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News from China
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
Push to increase Asian voice in gold pricing
18th October 2016

 CHINA is marketing its yuan gold price to foreign exchanges and Singapore is looking at bringing London’s gold benchmark to users in Asia, in moves meant to boost the region’s exposure and influence in the global bullion market.

Home to the world’s biggest buyers China and India, Asia’s importance has been on the rise as the key source of demand for gold, but the region’s bullion traders are often exposed to intraday price volatility and foreign exchange risks with US dollar-based benchmark prices being set out of London.

Shanghai Gold Exchange, the world’s biggest physical bullion exchange, will collaborate with foreign exchanges and allow them to use its yuan-denominated gold price in developing derivatives products, Chairman Jiao Jinpu told an industry conference.

The exchange launched a yuan-denominated gold benchmark in April as part of China’s bid to exert more control over pricing of the metal and raise its influence in the global market.

The latest move by China — the world’s top consumer, producer and importer of gold — aims for a bigger say in an industry long dominated by the London spot price.

“We would collaborate with various exchanges and authorize these external exchanges to start business outside China to use it as a basis for development of derivatives products,” Jiao said.

Shanghai’s first deal will be signed with the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange next week, Jiao said, adding that he expects more cooperation ahead.

“Some of the exchanges are approaching us,” he said. “Collaboration is a win-win for all. In Latin America and Africa I wish to offer more collaboration with them.”

China has balked at depending on a dollar price for gold in international transactions and believes its market weight should entitle it to set the price for the precious metal.

Also, the Singapore Bullion Market Association is working with the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and Intercontinental Exchange Benchmark Administration (IBA) to study the possibility of extending LBMA’s gold pricing to Singapore hours.

“We hope to make a reputable gold benchmark mechanism in London available to Asian users,” SBMA’s Chief Executive Albert Cheng said.

Cheng said a feasibility study is being carried out, and “if there’s enough interest, the IBA will consider launching it early next year.”

The renewed pricing push in Asia comes as the US$5-trillion-a-year London gold market reforms to boost transparency. The London gold fix, previously set via a teleconference among banks and facing allegations of manipulation, was replaced in 2015 by electronic auctions, which take place twice daily.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 18, 2016

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