China's stock market boom expected in 2014Dec 27, 2013
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has said there is a strong possibility that the country's stock market make dramatic gains next year when the government reopens the market for IPOs. Although there will be challenges, the CASS said in a report that a dramatic rise in the stock market could happen next year, resembling that of 1999 in many ways. Within two months from mid-May in 1999, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index increased from around 1,100 to more than 1,600. With the relaunch of IPOs next year striking rises should be expected, experts said.
China to become world's biggest economy by 2030Dec 26, 2014
The latest edition of Cebr Global's World Economic League Table (WELT) showed that China will become the world's biggest economy by 2030, ahead of the US and India in third place. Japan, Brazil, the UK, Germany, South Korea, France and Russia will comprise the top ten economies, respectively, by then. The WELT tracks the size of different economies across the globe and forecasts future changes as far ahead as 2030. This year, the ranking puts the US in the top spot, followed by China, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Brazil, Italy, India and Russia. The WELT also showed that China could overtake the US as the world's biggest economy as early as 2025, as the country's growth continues to be strong.
China's new jobs in 2014 to surpass 13 millionDec 26, 2014
The number of new jobs created in China this year is expected to surpass 13 million as the economy added 10.82 million new jobs in the January-September period. The official Xinhua news agency reported the figure based on a statement from the labour ministry. The report said the actual new jobs this year will even outstrip the official employment target even as the country is experiencing a slower economic growth. China aims to keep its urban unemployment rate below 4.6% this year.
China's Sany seeks more investments in emerging marketsDec 26, 2014
Changsha-based Sany Heavy Industry Co Ltd revealed plans to boost its investments in emerging markets such as the South American nation of Venezuela, as it looks for ways to sustain growth despite difficult market conditions in China. Sany also revealed on 25 December that its automobile unit received USD200m supply order for heavy machinery, like excavators and crawler cranes, from Venezuela. It added that it got 50% of the advance payment from Corpovex, Venezuela's national trading firm.
ICBC and Societe Generale sign cross-border, capital biz dealDec 26, 2014
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Societe Generale of France on 25 December signed an agreement in Beijing to increase their capital business and cross-border cash cooperation. Under the deal, the two lenders will work together on their cross-border renminbi business, international payments, cash management, investment banking, corporate lending and syndicated loans - cooperating in the distribution of financial products such as wealth and asset management.
China to reform calculation of GDPDec 26, 2014
The Chinese government is speeding up its statistical reform for a new unified system to be used in calculating gross domestic product in China's regions. Director Ma Jiantang of the country's National Bureau of Statistics said on 25 December that this is meant to prevent inflated domestic data that differ to that of the central government's calculations. Ma added that only Beijing is allowed to evaluate GDP and growth rates in all of the country's municipalities and provinces.
Shanghai land sales end on a highDec 26, 2014
Shanghai's land sales saw a year-end high, a proof that developers' appetite for properties in first-tier cities is increasing even though dangers of oversupply are still present in smaller cities. In Qiantan, Gree Real Estate Co Ltd bought one plot for Rmb1.61bn (USD259m) on 24 December, a 2014 record high. Later on the same day, Sanxiang Share Co Ltd purchased a nearby parcel of land for Rmb1.86bn (USD300m), or a gross floor area price of Rmb66,629 (USD10,732.59) per sq. m. The Shanghai government sold ten plots worth Rmb10.64bn (USD1.71) in all on the same day.
Renminbi to have normal fluctuations next yearDec 26, 2014
Financial experts said that the yuan or renminbi, the official currency of China, will go through "normal fluctuations" next year. Bank of Communications Chief Economist Lian Ping said that the yuan will keep undergoing appreciation and depreciation in 2015, its central parity rates experiencing not as much violent changes as this year. Ping said the yuan’s spot-exchange rates will go up and down from Rmb6 to Rmb6.4 against the United States dollar. While CFFEX Institute for Financial Derivatives Chief Analyst Zhao Qingming said the US might increase interest rates along with its economic recovery.
