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News from China
China’s trade beats market hopes on strong demand
9th June 2017

 CHINA’S foreign trade accelerated more than market expectations in May, supported by external and domestic demand.

 
Exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 15.5 percent year on year in May to 1.32 trillion yuan (US$194 billion), faster than April’s 14.3 percent, data with the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday.
 
Imports growth surged 22.1 percent from April’s 18.6 percent.
 
China’s monthly trade surplus widened from April’s 281.6 billion yuan but was 3.4 percent lower than May last year.
 
The picture was also rosy in US dollar-denominated terms, with exports growing 8.7 percent and imports accelerating 14.8 percent.
 
Both readings beat expectations for 7 percent and 8.5 percent according to a Reuters poll.
 
Analysts attributed the growth in trade to resilient global demand and solid domestic investment.
 
“The continued uptick in Chinese exports points to the resilience of global demand, especially that of developed economies, most importantly the EU,” Wang Tao, chief China economist of UBS, wrote in a note yesterday.
 
“The surprising strength of imports suggests that China’s domestic demand, especially investment, remains solid despite recent signs of that activity was peaking.”
 
But the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group pointed out that the trend of a stronger yuan and volatility in commodity prices may complicate China’s import outlook in the near term.
 
Still the growth of trade in May continued its recovery starting at the beginning of the year.
 
Customs data showed that in the first five months combined, exports added 14.8 percent from a year ago and imports jumped 26.5 percent.
 
The gains reversed a 1.8 percent year-on-year decline in exports and 3 percent fall in imports during the same period last year.
 
From January to May, trade with the European Union, China’s largest trading partner, jumped 16.1 percent from the same period last year to 1.6 trillion yuan, Customs said.
 
Trade with the United States, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asians and Japan surged 21.1 percent, 23.2 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.
 
Seven labor-intensive sectors, including textiles, furniture and plastics products, propelled China’s exports, rising 12.8 percent to contribute 20.8 percent of China’s total exports, Customs said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 9, 2017
Chinese household confidence declines
8th June 2017

 HINESE household confidence took a beating from China’s weak stock market and measures to curb the property market, a survey revealed yesterday.

 
The China Wealth Index, compiled every two months by the Bank of Communications and research firm Nielsen, fell to 135 in May from March’s 138, which was the second highest on record.
 
A reading above 100 reflects optimism among over 1,800 households interviewed.
 
A sub-index measuring people’s willingness to invest in wealth-management products, securities, insurance and precious metals, fell 5 points to 135.
 
Their willingness to invest in fixed assets also shed 2 points to 110.
 
The survey blamed the fall in investment intentions to the decline of the stock market in April and May, when nearly 2,000 shares fell to their lowest since January 2016.
 
The expansion in home purchase curbs and the government’s decision in May to mull a property tax hurt households’ interest in investing in fixed assets.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 8, 2017
CIRC to boost standards
7th June 2017

 CHINA’S insurance regulator is set to tighten standards on the management of liability, investment, and liquidity risks as it assesses solvency requirements for the second year, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report yesterday.

 
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission is now prioritizing management of assets and liabilities in tandem with moves on financial deregulation in the country to lower risks in banking, securities, insurance, and asset management sectors, said Jimi Zhou, PwC China financial services consulting partner.
 
There will also be a stronger regulatory focus on investment risks amid greater volatility in stock and alternative investment markets, Zhou said.
 
“The regulator will also put greater emphasis on the actual implementation of risk control measures rather than the set up of a management framework as it did in the first year of implementing the Solvency Aligned Risk Management Requirement and Assessment,” Zhou said.
 
Under SARMRA, the CIRC assigns a score to each insurance company after assessing their risk levels and management capabilities. Companies with scores below 80 will face a higher solvency requirement.
 
Last year’s results showed the average score for insurance companies in China came in around 74 points.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 7, 2017
Chinese firm to build Nepal power plant
6th June 2017

 NEPAL has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to build the largest hydroelectric plant in the impoverished landlocked country, which suffers from a chronic energy shortage.

 
Nepal’s energy minister Janardan Sharma on Sunday signed the agreement for the China Gezhouba Group Corporation to build the long-mooted 1,200 megawatt Budhi-Gandaki hydroelectric project.
 
Estimates put the project cost at US$2.5 billion. A financing agreement will be signed later, ministry spokesman Dinesh Kumar Ghimire said.
 
Water-rich Nepal has a mountain river system that could make it an energy-producing powerhouse, but instead it imports much of its electricity from neighboring India.
 
Experts say it could be generating 83,000 megawatts, but its total installed generation capacity currently stands at less than two percent of that.
 
Demand for electricity has long outstripped supply in Nepal due to chronic under-investment and inefficiencies in the power network.
 
The result has been crippling for domestic industry and deterred foreign investment. India and China are both pumping money into Nepal through large-scale infrastructure projects.
 
CGGC is currently building three smaller hydropower plants in Nepal and has completed another one.
 
Nepal’s government is also currently building a 750 megawatt plant with China’s backing.
 
Meanwhile, construction of two large India-backed projects — each with a price tag of over US$1 billion — is expected to begin later this year after years of delays.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 6, 2017

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