Posted inAT FinanceChinaIndonesiaIraqJapanMiddle EastNortheast AsiaSyriaWorld

The Daily Brief for Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Economic globalization has become a Pandora’s box for many, but global problems are not caused by it, said President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, who became the first Chinese leader in two decades to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. Xi also warned countries against returning to protectionist trade policies, saying “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.”

On Friday, the United States will inaugurate its 45th president and shortly after there will be a new ambassador to Japan. Grant Newsham writes that there is more to the relationship than the military angle and there are other matters that must be considered such as bolstering Japan’s Self-Defence Force to reduce the reliance, and relieving the burden, on America.

An estimated 500 Indonesian nationals are believed to be in Iraq and Syria, consisting of about 200 fighters and 300 dependents, John McBeth writes for Asia Times. Terrorism specialists are changing their tune over predictions that these battle-hardened Indonesian jihadists will return from Syria and Iraq to sow violence at home. As of October, more than 100 Indonesians had died fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but that number must be on the rise with recent intense fighting.

China’s central province of Hubei plans to shut all of its coal mines within two years while boosting the use of cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable energy, state news agency Xinhua reported. The province shut down surplus coal mining capacity of 10.11 million tonnes in 2016, Xinhua cited the province’s planning agency as saying. Last year the province also cut 3.38 million tonnes of steel production capacity, in addition to removing 4.16 million tonnes of obsolete steel-making capacity.

From the Kyrgyz people’s perspective, the developing ties with China can be best described as a difficult yet necessary relationship that cannot be avoided, writes Gabriele Battaglia. This is particularly so as Kyrgyzstan is the gateway to Central Asia and the first step on China’s “new Silk Road,” launched by President Xi Jinping as part of his One Belt One Road project.

Posted inBeijingChinaShanghai

China Digest for Tuesday, 17 January 2017

China might put brakes on overseas direct investment

A Chinese Academy of Social Sciences report says China might slow down overseas direct investment (ODI) in 2017 possibly due to the Donald Trump administration, Caixin reported on Monday evening. Trump is to be inaugurated as the 45th US president on January 20. With the US as a main target of China’s ODI, the report said a Trump presidency might increase the chance of a trade war between them, which will raise risks on assets and deter investment. China’s ODI has increased an average of 40% year on year for the past 13 years, but growth slowed in the latter half of 2016, the report said.

Financial services miniapps banned over lax security

China’s Securities and Futures Commission told investment funds to stop all trading services on miniapps on January 15, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Monday. Miniapps is a new tool Tencent’s WeChat launched on January 9, creating an alternative to the mobile app distribution platform. Four of the seven funds that launched miniapps have taken them offline for security reasons.

State Council confirms major tasks for Go West policy

The State Council has announced 10 major tasks for the Go West policy under the 13th Five Year Plan, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on its website on Monday. The tasks include increasing public services, infrastructure improvement and poverty alleviation.

Power use increases 5% in 2016

China saw a 5% increase in the overall average of electricity use in 2016 compared to a year earlier, the National Energy Administration said in a Caixin report on Monday evening. Significant year-on-year increases in electricity use were found, with a jump of 11.2% in the services industry, 4.4% in light industry and 2.6% in the heavy industries. The rise is because of a change in macroeconomic conditions and lower electricity usage in 2015, analysts said in the Caixin report.

Decline expected in property prices in 2017

Gross floor area sold in major cities in the first week of January has dropped by 22% compared to the same period last month, and by 5% compared to the same period last year, Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday, citing data from Wind, a data financial provider. Prices and the number of transactions will both drop as property curbs may affect second- or third-tier cities, the report said, citing analyst Le Jiadong at GF Securities.