Posted inAT Finance, Cambodia, North Korea, Northeast Asia, World

The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Cambodia-Hun Sen’s history: Forty years ago, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen defected from the Khmer Rouge and now his ruling Cambodian People’s Party is using this anniversary to praise his bravery then and also to celebrate the role he played in helping the country maintain peace and economic growth. David Hutt reports how critics are saying that the anniversary makes little mention of Hun Sen’s role as a Khmer Rouge deputy commander and ask if it just another bid to build his cult of personality in the lead up to general elections in 2018.

Pyongyang-Aid not bombs: Seoul has said it wants to work with Pyongyang on developing the infrastructure of North Korea, specifically on modernizing the country’s transport, power and water systems. Robert E. McCoy writes that in addition to reducing the expected astronomical costs of reunification, such projects would greatly improve the lives of ordinary North Korean citizens and, if done right, the money would not necessarily be diverted into Kim Jong-un’s military coffers.

Asia earnings bump: Regional stock benchmarks may have already jumped by double-digits this year but investors say the Asia rally still has more room to run as earnings look to grow more and keep valuation levels in check. Nick Westra reports that the rally comes while funds keep flowing from West to East, causing the US dollar to continue to depreciate, and as investors prepare to hedge against a potential overheating in US stocks.

Auto Robot Ants: An Alibaba fintech affiliate is launching an artificial intelligence product that can assess damage on vehicles for insurance companies, reports Asia Times. The system, offered free to insurance companies, will rely on “image-recognition” of exterior damage and maker Ant Financial says it will eventually reduce the workload of adjustors by 50%.

Dalian looks forward: A diverse range of breakthrough technologies, including “artificial leaves” that turn CO2 into fuel, and a technique that harvests water from air, could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, according to a list published today by the World Economic Forum. Oliver Cann reports that the technologies, selected by the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and Global Future Councils in collaboration with Scientific American, were announced at the Forum’s summer “Davos” meet in Dalian.

Posted inBeijing, China, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tianjin

China Digest for Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Supervision fee in banking, insurance suspended from July

The Ministry of Finance will suspend the collection of a supervision fee in the bank and insurance industry from July 1 this year to the end of 2020, the Economic Information Daily reported. Fees will be sent to the national treasury by August 31.

Cross-boundary e-checks allowed for daily bill payments

An e-check service for cross-boundary settlements would be used for daily bills, the People’s Bank of China Guangzhou branch and Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in a joint statement on Tuesday, Xinhua reported. E-checks can be used to pay for bills on water, cable television and property management in Guangdong province for Hong Kong residents holding yuan accounts at nine institutions, including Bank of China Hong Kong and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Overseas index derivatives to launch in HK

Some overseas index derivatives are expected to launch on the Hong Kong market, after US index provider MSCI last week announced it would include China’s A shares, the Shanghai Securities Journal said on Wednesday. Vice Chairman Fang Xinghai, of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said it had to sign an agreement first with Hong Kong regulators on cross-border financial derivatives.

AI steals jobs in car insurance claims

Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Financial launched a product to assess damage on vehicles for insurances companies, Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Wednesday. The product using image recognition and artificial intelligence will process photos uploaded by car owners and offer repair schemes and costs in seconds.

Wholesale clothing market closed in Beijing for finance, hi-tech

The 40,000 square meter Wanrong clothing wholesale market located near Beijing Zoo was closed on Tuesday, to make way for finance and hi-tech industries, Xinhua reported. More than 2,000 stalls would be relocated to cities surrounding the capital – Tianjin, Shijiazhuang and Cangzhou.

Residential land supply in Beijing triples

The supply of residential land in Beijing stood at 2.23 million square meters for the first half of the year, three times the figure for the whole of 2016, Caixin reported. Around 100.622 billion yuan (US$16.21 billion) in land sales were recorded in the first half, a rise of 179% from 2016 and it is expected to break 200 billion yuan mark by the end of this year.

Law under review to support SMEs

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is reviewing a draft revision of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Promotion Law to specify regulations that will support SMEs, the Economic Information Daily reported. The draft included tax preferences, rules on raising capital and providing low-cost office space.

May industrial profits up 16.7% year on year

May profits at the country’s industrial companies increased 16.7% from a year earlier and accelerating 14% in April, the Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Wednesday. Analysts believe profits will decline in the second half of this year with a fall in factory-gate inflation.

SOEs make handsome gains in first five months

Profits at state-owned enterprises recorded 1.038 trillion yuan (US$151.92 billion) for the first five months, surging 25.5% from a year earlier. Coal, steel and non-ferrous metal SOEs, which were in the red last year, made a dramatic turnaround. Petroleum, petrochemical and transport SOEs also saw huge profit gains.