination.So why is Japan so miffed as to approach the WTO over this issue.One reason that i can readily think of is the Huge Contract given to Samsung by the Ontario government.The agreement with Samsung gives it the subsidies to set up a huge solar and wind energy capacity in the province.The government will support the company through preferential grid access,subsidies and land.This has given a huge boost to the Green Ambitions of Samsung which wants to become a big player in the Renewable Energy Area.

The South Korean Government has been one of the most proactive ones in promoting Green Industry.During the Global Financial Crisis,the Stimulus Program of South Korea had the highest percentage devoted to Clean Technology Initiatives.Driven by the Government,South Korean Conglomerates have been investing into Green Sectors.Samsung the biggest South Korean has already committed huge investments into CleanTech Sectors like Solar,Wind,LEDs.Korean Shipbuilders like Hyundai,Daewoo and Samsung are getting into manufacturing of Wind Turbines while Chemicals Giant Hanwha