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News from China
Tourism flourishes during holiday
9th October 2017

 TOURISM has been booming in China during the National Day holiday, benefiting its economy and those of many other countries, official data yesterday showed.

 
One of China’s two Golden Weeks, the National Day holiday saw a surge in tourist revenue along with passenger flows. This year the holiday was extended by one day as the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Cake Festival, fell on Thursday.
 
A total of 705 million tourists traveled around the country during the holiday, generating 583.6 billion yuan (US$87.7 billion) of revenue, the China National Tourism Administration said.
 
The two figures marked jumps of 11.9 percent and 13.9 percent year on year respectively, the CNTA said.
 
Provinces with major scenic spots have seen rising numbers of tourists, with southwestern Guizhou having hosting over 46 million tourists who spent 30.5 billion yuan during the eight days, up 42.1 percent and 43.5 percent year on year respectively, said the CNTA.
 
Inner Mongolia in north China was visited by 106.2 million tourists who spent 8.3 billion yuan, up 24.5 percent and 38.3 percent respectively.
 
Most Chinese have chosen to indulge in food, cultural and rural tourism this year. Theme parks, museums and traditional culture streets have also seen an obvious growth in the number of visitors, according to CNTA.
 
The booming tourism was accompanied by busy traffic. Over 110 million trips have been made by rail since the holiday travel rush started on September 28, the China Railway Corporation said.
 
CRC scheduled thousands of extra trains during the holiday to ensure smooth travel. Airports were also expected to have seen passenger numbers rise, and highways have been clogged with more vehicles.
 
The economic impact of China’s mobile population has also been felt worldwide as more Chinese have opted to travel overseas.
 
Data complied by CNTA showed that around six million Chinese from nearly 300 cities traveled to 1,155 cities in 88 countries or regions during the National Day holiday.
 
Russia was the most popular destination for Chinese tourists, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, while Moscow was the most popular city, followed by St Petersburg, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Singapore, CNTA data showed.
 
No figures are available as to how much Chinese have spent overseas during the eight-day holiday.
 
At a time when traditional growth drivers are losing steam, China has pinned hopes on services, including tourism, for new impetus to drive consumption and employment, and support economic growth and restructuring.
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 9, 2017
Citigroup Considering Onshore Cash Equities Business in China
6th October 2017

 

 
HONG KONG — Citigroup Inc is considering setting up an onshore cash equities business in China and expanding research coverage of Chinese stocks, to boost its share of the business in Asia, said the head of its regional equities unit.
 
The U.S.-headquartered bank is also looking to add at least 10 people to the unit, including bankers and technology staff, mainly at its Hong Kong and Singapore hubs, Richard Heyes told Reuters.
 
Citi's sharpened focus on its Asia equities business, which includes stock trading and research, is part of its global effort to bolster trading technology, hire senior bankers and boost financing to hedge funds.
 
"It's an interesting opportunity, one we are looking very closely at," Heyes said, referring to setting up an onshore cash equities business in China, which he said was in its early stages. He declined to give details.
 
"At the moment we don't feel we have a competitive disadvantage doing it from Hong Kong in the way the majority of people do. But over time, do I think we should strongly think about on-ground presence? Yes."
Analysts said China-listed shares' inclusion in the U.S. index publisher MSCI's emerging-markets benchmark this year, a milestone for global investing, would lead to a jump in demand for brokerage and research services.
 
That came on top of the introduction of programs allowing two-way trading between stock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai and Shenzhen, as part of Beijing's efforts to open up capital markets.
 
China's brokerage revenue pool touched $41 billion in 2015, showed a report last year by Quinlan & Associates
Assuming institutional broking revenue is 10 to 15 percent of the total, a 1 percent market share would bring $40 million to $60 million in annual revenue to an equities house in the world's second-largest economy, the consultancy said.
 
To tap into an expected demand surge, Citi, which provides research on 175 China-listed firms, plans to increase coverage to 200 by year-end and 250 in the longer term, Heyes said.
 
"We have seen very clearly, as one of the biggest players in (the Hong Kong stock) connect, a very significant ramp up in the opening of accounts. It's very clear that many people are getting prepared for future activity in the China market."
 
Citi is also looking to bolster financing support for hedge funds, to help win more trading business and boost its Asia equities market share.
 
"We have had very meaningful success with some very important, large global hedge funds in the U.S. We are now expecting or have commitments from many of them to on-board us in Asia either by end of this year or early next year."
Source: New Yokr Times, October 6, 2017
Hong Kong Shares Rise, Japan Falls in Quiet Asian Trading
4th October 2017

 HONG KONG — Asian shares were mixed in holiday-thinned trading on Wednesday as investors brushed off Wall Street's latest advance into record territory.

 
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index gave up early gains, slipping 0.1 percent to 20,598.39 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.7 percent to 28,370.43. 
Both indexes were at two-year highs. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.9 percent to 5,652.10 and Southeast Asian indexes were mixed. Stock markets were closed in mainland China, 
South Korea and Taiwan for holidays.
 
LOOKING FOR LEADS: With some key Asian markets closed, investors had little basis for their trading and were looking at fresh leads elsewhere. Sentiment was lifted by U.S. 
auto sales data showing the first monthly sales gain for the year in September as drivers replaced cars destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Markets were awaiting more U.S. data 
later in the day, including the monthly private ADP payroll report and the ISM non-manufacturing index. The figures will provide the latest insights into the world's biggest 
economy, which could factor into the Federal Reserve's plan to raise interest rates again by the end of the year.
 
FED: Investors were also awaiting a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen as speculation swirls about who President Donald Trump will tap to lead the U.S. central bank when her term 
ends early next year. The uncertainty has left the dollar in limbo. White House officials said last week Trump has met with former Fed board member Kevin Warsh, and current 
member Jerome Powell. But Trump has said he could re-nominate Yellen.
 
