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News from China
Chinese financial institutions see investment outflow
10th May 2017

 OVERSEAS direct investment in China’s financial institutions, including banks, insurers and securities firms, saw a net outflow of US$1.29 billion in the first quarter of 2017, the foreign exchange regulator revealed yesterday.

 
This is an increase from a net outflow of US$1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, equivalent to roughly half of the net outflow of overseas investment into the industry registered for the whole of 2016, according to data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
 
In the first three months, China’s financial institutions made net outbound investment of US$1.98 billion in overseas companies, lower than the quarterly average level set in 2016, according to the SAFE.
 
Last year, China’s financial institutions’ net outbound investment totaled US$9.65 billion in overseas companies, official data showed.
 
SAFE has released data on a quarterly basis since 2012, as part of its efforts to increase the transparency of foreign exchange data.
 
Overseas investment to financial organs makes up only a small portion of overall foreign direct investment into China.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 10, 2017
Chinese demand for gold rises 8% in Q1
5th May 2017

 CHINA’S consumer demand for gold rose 8 percent year on year to 282.4 tons in the first quarter of 2017, compared with an 18 percent drop in global demand due to a slower pace of central bank buying and a previous high base, the World Gold Council said yesterday.

 
China’s investment in gold bars and coins jumped 30 percent to 105.9 tons in the first quarter, the fourth-highest on record, while jewelry demand fell 2 percent year on year.
 
Global demand for bars and coins rose 9 percent to 289.8 tons in the same period, said the WGC in a report.
 
Chinese investors reignited their passion for bullion in the past two quarters, as “concern over the weakness of the yuan lingers, outlook for the property market is gloomy, and the stock market looks weary,” said Roland Wang, WGC’s managing director for China.
 
“Gold was one of the few investment options for Chinese investors under the circumstances,” Wang added.
 
Global central banks bought 76.3 tons in the quarter, down from 104.1 tons in the same period of last year, with China, one of the biggest buyers apart from Russia and India, said Wang.
 
China’s premium of the precious metal rose to an average of US$17 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2016, and remained high in the first three months of this year.
 
“Demand will be further supported by the launch of new products from banks on mobile applications, which are making gold more accessible to China’s retail investors,” the report said.
 
The bullion price rose 9 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared with a 10 percent quarterly gain a year earlier. Geopolitical concerns such as the upcoming elections in France will bring uncertainties to the price in the coming quarters, WGC said
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 5, 2017
MOU to tap demand for imports in China
4th May 2017

 ALIBABA Group and the Argentine government have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop new trade opportunities to meet rising demand for imported goods in China.

 
The two partners will support merchants’ marketing to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, according to a statement released yesterday.
 
“The ultimate beneficiaries will be the merchants, especially small and medium enterprises, which will gain access to unprecedented cross-border trade opportunities through Alibaba’s platforms,” Alibaba President Michael Evans said in the statement.
 
Wine and fresh food are two particular areas of focus under the MOU, and Alibaba’s platforms will be designated as official channels by the Argentinian government, which will also provide online and offline support for Argentine wine exports to China.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 4, 2017
Earnings of 5 major banks grow
3rd May 2017

 CHINA’S top-five state-owned banks — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of Communications — posted stable profit growth of 1.68 percent year on year in the first quarter.

 
Profits of the five banks totaled 267.5 billion yuan (US$38.8 billion) in the first three months, official data showed.
 
ICBC’s profit totaled 75.8 billion yuan, leading all four lenders by amount, while based on profit growth from a year earlier, CCB led with an increase of 3.03 percent.
 
Despite slight profit growth amid business restructuring, the asset quality of the banks rose in the January-March period. ICBC’s bad loan ratio fell 0.03 percentage points, and AgBank’s slipped 0.04 percentage points compared with the end of last year.
 
It is also the first time that the gains of China Merchants Bank, one of the country’s biggest joint-stock commercial banks, surpassed BoCom.
 
CMB posted first-quarter profit of 19.98 billion yuan, 654 million yuan higher than BoCom’s net profit for the same period.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 3, 2017

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