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News from China
China curbs commodity futures speculation
5th May 2016

 CHINESE regulators appear to have successfully popped a mini-bubble for now in steel and other commodity futures, scaring off speculators who piled in last month to drive steep gains in the prices of raw materials from coal to cotton.

China has vowed that it won’t allow its commodity futures markets to become a “hot-bed” for speculators, fearing that price movements not based on fundamentals could skew investment decisions and hamper efforts to rein in overcapacity.
The price of the most traded steel product on the Shanghai Futures Exchange — which jumped nearly 17 percent in just four days in mid-April — yesterday fell for the second consecutive day and has given up all of its gains since the buying flurry began.
At the same time, the level of open interest — the number of open contracts — has dropped sharply, suggesting many investors have liquidated their positions before prices fall even further.
“Speculative funds have exited the market at the moment, and I think it’s time to take a break,” said a researcher at a Shanghai-based fund, who declined to be named because he is not allowed to speak to media.
Prices retreated after commodity exchanges in Shanghai, Dalian and Zhengzhou increased transaction costs and widened trading limits, making speculative investment more difficult.
David Flanagan, chief executive of Australian iron ore miner Atlas Iron, said last month that “mom and pop” trading was affecting prices and cited a meeting with the manager of a Chinese steel mill.
“Her maid is earning a multiple of her salary by trading iron ore futures,” he said in Perth. “That has an influence on the iron ore price.”
Reinforced steel used in construction, known as rebar, led the mid-April surge, along with iron ore, coking coal and coke as investors jumped on the coattails of a rally in steel prices after China boosted spending on construction to spur growth.
The buying spread to other commodity futures including cotton and eggs, raising fears of a boom-and-bust cycle similar to China’s stock market crash last summer.
Open interest in rebar on the Shanghai exchange dropped to 2.7 million lots this week from 3.7 million lots on April 18. On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, open interest in the bourse’s most active iron ore contract declined to below 800,000 lots on Tuesday, the lowest since November.
But a surge in open interest on nickel futures in Shanghai as traders bet on a recovery in prices from 13-year lows led a broker to warn that trading in the metal could soon face curbs.
“It will probably be only a matter of time before Chinese regulators step in to dampen this trading,” brokerage Triland said in a note this week.
Open interest on Shanghai nickel has doubled to more than 650,000 lots in the past month, outstripping trade in London as traders look to improving order books at stainless steel mills in China.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 5, 2016
Uber and Alipay expand links to foreign markets
4th May 2016

 RIDE-HAILING service Uber and the payment service of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group are expanding a partnership to allow Chinese travelers to summon and pay for a car in any country where Uber operates.

The agreement announced yesterday adds to expanding links between US and Chinese companies in the growing global market for smartphone-based transport services.
Uber and Alibaba’s Ant Financial said Chinese travelers will be able to use either company’s app to summon a car in 400 cities in 69 countries and regions where Uber operates. They can pay for it in yuan using Ant Financial’s Alipay app.
Uber riders have been able to use Alipay to pay for transport in China’s mainland since 2014. That grew to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau this year.
The two companies said they would expand cooperation in India through Alipay’s links with Paytm, that country’s largest payments provider.
Didi Kuaidi of China and Lyft of the US agreed in September to link their apps to allow travelers to use them in each other’s markets.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 4, 2016
Shanghai promotes CSR in green development
29th April 2016

 THE CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Excellence Awards program started in Shanghai yesterday with the theme “Invest in Green Future” which promotes the idea of “green development.”