QUOTEWORTHY: "The focus may also be brought to the next Fed chair with Fed's Yellen's speech," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore. "Although the names on 
the list may be of little surprise to the market, the conversation is expected to further heat up on this development."
WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks pushed higher to end in record territory. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.2 percent to 2,534.58 for its sixth straight day of gains. 
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.4 percent to 22,641.67, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2 percent to 6,531.71.
 
ENERGY: Oil futures fell further. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 32 cents to $50.10 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dipped 16 cents to
 settle at $50.42 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, fell 26 cents to $55.74 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.56 Japanese yen from 112.86 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1766 from $1.1745.
Source: New York Times, October 4, 2017
General Motors, with an eye on China, promises at least 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023
3rd October 2017

 Auto buyers have yet to show much love for electric cars.

 
Sales of the Tesla Model S and Model X have stalled at around 25,000 per quarter. The company has yet to prove it can make and sell the lower-priced Model 3 in large numbers, saying Monday that it had produced only 260 of the cars through Sept. 30. Chevrolet sells only a few thousand Bolt EVs a month, despite rave reviews. Electric cars total only about 1% of total passenger vehicles sold in the U.S.
 
Yet on Monday, auto giant General Motors announced it will begin selling two new all-electric vehicles in the next 18 months, and will have at least 20 new zero-emission electric vehicles in its lineup by 2023.
 
The announcement follows similar plans revealed by major automakers around the world.
 
Volkswagen Group, which last year was the world’s top automaker, has said it will offer 80 new electric vehicles by 2025, and will electrify its entire fleet by 2030.
 
Mercedes-Benz similarly promised to make all its cars available with electric drive trains by 2020, while Volvo and Jaguar have stated they will eventually stop building cars that run only on gasoline or diesel fuel.
 
“This latest event by GM regarding ‘all electric’ is further proof of a rapidly changing industry, whether the consumer wants it or not,” said Rebecca Lindland, analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
 
If the consumer doesn’t want it, at least not to date, who does?
 
China, India, France, the United Kingdom and California. All are reviewing plans to severely limit or ban regular gas and diesel engines between 2030 and 2040. Although details are scarce, automakers need to get ready.
 
This is especially true in China, which is both the world’s largest auto market and its fastest growing. General Motors now sells more of its cars in China than in the U.S.
 
“China is their biggest market,” said Michelle Krebs, analyst at Autotrader. “If China decides to go electric, they have to do it.”
 
China’s government last week announced that roughly 10% of passenger vehicles sold in 2019 will be zero-emission “new energy vehicles,” moving up to 12% by 2020 and growing year by year. One highly placed Chinese official said the country may ban traditional engines altogether at some point in the future.
 
The stakes for automakers were made clear, Krebs said, by a Detroit auto executive who recently told her: “If the Chinese can regulate procreation, they can regulate electrification.”
 
No one is expecting internal combustion engines to disappear anytime soon. In fact, many executives see hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids as a bridge that will move consumers toward all-electric cars.
 
“General Motors has drawn a line in the sand: Its future will be all electric,” Krebs said. But she said GM was a little coy about what the new vehicles will be and when they’ll start getting here.
 
“The automaker wisely gave no time frame for when its full line of product would be electric because, frankly, no one knows how the EV future will evolve,” Krebs said.
 
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra made the announcement near Detroit at the company’s design center. The new cars, she said, are part of a sweeping plan to move toward an automotive world that includes “zero emissions, zero congestion and zero crashes.”
 
The two new cars will be based on technology derived from the company’s Bolt EV, the 238-mile-range electric sedan that Chevrolet introduced late last year.
 
They will be plug-in electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that have no internal combustion engines and do not burn gasoline or emit harmful vapors from their tailpipes.
 
“GM is committed to a zero-emission future,” said the company’s advanced-technology spokesperson, Kevin Kelly. “We said the Bolt EV would be a platform for electric vehicles going forward. Today we are showing the next chapter of that.”
 
The new vehicles could be more like SUVs or crossovers than standard passenger cars, Kelly said.
 
The company also said it is developing a new fuel-cell architecture that will allow twin electric motors, powered by compressed hydrogen, that could drive a heavy-duty truck, delivery vehicle or ambulance.
 
GM is basing the two new electric vehicles on Chevrolet Bolt underpinnings.
 
The company also pledged to start producing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles for commercial or military use in 2020, and to convert its entire model lineup to zero emissions in the future.
 
The two new electric vehicles probably will be SUVs or maybe a sportier car designed to compete with Tesla's Model 3.
 
GM says most of the new vehicles will be based on a new electric architecture with a longer range than the Bolt's 238 miles.
 
The automaker made the announcements Monday at its technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren. Executives offered few specifics on the new vehicles.
 
GM, with its Bolt and Volt plug-in hybrid, is pushing into an increasingly competitive space while facing an uncertain sales future.
 
Though Tesla says more than 350,000 people have put down $1,000 refundable deposits to get in line for the upcoming Model 3 sedan, sales of the Bolt EV have not met analysts’ expectations.
 
On Monday, the company said it had produced only 260 Model 3s from the start of production in late July through Sept. 30, far short of the 1,500 vehicles it had forecast. Tesla had planned to be churning out 20,000 Model 3s a month by December, and 500,000 a year by the end of 2018.
 
In a note to investors, Tesla blamed “production bottlenecks” but offered no details. “It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain,” the company said. “We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”
 
Analysts were more concerned with slow sales of the Model S and Model X, which have remained in the low to mid-20,000s for the last four quarters.
Source: LA Times October 3, 2017

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