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The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 15 March 2017

US China trade: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says Beijing and Washington have to avert a trade war because it would damage both countries as well as the global business environment, reports Jeff Pao. “We don’t want to see a trade war, which will result in an unfair trade environment and hurt both sides,” Li said at a high profile media briefing held after the closing ceremony of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress.

Malaysian Prime Minister: Since 2015, Najib Razak has survived a massive embezzlement scandal, opposition protests and internal power struggles, all with an eye on re-election, reports David Hutt. Prime Minister Najib has always maintained his innocence amid all the allegations, and is now working at restoring his domestic political fortunes with a campaign of suppression and savvy politicking that is building as the 2018 elections approach.

Yubari festival, Japan: High in the mountains of Hokkaido, the sleepy town of Yubari plays host each spring to a frenzied gathering of student and independent filmmakers specializing in the most exploitative echelons of genre cinema, writes James Marsh. Dedicated to the discovery and development of new talent, the Yubari Fanta festival devotes large sections of its program each year to short films and first or second features made entirely outside the Japanese mainstream.

China retail slowdown: Retail sales growth in the PRC witnessed a unexpected drop in first two months of 2017, reports Steve Wang. Growth sat at 9.5%, undershooting a median forecast of 10.5%, and although car sales didn’t match the surge seen in the same period last year, online shopping remains strong with growth exceeding 30%.

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Posted inChina

China Digest for Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Yuan funds for forex in February decline by US$8.4 billion: PBOC

People’s Bank of China updated its balance sheet on Tuesday, showing that yuan funds outstanding for foreign exchange has dropped by 58.12 billion yuan (US$8.41 billion) in February, the smallest decline since May 2016, The Paper reported. The figure, which is the amount of yuan spent by the PBOC to purchase foreign currencies from financial institutions, stood at 21.67 trillion yuan.

Home prices stabilize in top-tier cities: statistics bureau

Prices in 11 out of 15 top- and second-tier cities decreased in the primary property market, while just one showed a slowdown, China Securities Journal reported on Monday, citing spokesman of National Bureau of Statistics Shen Laiyun. Data shows that cooling measures are working, Shen added. But the sale of unsold flats in third and fourth-tier cities is rising.

8.5% increase in property development investments

Investment in real estate development for January and February stood at 985.4 billion yuan, increasing 8.9% from a year earlier, Securities Daily reported on Wednesday. It has been two years since it exceeded 8.5% in January 2015. Around 67% of the total investment went to residential housing, valued at 657.1 billion yuan, it added.

Investment in fixed assets rose 8.9% to US$579 billion

Capital investment rose 8.9% to 4.14 trillion in January and February, Caixin reported on Tuesday, citing the National Bureau of Statistics. This surpasses the median of 8.4% forecast among the financial institutions that Caixin surveyed. Infrastructure investment increased by 27.3% to 831 billion, compared with the same period last year.

Next generation of migrant workers to be urbanized

As of 2016, the number of migrant workers in the country stood at 282 million and 60% of them have left families in rural areas for city jobs, Securities Daily said on Wednesday. At a Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security meeting on Tuesday, deputy minister Qiu Xiaoping said it will focus on the urbanization of a new generation of migrant workers by promoting employment and offering opportunities for entrepreneurs.

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.