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The Daily Brief for Tuesday, 4 July 2017

India-Mallya fights extradition: After the 2012 collapse of Kingfisher Airlines, a consortium of 17 Indian banks is claiming once-flamboyant tycoon Vijay Mallya owes them more than US$1 billion. Richard Cook writes that the Indian government now wants to talk to Mallya about money laundering, fraud and “loan diversions” from corporate to private bank accounts and the man they used to call the “king of good times” has plenty to worry about as he fights extradition from Britain.

Another Pyongyang missile: North Korea says it has successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile which flew a trajectory that could allow a weapon to hit the US state of Alaska, reports Christine Kim. The launch comes days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations are due to discuss steps to rein in Pyongyang’s weapons programs, which the North has pursued in defiance of UN Security Council and unilateral US and South Korean sanctions.

Asia’s credit test: The region has come a long since the 1997 financial crisis with banking systems healthier, governments more transparent, currency reserves rebuilt and economies more open. William Pesek writes that as the US Federal Reserve and other central banks prepare to tighten global credit, Asia now needs to restructure economies, create real growth and prevent dangerous bubbles, in both debt and credit.

ISIS-dead or alive? While Iran says it is 100% certain that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State — is dead, other security sources in Baghdad say that he is alive and hiding in the countryside of al-Raqqa. Sami Moubayed writes that the real point is the ideology of ISIS is not yet eradicated so another leader will be ready and waiting to take up the cause, if Abu Bakr is dead or not.

China-Northbound bond market: Total volume of bond trading via the mainland-Hong Kong Bond Connect program on day one stood at 7.84 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion), reports Asia Times. The inaugural day’s trade of the “Northbound” Bond Connect program, that permits overseas investors to trade in the mainland interbank bond market, involved 19 institutions, 70 investors and 142 deals.

Posted inChinaHong KongShanghaiWorld

China Digest for Tuesday, 4 July 2017

LeEco faces more financial troubles

Embattled conglomerate LeEco has an onshore guarantee for an offshore loan that is overdue for close to two months, Caixin reported, citing anonymous sources. Close to 1.237 billion yuan in assets have also been frozen by the Shanghai High Court (US$180 million) in a case initiated by China Merchants’ Bank, the report said.

US$1.15 billion volume on ‘Northbound’ launch

Total volume of bond trading via the mainland-Hong Kong Bond Connect program on day one stood at 7.84 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion), involving 19 institutions and 70 investors in 142 deals, the Economic Information Daily reported. The “Northbound” bond connect permits overseas investors to buy bonds in the mainland interbank bond market.

China’s bio industry maintains rapid growth

The bio industry market has exceeded 2 trillion yuan in 2016, while genetic testing has maintained an average annual growth rate of more than 30%, Yicai reported. The bio industry is expected to become an eight to ten trillion yuan sector by 2020, taking 4% of the GDP to lead the national economy in the 13th Five-year Plan period.

Online literature boosts a US$1.32 million market

As of 2016, hypertext/electronic literature has attracted 330 million people and has a market value of 9 billion yuan, maintaining a continuous 20% annual growth rate since 2012, the Paper reported. Avid internet users amounted to 42.8% of the total number via mobile phones.

Ofo refutes rumors it owes US$368 million

Bike sharing company Ofo said Monday that rumors the company owes 2.5 billion yuan (US$368 million) were “instigated by 40 small websites in a coordinated effort,” the China Securities Journal reported. Last month, Ofo decided to suddenly raise deposits from 99 yuan to 199 yuan, raising concerns it was facing a cashflow issue.

Retail sales volume nears US$4.37 trillion in 2016

The volume of retail sales approached 29.7 trillion yuan in 2016, a 10.4% year on year increase, the Economic Information Daily reported, citing a Ministry of Commerce report. Data from the report suggests steady and rapid retail sales development in 2017, with a focus on innovation and transformation in traditional stores.

More than US$28 billion issued in local government bonds

The Shanghai Stock Exchange has issued close to 195.1 billion yuan (US$28 billion) in local government bonds this year, the Securities Times reported. Zhejiang province (29.9 billion yuan) and Inner Mongolia (35.9 billion yuan) are some of the big issuers and the trend of local government bonds issuance is likely to continue, the report added.

HKEX ranks as fourth largest IPO market

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) raised HK$53.6 billion in the first six month of 2017, ranking it as the world’s fourth largest initial public offering (IPO) market by value, Caixin reported. The top three markets were the New York Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange respectively.

NDRC seeks public consultation on ‘sharing economy’

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is seeking public input into the market entry, capital inflow and regulatory mechanisms of the “sharing economy,” the Paper reported. The guidance issued by the NDRC also spelled out the need to balance protecting individuals’ interests against the development of the sharing economy.

Leadership changes in Yunnan province

Two vice governors of Yunnan province have resigned to take on further roles in the People’s Congress, Caixin reported. Liu Huiyan and Zhang Taiyuan, both career bureaucrats, have stepped down. He Jingping, a bureaucrat who held various positions in Yunnan, was appointed as vice governor, the report added.