Posted inChina, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, North Korea, Northeast Asia, Russia, South Asia, South Korea, World

The Daily Brief for Thursday, 27 April 2017

China-Finances strengthening regulations: President Xi Jinping has declared China’s financial stability a matter of national security. Asia Times’ China Digest reports that Xi’s demands for a strengthening of financial regulatory oversights indicates significant ramifications for the sector, especially for China’s shadow banking industry.

Seoul-Washington, missile consensus: When the US started setting up an anti-missile defense system in South Korea on Wednesday, it brought out bottle-throwing protesters, riot police, and a rebuke from the man who wants to be the country’s next president. Peter Langan writes that overnight the scene had changed to one of calm, after both governments acted quickly to publicly state they were that in agreement on installation of the THAAD missile batteries to counter the threat from North Korea.

Japan-Russia, Abe pressured: Shinzo Abe meets with Vladimir Putin today prompting a leading Tokyo newspaper to urge the Japanese president to ask for Russia’s help in resolving the crisis with North Korea. Asia Times reports that the Mainichi Shimbun also questioned the Japanese government’s “diplomatic skills”, asking if Tokyo can “capitalize on its own diplomatic relations with Russia, China and South Korea”

Udine Film Festival: Veteran Hong Kong director Fruit Chan was in Udine to introduce the 4K version of his iconic 1997 street-wise drama Made in Hong Kong, writes Mathew Scott. The work, reworked with the help of the Far East Film Festival and Italy’s own L’Immagine Ritrovata film restoration laboratory, paints a vibrant picture of the city’s youth unsure of the future and it is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.

Posted inBeijing, China, Tianjin

China Digest for Thursday, 27 April 2017

Xi Jinping: financial stability crucial to national security

President Xi Jinping has called for increased efforts to maintain financial stability, according to Xinhua on Wednesday. This marks the first time that Xi has elevated financial stability to such a high level of importance, said Yicai in a separate report on Tuesday, adding that it signals ramifications for China’s shadow banking industry and high leverage in the finance sector. Xi called for strengthening of regulatory oversight on the financial industry, the Yicai report said. According to a Caixin report on Wednesday evening, various aims were laid out in a group study session involving politburo members and the heads of various regulatory agencies. These included strengthening controls over the macro-economy (PBOC), lessening systemic risks in the banking sector (CBRC), capital markets development and risk controls (CSRC) and strengthening insurance regulation (CIRC).

Xiang Junbo under investigation in tycoon Guo’s fraud case: Beijing News

Beijing News reports that the former chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China, Xiang Junbo, has been under investigation since early April for supporting the bank in lending 3.2 billion yuan (US$ 464 million) to Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui’s company at the end of 2009. The report mentions at least four high-level executives in Guo’s company who cheated the bank with fake stamps, contracts and receipts. Xiang was chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission from October 2011 until this month.

Gree Electric’s revenues up 11%, topping 108 billion yuan

Gree Electric has recorded revenue of 108.3 billion yuan (US$15.72 billion), up 11% year-on-year, in its financial report for 2016, Caixin reported on Wednesday evening. The company announced dividends of 18 yuan (US$2.61) per 10 shares (tax inclusive). Sales in key areas such as home appliances (up 6% from 2015) and air-conditioners (up 5% from 2015) contributed to the strong performance. Gree will look to diversity and enter the electric car and mobile phone sectors in future, the report added.

Voting rights to be denied to insurance shareholders who breach law

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission issued a new set of rulings on Wednesday regarding shareholders’ rights in insurance companies, Caixin reported on the same day. Shareholders who fall foul of the law, particularly with regards to investment behaviour, will not be allowed to exercise their voting and nomination rights, the report said. Insurance companies with a single majority shareholder will be required to implement a cumulative voting system for selecting their board, the report said, with the aim of increasing medium to small shareholder representation. The move follows increased regulatory oversight on the sector this month.

Asset-backed securities issuance to grow: Moody’s

China has issued asset-backed securities worth 16 billion yuan (US$ 2.32 billion) since the China Banking Regulatory Commission allowed issuance again in May last year, and the total in circulation will continue to grow as the asset-class is further diversified, the Economic Information Daily reports, citing Moody’s.

Iron and steel plants’ 1Q profits are well up

China Iron and Steel Association data showed member companies generated total profits of 23.28 billion yuan (US$ 3.38 billion), with only around 19% of member companies incurring losses, in the first three months of this year, Economic Information Daily reports. The companies made a combined 8 billion yuan loss in the first quarter of last year.

Environmental ministry to coordinate major air pollution study

The State Council has confirmed that the central government will give special funding for the environment ministry to coordinate departments in setting out a clear roadmap and timetable to conduct a large-scale study on the cause of air pollution in the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province area, the Economic Information Daily reports.

Energy sector financing roadmap announced

The National Energy Administration vowed to formulate a “negative list system” detailing energy projects that can receive non-government financing by the end of June, the Economic Information Daily reports.

Xiongan unveils plans for 30 special economic zone

The Xiongan New District temporary committee unveiled new urban planning and land, registry and fixed asset investments plans on Wednesday afternoon, in its first press conference, China News reports. The 30 square kilometer area 160km south of Beijing is intended as a new special economic zones. The committee aims for “international standards”, with every inch of land to be planned for before construction begins, its head was reported as saying.

Amendment of Securities Law under discussion

The standing committee of the National People’s Congress is discussing amendments to the law on securities, Xinhua said on Wednesday evening. The committee will aim to address the 2015 stock market turbulence, the report said. The amended law will also look to strengthen investors’ rights and maintain the “stable development of the stock market” it added, without specifying how.