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The Daily Brief for Thursday, 9 February 2017

China is both stronger and weaker than it was a decade ago and these weaknesses could make the difference in any China-America confrontation, says Francesco Sisci. China’s GDP is about eight times that of 2001 but it also has a much larger middle class that is becoming disenfranchised from politics and is not necessarily committed to the present government or its structure. These weaknesses could heavily condition any confrontations with the US in the following months.

America’s archaic railway system presents the biggest challenge to President Donald Trump and his plan to renovate and modernise the country’s infrastructure, writes Doug Tsurouka. US railroad infrastructure went into a long decay after World War II as highways overtook trains as the most convenient and cost-effective mode of public and commercial transport and drones and self-driving cars that use US technology and companies maybe the answer.

Posted inChina

China Digest for Thursday, 9 February 2017

5% growth target set for 2017 fiscal revenue

National revenue projections and expenditure for 2017 were released early, Caixin reported Wednesday evening, citing figures found in Hunan province’s budget. Revenue in the central government’s general public budget is projected to grow 5% this year, up 0.5% from the actual figure of 2016. The number will be finalized in March after National People’s Congress approval.

Current account surplus stood at US$202.7 billion in 2016

Sina Finance reported that the current account surplus reached 1.395 trillion yuan (US$202.7 billion) in 2016, while reserve assets of non-reserve financial accounts decreased 1.023 trillion yuan. The report cited State Administration of Foreign Exchange data.

Average daily production of crude steel dropped 2.51% from December

As of mid-January, average daily production volume of crude steel at China’s main producer reached 1.6 million tons, a 2.51% month-on-month decrease compared to December last year, Sina Finance reported on Wednesday afternoon, citing information from the China Steel Association.

Regulator to tighten scrutiny on M&A approvals

The Securities Regulatory Commission will tighten its grip when approving merger & acquisition request, state Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday. The watchdog pointed out that listed companies have been acquiring assets owned by their major shareholders or owners, causing a rise in goodwill assessments of a firm’s worth, and hoped that a more rigorous mechanism can result in more accurate valuations.

LED advertising monopoly set to end on rail network

A media unit of Broad Union is likely to lose its LED advertising monopoly it held for to decades on the national rail network, Caixin reported Wednesday night, citing people familiar with the matter. China Railway has filed lawsuit against the unit called High-speed Rail Media Company, accusing it of securing the advertising contract by using the close connection between owner Ding Shumiao and Liu Zhijun, the ex-railway minister sacked in an anti-graft campaign who is now in jail. The contract over 20 years, for example, in Taiyuan Station saw the media unit pocket 80% of the profits and the rest went to China Railway.