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The Daily Brief for Monday, 22 May 2017

Myanmar’s fragile peace: Aung San Suu Kyi has made peacemaking a top policy priority, some say to the detriment of other pressing matters such as bureaucratic, economic and legal reforms. Yet, reports Bertil Lintner, her failure to establish anything resembling peace in the country’s north and northeast, and ongoing communal violence in Rakhine state, is severely tainting the image of this Nobel Peace Prize.

Asia’s frontier boom: Investors in Asia are increasingly looking beyond the region’s heavyweights and placing their bets on lesser-known markets, writes Nick Westra. Investors who looking beyond the potential economic slowdowns in China and South Korea are now hoping to ride the rising tides of economic growth and maturing demographics in frontier markets such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Iran returns reformists: In the latest chapter of a perennial two sided electoral battle, Iran’s conservatives lost and the reformists have, once again, won handsomely. Pepe Escobar reports that Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani was reelected in a high-turnout landslide on Saturday, ensuring the country remains open to the world.

Pyongyang’s ‘beautiful’ ballistics: North Korea says it has successfully tested the guidance system on an intermediate-range ballistic missile and that images from an onboard camera showed the world to be “beautiful.” Asia Times reports that, more significantly, this Pukguksong-2 missile test suggests Pyongyang is making progress in building missiles that can hit US targets.

China-petroleum, going private: As part of ongoing reforms, private firms will be able gain access to China’s petroleum and gas industry to invest, exploit potential sites and run their own supply pipelines.
Asia Times’ China Digest reports that such ownership would be independent from the three giants PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinopec and are part of wholesale industry changes just unveiled by Beijing’s State Council.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

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China Digest for Monday, 22 May 2017

Private firms to gain access to petroleum and gas industry

Private companies would be able to invest in, exploit potential sites and their pipelines would be independent from the three giants PetroChina, CNOOC and Sinopec as part of petroleum and gas industry reforms, Economic Information Daily reported. The State Council unveiled the reform plans on May 21.

Don’t set high prices on new homes: Qingdao warns developers

Developers had been warned against setting “excessive prices” on new homes, Qingdao city’s authorities said in a Sina Finance report. Homes in the second phase of a development project cannot be higher than the average price in a month, the city’s housing authority and land resources agency added.

Cuts in power prices expected this year

Electricity prices for corporations are set to be reduced following a proposal to improve market efficiency, the Economic Information Daily reported on Monday. After reforms began last year, the third batch of 14 grid companies are set to announce distribution prices by the end of June.

Reform of SOEs in final stage

After state-owned enterprises (SOEs) become corporations, investors are forbidden from intervening in their business activities the State Council said in a guideline, Securities Daily reported on Saturday. The deadline on SOEs to complete reforms is the end of this year.

Bike-sharing app users’ deposits must go in set bank account

Deposits from users of bike-sharing apps such as oFo and Mobike should be held in a specific bank account to prevent money being used for investments or loan payments, Beijing’s finance bureau said in a Caixin report on Sunday.

AIIB will expand membership to 85 by year-end

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun says 85 countries and regions will become members by the end of this year, the Paper reported. China intends to serve people around the world with its experience of the reform and opening up, Jin said at the Jiangsu Development Forum on Saturday,

Apple to expand ban on “reward the author” option

Apple wants a 30% share of the “reward the author” option for users who buy games, videos and music via Alipay and WeChat in a bid to stem eroding revenue in China, Yicai reported. Apple closed the optional service on WeChat last month, where users can pay a reward as appreciation of the app, game or song.

Rules on Beijing’s online car/taxi bookings take effect

Sina said the Beijing municipal government allowed five online platforms to start a car and taxi booking service before industry regulations formally took effect on May 18. The government said only local drivers whose private cars were licensed in Beijing can be on the five platforms.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.