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News from China
China’s forex capital flows most balanced in 3 years
21st July 2017

 CHINA’S forex regulator said yesterday the country was seeing its most balanced forex market supply and demand in three years due to improving economies at home and abroad as well as an intensified crackdown on irregularities.

The improvement in the domestic economy and business expectations helped stabilize China’s cross-border capital flows in the first half of 2017, Wang Chunying, a spokesperson for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, told a press conference.
Commercial banks bought 999.5 billion yuan (US$148.1 billion) worth of foreign currency in June, and sold 1.14 trillion yuan, resulting in a net forex settlement deficit of 142.5 billion yuan, according to SAFE. The deficit for the first half of the year fell 46 percent year on year to US$93.8 billion.
Wang expects the cross-border capital flows to stay stable in the future.
She said the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes on China’s cross-border capital flows had diminished, expecting the risks of large-scale capital outflows from China to notably ease.
The government will continue to support authentic and rational outbound investment by Chinese businesses but will keep a close eye on overseas investment in sectors such as real estate, entertainment and athletic clubs, Wang said.
China will further improve its management system to facilitate cross-border investment and fund-raising, while guarding against risks, she said.
With China’s outstanding external debt-to-GDP ratio of 13 percent at the end of 2016, well below the international warning line of 20 percent, the risks of China’s external debts remained controllable, Wang said.
China has seen steady increases in the volume of its external debts for four consecutive quarters, with the total reaching US$1.44 trillion at the end of March, up 1.2 percent from the end of 2016.
Wang said that China’s foreign exchange reserves were expected to remain stable as cross-border capital flows as well as the forex market supply and demand would become more balanced, following the country’s improving economic development and financial market opening-up.
China’s economy grew 6.9 percent in the first half year.
“There is no doubt that the economy will reach the full-year growth target and continue to run within a reasonable range,” Wang said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 21, 2017
Shanghai demands lottery for purchases of new commercial homes
20th July 2017

 SHANGHAI has published a new property market guideline, outlining plans for all buyers of commercial houses to apply to a lottery-like registration system to purchase new homes.

According to the guideline, purchasing orders must be generated by lottery software provided by authorized notary organs in Shanghai. The results should be publicized immediately after the draw.
Real estate developers are prohibited from setting up beneficial lottery conditions for their staff or those connected to them, and sales agents of the developers are not eligible for the lottery.
Real estate developers must examine the eligibility of home buyers and submit applications to Shanghai's notary organs for inclusion in the lottery at least ten days ahead of a new program.
The list of all eligible buyers and houses as well as the lottery results must be published and notarized.
Any fraudulent activity or cheating will be strictly prohibited. Any developers implicated in underhand activity will be blacklisted and may face criminal charges.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 20, 2017
China’s coal prices surge since June
19th July 2017

 CHINA’S coal prices have surged since June amid a short-term supply shortage, economic recovery, a hydropower shortage and a cut in oversupply, the nation’s top economic planner said yesterday.

The benchmark Bohai-Rim Steam-Coal Price Index ended at 581 yuan (US$86) per ton last week, up 19 yuan per ton from the beginning of June after a five-week growth. Meanwhile the most traded coking coal contract for September delivery surged 32 percent from June 1 to close at 1,244 yuan per ton yesterday.
Steam coal is used for power generation while coking coal is to refine steel.
China’s economic recovery has sparked growth among power, steel, and chemical industries which rely on coal as feedstock, Yan Pengcheng, spokesman at the National Development and Reform Commission, said.
China’s hydropower generation slumped 27.2 percent from January to the beginning of June compared with a year ago, Yan said.
Meanwhile, 111 million tons of coal capacity had been trimmed over the first half of the year, worsening the supply shortage to drive up the coal price sharply.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 19, 2017
Chinese developers head overseas to raise funds
17th July 2017

 CHINESE real estate firms have turned to the overseas market to seek financing as tougher regulations have made it more difficult for them to raise funds at home.

At least five property companies have announced moves to issue notes or bonds, worth more than US$2 billion in total, in the overseas market since the beginning of July, according to latest statistics from Centaline Property Research Center.
They include Greentown China and Longfor Properties, both major property developers in the country.
Greentown China said earlier this week it would issue US$450 million of senior perpetual capital securities, with the net proceeds to be used to refinance existing debt and for general working capital purposes.
Longfor Properties said early this month it would issue US$450 million of senior notes due in 2020 and use the proceeds for refinancing only.
The moves came as domestic financing by real estate developers shrank, following tightened market regulation aimed at curbing asset bubbles and preventing financial risks.
Property firms raised 177.2 billion yuan (US$26.1 billion) through bond and note issuance in the first half of 2017, a 74-percent plunge year on year, Centaline Property said.
“Authorities have strengthened control over various sources of funding for developers,” said Le Jiadong, analyst at GF Securities. “Major financing channels have been narrowed across the board.”
Meanwhile, the cooling housing market means less contribution from home sales to the companies’ cash flow.
Property sales had surged over two years of pro-growth policies before authorities moved to rein in speculation in the second half of last year.
Of 70 large- and medium-sized cities surveyed in May, new home prices fell or rose more slowly month on month in 35 of them, up from 31 in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
An indication of weaker sales, real estate loans took up 35 percent of all new loans extended by Chinese banks in the first half, down from 44.9 percent in 2016, central bank data showed
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 17, 2017

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