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The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Beijing-Pyongyang-Washington, shifting alliances: China’s state-run news outlet Global Times this week wrote that Beijing should not respond militarily if the US carries out a surgical strike on North Korean nuclear facilities. Christopher Scott writes that although Beijing is officially an ally of North Korea, it’s clearly now aligning with the US and South Korea over Pyongyang and this marks a seismic and potentially game-changing shift in Northeast Asian regional politics.

India-economy, reform needed: An OECD report says India’s economic growth is a success story blighted by the one-third of young Indians that are underemployed or poorly trained. Seema Sengupta reports that significant structural reform is needed as India is now a test case for whether a high rate of economic growth is on its own enough to alleviate poverty.

Indonesia’s energy troubles: Joint venture energy giants Inpex Corp and Royal Dutch Shell will not say if they will continue to pursue the development of Indonesia’s massive Masela natural gas project. John McBeth reports that neither company has spoken publicly since Jakarta’s surprise decision to move its processing facility onshore, pushing observers to ask whether the government can continue to attract the foreign investment needed to develop its abundant natural resources.

China-soccer, political tensions: Guangzhou Evergrande football fans unfurled a “Annihilate British dogs, wipe out poisonous Hong Kong independence” banner during their side’s AFC Champions League trouncing of Hong Kong’s Eastern, reports Asia Times. The atmosphere in the stadium – held in Hong Kong’s urban Mong Kok district – was hostile from the start, with both sets of supporters hurling obscenities and political insults, and at times having to be restrained by a heavy security presence.

Udine film festival: At Udine’s Far East Film Festival, Chinese director Feng Xiaogang picked up a Golden Mulberry lifetime achievement award, writes Mathew Scott. The festival also screened Feng’s work, I Am Not Madame Bovary, that has made more than US$70 million at the box office and serves as a timely reminder that Chinese directors can make films that are stylish, realistic and successful.

Posted inChinaWorld

China Digest for Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Chalco’s net profit grew 20 times in the first quarter of 2017

The net profit of Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco) grew 20 times, to around 391 million yuan (US$ 56.78 million), in the first quarter this year, The Paper reported on Tuesday evening, citing an official announcement from the company. It was the second consecutive quarter in which the company achieved an operating profit and, the report added, its revenue growth is mainly due to declining manufacturing costs and increased trade volume as factory output has risen.

Xi stresses importance of controlling financial risk

The Chinese government should regard preventing and controlling financial risk as a top priority and improve coordination between various regulatory authorities, Caixin reported on Tuesday, citing Xi Jinping in a statement released after a Politburo meeting. The meeting was held a few days after China reported 6.9% GDP growth in the first quarter of the year, higher than the targeted 6.5% and last year’s 6.7%. China “has a long way to go” in restructuring its economy and still faces many challenges, Xi was quoted as saying.

Automotive industry roadmap unveiled with focus on ‘new energy cars’

The Commerce Ministry announced a roadmap for the automotive industry that aims to put Chinese companies among the world’s top ten electric car companies by 2020, an Economic Information Daily report on Wednesday said. The plan also aims to put Chinese companies in the world’s top ten for automotive parts by 2025, the report added. The roadmap, which is focused on transitioning to “new energy vehicles,” from traditional gasoline vehicles, was announced jointly with the National Development and Reform Commission and the technology ministry.

Banks pulling entrusted funds following CBRC scrutiny of shadow banking

Funds farmed out to external agencies have been pulled back among lenders in China, although the major state-owned banks appear not to have joined in the act, Yicai reported on Tuesday evening. The report also said that the bond market in China had seen a 98% in sell orders and publicly offered funds, possibly as a reaction to banks reigning in their shadow funds as the China Banking Regulatory Commission tries to curb the sector.

Pyonggang limits supply of petrol as gas prices spike 70%

China News said on Wednesday that petrol stations in Pyongyang have limited the supply of petroleum at gas stations throughout the city, citing a CGTN (formerly CCTV) broadcast on Tuesday night. The report said that the restrictions have been in place since April 19, and prices of petroleum have spiked 70% in a week following talk of China restricting deliveries.

Real estate companies’ inventories remain high

A Securities Times report on Wednesday found the total value of 2,440 listed companies’ inventories to be almost seven trillion yuan (US$1.02 trillion). The bulk of the companies are real estate or property market-associated companies. Inventory levels of the real estate companies rose 16% in 2016 compared to a year ago, with Greenland Holdings’ inventory now worth 484.5 billion yuan and China Vanke’s 467.3 billion yuan. The figures includes ongoing and completed but not transacted projects, hence might not represent a large risk, according to analysts cited in the report.

Industry-wide credit classification of trust businesses being tested

A pilot credit classification for trust businesses, involving eight separate classifications, was launched on Monday. The next step will be to “accelerate the introduction of a targeted supporting regulatory system”, “unify management of trust businesses on the basis of the classification” and “gradually form a comprehensive trust accounting, management and regulatory system”, Caixin reported on Tuesday evening, quoting Deng Zhiyi, the CBRC’s Trust Director.

China to push development of its cement industry

China will push the further development of its cement industry and eliminate backward production capacity, The Paper reported on Tuesday evening, citing a notice released by the State Administration of Work Safety. By the end of December 2019, safety supervision departments at all levels should have raised standards, the report said.

Xu Lei assumes chief marketing officer role at JD Group

Xu Lei, formerly senior vice president at JD Group, is its new Chief Marketing Officer, Caixin reported on Tuesday evening. Xu will be in charge of outlining JD’s marketing strategies across finance, online retail, logistics, cloud and e-commerce, the report said.

Rise in monthly pension payments to vary from person to person

A headline 5.5% increase in basic monthly pension payments to retirees of state-owned enterprises, government agencies and public institutions will vary from person to person, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Tuesday according to QQ News on the same day. Adjustments will differ according to years worked and salaries earned, the ministry said. China’s pension funds stood at 4 trillion yuan (US$0.6 trillion) at the end of March this year, with an increase of 25.4% in gross revenue in the first quarter in 2017 compared to last year, the report added.