Samsung to send 120 experts to ChinaDec 26, 2014
South Korea's electronics giant Samsung Group revealed a plan to send in over 120 company experts to mainland China next year to help solve the problem of decreasing sales of its smartphone business. The South Korean newspaper The Chosunilbo reported that analysts believe Samsung is in danger of losing its position as China's top smartphone vendor. The experts that Samsung will be sending to China in 2015 will be responsible for finding ways on how to beat domestic competition, especially from Lenovo Group Ltd and Xiaomi Corp.
China’s UnionPay is South Korea’s top foreign card brandDec 26, 2014
China UnionPay issued over 10 million cards in South Korea along with domestic credit-card agencies in the country, making it the number one foreign card brand in the country. The firm is overtaking the US-based card issuers MasterCard Inc and Visa Inc, according to a report that South Korean investment research group ThinkPool Co Ltd released. Transaction volumes utilising the UnionPay card in the country went up from 17.4% of the country's overall deals using foreign cards in Q3 of 2011 to 59.9% in Q3 of this year, according to UnionPay International Co, the global unit of China UnionPay.
China to ease overseas investment regulationsDec 26, 2014
The Chinese government decided to relax restrictions on overseas investments in order to add advantages to Chinese firms doing business overseas. Analysts see this as China's move to transform itself from being the biggest commodity exporter in the world to being a net capital exporter. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang presided over a State Council executive meeting on 24 December to smooth out the process for local firms to create mergers, launch listings, and open banks abroad.
Three provinces seek permit to launch FTZsDec 26, 2014
The provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu and Hubei are applying for permits to launch their own free trade zones (FTZs) following the approval of three FTZs in coastal areas early in December. Shaanxi will set up its FTZ in the capital Xi'an once the plan is approved. The Gansu FTZ will be centred on the Lanzhou New Area. Experts said the new zones will help China achieve a more balanced development. The first FTZ in China, the Shanghai Pilot FTZ, was launched on 29 September 2013. On 12 December 2014, the State Council announced that it has approved the establishment of another three FTZs in South China's Guangdong Province, East China's Fujian Province and North China's Tianjin Municipality.
E-commerce is Beijing's new growth engineDec 26, 2014
The Third National Economic Census released on 25 December showed that e-commerce is now the new growth engine of Beijing, where online retail volumes generated surged more than ten times since 2009. Based on the census, online wholesalers and retailers in Beijing achieved sales worth about USD20bn from January to November, a 68.3% rise from the same period last year. Traditional retail sectors, including catering, hospitality and postal services, however, expanded at a slower pace.
Dalian Wanda takes controlling stake in online payment provider 99BillDec 26, 2014
Dalian Wanda Group has taken a controlling stake in 99Bill Corp, a Chinese third-party payment service provider, in a deal estimated to be worth Rmb2bn (USD322.55m). Beijing-based Dalian Wanda did not disclose the amount it paid but Reuters reported it could be that much. The real estate arm of Dalian Wanda recently raised about USD3.7bn in a Hong Kong share sale. The conglomerate continues to diversify its investments from real estate to e-commerce.
Higher demand in China and US boosts crude-oil pricesDec 24, 2014
Prices of crude oil went up to their highest level in over seven days on 23 December due to higher demand in both mainland China and the United States -- the biggest global buyers of oil. Light sweet crude intended for delivery in February next year was at USD1.86, 3.4% higher at USD57.12 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While brent crude, also scheduled for delivery in February, is priced at USD1.58, 2.6% higher at USD61.69 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The said prices are at their highest settlements since 12 December.
Chinese banks urged to step up efforts to curb bad loans in 2015Dec 24, 2014
The country's banking regulator, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has urged Chinese banks to curb bad loan risks in 2015. The CBRC issued the statement as average non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of Chinese banks rose to 1.31% in November from 1.16% at the end of September and 1.08% at the end of June. Some independent economists believe the NPL ratio is far higher. The CBRC said banks must better manage liquidity risks and control risks from fluctuations in loan collateral value in 2015. The banking regulator added that the government will further allow more private investments into the existing banks to help them curb bad loans.
