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News from China
China starts rice imports from Laos
11th January 2016

The first shipment of rice imports from Laos have passed through inspection and quarantine procedures at south China's Shenzhen port, according to local authorities.

The shipment weighed 87.8 tonnes and was valued at 746 million U.S. dollars, said the Shenzhen Entry-Exit Inspection And Quarantine Bureau.
China mainly imports rice from Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan. It recently added Laos to the list.
Chinese appetite for grain imports has been growing fast, as the increasingly wealthy population seek more choices of staple food.
As China's biggest port for rice imports, Shenzhen handled over 1 million tonnes of rice imports in 2015, accounting for nearly half of the country's total.
The Shenzhen bureau said it has carried out both on-the-spot inspections and lab tests for pesticide residue and heavy metal pollutants on each batch of goods to ensure the quarantine quality of the imports.
Source: Xinhua
China suspends stock market "circuit breaker"
8th January 2016

 China announced Thursday night that it will from Friday suspend the stock market "circuit breaker" mechanism that has been implemented since the beginning of this year.

"Currently, the negative effects of the mechanism are greater than the positive effects. Thus, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) had decided to suspend the circuit breaker mechanism to maintain market stability," CSRC spokesperson Deng Ke said in a statement.
Under the mechanism that became effective on Jan. 1 to tame the wildly fluctuating Chinese stock market, trading will be halted for 15 minutes if the Hushen 300 Index, which reflects the performance of bluechips listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, moves up or down by 5 percent before 2:45 p.m. If the movement reaches 7 percent when trading is resumed, the market closes for the day.
The circuit breaker was triggered on both Monday and Thursday, as plunges in the Hushen 300 Index reached 7 percent in both trading days.
"The mechanism was introduced with the aim of providing a calm-down period for the market to avoid or reduce hasty trading decisions in the case of sharp fluctuations, protecting the interests of investors. It also provides time for dealing with technological and operational risks," Deng said.
He said the mechanism "is not the major reason for the market plunge, but it failed to achieve the anticipated effects," adding that the mechanism in effect accelerated the plunge as some investors decided to sell when the index's drop neared 5 percent or 7 percent.
The CSRC decided to introduce the circuit breaker system and conducted a public consultation on the plan for its introduction in September 2015 to prevent further abnormal fluctuations.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged about 154 percent from July 2014 to as high as 5,178 points on June 12, 2015, but then plunged about 45 percent from the peak by Aug. 26, 2015. The sharp falls gave rise to calls of a "circuit breaker."
The new mechanism would help prevent excessive reactions of investors and give them more time to confirm whether a stock's price is reasonable, according to the plan.
With no precedent, the market has taken time to adapt. "Next, the CSRC will carefully sum up the experience and lessons, organize research on improving the mechanism and seek extensive public opinions," Deng said.
Trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses stopped early on Thursday after shares tumbled 7 percent within the first 30 minutes of trading, triggering the circuit breaker mechanism. It was the shortest trading time in the history of China's stock market.
At 9:42 a.m., trading was suspended for 15 minutes after the Hushen 300 dropped by over 5 percent. The index dived a further 2 percent in just 2 minutes after reopening at 9:57 a.m., and trading was ceased.
Following the trading suspension Thursday, the CSRC unveiled new rules to limit big shareholders from selling their stocks.
Big shareholders, the management and those who hold more than 5 percent of a company's shares were asked not to sell more than 1 percent of the company's shares within any three-month period, a notice said.
Those who want to reduce their holdings have to publicize their plans 15 trading days beforehand. The new rule will take effect on Jan. 9.
On Thursday, several state-owned enterprises, including China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, announced that they will not sell shares of listed companies they control in order to help maintain market stability. 
Source: Xinhua
Chinese yuan weakens to nearly 5-year low
7th January 2016

The central parity rate of the Chinese currency, the renminbi or yuan, depreciated to its weakest point in nearly five years, new data showed on Thursday.

The yuan's central parity rate lost 332 basis points to 6.5646 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, the lowest level since March 18, 2011, data from the China Foreign Exchange Trading System (CFETS) showed.
As of the end of 2015, the CFETS exchange rate composite index, which measures the yuan's strength relative to a basket of 13 foreign currencies, stood at 100.94, up 0.94 percent from the end of previous year.
In China's spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day.
The central parity rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day. 
Source: Xinhua
Cooperation, not confrontation
6th January 2016

Cooperation is another keyword in Xi's diplomatic master plan. The Belt and Road Initiative illustrates China's aspiration for cooperation.

The initiative, which is comprised of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up by Xi in 2013, with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.p So far, more than 60 countries and international organizations have expressed interest in active involvement in the construction of the Belt and the Road, while a number of major bilateral and multilateral projects have been under way.
The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), formally established last month, also adds to that vision of connectivity across Asia.
Tasked with financing infrastructure construction across Asia, it took just two years for the bank to develop from an idea on paper to a fully-fledged body with 57 developed and developing nations as prospective founding members.
Source: Xinhua

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