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News from China
Weak sentiment cools housing market
25th October 2016

 SHANGHAI’S housing market cooled last week as sentiment among both home seekers and real estate developers weakened as government measures to tame rising prices began to take effect.

The area of new homes sold, excluding government-funded affordable housing, fell 6.8 percent from the previous week to 219,000 square meters, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report released yesterday.

The city’s outlying areas continued to be the most sought-after, with around 55,000 square meters of homes sold in Nanhui in the Pudong New Area during the seven-day period when 358 apartments were sold in two projects.

The average cost of new homes plunged 9.1 percent from the previous week to 40,563 yuan (US$5,990) per square meter, the lowest weekly data since August, according to Centaline research.

Notably, not a single apartment or house was launched in the local market last week — a rare occurrence for October which is considered a high season for property transactions.

“A wait-and-see sentiment started to prevail in the city’s housing market as further tightening measures by the government to rein in soaring home prices and curb property bubbles are changing the mind of some prospective buyers,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Centaline.

“Transaction volume will fall further as home purchase restrictions as well as stricter mortgage policies will be both implemented to dampen speculative demand,” Lu said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 25, 2016
Li urges efforts to close BIT talks early
24th October 2016

 PREMIER Li Keqiang has called on China and the United States to make efforts for an early conclusion of their bilateral investment treaty negotiations.

The two countries have agreed to BIT talks on the basis of pre-establishment national treatment (PENT) plus a “negative list” approach. It is the first time that China has adopted the model in BIT talks with foreign countries, Li said, noting that this showed the importance China attaches to BIT talks.

PENT means that foreign investors and their investments will be accorded national treatment in the pre-establishment phase of their businesses.

Li told visiting former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in Beijing that through the BIT talks, both sides sent a positive signal to the world that China and the US support trade and investment facilitation and liberalization.

China hopes the two sides will work flexibly and pragmatically on the talks to produce positive results and reach a high-level investment treaty, so as to realize mutual benefits, Li said.

China and the US started BIT negotiations in 2008.

Speaking highly of the Paulson Institute’s role in promoting China-US cooperation, Li urged the institute to make a greater contribution to a healthy and stable China-US relationship.

Li’s trip to New York last month yielded positive results and was beneficial to China-US ties, Paulson said, stressing that the institute was ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with China.

Yesterday, Vice Premier Wang Yang held a meeting with Paulson and members of the CEO Council of Sustainable Urbanization to exchange views on China-US economic ties, as well as other issues of common concern.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 24, 2016
September’s fiscal revenue grows 4.9%
20th October 2016

 CHINA’S fiscal revenue rose 4.9 percent year on year to 1.12 trillion yuan (US$166 billion) in September, data from the Ministry of Finance showed yesterday.

Revenue growth improved from the 1.7 percent gain posted in August.

The central government collected 491.7 billion yuan in fiscal revenue in September, up 6.2 percent year on year, while local governments saw fiscal revenue rise 3.8 percent to 630.5 billion yuan.

In the first nine months, fiscal revenue rose 5.9 percent year on year to 12.14 trillion yuan.

In September, fiscal spending gained 11.3 percent to hit 1.98 trillion yuan, bringing January-September expenditure to 13.6 trillion yuan, up 12.5 percent year on year.

In the face of continued economic headwinds, China has made supply-side reform an economic priority, and tax cuts to lower business costs are a major policy option, putting more pressure on revenue growth.

The ministry said the country is expected to face a grim situation in terms of fiscal revenue increases in the fourth quarter, due to continued economic downward pressures.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2016, stable with the second quarter’s.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 20, 2016
Beijing Hyundai launches 4th plant
19th October 2016

 HYUNDAI Motor Co yesterday said it aims to make more China-only and environment-friendly cars at two new Chinese plants, as it strives to fend off competition from Chinese rivals and slowing growth in the world’s biggest auto market.

The plans are part of a strategy announced on the opening of the South Korean automaker’s fourth Chinese factory, which will be followed by a fifth plant next year.

Hyundai and sister Kia Motors Corp, which together rank third in China sales, saw their combined market share fall to 8 percent this year, hitting their lowest since 2007 as domestic rivals won customers with cheaper sport-utility vehicles.

To boost sales capability, Beijing Hyundai — a joint venture with domestic peer BAIC Motor Corp — replaced its head earlier in October as part of a reshuffle of China executives.

Hyundai said its new plants will each have annual production capacity of 300,000 cars, raising total capacity in its biggest market by about half to 1.81 million cars. Including Kia’s output, total capacity would be 2.7 million.

“We will accelerate our efforts to achieve a market share of more than 10 percent again with the (factory) opening,” Hyundai said in a statement.

China’s passenger car market is set to grow 1 percent in 2017 versus 10 percent this year, Hyundai said, citing data from China’s State Information Center. Tax breaks for small-engine cars, which boosted 2016 sales, will expire at the end of December.

Hyundai said its new plants will build models of varying sizes to compete with low-cost domestic rivals. It aims to sell a China-only SUV from as early as next year, with more SUV models planned.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 19. 2016

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