Posted inAT FinanceCambodiaChinaHong KongJapanNorth KoreaNortheast AsiaSouth Asia

The Daily Brief for Thursday, 6 April 2017

Tokyo arms call: North Korea fired another test missile this week that was, reportedly, a simulated test attack on a US military base in Japan. Daniel Hurst writes that influential members of Japan’s government, in response to what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refers to as a “new level of threat”, says new military options are needed, including cruise missiles.

Trump’s Asia blank: When the US President meets his Chinese counterpart in Florida today he will do so without the benefit of a team of Asian specialists, writes Richard Javad Heydarian & Shawn W. Crispin. Asia policy to date has been steered chiefly by the White House with Trump’s son-in-law and foreign policy neophyte Jared Kushner playing an outsized role, and critics say this has caused a vacuum that has brought wild policy lurches and confusion with allies and adversaries alike.

Tesla loves HK: Impressive January sales data on new Tesla electric car sales in Hong Kong, on the back on generous tax breaks, shows why Elon Musk has the hots for what he once called a “beacon city for electric vehicles”. Ben Kwok reports that Greater China is strategically important to Tesla but a Hong Kong government cap on tax waivers will raise the price of new model by more than 75% and this could prove very damaging.

Cambodia dumps US: Without explanation, the Cambodian government has asked the US to end a decade-old military aid program in the country. Asia Times reports that the move is yet another downgrade for US-Cambodian military ties, coming after Phnom Penh postponed an annual Cambodia-US military exercise in January after it held its first ever military exercise with China.

Posted inChina

China Digest for Thursday, 6 April 2017

Crackdown on money transfers via offshore firms, shadow banks

The country will focus on money transfers using offshore companies and illegal underground banks in 2017, Sina Finance reported Wednesday afternoon. The People’s Bank of China notice said measures would be developed to handle complaints and strengthen the supervision of administrative law enforcement, the report added.

Private firms hunt for profits in refining, chemicals industry

Lower petroleum prices are spurring a growing number of private domestic enterprises to seek higher profits in the refining and chemicals industry, the Securities Daily said on Wednesday. The China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation also saw a record-high profit in 2016, growing 43.8% to 46.4 billion yuan (US$6.73 billion) compared to the numbers in 2015, it added.

New property restrictions in districts near Xiongan SEZ

Districts around the proposed Xiongan special economic zone (SEZ) set new property policies on Wednesday, Sina Finance reported, citing a State Council notice. Policies include restrictions on the number of homes a resident can buy and tougher qualification requirements for housing loans. In districts like Xushui county in Baoding City, a residence certificate is required for non-local residents, it added.

China Unicom Group may seek ‘mixed ownership’

One of the country’s largest telecoms firms, China Unicom, said its parent company China Unicom Group is considering “mixed ownership,” Caixin reported on Wednesday. No timeline was given although China Unicom’s H shares and A shares will resume trading on Thursday. “Mixed ownership” is part of a central government plan to reform state-owned enterprises by encouraging Chinese private investment in SOEs, it added.

32% increase in A-shares IPO listings in first quarter of 2017

Some 133 companies completed A-share initial public offerings in the first quarter of 2017, exceeding the total number in the first three quarters of 2016, Jiemian said on Wednesday. This is a 31.68% increase compared to the last quarter of 2016, it said. The 4.086 billion yuan (US$590 million) listing of China Galaxy Securities on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in late January was the biggest IPO, it added.

Evergrande Life Insurance may restructure after ban

Evergrande Life Insurance is “seriously considering restructuring” following punishment in late February for short-term speculation, Yicai reported on Wednesday. Evergrande was barred from stock investing for a year following a crackdown on insurance companies’ speculation in the financial markets. The restructuring note was sent to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, it added.