Posted inBeijing, China, Hong Kong, Northeast Asia, South Korea

The Daily Brief for Thursday, 12 January 2017

Hong Kong’s number two official Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor confirms in a press conference on Thursday afternoon that she will run in the chief executive election if her resignation is approved by Beijing, writes Benny Kung. The 59-year-old, who has been chief secretary since 2012, also confirmed that she handed in her resignation earlier in the morning. What everyone is wondering though is who will Beijing support? Lam or Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who resigned exactly a month ago on December 12.

China economists have been nodding off at the wheel on inflation figure predictions, underestimating how quickly prices are rising across factory gates and potentially overlooking the trickle down effect on consumers. Following the unexpectedly large acceleration of the Producer Price Index to 5.5% in the final month of 2016, Steve Wang writes that acceleration of supply side reforms may push up consumer prices faster than expected, especially with medical inflation already at its highest since 1997.

A Nanjing high school in the Yangtze River Delta has come up with a unique way of helping its students to pass their examinations, Lin Wanxia reports. The school has set up a so-called “score bank,” allowing failing students to borrow marks to help them pass exams and operates similar to applying for a bank loan.

It looks like the long arm of the law has reached Samsung, with the conglomerate’s heir Lee Jae-yong being grilled by South Korean prosecutors after becoming a criminal suspect in the corruption scandal engulfing impeached President Park Geun-hye, AFP reports. Lee, chairman of Samsung Electronics and the son of the Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee, was to be questioned in connection to allegations of bribery, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Posted inBeijing, China, Shanghai

China Digest for Thursday, 12 January 2017

PBOC starts investigation of Bitcoin trading platforms

The People’s Bank of China is investigating three major Bitcoin trading platforms — Huobi, OKCoin, BTCChina — for evidence of illegal financing and currency exchange through the cryptocurrency, Caixin reported. It looks serious as Beijing’s and Shanghai’s Financial Bureau, the Industrial and Commerce Administration, and the Public Security Bureau will join the probe.

NDRC says it didn’t issue order to halt debt-to-equity swaps

, according to a statement on its website, reported by Sina Finance. The statement said banks and others should follow guidelines issued by the State Council for such swaps.

VAT on asset management products to start on July 1

The Finance Ministry will impose a value-added tax (VAT) on asset management products from July 1, the Shanghai Securities Journal reported.

China to develop regional equity markets to aid smaller businesses

China will promote regional equity markets to ensure multiple financing channels for smaller businesses, Yicai reported citing Premier Li Keqiang.

China plans crackdown on illegal commodity trading sites

China will aim to shut down illegal trading venues in precious metals, crude oil and other products within six months, the Securities Daily reported, citing a decision at the State Council’s inter-ministerial joint meeting on Monday.