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The Daily Brief for Thursday, 2 March 2017

China’s National Congress: The appointment of four new Chinese state ministers raises the curtain on a much-anticipated year of key promotions that will culminate, in the autumn, with the unveiling of a revamped supreme leadership at the five-yearly National Congress, writes Steve Wang. Three of the new appointments were closely linked to finance, with commentators saying this sets the theme for what will be a business-dominated 19th Communist Party National Congress.

Egypt and Iran: The two powerhouses of the Sunni Arab and Shia worlds are, respectively, Egypt and Iran and cooperation between them can play a critical role in managing regional conflict, alleviating Sunni-Shia sectarianism, and containing regional civil wars. Seyed Hossein Mousavian & Yassin El-Ayouty argue that as Cairo and Tehran have a similar stance on terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, a close working bond between the two would play a strong role in establishing common strategic policies and this would go a long way in helping alleviate regional crises.

Chinese Super League: A new season starts on Friday for the Chinese Super League, with its member clubs setting a new transfer record of US$410 million during the winter transfer window, despite an attempt by the domestic game’s regulators to curb spending. The Asia Times reports that the League’s vast outlays have made China the fifth biggest global spenders in football last year, up from 20th the year before, and the amount spent in the 2017 winter window beat the US$270 million spent in the English Premier League during the same period, making the Chinese Super League, for now, the world’s most expensive.

Kim Jong-nam assassination: The only North Korean arrested over the airport murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is to be freed, Malaysia said on Thursday. Agence France-Presse reports the announcement came the day after two young women appeared in court charged with the dramatic murder, that Malaysia says was carried out using a banned nerve agent. Seven other North Koreans are wanted in connection with the killing, including a diplomat and an airline employee.

Posted inChinaShanghaiTianjin

China Digest for Thursday, 2 March 2017

US$9.45 trillion set aside for fixed assets in 2017: NDRC

The country plans to invest 65 trillion yuan (US$9.45 trillion) into fixed assets in 2017, Sina Finance reported Wednesday afternoon quoting Li Pumin, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission. The figure was 60.65 trillion yuan as in 2016, the report added.

Net income of GEMs grew 38.15% in 2016: SZSE

Total net income of the 603 companies listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s Growth Enterprises Market (GEM) reached a record 93.2 billion yuan in 2016, a 38.15% increase compared to 2015, Sina Finance reported on Wednesday evening. It is the highest in five years, the report added.

Shanghai property rents drop for fourth straight month

Housing rents in Shanghai dropped to 77.2 yuan square meters per month in January, the fourth month of decline in a row, Yicai reported on Wednesday evening, citing Centaline Property Agency data. The drop is due to an imbalance between housing supply and demand after the long Lunar New Year break, many owners lowered rents, the report added.

‘Gradual launch’ is goal for pension funds investing in stocks

You Jun, the Minster of Human Resources and Social Security, said the move allowing pension funds to invest in financial markets will follow a gradual process depending on regional needs and planning, Caixin reported on Wednesday. You cautioned that stock markets was one of the options for pension funds, and it did not mean new capital would flood into the financial markets, it said. Pension funds had invested 360 billion yuan since the end of last year.

China Railway approves coal shipment to Hohhot, Taiyuan

China Railway Corporation had approved the shipment of close to 3,000 railcars from Tianjin Port to Hohhot and Taiyuan on February 24 to meet possible demand for coal, Caixin reported on Wednesday evening. This comes as the environment ministry will ban truck transport of coal in Tianjin by September this year in a bid to tackle air pollution, the report added. China Railway said increased allocation of railcars is to ensure a steady coal supply if required and it could handle the extra load following the switch from truck to rail for the 50 million metric tons of coal shipped from Tianjin port annually, it added.

95% of same-city mail must be delivered in three days

The State Post Bureau said in a directive that 95% of documents, letters and parcels within the city must be delivered in three days and it is five days for delivery in the same province, Caixin reported on Wednesday evening. The agency said the same-city and same-province delivery guideline comes amid a growing preference for couriers instead of postal services, Caixin said.