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News from China
Macau sees 9.6% drop in gambling income in May
2nd June 2016

 MACAU, the world’s biggest casino hub, posted a drop of 9.6 percent in gambling revenue for May, with the pace of decline accelerating from the previous month, as wealthy gamblers continued to steer clear of the southern Chinese territory.

May marked the 24th consecutive monthly drop for the former Portuguese colony, where monthly revenues have shrunk by half in the last two years and hit lows not seen in over five years.

Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, has been hit by a protracted anti-corruption campaign that targeted officials and politically linked businessmen, and slowing economic growth in the world's second-largest economy.

Gambling revenue for May shrank 9.6 percent to 18.4 billion patacas (US$2.3 billion), according to government data yesterday, a steeper decrease than analysts’ expectations for a 6-7 percent decline.

Macau’s economy is critically reliant on casinos, with the gaming industry accounting for over 80 percent of government revenues. Economic growth in the tiny territory, home to 600,000 people, shrunk 13 percent in the first quarter, government data showed this week.

The central government in Beijing and local officials have pushed casino operators, including Sands China, Wynn Macau, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings and Melco Crown, to diversify their offerings away from glitzy casino halls into a more wholesome tourism offering.

This year three new mega resorts are due to open with features including a 50 percent scale version of the Eiffel Tower, a large lake fronted with a gondola ride and ultra-luxury shopping and dining, as operators try to appeal to a broader type of customer than the traditional hardcore gambler.

While revenues have tumbled, many industry experts are confident the worst is over but remain cautious in the near term, citing a gradual recovery rather than a quick rebound.

“Long-term, we believe Macau can capitalize on the rising Chinese demand for holiday leisure travel,” said Vitaly Umansky, analyst at Bernstein in Hong Kong.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 2, 2016
Yuan’s central parity rate weakens
1st June 2016

 THE central parity rate of the yuan weakened further by six basis points yesterday to 6.5790 against the US dollar, the lowest level since February 2011, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

The fall followed Monday’s drop of 294 basis points, which dragged the central parity rate of the yuan to its weakest point in more than five years.

The tumble came after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said at Harvard University on Friday that an interest rate hike in the next few months would probably be appropriate if economic data improve. Her comments boosted the US dollar against other major currencies.

Despite the fluctuations, there remains only limited concern over the yuan’s depreciation pressure among market observers.

“China has allowed greater flexibility in the renminbi (yuan) exchange rate while maintaining its stability,” said a report issued by China International Capital Corp on Monday.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 1.
Lenders help share index to close up
31st May 2016

 SHANGHAI stocks edged up yesterday, helped by banks while transport and property shares sank as uncertainty over monetary policy clouded trading sentiment.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.05 percent, or 1.4 points, to close at 2,822.45 points.

China Everbright Bank Co rallied 1.41 percent to 3.60 yuan (55 US cents) and China Merchants Bank added 1.02 percent to 17.84 yuan.

Transport shares fell as shrinking demand curbed shipping freight. China Cosco Holdings Co Ltd sank 1.16 percent to 5.11 yuan while China Shipping Development Co lost 1.15 percent to 6 yuan.

Gemdale Corporation shed 0.18 percent to 10.89 yuan and COFCO Property (Group) Co lost 1.08 percent to 9.13 yuan.

Investment consultant Fan Bo at AVIC Securities said in a note yesterday the key index may rise after the release of macroeconomic data this week.

The People’s Bank of China yesterday cut the daily fixing by 0.45 percent to 6.5784 per dollar, the weakest since February 2011.

Source: Shanghai Daily, May 31, 2016
Industrial Internet plan
30th May 2016

 SHANGHAI is pushing the development of industrial Internet under a three-year plan from this year to boost industrial output and upgrade its economic structure, according to government officials yesterday.

The city will boost the information structure and technology applications in six strategic industries including advanced equipment manufacturing and biological medicine. The technologies include data analysis, 4G and 5G communications, industrial robots and various Internet applications, according to the officials.

“The industrial Internet is a catalyst for the city’s long-term strategy to establish itself as a global tech and innovation center,” said Zhou Bo, Shanghai’s vice mayor.

Local industrial giants including Lingang Group and SAIC Motor are involved in the three-year plan from 2016 to 2018.

“We can seek unique opportunities in Shanghai of integration between traditional industries and latest technologies,” said Wang Dong, founder and CEO of Zhaogang.com which trades steel and iron products online.

Source: Shanghai Daily, May 30, 2016

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