Posted inAT Finance, China, Iraq, Middle East, North Korea, Northeast Asia, Russia, Singapore, World

The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Pyongyang-American strike possible? North Korea is claiming it now has the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, after testing another advanced missile on Tuesday. Harry J Kazianis writes such an assertion is still hard to confirm but one thing is clear: Pyongyang’s missile program is entering a critical phase and is no longer a distant threat.

Asia-Innovation the answer: In the second of a three-part Asia Times series on how tightening by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks will affect Asia, William Pesek says riding America’s coattails is no longer an option for the region’s economic strategists. Instead, governments from Jakarta to Seoul and from Taipei to New Delhi will be forced, finally, to put innovation and startups at the center of growth strategies.

New ISIS leader? A low-profile terrorist, Iyad al-Obeidi, is earmarked to succeed the self-proclaimed commander of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, if the latter is in fact proven dead. Sami Moubayed writes that Al-Obeidi, who until recently served as head of the Islamic State’s Military Command, comes with the right credentials as he was born into a prominent Sunni Muslim family and also formed part of Saddam’s Iraqi military elite.

Russia’s land giveaway: A little over a year ago, Russia started a program which offered citizens free land in the sparsely populated areas of the Far East to encourage migration, reports Irina Drobysheva. The project was initially met with much skepticism but has so far exceeded expectations and, with almost 100,000 applications lodged and more than 21,600 new plots registered, it could prove to be the catalyst for a historic movement of Russian people.

Asia’s top universities: British magazine Times Higher Education released its first Asia-Pacific University Ranking on Tuesday to reflect the region’s growing strength in the higher education sector. Liu Hsiu Wen writes that 243 universities featured on the list with institutions from China and Singapore taking four of the top five places.

Posted inChina, Shanghai

China Digest for Wednesday, 5 July 2017

PBOC pledges to maintain neutral monetary policy

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it would continue to implement a prudent and neutral monetary policy and keep liquidity in the financial system relatively stable, Caixin reported, citing the China Financial Stability Report 2017. PBOC said it would give more prominence to financial risk controls since the country’s shadow banking sector lacks sufficient regulation, Sina Finance added.

Bitcoin ‘attracts speculation’ and is risky: PBOC report

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said that Bitcoin and other “virtual goods attract “speculation,” and hence “can be risky,” in its annual China Financial Stability Report, the Paper reported. The PBOC report also said internet financing and bitcoin run the risk of illicit activities and despite existing regulation, more could be done.

State Council to offer incentives on privately funded pensions

The State Council said it will provide pilot schemes and offer to defer tax payments to encourage people to fund their own pensions by buying investment products, the Shanghai Securities Daily reported. Insiders said this would speed up development in commercially funded private pensions and benefit the capital market.

PBOC allows overseas rating on interbank bond market

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) allowed overseas credit rating agencies to rate the country’s interbank bond market on late Monday, a breakthrough step in the US-China 100-day plan, Sina Finance reported. This decision will help speed up capital market access to overseas investors through the bond connect program.

CIRC to crack down on speculation in property insurance

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) issued a guidance on Tuesday listing 11 points for property insurance companies to complete their “self-inspection” by the end of July and carry out reforms by the end of August, Caixin reported. The 11 points include whether the insurance products violate “the principles of insurance,” whether consumers’ rights are upheld and whether unnecessary speculation and sales gimmicks are present.

Shenzhen tightens rules on P2P lending companies

The municipal government’s financial services office in Shenzhen said that all peer to peer (P2P) and internet financing companies in the city are required to have the same operational address as their business registration address, the Securities Times reported. The companies are also required to get a custodian bank within six months.

Jia Yueting and LeEco’s assets are frozen

LeEco, the embattled media conglomerate, issued a statement on Tuesday saying that its founder and main shareholder, Jia Yueting, as well as LeEco’s shares of its main television arm, LeTV, are 99.06% frozen, the Paper reported. In the same statement, LeEco said the freezing of assets will not affect its bid to list the company in future.

Ex-Fujian governor dismissed from party and official role

Su Shulin, the ex-governor of Fujian province, has been expelled from the Communist Party and also sacked from his role as governor, Caixin reported. Su, an ex-Sinopec executive, was alleged to have abused his power and misappropriated large sums of money. He is the fifth high level official from both Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp. to be investigated on corruption charges since 2013.

Security Times Media Group delisted over revenue requirement

New Third Board listing Security Times Media Group, a 23.06% Security Times share holding affiliate company, was delisted on Monday as it couldn’t provide 2016 annual revenue on time, Caixin reported. The New Third Board is an over-the-counter system for trading shares of public limited companies that are not listed in the Shenzhen and Shanghai exchanges.

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