China Business Briefs 14/11/13

Bad loans by China’s lenders rose 24.1 billion yuan ($3.96 billion) in the third quarter, the biggest quarterly rise since the fourth quarter of 2005, according to data released Wednesday by the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

The ratio of nonperforming loans rose to 0.97 percent at the end of September from 0.96 percent at the end of June, the CBRC said.

Analysts said that despite the growth, the NPL ratio still is low, which doesn’t put pressure on banks to raise new capital.

NEW YORK—Copper futures fell to a three-month low as investors bet that the economic policies laid out by China’s leadership wouldn’t do enough to boost growth in the world’s top metals consumer.

To promote its standing in China, JPMorgan Chase turned to a seemingly obscure consulting firm run by a 32-year-old executive named Lily Chang.

Ms. Chang’s firm, which received a $75,000-a-month contract from JPMorgan, appeared to have only two employees. And on the surface, Ms. Chang lacked the influence and public name recognition needed to unlock business for the bank.

But what was known to JPMorgan executives in Hong Kong, and some executives at other major companies, was that “Lily Chang” was not her real name. It was an alias for Wen Ruchun, the only daughter of Wen Jiabao, who at the time was China’s prime minister, with oversight of the economy and its financial institutions.

This week’s Third Plenum concluded with calls to establish “an integrated urban-rural construction land market” and give “rural dwellers more property rights”. In a sign of how eager provinces are for change, Anhui on Wednesday said it would set up rural land exchanges, cutting out the government middlemen that buy rural land zoned for building on the cheap and resell it for far more.

But Chinese experts have warned against reading too much into the plenum’s calls on land reform. Under the Communist system, all land in China belongs to the state. The proposed reforms will not lead to the introduction of individual property rights. There was similar talk of reform in party policy meetings five years ago but that failed to result in sweeping change, said Shi Xiaomin, vice chair of China Society of Economic Reform. The earlier communique used the word “gradually”, wrote Jinsong Du of Credit Suisse in Hong Kong: “Removing “gradually” may indicate a sense of urgency, but it also implies things did not change much in the past five years – due to various challenges. Therefore, we may not see the widely expected breakthroughs on land reforms any time soon.”

Still, many analysts called the communiqué, issued via party mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency, disappointing. Undoubtedly, more will eventually come from the decisions made during the weekend. The “decisive role” for the market that leaders promised in their message will likely trickle down into substantial reform – albeit at a slow, measured pace.

One signal from the group of 415 officials who sat through meeting after meeting was overtly clear: Powerful state-owned enterprise is here to stay. These clunky, often-highly inefficient bastions of the command economy are set to remain the “dominant form of ownership” in China for the foreseeable future, dashing hopes that the plenum would be the impetus for major change in one of China’s biggest obstacles to further development.

Companies

China should split up the state-owned monopoly that owns and operates the nation’s railways to improve efficiency, a researcher at the country’s top economic planning agency said.

The government should let more state-owned companies such as Shenhua Group and private investors play a bigger role in the rail industry to compete with China Railway Corp., Li Kun, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission’s transportation research institute, said in an interview by telephone today.

OSLO, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Norway is deciding whether to team up with China to explore for oil in Iceland, Icelandic authorities said, setting up a rare cooperation for the two since a diplomatic row over the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Norway has the right to join an exploration licence with Chinese oil firm CNOOC to look for oil in the waters between Iceland and Norway’s Jan Mayen, a tiny speck of land in the Arctic.

After the dust settled on China’s Single’s Day shop fest, e-commerce titan Alibaba’s third-party payment system Alipay announced its smartphone e-wallet app now has almost 100 million users. Now that it has some momentum, Alibaba will spin off the e-wallet into an independent brand, according to Techweb.

Alipay spokesperson Fan Zhiming says Alipay Wallet will soon launch a large-scale national branding campaign.

Now it’s time to start paying attention to the “Seven Bottom Lines,” a list of online behavior guidelines that Internet users are being told to adhere to lest they incur the wrath of the country’s social media minders.

Though the formulation has come in for some mockery online, the operator of China’s most popular social media platform is apparently taking the guidelines seriously.

Since the term was first coined in mid-August at the China Internet Conference, Sina Corp.SINA -2.20% has closed or otherwise “handled” 100,000 accounts on its Weibo microblogging service that have violated the principles, according to a Wednesday report from the state-run Beijing Youth Daily (in Chinese).

(Beijing) — Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), the single-largest shareholder of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co., has pledged most of its holdings in the insurance company to the London branch of UBS as part of a financing scheme.

Ping An made the announcement on November 12.

This comes less than one year after CP Group spent US$ 9.4 billion acquiring 15.57 percent of Ping An from London-based bank HSBC. Sources of the money used to pay for the acquisition were called into question, and the Hong Kong branch of China Development Bank, which reportedly planned to finance the deal, backed away from the deal.

Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM), which gets about half of its revenue from China, posted same-store sales in the nation that fell less than analysts estimated last month as declines at its KFC chain slowed.

Sales at stores open at least 12 months in China slid 5 percent, the Louisville, Kentucky-based company said yesterday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Analysts estimated a 5.8 percent drop, the average of five projections gathered by Consensus Metrix.

PetroChina Co. (857), the country’s biggest oil and natural gas producer, will buy Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR)’s assets in Peru for $2.6 billion, expanding its portfolio in the region.

The Beijing-based company will take over three blocks of oil and gas fields in Peru from the seller, known as Petrobras, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Petrobras owns two blocks entirely and has a 46 percent stake in the third, according to the statement.

Posted from Diigo.

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