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The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Indonesian mining dispute: American mining giant Freeport McMoRan’s US$17.2 billion project to convert the high-altitude Grasberg open pit into the world’s biggest underground mine will be in jeopardy if a solution isn’t found to the current stand-off with the Indonesian government. John McBeth reports that Freeport McMoRan has shut production, fired workers and threatened international arbitration in a high stakes spat with the government that could cost US$15 million a day in lost revenues.

China manufacturing rise: Factory output in the PRC has surged after January’s Lunar New Year holiday writes Steve Wang . The February Purchasing Managers’ Index report, released today by the National Bureau of Statistics, shows close to a 30-month high. The rise has been propelled by infrastructure investments with large, probably state-owned, industrial producers seeing the biggest gains.

Iran’s Palestine conference: The Iranian Parliament just hosted its annual conference on Palestine and, among the dignitaries and the 700 foreign guests from more than 50 countries, was Asia Times columnist Pepe Escobar. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei also attended, saying the conference could become “a model for all Muslims and regional nations to gradually harness their differences by relying on their common points”.

Tata and Docomo: The long running dispute over Japan’s NTT Docomo efforts to leave a teleservices joint venture with India’s largest conglomerate have moved closer to resolution, writes the Asia Times. Both companies have agreed to follow a verdict delviered by the London Court of International Arbitration in June 2016 although Reserve Bank of India rules need to be negotiated first.

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Posted inBeijingChina

China Digest for Wednesday, 1 March 2017

National coal production dropped three years in a row

The country produced 3.41 billion tons of coal in 2016, a 9% drop compared to 2015, Sina Finance reported on Tuesday afternoon, citing information from the National Bureau of Statistics website. Total annual output has dropped three years in a row since the 3.97 billion tons in 2013, it added.

Ministry to increase land supply and housing in key cities

Increasing land supply and housing in cities with huge demand will be a priority, said Land and Resources Minster Jiang Daming, Xinhua reported on Tuesday. Jiang said at a closed-door ministry work conference in January that the ministry will increase the housing to land ratio in those cities. Third- or fourth-tier cities facing difficulties in clearing inventory, however, will see a decrease or supply halt, the report said.

CIRC to probe Foresea Life Insurance ‘breach’ in Shandong

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) has sent a team to Shandong to investigate an alleged breach from Foresea Life Insurance for setting up two branches, Caixin reported on Tuesday evening. The move came after an earlier Caixin report on Tuesday stating that the Shandong branch of the watchdog had approved the two new Foresea branches on January 5 despite it falling foul of new rules in December last year, it said. Under the rules, insurance companies cannot set up new branches if the total sum of original premiums collected in a quarter falls below 30% of its total revenue in that period, the report said.

JD.com eyes 10,000 electrical appliance stores in 2017

JD.com, the country’s second-largest e-commerce company, is aiming to open more than 10,000 electrical appliance stores across the nation this year, Caixin said. It aims to open one to two shops at county level and five shops at city level, aiming to cover 90% of rural areas, the report said. The move came after JD.com said it had a 62% market share of online household appliance sales, the report said.

Committee launches 2022 Winter Games sponsor search

The 2022 Beijing Winter and Paralympic Olympics have officially launched their marketing programs, Xinhua reported. Guo Jinlong, president of the Organizing Committee for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, said that to attract corporate sponsors, marketing campaigns will cover any two cycles from 2018 to 2024, it added.

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.