China Business Briefs 13/1/14

ECONOMY

Yuan Reaches 1993-High on Record Fixing as Taper Concern Eases – Bloomberg The currency advanced by the most in a month as the People’s Bank of China strengthened the daily fixing by 0.1 percent today to 6.0950 per dollar, the highest since a peg to the greenback was scrapped in July 2005. U.S. employers added 74,000 workers in December, the least since January 2011, the Labor Department said on Jan. 10. China had a trade surplus of $25.6 billion in December, according to official figures released Jan. 10.

China Moving Closer to Bank Failure: Xinhua-Caijing China is moving closer to allowing its banks actually fail, the official Xinhua reported, citing Yan Qingmin, deputy chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission.

The market will have the final say in future, Yan told the forum, which means banks would have to stay out of the market if they end up insolvent. Such a remark from the regulator has signaled the state’s exit from its support to deposits in commercial banks and the government will for the first time allow its banks to go bankrupt, Xinhua said.

China’s 2013 exports rise 7.9%, imports up 7.3% – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s exports rose 7.9 percent year on year to $2.21 trillion in 2013, while imports increased 7.3 percent to $1.95 trillion, customs data revealed on Friday.

The foreign trade surplus widened to $259.75 billion in 2013, an increase of 12.8 percent from a year earlier, said Zheng Yuesheng, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs.

Nation’s salary growth strong: Report – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn According to the 2014 Hays Asia Salary Guide, which was released on Thursday and polled about 2,600 employers across the region, 67 percent of the surveyed Chinese employers said they will increase employees’ salaries above 6 percent, compared with 66 percent last year.

US scrutinises Chinese investments most over national security: law firm | South China Morning Post The Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviewed 23 transactions proposed by Chinese companies in 2012, followed by 17 for Britain, traditionally top of the list for scrutiny, and 13 for Canada, US law firm Kaye Scholer said in a report.

Investors still not sold on rail sector – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Some see these losses as a sign that China’s rail assets are undervalued, despite a recent industry overhaul. In actuality though, investors have good reason to be bearish on the rail sector.

Chinese Developers Set to Increase Investment In Foreign Real Estate – Forbes Chinese developers have been purchasing big real estate projects in the world’s most important cities in the past year. They will continue the shopping spree this year, with other Chinese groups to follow the trend soon, according to real estate analysts.

New property bureau to be set up – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China will establish a new bureau specifically designed for property registration this year in a push to facilitate property management reform, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the country’s top land regulator, said over the weekend, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

On top of the establishment of the new bureau, relevant regulations that will lay the ground for a unified regi­stration system will be released this year, Xu Deming, vice minister of land and resources, said Saturday at a two-day annual work conference.

China Believes that it Can Duplicate Our Success Given our recent success in producing oil and natural gas, it shouldn’t shock anyone that other countries believe they can follow suit. China now has hopes of doubling its oil production by 2030. Because it will be relying heavily on unconventional production methods, the help of current experts in these areas will be needed. Equipment & service providers Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) have already begun successfully setting up shop in China. They will be helping producers like CNOOC (NYSE: CEO) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) tap these vast resources. For more, tune in to the clip below.

Why China Wants to Kill Off Bitcoin The press releases may seem mundane, but the reality is, China has a big incentive to keep Bitcoin out of the hands of its citizens. China maintains very tight capital controls, limiting the amount of cash citizens can move outside the country.

Bitcoin effectively circumvents any and all capital controls. Prior to a widespread ban, Chinese citizens could buy Bitcoin to sell for another currency, or even buy homes in foreign lands. Yes, homes. Several homes have been listed with prices in Bitcoin.

COLUMN-Record China crude oil imports flatter to deceive: Clyde Russell | Reuters Taken together, net crude and fuel imports last year were 5.83 million bpd, up about 160,000 bpd, or 2.8 percent, from 2012’s 5.67 million bpd.

This figure is a truer reflection of the overall state of Chinese import demand.

Closer Look: Same Game, Different Names – The end of a listing freeze on mainland stock exchanges has reinvigorated investor appetites for new shares. This comes along with the intention of many company founders to cash out of newly-listed companies. When such demands intersect, sparks are bound to fly.

RMB appreciation unappreciated as inflation dampens affordability|WantChinaTimes.com The 35.7% appreciation in the value of the yuan during this eight-year period has been a positive development for Chinese exchange students studying overseas, but locals who have remained in the country are complaining that their money is becoming less valuable given that the consumer price index, the main measure of inflation, has averaged around 3.1% per year.

Milk, Games and Movies: China Stocks to Watch in 2014 – China Real Time Report – WSJ One area to watch: dairy products. The government’s relaxation of its one-child policy and antitrust measures targeting international competitors are both good news for the domestic milk industry, Bank of Communications Schroder Fund Management Co. said in a recent research report. Retail prices of China’s dairy products rose 5.7% in 2013 on-year, up from an increase of 3.2% in 2012, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed—faster than inflation, which clocked in for the year at 2.6%.

