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News from China
Reform for yuan to be in SDR
12th October 2015

CHINA will continue to push ahead financial reforms with the hope that its currency can be included in the special drawing rights basket later this year, an official said.
Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, made the remarks at the International Monetary Fund annual talks held in Lima, Peru, according to a statement on the website of the central bank on Saturday.
The IMF is expected to assess the possible inclusion of the yuan before the year end.
China has opened its interbank bond market and forex market to overseas financial institutions and has been promoting data transparency, following SDR requirements, Yi said.
The PBOC has further freed the yuan exchange rate through changes to the central parity rate mechanism to make the exchange rate more flexible, he said.
China will continue with its stable monetary policies, he said.
 

Source: Shanghai Daily
Chinese buyers spend big money shopping online
9th October 2015

CHINESE consumers of luxury products are spending increasingly big money online as growing use of smartphones makes Internet shopping ever easier, according to a new industry report.
The report, by auditor KPMG, Chinese e-retailer Mei.com and Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo, analyzed survey responses from more than 10,000 luxury consumers.
Forty-five percent said they purchased most of their luxury items online. The maximum amount most felt comfortable paying online for a single item was 4,200 yuan (US$661), more than double the figure in 2014, the first time this research was undertaken.
“The smartphone is the most commonly used device for retail; we expect mobile commerce expenditure to soon far exceed the PC Internet platform, as Chinese consumers become more sophisticated,” said Egidio Zarrella, clients and innovation partner at KPMG China.
The average expenditure was 28 percent higher than in 2014. Chinese consumers are now spending around 2,300 yuan in each luxury transaction.
The top driver for purchasing online remains pricing. However, close to a third of the respondents had made luxury online purchases at the full, non-discounted price. The report’s authors said this was an important development as factors including product origin and uniqueness are starting to impact more on purchases.
“Price is becoming less of a driver. But value remains important as customers are well informed about global prices,” said Thibault Villet, CEO of Mei.com.
 

Source: Shanghai Daily
Decline in foreign exchange reserves narrows
8th October 2015

CHINA’S foreign exchange reserves fell for the fifth month in September but the decline narrowed, indicating milder capital outflow pressure.
The reserves decreased by US$43.26 billion in September, slower from the record US$93.9 billion decline in August when the central bank engineered a 3 percent devaluation of the yuan against the US dollar, the People’s Bank of China said yesterday. The monthly fall also outperformed expectations for US$57 billion, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
The stockpile stood at US$3.514 trillion by the end of September, 12 percent off its peak of nearly US$4 trillion by the end of June last year, but remained the world’s largest.
Economists said the figure showed that capital outflow continued but the pace was slower, and the central bank will still take measures to stabilize the yuan’s exchange rate.
“The market is coping with the changes of yuan exchange rate in September with relatively weak sentiment,” the China Merchants Securities said in a note yesterday. “But the central bank’s measures to counter market expectations are taking effect, reducing panic sales and speculative trading.”
The note said China’s foreign exchange reserves may continue to fall in the coming months, as the global market worries about US monetary policies.
Ding Shuang, chief China economist at Standard Chartered Bank, said he expected capital outflow from China to slow down in the coming months as companies had improved their foreign debt structure, helping offset foreign exchange outflow.
The central bank will still try to stabilize the yuan’s exchange rate, but interference will be milder as capital outflow pressure eases, Ding said.
Fuelled by exports, China’s foreign exchange reserves have been growing for more than a decade to peak in June 2014.
China’s foreign exchange watchdog last Wednesday attributed recent declines in the reserves to shrinking valuation of non-US dollar assets, companies and banks adjusting their debt structure, overseas investment of companies and overseas spending by tourists.
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange said long-term investment capital is still flowing into China as foreign direct investment continues to build up and fundraising is still active for Chinese firms listed overseas.
 

Source: Shanghai Daily
Press ahead with reforms, says IMF
7th October 2015

CHINA’S policy-makers should forge ahead with structural reforms to put its economy on a more sustainable footing, even as growth is likely to slow further to 6.3 percent in 2016, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday.
It expects China’s growth to slow to 6.8 percent this year from 7.3 percent in 2014, and weaken further in 2016.
“Modest further policy support to ensure that growth does not fall sharply is likely to be needed, but further progress in implementing the authorities’ structural reforms will be critical for private consumption to pick up some of the slack from slowing investment growth,” IMF said in its World Economic Outlook.
The government has been steadily ratcheting up its policy support, including cutting interest rates and increasing fiscal spending, in a bid to put a floor under an economy on track to grow at its weakest pace in a quarter of a century.
The government is aiming for growth of around 7 percent for this year.
China faces a tough balancing act in preventing a sharp slowdown, reducing vulnerabilities from excess leverage and strengthening the role of market forces in the economy, the IMF said.
The credit and investment boom, fanned by a massive stimulus package during the height of the global financial crisis, resulted in heavy debt among local governments and widespread factory overcapacity.
“There are risks of a stronger growth slowdown if the macroeconomic management of the end of the investment and credit boom of 2009-12 proves more challenging than expected,” the IMF said.
The IMF reaffirmed its calls for China to press ahead with market-based currency reforms, following the surprise devaluation of the yuan in August.
“The recent change in China’s exchange rate system provides the basis for a more market-determined exchange rate, but much depends on implementation,” the IMF said.
“A floating exchange rate will enhance monetary policy autonomy and help the economy adjust to external shocks, as China continues to become more integrated into both the global economy and global financial markets.”
China described the devaluation as modest and part of reforms to make the currency more market-driven, coinciding with a push to have the yuan included in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket. The IMF board is to decide next month whether to include the yuan.
 

Source: Shanghai Daily

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