Posted inAT FinanceBeijingChinaMalaysiaMyanmarTimor LesteWorld

The Daily Brief for Thursday, 25 May 2017

Malaysia-Najib runs clear: Last year, when the United States Department of Justice announced it would launch investigations into a billion dollar development scandal, presumed suspect No 1 Prime Minister Najib Razak’s prospects looked especially bleak. Radzi Razak reports that Najib has now slipped the political noose as investigations have been dropped at home, leaving him to prepare to win yet another general election.

Buddhist bad boy: Veteran Swiss filmmaker Barbet Schroeder’s chilling documentary, about a monk accused of preaching hate and inciting attacks on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, has been hailed by critics at the Cannes film festival. Fiachra Gibbons reports that The Venerable W, a film about Wirathu – who has been called the Buddhist Bin Laden – was hailed at the famous French film festival as a “stirring documentary about ethnic cleansing in action”.

Happy Birthday, Timor-Leste: A “unity” government has made such notable gains after decades of foreign occupation and civil strife that Timor-Leste has been described as a “modern-day miracle”, writes David Hutt. This fledgling nation celebrated its 15th anniversary in May and, while critics complain of corruption and nepotism, most applaud the unmistakable democratic progress that has been made.

Beijing’s overreaching ambition: Xi Jinping’s tenure has been marked by high ambition, seen in his “Chinese dream” vision that says the country will be the world’s leading power by 2049, the centenary of communist rule, and also the gargantuan Silk Road project. But, asks Brahma Chellaney, is China about to fall into an Empire-building trap that historians call “imperial overstretch”.

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. 

Posted inAT FinanceBeijingChinaHong KongMalaysiaShanghaiTianjin

China Digest for Thursday, 25 May 2017

15 million houses to be rebuilt in shantytowns by 2020

The State Council plans to redevelop 15 million houses in shantytowns from 2018 to 2020 with increased financial aid, said Xinhua, citing an executive meeting on May 24. Six million homes in shantytowns would be reconstructed this year.

Domestic debt risk ‘controllable,’ says NDRC

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said China’s deleveraging efforts are showing signs of working, with leverage ratios at 255.6% at the end of the third quarter in 2016, and debt risk at “controllable” levels, a Shanghai Securities Journal report said on Wednesday, citing Bank of International Settlements data. Ratios for the US and UK stood at at 255.7% and 283.1%, respectively.

Beijing plans to build more rental housing, limit new developments

The capital plans to tighten approvals on construction in 2017 to control the population in six urban districts and build 500,000 rental houses in five years, Caixin and the Paper said in reports. Rents would be the same as in public housing and the government would offer subsidies, the Paper added.

China Orient leads charge on local bad-debt clearing tie-ups

One of the country’s four biggest asset management companies (AMC) that clears bad debt has struck deals with AMCs in Ningbo and Suzhou, reported Securities Daily on Thursday. China Orient Asset Management is also in talks with local AMCs and governments in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei as well as others in the central and western regions.

Yanjiao home prices decline 14% in a month

The Economic Observer said property prices in Yanjiao fell by 14% a month after Beijing brought in purchase restrictions on March 17, with the average in the second-hand market at 32,885.68 yuan per square meter (US$4,773 per square meter). The price declined to 28,745.96 yuan per square meter in the seventh week.

Citic Securities fined US$43.5 million over trading breaches

The China Securities Regulatory Commission revealed that in 2015 Citic Securities was fined more than 300 million yuan (US$43.5 million) and almost 62 million yuan confiscated after is financed and traded on margins for foreign companies from 2011, the Paper reported.

Haitong Securities fined US$362,802.58 for margin-trading violations

The China Securities Regulatory Commission fined Haitong Securities more than 2.5 million yuan (US$362,802.58) and seized 500,000 yuan after a warning over margin-trading violations, reported Shanghai Securities Journal on Thursday evening.

Geely Auto buys 49.9% of Malaysia’s Proton

Hong Kong-based Geely Automotive bought 49.9% of Malaysian carmaker Proton from DRB-HICOM, Caixin reported on Wednesday evening. Parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group also acquired 51% of Proton’s British luxury car brand Lotus, the report said. The value of both deals were not disclosed.

Location of SOEs to determine third round of ownership reforms

The NDRC said the geographical location of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will help determine the third round of mixed ownership reforms to create more “synergy,” the Economic Information Daily reported on Wednesday.

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.