China can avoid Japan-style property bubble: official | Reuters China’s policy fine-tuning and ongoing urbanization can help it to avoid a Japan-style property bubble, a senior housing official said, amid fears a housing market crash could lead to a hard landing for the world’s second-largest economy.

Beijing has allowed local governments to take differentiated property tightening measures, rather than a one-size-fits-all bid to cool the market, Vice Housing Minister Qiu Baoxing said in remarks published in the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Luxury cars drive UK exports to China – Telegraph British exports to China are rising at a blistering pace and are poised to overtake those of France for the first time in the modern era, driven by sales of Range Rovers and other luxury cars to the country’s new rich.

Fresh data released by China’s authorities show that imports from Britain rose 14pc to $19.1bn (£11.6bn) last year, with more than 40pc of total sales coming from vehicles and transport goods.

Closer Look: Why Overpriced IPOs are not a Reason for Intervention – All of them have one thing in common: the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of their proposed offering price was much higher than the average PE ratio of comparable companies in the secondary market.

Five companies scheduled to start their online road shows for an initial public offering on January 13 postponed their issuance on the previous day, putting the number of companies to halt their stock issuance last minute at six.

China ‘equity return’ is a misnomer – Craig Stephen’s This Week in China – MarketWatch The lack of correlation between China’s growth and stock-market performance has frustrated money managers for years and spawned a variety of theories to try to explain this misnomer. Some look more useful than others, but they are worth reviewing as new explanations arrive.

Little consensus on renminbi appreciation this year | China Economic Review The bank’s Deputy Governor Yi Gang went a bit further last week, saying that China’s currency was close to equilibrium and would not require more intervention.

If that’s true, and China intends to stop buying US treasuries on a regular basis, the value of the yuan should appreciate considerably this year and in the years to come as China’s trade surplus is set to rise too. The IMF says the country’s current accounts surplus will double between 2013 and 2017.

COMPANIES

Death blast hits Sinopec for $963m – The Standard China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (0386) announced yesterday it had suffered a direct loss of 751.72 million yuan (HK$963.69 million) from a deadly accident in Qingdao last November for which chairman Fu Chengyu has received disciplinary penalties.

Fu was given a demerit on administration, while vice chairman Wang Tianpu, president Li Chunguang, chief safety officer Wang Yongjian and supervisor and director of general production Yu Renming were given “serous demerit on administration,” the firm said.

Chinese app store Wandoujia seals $120 million in funding Wandoujia, one of China’s top Android app stores, has secured a massive $120 million in funding, the Beijing-based startup revealed today.

The investment is led by SoftBank (TYO:9984), the Japanese mobile telco, with some funds also coming from DCM and Kaifu Lee’s Innovation Works Development Fund (IWDF). It’s the second major cash boost for Wandoujia, coming long after its $8 million in series A funding in 2011, which was led by DCM and Innovation Works.

Billionaire Li’s PCCW, Pacific Century Premium Suspend Trading – Bloomberg PCCW Ltd. (8), controlled by billionaire Richard Li, and its property unit Pacific Century Premium Developments Ltd. (432) halted their shares from trading in Hong Kong.

Pacific Century Premium plans to release a statement relating to “inside information and unusual price and trading volume movements,” the company said in a filing today. Shares of the Hong Kong-based property developer surged 15 percent to HK$3.07 before the trading halt.

WeChat brings in over 100,000 taxi rides in 9 days It’s been about a week and a half since WeChat, the messaging app that’s dominating smartphones in China, added taxi booking and payments to its range of services. The maker of WeChat, Chinese web giant Tencent, added support for the Didi Dache service after investing nearly $100 million into it. Today the fine folks at 36kr say that the total number of completed transactions – meaning taxis hailed and paid for inside of WeChat – have surpassed 100,000.

KFC Crisis in China Tests Ingenuity of Brand Builder – WSJ.com More than a year into the crisis, Yum is still struggling. Now Mr. Su and Chief Executive David Novak say the Louisville, Ky., company can turn things around in 2014, vowing that new menu items and digital-media initiatives will revive the brand in China. “I fully expect a strong comeback year,” Mr. Su said in a rare interview last month.

Some investors are getting restless. Yum’s shares—which had been propelled for years by its China growth—are up only 12% since late November 2012, when Chinese state media started reporting on food-safety concerns surrounding KFC suppliers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 26% in that period.

President Death Leaves Heir Overdue Rail Payments: China Credit – Bloomberg Shares in China’s second-biggest builder of railways have fallen 4.9 percent in Hong Kong since the company said Jan. 5 that President Bai Zhongren had died in an accident and that Chairman Li Changjin will take over his job before a successor is chosen. The yield on 2023 dollar-denominated debt of a company unit reached an eight-week high of 5.03 percent on Jan. 9, up from 3.88 percent when they were sold last January.

