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News from China
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
Check on steel and coal capacity cut
17th October 2016

 CHINA will conduct checks on its coal and steel overcapacity reduction efforts, which had apparently gained momentum by September, Shanghai Securities News reported Saturday.

Details on the axed capacity are being examined and will be released soon, said Zhao Chenxin, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission, according to the report.

The ministerial meeting will regulate the review and train related authorities to conduct random checks on progress, he said.

In the first half of 2016, China cut its steel capacity by 13 million tons, about 30 percent of the planned cuts for the whole year. By the end of July, a total of 47 percent was completed.

But China had only met 38 percent of its coal cutting targets by the end of July, official data showed.

The efforts have since picked up speed notably in August and September largely due to pressure from the central government, which closely tracked local implementation with inspection groups and targeted operations on outdated production capacity, Zhao stated.

“Meanwhile, local authorities are encouraged to cut much and early as the subsidies are higher this year,” he said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 17, 2016
New PPP projects
14th October 2016

 THE Ministry of Finance yesterday published new public-private partnership demonstration projects valued at 1.17 trillion yuan (US$174 billion).

This is the third batch of such projects following two others worth 658.9 billion yuan in 2015 and 180 billion yuan in 2014, as the country tries to stimulate social capital to battle the economic downturn.

The 516 newly announced projects cover energy, transport, water conservation, agriculture and education, the ministry said.

PPPs are collaborative projects between government and private companies.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 14, 2016

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