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News from China
New index for interbank bond market
26th January 2017

 CHINA’S interbank bond market will be included in a new index under Bloomberg Barclays indexes to reflect the growing importance of the country’s financial markets, Bloomberg LP said yesterday.

 
The newly created China Aggregate Index will be launched on March 1, Bloomberg said in a statement yesterday.
 
The index will track government securities valued at more than 5 billion yuan (US$727 million) and corporate securities worth above 1.5 billion yuan.
 
Investors are awaiting China’s entry into global indexes such as JPMorgan Chase & Co’s emerging-market bond index and Citigroup’s global debt barometer to invite an increase of foreign participation in China’s onshore bond market.
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 26, 2017
Chips lift Samsung’s earnings in Q4
25th January 2017

 SAMSUNG Electronics Co yesterday said it expects profit growth in 2017 despite challenges arising from political uncertainty, after record chip earnings glossed over the Note 7 smartphone fiasco in the fourth quarter.

 
The South Korean tech giant and Apple Inc rival is embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye, with five Samsung Group executives already grilled by prosecutors and investigations ongoing.
 
“The uncertain business environment such as the changing political landscape in Korea and overseas poses a challenge to the execution of mid- to long-term business strategies, such as M&A and investment decisions and developing new growth engines,” Samsung Electronics said in a statement.
 
Even so, it flagged higher earnings this year after a slow first quarter, when steeper marketing costs will eat into its bottom line as it tries to rebuild its reputation from the failure of its latest flagship phone.
 
The world’s top maker of smartphones, memory chips and flat-screen televisions is counting on the booming chip market to continue driving growth and give the mobile business breathing space to rebuild its premium line-up.
 
The company forecast “stable demand” in 2017 for memory chips, which hit an all-time earnings high in the October-December period.
 
Fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50 percent to 9.22 trillion won (US$7.93 billion), its highest in over three years and matching prior guidance of 9.2 trillion won. Earnings from the chips business soared 77 percent year on year to a 4.95 trillion won. Revenue were flat at 53.3 trillion won.
 
Analysts said the outlook for 2017 was clouded by uncertainty over the performance of new premium smartphones, succession planning within the controlling Lee family and the fallout from the graft scandal.
 
Samsung Group scion Jay Y. Lee, 48, is restructuring the sprawling conglomerate in moves analysts see as preparations to succeed his father, Lee Kun-hee, who was hospitalized in 2014.
 
But the heir-apparent has been classified as a suspect by prosecutors investigating whether the conglomerate paid bribes to a Park associate to win support for a merger of affiliates in 2015.
 
“If the head of the group is indicted, there will likely be some leadership vacuum,” Alpha Asset Management fund manager C.J. Heo said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 25, 2017
Microsoft and startups share tech
24th January 2017

 MICROSOFT Corp has opened its first accelerator base in Shanghai, the software giant said yesterday.

 
The company will use the accelerator base in Xuhui District, which will serve the first batch of 14 startups, to share advanced technologies, resources and experiences, and to help Shanghai develop into an international innovation and entrepreneurship platform, Microsoft said.
 
Programs the base runs focus on technologies like cloud computing, Big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, which bring new challenges and opportunities to every industry, said Hsiao-Wuen Hon, corporate vice president of Microsoft and chairman of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group.
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 24, 2017
Oil ministers make progress on output cut deal
23rd January 2017

 ENERGY ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries meeting in Vienna yesterday have struck a positive note regarding their agreement to cut oil output as a committee set to monitor compliance with the deal meets for the first time.

 
“I am satisfied, I am optimistic and, as I said, the markets are on their way to rebalance and it’s happening,” Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said.
 
Compliance with the agreement, which calls for cuts to begin this month, had been “fantastic,” he said.
 
Kuwaiti oil minister Essam Al-Marzouq, who chairs the five-member compliance committee, said it would examine how to best monitor compliance and what level of compliance would be acceptable.
 
The other members of the committee represent Algeria, Venezuela, Russia and Oman. A deal reached on December 10 between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers marked the first such pact since 2001.
 
Under it, producers will lower output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day aiming to ease a global glut that has weighed on oil prices for more than two years.
 
“Usually non-OPEC would raise their production to compensate for voluntary cuts by OPEC. Now, we are seeing voluntary cuts by both sides,” Falih said.
 
Some 1.5 million bpd in crude production had already been taken out of the market.
 
“The other 300,000 bpd, for all I know, is still happening,” Falih said, adding he hoped for full compliance in February.
 
Venezuela has achieved more than half of its planned 95,000 bpd cut, Oil Minister Nelson Martinez told reporters. Full compliance could take global oil inventories back close to their five-year average by mid-2017, lowering oil in storage by around 300 million barrels.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 23, 2017

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