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The Daily Brief for Friday, 23 June 2017

Park’s confidante jailed: The friend of former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye, who was at the centre of an influence-peddling scandal that rocked the country’s business and political elite, has been sentenced to three years in jail, reports Heekyong Yang. The court decision was the first ruling against Choi Soon-sil, a long-time confidante of the ousted South Korean president, who has been arrested and is being held in jail over the corruption scandal that ended her administration.

Dutertenomics-Brains not brawn: Strongman leaders are back in vogue in Asia and no one is tossing around more testosterone than Rodrigo Duterte. William Pesek writes that instead of creating a blood-soaked “Duterte Harry” legacy, the Philippines President should instead focus on tackling the country’s change-averse and nepotistic political system to kick start an economic boom that would really capture the world’s imagination.

Modi’s Washington shopping-list: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Donald Trump for the first time on Sunday and when he does, he hopes the United States will have already approved India’s strategically-important purchase of a US Navy variant of the Predator drone. Sanjeev Miglani and David Brunnstrom write that defence ties flourished with former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump who has courted China instead of India as he seeks Beijing’s help to contain North Korea’s nuclear programme.

Qatar-Facing the abyss? Qatar’s economy has so far managed to survive the gripping blockade imposed on it by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain but how long can this last, asks Sami Moubayed? Sanctions will soon start to bite on tourism, services and finance and while some are still confident that international firms will intervene and force the Saudis to end the blockade, the crisis has already had a terrible effect on Qatar’s reputation in global markets.

Pyongyang releases Russians: A North Korean patrol boat intercepted a Russian yacht and towed it into North Korea’s Rason port until the Russian embassy intervened to have the three crew and the vessel released.
Asia Times reports that North Korea regularly detains Chinese vessels near its shores and usually demands payment of a fine for their return but the Russian vessel, which was sailing to Vladivostok after wintering in Taiwan, faced no such issues and the incident was resolved in less than 24 hours.

Posted inBeijingChinaHong KongShanghai

China Digest for Friday, 23 June 2017

Sina Weibo share price slumps 10% in New York

US-listed Sina Weibo’s share price slumped 10% in New York on Thursday, after the microblogging site had to halt services for failing to secure a permit to publish audio and visual programs, the Paper reported. The State Administration of Film and Television told Sina Weibo, ACFUN and IFENG.COM to stop publishing content, Caijing reported.

Wanda quashes rumours on ‘share dump’

Wanda Film Holding Co Ltd shares can trade on the Shenzhen Stock Market on Friday, a day after the price dropped by almost the 10% daily limit that would trigger a suspension, the Shanghai Securities Daily reported. Late on Thursday, Wanda Group said China Construction Bank had never issued a notice to dump its shares and online rumors were not true.

Mixed ownership reform in energy sector to speed up

The State Grid planned to raise more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.46 billion) from private investors and promote state-owned listed companies to accelerate reforms on mixed ownership in the energy sector, the Economic Information Daily reported.

HK top city for livable, sustainable competitiveness in 2016

Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Shanghai were the top three cities, respectively, in overall economic competitiveness in 2016, the National Academy of Economic Strategy said. But Hong Kong was the top city on livable and sustainable competitiveness.

Online reporting for certification industry

An online reporting system for testing and certification of goods will be set up to stop counterfeiting and promote public trust, the Certification and Accreditation Administration and Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said in the Economic Information Daily on Thursday.

Revenue from land sales exceeds US$14 billion

Total revenue from land sales exceeded 100 billion yuan in Beijing so far this year after two deals worth 12.66 billion yuan were struck on Thursday, the Economic Information Daily reported. The two plots were for residential buildings in low density areas.

Three state-owned banks in tie-ups with internet giants

Bank of China said on June 22 that it had established a strategic cooperation with Tencent, the Securities Daily reported. It follows similar deals struck between Agricultural Bank of China and Baidu on June 20 as well as ICBC and JD.com on June 16. Analysts believe the tie-ups will transform the financial industry, but rules were needed to protect personal privacy, it added.

Hebei holds nation’s first coal production capacity auction

Around 932 million tons of coal production capacity in Hebei province was sold to nine coal enterprises in Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia at the country’s first such auction, the Securities Daily reported. The average transaction price was 181.01 yuan per ton, it added.

Sixth decline forecast in oil prices this year

Industry agencies expect the domestic retail price of refined oil will see a sixth drop this year to 270 yuan per ton, China News reported, as international prices continue to fall. The next oil pricing cycle will begin on June 23 at midnight Beijing time.

Crack down on underground banks, says Pan Gongsheng

Departments should continue to deepen reform and strengthen supervision as well as crack down on illegal activities such as underground banking to safeguard a stable foreign exchange market, Sina Finance reported, citing Pan Gongsheng, director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in a forum.