The program incorporates case collection and selection as well as a summit on green innovation. The case collection and selection promotes the idea of “green development” proposed as a core principle in Shanghai’s 13th Five-Year (2016-2020) Plan. The summit, to be held at the end of July, will award companies with the CSR Excellence Awards and lead discussions on CSR.
The program, guided by the Shanghai Information Office, the Shanghai Commission of Commerce and the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, is hosted by Shanghai Observer under Jiefang Daily, Shanghai Daily and Beijing-based SynTao Co is a co-organizer, while Jiefang Daily Enterprise Innovation and Development Research Center, Shanghai Daily Multinational Companies Club, the Shanghai Association of Foreign Investment and the Shanghai Association of International Economic & Technological Cooperation give their full support.
This year marks the start of Shanghai’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which embraces the concept of an innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. How to invest in a green future is of great importance to Shanghai, which aims to become a global innovation center in science and technology.
Against this backdrop, the CSR Excellence Awards program will offer good corporate examples to further drive Shanghai’s sustainable growth and to build a consensus among the public to help promote better international communication for Shanghai as an innovation-driven metropolis.
The CSR Excellence Awards program welcomes multinational companies as candidates and domestic enterprises that are being restructured. Cases from multinational companies, state-owned enterprises or private firms are all eligible for the competition to showcase Shanghai’s ambition and competitiveness in the pursuit of a green future.
The three-month-long program will collect cases of CSR.
The awards will be presented in three categories: Green Awards, Shared Value Awards and Responsibility Innovation Awards. The Green Awards comprise Annual Green Product/Service, Annual Green Supply Chain and Annual Green Operation. The Shared Value Awards comprise Annual Community Engagement, Annual Employee Care and Annual Cross-sector Collaboration. The Responsibility Innovation Awards cover Annual Responsibility Innovation and Overseas Responsibility Innovation.
Companies or their subsidiaries registered in Shanghai, including foreign-invested firms, SOEs and private companies with good CSR practice can apply to compete.
The CSR Excellence Awards has started collecting cases until May 27.
Between May 30 and June 10, the organizers will give a preliminary review of the cases collected. Between June 13 and June 30, the public and participating enterprises can vote online to decide winners together with the opinions of a professional judging panel.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April, 2016
Hesitation over MSCI inclusion of China's A-shares serves nobody
28th April 2016

Global investors are again betting on Chinese A-shares' future as the latest opportunity has arisen for them to be included in a flagship global benchmarks index.

New York-based global equity indexes provider MSCI has begun a consultation on including the shares in its Emerging Markets Index to be published in June. Such a move would be viewed as a landmark recognition of China's capital market and attract more foreign investors.
The safest bet is that it is only a matter of time before such recognition comes. At the same time, too much hesitation serves nobody's interests.
MSCI decided against including Chinese A-shares in the Emerging Markets Index last year, citing concerns about the quota allocation process, capital mobility restrictions and beneficial ownership.
Although access to Chinese onshore equity and bond markets is still controlled by a quota system, the gatekeepers have been steadily opening the doors to the capital markets since that disappointing MSCI decision.
China has raised the ceiling for single QFII investment volume and cut the time for principal lock-up. Open funds are allowed to flow freely within a required monthly amount to improve liquidity.
The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, a program to expand foreign fund access to China without quota restrictions, has seen active transactions since establishment in 2014. Similar initiatives to connect Shenzhen with Hong Kong and Shanghai with London to make the market more accessible are also in the pipeline.
Of course, the Chinese capital market, one dominated by retail investors, still has much room for improvement as evidenced by last year's stock market rout and the Chinese yuan's depreciation, which have led to more caution in further opening up.
However, this should be viewed with a longer-term perspective as just like China's economic slowdown, the challenges are generally short-term volatilities.
The important thing is to realize that inclusion in Emerging Markets Index is not the end, but just a start to pushing more opening up and higher maturity of the global capital market.
Global investors need emerging markets like China's A-shares to diversify their investment portfolio and gain from potential steady growth, while China looks forward to more rational international investors, investing philosophies and game rules, which should be the real significance of the MSCI inclusion.
The MSCI China A International index, designed for international investors with quotas for investing in the domestic yuan-denominated stock markets, performed better than other Asian markets and the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the past month, indicating growing popularity among international investors over China-related stocks as the country's economic restructuring gains steam.
The sooner MSCI includes Chinese A-shares, the sooner the Chinese as well as global capital market will mature, and the more opportunities international investors will enjoy, which will be a virtuous cycle with win-win outcomes in the long run.
Discretion is necessary as global clients are cautious about including new stock markets, but this decision can not come soon enough for the world and China to benefit.
MSCI's inclusion of Chinese A-shares is as inevitable as China's determination to promote capital market liberalization is unquestionable. It's better to be part of the opening-up process instead of just waiting for the perfect moment. 
By Xinhua writer Zhang Zhongkai
Source: Xinhua

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