China urges Qualcomm to take lower royaltiesDec 24, 2014
The Chinese government wants US-based semiconductor-firm Qualcomm Inc to take lower royalty payments for technology used by China-based smartphone makers, on top of possibly unbundling its licensing deals. A 13-month anti-monopoly investigation with the Chinese government will be formally closed if Qualcomm agrees to the deal, a Chinese news platform reported. The American company is still negotiating with China's National Development and Reform Commission. Qualcomm, the biggest producer of mobile-phone chips, is currently trying to resist China's demands.
Shanghai to keep upgrading its FTZ in 2015Dec 24, 2014
The city of Shanghai aims to continue developing its pilot free-trade zone in 2015 as part of its attempts to boost reforms in order to strengthen the growth of the economy. Shanghai Party Secretary Han Zheng said during a Communist Party Shanghai Committee plenary meeting that the city will get a lot of help in adjusting to a new normal of slower economic movement but an enhanced industrial setup. Han added that the local government should adapt to new factors, with 2015 being the last year of the 12th Five-Year Plan.
HK-backed Nicaragua canal project beginsDec 24, 2014
The USD50bn Nicaragua Canal project, seen to be as big as the Panama Canal upon completion in five years' time, is being constructed in the southern region of the country under the auspices of the Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd of Hong Kong. The project is believed to be vital for the upgrade of the Central American nation, possibly doubling its revenues, lowering poverty from 14% to 7%, and also providing formal jobs to a fourth of those working in the underground economy. HKND Group Chairman Wang Jing said that the canal project will also benefit other nations in the future who will use the waterway to transport their products.
Weak China demand sinks iron-ore prices at 5½-year lowDec 24, 2014
Prices for iron ore dropped to a new 5½-year low on 23 December at 3.5% to USD65.60 per metric tonne, the lowest price since June 2009, data provider The Steel Index said. This is due to a weak demand in mainland China -- the product's top buyer worldwide. Despite adequate supplies, industry experts said that traders are waiting for a clear outlook on demand trends and prices. China's steel production normally slows down during the winter months in the northern part of the country.
More than half of Chinese citizens worried by house pricesDec 24, 2014
A survey conducted by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) showed that 58.8% of Chinese citizens polled said the current home prices were too high for them. The survey, which involved 20,000 people in 50 cities, also showed that home prices, especially in large cities, are still too high for most new graduates. About 52.9% of respondents who live in urban areas said current prices were too high. The respondents expressed worries about the high house prices even as the property market cooled in 2014.
USD4bn earmarked for new roads and bridgesDec 24, 2014
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved the allocation of Rmb25bn (USD4bn) for the construction of new bridges and roads. The allocation is part of the Rmb209bn (USD33.55bn) worth of projects approved and announced by the NDRC on 22 December. The new bridges and roads projects are tightly targeted to stimulate productive investment, said the official Shanghai Securities News. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the NDRC has approved a total of Rmb1.38tr (USD221bn) worth of projects.
China supports Thailand's IT hub bidDec 24, 2014
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co has pledged to support Thailand's bid to become a regional information technology hub, the Bangkok Post reported quoting Thai government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalarp. Yongyuth revealed that Thailand's plan to use IT to boost people's livelihoods has earned the praise of Huawei's deputy board chairman, Hu Houkun. Huawei is ready to work with the government of Thailand and the country's private sector to help shape IT development plans, he added. The spokesman said China's support will help realise Thailand's ambitious digital economy policy.
China probes possible stock price manipulationDec 23, 2014
On 22 December, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has launched an investigation into a possible stock-price manipulation in the country's equity market. This came at a time when stocks traded on the mainland rallied to their highest level in three years. The run-up in the country's equity market has raised concerns of possible manipulation considering that China is experiencing weakening economic growth. According to analysts and officials, short-term speculators could be behind much of the surge. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the investigation is focused on a practice whereby groups of investors pump up prices of certain targeted stocks.
Maldives seeks to join China-backed infrastructure bankDec 23, 2014
China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has received another supporter as the Maldives has asked to be included as a founding member of the proposed bank. The request of the Maldives was formally forwarded during the visit to China of Maldives' Economic Council. The Maldives want to officially join the AIIB alongside the existing 21 countries. Dr Mohamed Shainee, Maldives minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, also announced that China will become the first free trade partner of his country following the signing of an agreement to engage upon free trade in the future.