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The Daily Brief for Monday, 10 April 2017

Hanoi-Washington trade cooperation: Vietnam could be about to get preferential treatment from a US administration that previously withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has since threatened to impose border taxes on Asian countries’ exports, writes David Hutt. Trade to the US, worth US$38.5 billion last year, is a big deal to Hanoi and makes up almost 20% of all Vietnamese exports.

China-Japan sea power: Since 2012 Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force has been modernizing and last month commissioned its second “helicopter destroyer” vessel and also formed a new Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. It has caused China to raise warnings about militarism, yet, reports Grant Newsham, Tokyo still has nothing like the capabilities of Beijing’s own amphibious forces.

Pakistan money-laundering verdict: Islamabad’s top court is about to rule on a scandal involving the family of prime minister Nawaz Sharif and accusations of money-laundering and multi-million pound properties in London’s Mayfair. F.M. Shakil reports that the case originates from the database leak of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that implicated thousands of global offshore entities, including hundreds of Pakistani politicians, industrialists, business people, judges and luminaries, and included the Sharif family.

Beijing corruption investigation: The head of China’s insurance regulator is being investigated for suspected disciplinary violations, bringing the most senior financial regulator to date into the government’s fight against corruption. Reuters reports that Xiang Junbo, also a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee, was suspected of “serious disciplinary violations”, a phrase that usually refers to graft.

Fiji win Sevens: Rio gold medalists Fiji injected life into the HSBC Sevens World Series on Sunday by walking away winners after rolling over South Africa 22-0 in the final. Pedro Chan writes that it was the 17th time Fiji have won in Hong Kong and the third time in a row.

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China Digest for Monday, 10 April 2017

Li Keqiang warns financial firms on corruption crackdown

Premier Li Keqiang warned financial institutions that they need to further strengthen internal compliance to strike out corruption, insider trading and illegal transfer of assets, and that violators will be firmly punished, Securities Daily reported.

Market-rule violators must pay heavy price, CSRC’s Liu says

Company insiders who mislead the market through fraudulent financial reporting, unnecessary corporate restructuring and dumping stock must expect to pay a heavy price, said Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

HKEX to introduce 5-year China MOF treasury bond futures

Ministry of Finance five-year bond futures will debut today in Hong Kong, and will be the offshore markets’ first futures on domestic Chinese government bonds to meet international investors’ growing demand for tools to manage RMB interest rate risk, Shanghai Securities Daily said.

Wining, dining & junkets budget to fall 0.5%

Non-essential spending by officials in central government departments on entertainment, cars and overseas trips is budgeted to drop 0.5%, or 30 million yuan, this year, National Business Daily reported on Monday.

Private capital sought for previously off-limit industries

The government will set up industry funds and open more strategic industries to private capital, including telecommunications infrastructure, upstream oil and gas exploration, and defense technology, Economic Information Daily reported.

Chalco, China Eastern among 31 SOEs backing Xiongan

Chalco, China Eastern Airlines, CNOOC and China Southern Power Grid are among more than 31 major state-owned enterprises that have pledged to back the central government’s Xiongan New Area, China Securities Journal said.

Tianjin city seeks 500 billion yuan with new fund

Tianjin city government set up Haihe Industry Fund with 20 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion) in seed funding with a view to attracting 500 billion yuan of development capital. ICBC, CCB, BOC, Citic Group, China Minsheng Investment and two other institutions have agreed to provide more than one-fifth of that over the next five years, Caixin reported on Sunday night.

Bitcoin copycat Litecoin may have huge hidden risks

The price of the cryptocurrency Litecoin surged to 65.5 yuan from 27.9 yuan over the past 10 days as speculators may be manufacturing volatilities in it after Bitcoin fell under heavy scrutiny, Beijing Business News said on Monday.

Heilongjiang shuts door on P2P microfinance

The northeastern province of Heilongjiang bans person-to-person online lending websites from participating in internet-based microfinance activities, National Daily News reported on Monday.

Heavy crackdown on rogue property agents

Property agents who violate the law, government policies or their codes of conduct, such as by spreading malicious rumours, stir-up the market and should be severely dealt with, according to a commentary in the official Securities Daily on Monday.