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News from China
China’s factory activity still weak
24th June 2015

 CHINA’S manufacturing activity showed some stability but continued to be weak overall in June as it shrank for a fourth straight month, a survey showed yesterday.

The generally weak activity may pave the way for further government stimulus, according to market observers.

The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, the earliest available indicator of China’s industrial sector, edged up to 49.6 this month from the final reading of 49.2 in May and 48.9 in April, HSBC and research firm Markit said.

The reading was still below the demarcation line of 50, and it was the fourth straight month activity contracted after a brief rebound in February.

Annabel Fiddes, an economist at Markit, said June’s reading provided a mixed picture.

“On the one hand, the manufacturing sector shows signs of improvement as production stabilized amid a slight pickup in total new work, while purchasing activity also rose slightly,” Fiddes said.

“On the other hand, manufacturers continued to cut their staff numbers, with the latest reduction the sharpest in more than six years.”

Fiddes said this suggested that companies have cut growth hopes due to subdued demand at home and abroad.

“The data add to evidence that the sector has lost growth momentum in the second quarter as a whole, and indicates that China may step up the efforts to stimulate growth and job creation in the second half of the year,” Fiddes said.

China has cut interest rates and reserve requirement ratio in the past few months, along with other fiscal stimulus, to bolster a softening economy.

Some economists forecast China’s economic growth may fall below the annual target of 7 percent after growing 7.4 percent in 2014.

“The new data, plus the soft figures for investment and trade released earlier, suggest that China’s economic growth could miss 7 percent in the second quarter,” said Zhou Hao, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

In the first three months, China’s economy rose 7 percent to notch the weakest quarterly growth in six years.

The World Bank Group said earlier that China’s economic growth will ease to around 7 percent this year. The Asian Development Bank forecast China’s growth may cool to 7.2 percent this year.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 24, 2015
Cooling prices see desire to buy homes
23rd June 2015

 CHINESE residents are happier about consumer prices in the second quarter and more willing to buy houses in the next three months even as the economy stays sluggish, a central bank survey said yesterday.

An index measuring satisfaction over consumer goods prices rose 0.7 percentage points from the first quarter to 28.4 percent, the People’s Bank of China said in a survey covering 20,000 bank customers in the second quarter.

The survey found 14.7 percent of respondents are prepared to buy a house in the next three months, up 0.9 percentage points from the last quarter.

The results were released as official data showed inflation in May was the slowest in four months at 1.2 percent, while the rise in home prices in more cities indicated a recovery in the real estate market.

Meanwhile, the survey found that an overall bullish stock market since the middle of last year has boosted residents’ interest in investment especially shares.

A total of 42.3 percent of respondents said they will increase their investment, up 7.3 percentage points from the first quarter.

Fund and wealth management products remained the most popular investment option, the survey found.

Separately in the PBOC’s quarterly surveys, an index measuring bankers’ confidence in the economy fell 4.1 percent from last quarter to 43.4 percent, and 59.5 percent of bankers saw the economy as “relatively cool,” up 4.9 percentage points from the last quarter.

A confidence index for business owners shed 0.9 percentage points from the last quarter to 58.3 percent in the second quarter.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 23, 2015
Cooling prices see desire to buy homes
22nd June 2015

 CHINESE residents are happier about consumer prices in the second quarter and more willing to buy houses in the next three months even as the economy stays sluggish, a central bank survey said yesterday.

An index measuring satisfaction over consumer goods prices rose 0.7 percentage points from the first quarter to 28.4 percent, the People’s Bank of China said in a survey covering 20,000 bank customers in the second quarter.

The survey found 14.7 percent of respondents are prepared to buy a house in the next three months, up 0.9 percentage points from the last quarter.

The results were released as official data showed inflation in May was the slowest in four months at 1.2 percent, while the rise in home prices in more cities indicated a recovery in the real estate market.

Meanwhile, the survey found that an overall bullish stock market since the middle of last year has boosted residents’ interest in investment especially shares.

A total of 42.3 percent of respondents said they will increase their investment, up 7.3 percentage points from the first quarter.

Fund and wealth management products remained the most popular investment option, the survey found.

Separately in the PBOC’s quarterly surveys, an index measuring bankers’ confidence in the economy fell 4.1 percent from last quarter to 43.4 percent, and 59.5 percent of bankers saw the economy as “relatively cool,” up 4.9 percentage points from the last quarter.

A confidence index for business owners shed 0.9 percentage points from the last quarter to 58.3 percent in the second quarter.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 22, 2015
Japan to see yuan bond for 1st time
19th June 2015

 JAPAN’S biggest banking group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc plans to sell yuan bond for the first time in Japan, starting from next Wednesday, the group told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the main lending unit of the group, will manage a private offering of a two-year yuan-denominated bond worth about 350 million yuan (US$56.3 million), said spokesman Kazunobu Takahara.

The yuan bond will be sold at an annual yield of 3.64 percent, similar to the rates in major offshore markets such as Hong Kong, the bank said.

The private sale will be limited to institutional investors including life insurance companies and local banks.

“We hope to help nurture a yuan market in Japan with the issuance,” Takahara said.

The offering comes after tension eased between China and Japan after Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month, and China’s Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei called for an “actively promoting practical cooperation with Japan in yuan bond issue” in a bilateral finance minister summit on May 6.

The issue is also linked to China’s efforts to internationalize the yuan since 2009, Takahara noted, adding that China is poised to free up capital-account dealings and to abolish a requirement to get pre-approval before exchanging yuan for other currencies.

“China wants to see issuers raising yuan debt not just locally, but in diverse locations to promote globalization,” Bloomberg News cited Mana Nakazora, chief credit analyst in Tokyo at BNP Paribas SA, as saying.

The yuan took a 2.1 percent share of worldwide payments in April, up from just 0.3 percent three years earlier, said SWIFT, a global telecommunications network for banks. Offshore issuances of yuan bonds surged 50 percent to 460 billion yuan in 2014, SWIFT added.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 19, 2015

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