Posted inAT Finance, China, Middle East, Northeast Asia, Philippines, Russia, Syria, World

The Daily Brief for Friday, 7 April 2017

Why Assad, why? The world has struggled to explain why President Bashar al-Assad used nerve gas in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria’s Idlib province. Stephen Bryen argues the more likely truth is that Assad was deeply afraid that the US policy shift was part of a secret deal with the Russians and was one that he had to head off.

Trump’s Tomahawk warning: Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles, launched from the USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, struck multiple targets at the Syrian government Shayrat Air Base on Thursday night.
Asia Times writes that this relatively quick US response to the Syrian government’s chemical assault comes as Trump faces a growing list of global problems and may have been intended to send a message to friends and foes alike of his resolve to use military force if deemed necessary.

Duterte’s island bluff: In a remarkable turn, Rodrigo Duterte ordered Filipino troops to assert sovereignty in the disputed Spratlys, with the Philippine President even promising to personally go to the islands and raise a national flag. Richard Javad Heydarian writes that Duterte’s threats are more likely bluster in response to growing domestic political pressure and Philippine defense officials rapidly moved to clarify the orders, saying they planned only to upgrade existing facilities on already inhabited features.

Amazon’s China growth: The logistics business of Amazon is helping the company finally tap into the Chinese market, after facing difficulties gaining traction with their online retail services in the country. Asia Times reports that the company’s shipping push is quietly growing and Amazon’s main rival on the global online retail scene, China’s Alibaba, will be watching closely as it does not yet own logistics infrastructure of its own.

Posted inBeijing, China, Hong Kong, Shanghai

China Digest for Friday, 7 April 2017

Insiders using borrowed money to boost stockholdings pose risk to market

The use of leverage by significant shareholders to increase their holdings lacks transparency and distorts the true picture for other investors, Shanghai Securities Journal said. More than 30% of the 52 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) used by insiders to buy additional stock in the first three months of the year was borrowed, it said.

Top leaders to keep tight rein on Xiongan: Zhang Gaoli

Development of Xiongan New Area will be tightly controlled by the central government, including population, industry and residential property prices in surrounding areas, Shanghai Securities Journal said, citing Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

At least 45 cities to boost land supply, Securities Journal says

Under new rules aimed at cooling China’s overheated property market, at least 45 cities will need to increase supply of land for residential projects, Shanghai Securities Journal said.

Shanghai insurers target global role by 2020

Shanghai-based insurers aim to collect premiums equivalent to 6% of China’s GDP and for city to be a global insurance center by 2020.

PetroChina, Sinopec begin internal restructuring, sources say

PetroChina and Sinopec are to begin the process of internal restructuring ahead of an announcement from the central government expected later this year, sources at the companies told Shanghai Securities Journal.

China Huarong waiting for green light to list A shares

Hong Kong-listed China Huarong Asset Management plans to list yuan-denominated A shares once it gets regulatory approval, the Shanghai Securities Journal said.

March data likely to show slight slowdown in PPI

Producer Price Inflation likely cooled slightly in March, while investments in infrastructure and manufacturing probably maintained their high growth rate, Shanghai Securities Journal reported, citing institutional investors’ expectations for data due out next week.

Investor sentiment toward Shanghai market continues to improve

Confidence in the Shanghai stock market continues to improve, with the weighted average position − a gauge of investor sentiment − rising to 60%, according to a new survey by Shenwan Hongyuan Securities cited by the Shanghai Securities Journal.

BBMG chairman confident of role in Xiongan New Area

BBMG “will not miss out the construction of Xiongan,” Jiang Deyi, chairman of the Beijing-based building materials company, said at a conference to report on its 2016 earnings, according to Shanghai Securities Journal.

Youon Public Bicycle gets nod for IPO

Youon Public Bicycle System will become the first bike-sharing provider to list shares on China’s domestic stock markets, after winning regulatory approval for its initial public offering, Caixin reported on Thursday.

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