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The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Rural poverty and a weak education system are driving children to look for work in Myanmar’s big cities. It’s a form of migration that has almost become a new norm, Matthieu Baudey and Carole Oudot report for Asia Times. Every night, after office hours, Yangon becomes paralyzed with traffic for at least two hours. Barefoot, breathing in the fumes, Ko Myint, 7, strolls between the lines of stuck cars, used to it all. The tiny boy sells flowers, finding few customers among the wary drivers and passengers. Other children sell cold drinks, cigarettes, newspapers and betel nuts, which many taxi drivers chew to fight exhaustion.

In the final of a two part series, Asia Times Editor-at-Large Doug Tsuruoka looks at the global implications of China’s interests in the Northwest Passage and other northern routes. The Chinese may see the need to protect their shipping militarily as well as diplomatically. The issue has been given some credence when five Chinese Navy ships raised eyebrows in September 2015 by entering US territorial waters off Alaska in an unprecedented patrol. The move was allowed under the maritime rule of “innocent passage.” But the US media touted it as a sign of China’s growing naval capability and its interest in Arctic resources.

Japan came into the frame in film industry news at Asia Times. Russell Edwards reports in his box office roundup that gender-bending anima drama Your Name hit three out of three, topping the charts in South Korea. Your Name has so far earned US$10 million since its release. While producer and director Kazuyoshi Okuyama chats to Suvendri Kakuchi in Tokyo on where Japan’s film industry is heading.

China’s forex regulator is telling banks to keep its instructions about curbing capital outflows secret and to ensure that research analysts keep any negative views about the yuan’s prospects to themselves, several bankers said in a Reuters report. Both demands are seen as an attempt by the authorities to prevent alarm that could trigger further declines in the yuan, the bankers from local and foreign banks said.

Even though China may be the world’s largest maker of ballpoint pens, it has not mastered the craft of making one component – the tiny ball-holding sockets — at least until now, Caixin Global reports. After a five-year effort northern Chinese steelmaker Taiyuan Iron & Steel in Shanxi province has finally cracked it.

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Posted inChinaShanghai

China Digest for Wednesday, 11 January 2017

China to expand capacity cuts to four more industries in 2017

China’s plan to expand coal and steel capacity reductions to the cement, glass, aluminum and shipping industries in 2017 will influence commodity prices, Securities Daily reported quoting an analyst from Huangchuang Securities. The National Development and Reform Commission yesterday said those industries will face capacity cuts to reduce pollution, reported China Economic Net.

Government predicts tame inflation in 2017

Prices will remain steady in 2017 and inflation pressure won’t be a main concern for the government, Xinhua reported on Tuesday evening, quoting Mao Shengyong, spokesperson at the National Bureau of Statistics.

China to reduce taxes on businesses, says NDRC

China reduced business taxes by as much as 550 billion yuan (US$79.5 billion) last year and this policy will continue in 2017 to attract foreign and other investment, Sina Finance reported, quoting Xu Shaoshi, Director of China’s National Development and Reform Commission in a press conference.

China’s R&D spending reached 1.54 trillion yuan last year

Total spending in China on research and development in 2016 is estimated to have reached 1.54 trillion yuan (US$216.64 billion), accounting for 2.1% of GDP, according to a working conference of the Technology Ministry on Tuesday, reported by Economic Information Daily. Private enterprises accounted for 78% of the spending. The report didn’t say if the R&D investment had risen or fallen from the previous year.

China starts six-month campaign to improve steel quality

China’s National Development and Reform Commission has started a six-month campaign to improve the quality of steel produced throughout the country, Caixin reported citing NDRC Deputy Director Lin Nianxiu. The commission will target steel mills that lack proper refining equipment.

PPP projects start securitization of infrastructure contracts

Public-private partnerships in infrastructure will start securitizing the projects and packaging them for sale to investors, Shanghai Securities Journal reported citing the website of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Expect tighter regulations in financial industry this year

Financial industry regulations will be tight end this year to target illegal fundraising, reduce bad loans and liquidity risk, as well as monitor local governments’ financing platforms and internet financing, said Shang Fulin, the director of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, reported Caixin.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.