The Beijing-based company had 531.6 billion yuan ($87.9 billion) of liabilities on Sept. 30, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Its long-term debt to equity ratio of 129 percent would put it in the worst 3 percent on the Hang Seng Index, while its ability to cover interest payments with earnings would be in the worst 1 percent.

Li & Fung to Launch Factory-Safety Business – WSJ.com Li & Fung Ltd. , the buying agent for retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., said it is setting up the unit to provide factories with consulting services on safety, compliance and efficiency, as well as access to financing and insurance.

Dogfight on the cards | South China Morning Post A dogfight is looming in the horizon as more budget carriers come on stream, bringing them head-to-head with the likes of Cathay Pacific Airways, China Southern Airlines and Air China.

There are about 60 budget airlines operating nearly 1,000 aircraft in the Asia-Pacific but only four in Greater China – encompassing the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – deploying fewer than 80 aircraft.

OCBC Said in Talks for All-Debt Financing for Wing Hang Deal – Bloomberg Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (OCBC) is in talks with lenders including Bank of America Corp. and HSBC Holdings Plc about an all-debt financing for its acquisition of Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank Ltd. (302), according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Singapore-based OCBC plans to sell stock later to help repay the short-term loan, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Talks between the companies are centering around a valuation of almost 1.9 times Wing Hang’s book value, though no terms have been finalized, one person said.

Service firms pay 67% of tax revenue – Xinhua | English.news.cn The service industry paid nearly two-thirds of Shanghai’s tax revenue last year and financial firms took the lead as they made up 40 percent of the 100 top service taxpayers, underlining the city’s goal to be a global financial center.

The Bank of Communications Ltd was the top service taxpayer with 16.2 billion yuan, followed by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank with 10.4 billion yuan, and Shanghai GM Sales Co Ltd with 8.4 billion yuan.

Onecard, China’s version of Coin, is your digital credit card As well as storing your credit cards and being swipe-able in China’s point-of-sale devices in stores, OneCard will go a couple of steps further than Coin in also storing prepaid cards and membership/loyalty cards. Even better, it promises to support the tap-to-pay function on Beijing’s and Shanghai’s public transport systems. It also incorporates NFC, but that’s of limited usage pretty much anywhere.

Moody’s assigns A1 to BOC Hong Kong Branch’s MTN program drawdown Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an A1 rating to the benchmark-size  senior unsecured notes to be issued by Bank of China Limited (BOC) Hong  Kong Branch.

ASIA CREDIT CLOSE: New issues feel impact of competition | Reuters Bank of China, meanwhile, also announced a two-tranche offering, which took the shine away from BoCom’s 3-year bonds printed last week, which were, therefore, last quoted at 186bp/184bp over the 2-year US Treasury, or 3bp wider.

Sinohydro Group Ltd : 32 Years After, No Power At Mambilla Hydro-Power Project | 4-Traders According to the report, the project was contracted at the sum of $3.2 billion (equivalent N508 billion) to the China Gezhouba Group Company Limited (CGGC) and another Chinese consortium, Sinohydro, with the proposed structure of the contract stipulating that Sinohydro cover 70 per cent of the project while CGGC would execute the remaining 30 percent.

Hong Kong Electric Eyes up to $3.6 Billion From IPO | 4-Traders HK Electric Investments, which owns power plants and electricity-distribution networks in the city, is selling 4.43 billion units in an indicative price range of HK$5.45-HK$6.30 each, it said in a statement late on Sunday. At the US$3.6 billion size, it will be the region’s top deal since Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd raised US$4 billion from an IPO in Japan in June, according to Dealogic.

£24bn rival to Panama Canal to break ground this year – Telegraph Its construction is essential to deal with a surge in global trade and the rise of colossal supertankers, many of which are too large for the ageing   Panama Canal, more than 500 miles to the south.

The project’s funding is being led by the Chinese telecoms billionaire Wang Jing, whose HKND Group won a licence for the development last year.

Chinese Startup Hopes to Capture Apple’s Magic – China Real Time Report – WSJ The Chinese company, which is planning to expand abroad, paid Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to appear on Sunday in front of reporters at its headquarters in Beijing. Mr. Wozniak showed up at the event–labeled as the “Lei Jun & Woz Tech Talk”–with Xiaomi’s founder and chairman, Lei Jun, and told reporters that Xiaomi’s products were “excellent” and “good enough to crack the American market.”

What U.S. Coffee Chain Could China’s Goubuli Be Looking to Buy? – China Real Time Report – WSJ Zhang Yansen, chairman of closely held Chinese bun maker Goubuli, has been in the Chinese press this week saying he is in the final stages of negotiations to acquire a well-known American coffee chain, without disclosing the name. He gave some hints though: It has hundreds of shops in 40 countries spanning the U.S., Europe and Asia.

China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. (LFC): New Analyst Report from Zacks Equity Research – Zacks Equity Research Report – NASDAQ.com We maintain our Neutral recommendation on China Life as strong market position, growth in premiums and investment income is expected to outweigh the headwinds like higher expenses and declining cash flow.

Posted from Diigo.

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