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The Daily Brief for Tuesday, 14 February 2017

North Korean leader’s half brother has been murdered in Malaysia
after two female agents injected him with poison, government sources say. Reuters are quoting South Korea’s TV Chosun, a cable television network, saying that Kim was poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport by two women believed to be North Korean operatives, who were at large, citing multiple South Korean government sources.

This Valentine’s Day, a Singaporean company is offering broken heart insurance as a one-off 24-hour promotional campaign. Poo Yee Kai writes that the free insurance hopes to bring holders “a little smile” to ease their despair and includes an offer of movie tickets to anyone exhibiting one of seven lovesick symptoms, including “feelings of anger, unstoppable crying and a desire to drink, as long as you are residing in Singapore.”

China’s inflation continues to rise beyond expectations and investors are left wondering just how the central bank will keep growth on track but avoid another ramp-up in real estate prices. Steve Wang reports that the latest price report came just days after Beijing said its foreign trade surged in January, with imports notably climbing 16.7% versus a year ago, led by substantially higher unit cost paid for incoming shipments of iron ore, coal and crude petroleum.

An Asia forex reserve story by Bloomberg could play into fears that China and Japan’s massive Treasury holdings could be used to politically blackmail the US government. Uwe Parpart explains how there is no detectable relationship between the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities for foreign central banks and US yields.

Posted inChina

China Digest for Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Banks capital should not go idle, People’s Daily says

The chain of capital is getting longer as money is not reaching the real economy, with higher financial costs and hidden risks, People’s Daily said in a commentary on Monday. A solution would be for banks to look for the right industry and company to invest in, and financial innovation should also serve the real economy, the report added.

16 cities prevent asset management programs investing in housing

Local governments in 16 hot spot cities will not accept property investment filings from private asset management programs, including entrusted loans and investment trust plans, Caixin said on Monday night, citing a document released by the Asset Management Association of China.

Work starts on 35 new railroad projects this year

Investment in the rail industry in 2017 is expected to exceed last year’s with work starting on 35 new railroad construction projects this year, an Economic Information Daily report said on Tuesday. In 2016, the total fixed asset investment in the railway industry stood at 801.5 billion yuan (US$116.53 billion).

2016 investment in partnerships hit 2.2 trillion yuan

Total investment in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects reached 2.2 trillion yuan in 2016, Caixin reported on Monday night. The PPP Centre of the Finance Ministry said out of 11,260 proposals filed, the number of PPP projects signed and where construction had begun stood at 1,351.

Ticket prices on high-speed rail in southeast to rise by up to 70%

Trains with speeds of between 200km/h and 250km/h would see a 25% to 30% rise in ticket price for second-class, or coach, seats and around 65% to 70% for the first-class, Caixin reported on Monday. This is the first time the China Railway Corporation raised prices after receiving in 2015 the right to set its own price for high-speed rail services.