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News from China
Chinese insurers invest in 651 projects
8th February 2017

 CHINESE insurers had initiated 651 investment projects with registered capital of 1.65 trillion yuan (US$240 billion) in infrastructure and livelihood improvement by the end of 2016, official data showed.

The investment was made through equity and bond purchases, as well as asset support plans, which mostly went into transport, energy, real estate, health care and elderly care, according to the Insurance Asset Management Association of China.
Chinese insurance capital has also provided funds to national development strategies such as the Belt and Road initiative, the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.
Insurers had invested 592.3 billion yuan in the Belt and Road initiative and 135.9 billion yuan in the Yangtze River Economic Belt by the end of 2016, said the IAMAC.
The association encourages insurance companies to provide funding to develop the country’s real economy, as insurance capital is considered as large and stable long-term funds.
Speaking of stock investment, the IAMAC called for Chinese insurance companies to be friendly investors to listed companies and cornerstones of the capital market, instead of making aggressive stake buyouts and bringing excessive intervention to the operation of listed companies.
The “barbaric” behavior of some Chinese insurers using leveraged money to buy shares of listed firms raised regulatory concerns late last year. Triggering sharp volatility in the market, such moves annoyed corporate executives and caused individual investors to suffer.
Some 1.88 trillion yuan of China’s investment capital was put into stocks at the end of November, accounting for 14.37 percent of the total, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
The IAMAC said insurers should avoid speculative investment, safeguard the stability of the capital market and keep good communications with stake holders and management of listed firms.
The IAMAC expects insurance companies to raise the holding of blue-chip stocks to rejig their investment portfolio.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 8, 2017
Services expand slower in January
7th February 2017

 CHINA’S services sector expanded at a slower pace in January, raising concerns that economic growth may slow from the fourth quarter of last year, a private survey showed yesterday.

The Caixin China General Services PMI, a gauge of operating conditions in mostly private service companies, dipped to 53.1 points in January from a 17-month high of 53.4 in December, according to the survey conducted by financial information service provider Markit and sponsored by Caixin Media.
A sub-index showed growth in new work at services companies rose more slowly but remained the second-fastest since June 2014, according to the survey.
Meanwhile, services companies were quick to raise their prices.
“New business continued to grow rapidly, though at a marginally slower rate than in the previous month, while input prices and output charges increased at faster rates,” said Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macro-economic analysis at CEBM Group. “The economy continued to recover, but the expansion rate has slowed.”
The slower service expansion echoed with cooler manufacturing growth as the Caixin General Manufacturing PMI, released last Friday, dipped by 0.9 points month on month to 51 in January.
China’s official manufacturing PMI, released by the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, dipped 0.1 points from December to 51.3 points last month.
The official non-manufacturing PMI, however, added 0.1 points to 54.6.
Zhong said manufacturing and services continued to expand in January, but China’s economy is unlikely to keep the pace of expansion seen in the fourth quarter of last year.
He also warned inflationary pressure would continue to rise as charges across services providers and goods producers increase further.
China’s GDP grew 6.7 percent last year, with the fourth quarter expanding 6.8 percent and exceeding market expectations.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 7, 2017
Mainland’s trade with Taiwan drops
6th February 2017

 TRADE volume between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan totaled US$179.6 billion in 2016, down 4.5 percent from 2015, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Mainland exports to Taiwan were US$40.4 billion last year, a 10.1 percent year-on-year drop, and imports from Taiwan stood at US$139.2 billion, down 2.8 percent.
Taiwan is the mainland’s seventh largest trade partner and sixth biggest source of imports.
In 2016, the mainland approved 3,517 Taiwan-invested projects, with the actual use of Taiwan capital worth US$1.96 billion, up 27.7 percent from the previous year.
By the end of December, the mainland had approved 98,815 Taiwan-invested projects, with the actual use of Taiwan capital at US$64.7 billion.
Last year, the mainland’s trade with Hong Kong fell 11.1 percent year on year to US$305.3 billion.
Mainland exports to Hong Kong stood at US$288.4 billion in 2016, down 12.7 percent from the previous year, while the mainland’s imports from the city rose 32.4 percent to US$16.9 billion.
Hong Kong is the mainland’s fourth-largest trading partner and third-largest export market, according to the ministry.
The mainland approved 12,753 Hong Kong-invested projects in 2016, with the actual use of Hong Kong capital at US$81.5 billion, down 5.7 percent from 2015.
By the end of December, the mainland had approved 398,966 Hong Kong-invested projects, with the actual use of Hong Kong capital totalling US$914.8 billion.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 6, 2017
Caixin manufacturing PMI drops to 51
3rd February 2017

 CHINA'S manufacturing sector continued to slow in January 2017 because of a further improvement in the health of the sector.

The Caixin General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) edged down to 51.0 last month from December's 47-month record of 51.9, and was consistent with only a marginal rate of improvement.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 represents contraction.
The rate of improvement slowed since December 2016 as output and new orders increased at weaker rates amid a further reduction in employment. In contrast, new export work rose at the fastest pace since September 2014, according to the survey conducted by financial information service provider Markit and sponsored by Caixin Media Co. Ltd.
At the same time, inflationary pressures remained sharp, with both input costs and output charges increasing at rates scarcely seen throughout the past five years. Nonetheless, companies remained optimistic towards future growth prospects, and expressed the highest degree of optimism towards the 12-month business outlook since July 2016.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 3, 2017

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