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The Daily Brief for Monday, 3 April 2017

China’s Philippine investments? President Duterte’s October visit to China was said to have secured more than US$24 billion worth of investment and loan commitments and would move the Philippines strategically closer to Beijing and further from Washington. Yet, reports Joel Adriano, six months on and there are few signs of the investments but China continues to ramp up its activities in the disputed South China Sea.

Trump meets Xi: Later this week, China’s President will meet his US counterpart in Florida and, because of Trump’s predilection for unpredictability, some thought Xi might be taking a risk by attending. However, writes George Koo, the meeting should go well because both sides have been careful in their preparations and, crucially, Trump will not want to miss an opportunity for some rare good news.

Dollar not Yuan: Beijing has actively promoted international use of its currency, extending arrangements with foreign central banks, encouraging trade settlement in yuan and pushing its stock and bond markets to foreign investors. However, writes Tom Buerkle, according to the IMP, in the fourth quarter of 2016 the yuan still only accounts for just over 1% of global foreign-exchange reserves and remains insignificant when compared to the reserves of $1.6 trillion worth of euros and $5.1 trillion of US dollars.

Dollar not Yuan: Asian equity markets have been world-beaters so far this year as global investors unwind record positions in the US dollar and pump the proceeds into cheaper, higher-yielding assets throughout the region reports Nick Westra . The MSCI Emerging Markets Asia Index surged 14.3% this year through March 29, outpacing a 6% gain in MSCI World, and the corresponding benchmarks for China, India, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan all notched double-digit gains.

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China Digest for Monday, 3 April 2017

2000 sq km special economic zone for Hebei: President Xi

President Xi Jinping on Saturday proposed the creation of a special economic zone to rival Pudong and Shenzhen in Xiongan, a district in the northern province of Hebei, reported Xinhua. The initial area will be 100 square kilometers, expanding to 2000 square kilometers once fully developed, Xinhua said. The move sparked concern over property prices, with the Xiongan city government ordering a halt on sales as the city government deliberates on policy and planning, Sina Finance said.

Party reassigns Shenzhen chief to senior post in Hebei

The Communist Party Secretary of Shenzhen, Xu Qin, has been reassigned as Hebei’s provincial deputy party chief since Saturday, Caixin reported, quoting the official Hebei Daily. The decision followed President Xi Jinping’s move to set up Xiongan district as special economic zone in Hebei. The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, set up in May 1980, has seen rapid economic growth. Xu’s predecessor in Hebei is now a member of the party’s standing committee of northeastern Heilongjiang province.

Jinan city party boss promoted to Shandong deputy leader

The Communist Party Secretary of Jinan, Wang Wentao, has been promoted as Shandong’s provincial deputy party boss since Saturday, Caixin reported. Wang Wentao had been the city party secretary since 2015, replacing Wang Min who was investigated for corruption as part of President Xi Jinping’s graft crackdown in 2014, Caixin said.

Ministry sets limit on new local government debt

A Ministry of Finance document issues guidelines for managing new local government debt, Caixin said on Saturday. The document debt could not be higher or lower than a limit based on a “volatile range” defined by the ministry. It did not specify the range.

66% increase in IPO approval rate in first quarter of 2017

Listing applications from 103 companies had been approved in the first three months of this year, China Securities Journal reported. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said it was a more than 66% increase compared to same period last year and a 7% uptick compared to the previous quarter. Approval efficiency has also improved, with some companies getting the green light in less than a month.

The China Digest will resume on April 5 after the Qing Ming public holiday.