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News from China
China’s services trade and ODI shine
18th August 2016

 CHINA’S non-financial outbound direct investment and services trade have emerged as shining spots in otherwise lackluster foreign trade figures.

China’s ODI soared to 673.24 billion yuan (US$102.75 billion) from January to July, a 61.8 percent year-on-year increase, said Shen Danyang, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, at a press conference yesterday.

July’s ODI reached 91.01 billion yuan, down 9.5 percent month on month, according to the ministry.

During the first seven months of the year, China’s ODI surpassed its foreign direct investment, meaning it was a net capital exporter, Shen said.

During the same period, China’s FDI rose 4.3 percent year on year to 491.51 billion yuan, according to the ministry’s data.

US, Germany popular

The United States and Germany were among the most popular investment destinations for Chinese companies. During the seven-month period, ODI in both countries more than doubled from a year earlier.

Large overseas mergers and acquisitions contributed to the ODI growth. From January to July, China’s overseas M&As totaled US$54.3 billion, accounting for more than half of the total ODI.

The M&A value in the first seven months of 2016 surpassed the volume registered for the whole of 2015. From January to July, there were M&As by Chinese enterprises in 63 countries and regions, covering 15 sectors including information transmission, services, software and manufacturing.

By the end of July, China’s accumulated investment under the Belt and Road Initiative hit US$51.1 billion, taking up 12 percent of the country’s total ODI.

Launched in late 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is an umbrella term for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It will be a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, along ancient trade routes.

The ministry also revealed at the press conference that China’s services trade totaled 2.53 trillion yuan during the first half year, up 21.5 percent year on year.

Source: Shanghai Daily, August 18, 2016
Curbs cause mortgages to decline again
17th August 2016

 NEW home loans in Shanghai fell for a second month in July after the government acted to curb soaring housing prices in the city, the Shanghai headquarters of the People’s Bank of China said in a statement yesterday.

Banks in Shanghai lent 25.5 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) in mortgages to individuals last month, down 10.3 billion yuan from June, said a statement on the central bank’s website. However, mortgages last month still rose 12.3 billion yuan from the same period last year, the statement said.

“Home loans have been declining for two straight months in a sign that government policies to cool the housing market have taken effect,” the statement said.

Over the past few months Shanghai has unveiled policies to curb the city’s overheated property market, including tighter restriction for non-local buyers and raising the down payment for certain second-time buyers.

Total loans to land and property developers fell 22.4 billion yuan last month, narrowing from a drop of 48.9 billion yuan in June. Loans for affordable housing development surged by 320 million yuan last month.

Source: Shanghai Daily, August 17,2016
Oil spurts on hopes of OPEC deal to freeze output
16th August 2016

 OIL rose further yesterday on hopes that OPEC producers would agree to freeze output next month and ease the global supply glut.

At 1130 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery added 24 cents to US$44.73 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for October rose 25 cents to US$47.22 per barrel.

Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid al-Falih hinted last week that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could discuss action to stabilize markets at a September gathering.

It helped prices rebound since tumbling into a bear market earlier this month.

Any agreement to curb production would help rebalance the crude oil market, where output has been running ahead of demand. Both oil contracts rose more than 6 percent last week following the Saudi minister’s remarks.

“Will there or won’t there be a credible meeting and should anything be expected of it? The one word answers are ‘maybe’ and ‘no’, but OPEC have absolutely nothing to lose from talking about having an informal discussion on production restraint,” said PVM analyst David Hufton.

“The meeting is unlikely to yield anything because OPEC are caught in a squeeze. On the supply side it is their own increase in production that is prolonging the price depression — but if they freeze or restrain production to lift prices they will stimulate competing non-OPEC supply and lose market share.”

Some analysts have cautioned against putting too much hope on an output freeze, because previous talks earlier this year have resulted in disagreement.

“An agreement is still improbable,” research house Capital Economics said in a market commentary.

Source: Shanghai Daily, August 16, 2016
Pingxiang chosen as pilot zone
15th August 2016

 CHINA’S State Council has approved Pingxiang, a city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on the border with Vietnam, to be a new opening-up pilot zone, a statement said on Friday.

The plan for the new zone will be published by the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planner.

Pingxiang is Guangxi’s second “key pilot zone for development and opening-up” after Dongxing, approved in August 2012.

Southwestern Yunnan Province’s Mengla bordering Laos, and Ruili, a major border crossing between China and Myanmar, as well as northern Inner Mongolia’s Manzhouli city and northeastern Heilongjiang Province’s Suifenhe-Dongning zone on the Russian border are also on the pilot zone list.

Source: Shanghai Daily, August 15, 2016

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