China factory data show contraction; stocks fall – MarketWatch China’s manufacturing sector is showing an unexpected contraction in January, albeit a mild one, according to initial results from HSBC’s monthly survey released Thursday. The “flash” version of the HSBC/Markit China manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a six-month low of 49.6, down from a final December reading of 50.5, with the result sending Chinese stocks and the Australian dollar all lower. Economists had expected the flash PMI — which usually includes 85%-90% of total responses used for the final report — to print at 50.3, according to a Bloomberg News forecast. Results below the 50 level indicate contraction, while those above 50 suggest growth.
China PMI Signals First Contraction In 6 Months; Drops Most Since May | Zero Hedge With every component of HSBC’s China Manufacturing PMI either dropping or showong slower growth, it is hardly a surprise that the much-watched survey of economic strength dipped into contractionary territory. At 49.6 this is the lowest since July 2013 and dropped month-over-month by the most since May 2013. HSBC argues this is “domestic demand cooling” but new export orders tumbled at an accelerating pace as did employment. Of course, the silver lining is that because the prices components did not show acceleration then the PBOC has room to ‘stimulate’ to avoid repeating growth deceleration but that appears – despite today’s further CNY 120 billion reverse repo – to not be the plan for the PBOC for now (given the 20-plus percent YoY gains in house prices).
Judge Suspends Chinese Units of Big Four Auditors – WSJ.com The Chinese units of the Big Four accounting firms should be suspended from auditing U.S.-traded companies for six months, a judge ruled, a move that could complicate the audits of dozens of Chinese companies and some U.S.-based multinationals.
The audit firms, plus a fifth China-based accounting firm, broke U.S. law when they refused to turn over documents about some of their clients to the Securities and Exchange Commission to aid the commission in investigating those U.S.-traded Chinese companies for possible fraud, ruled Cameron Elliot, an SEC administrative law judge.
China’s Real-Estate Investment Boom Set to Continue in 2014 – China Real Time Report – WSJ Chinese outbound commercial real-estate investment is estimated to exceed $10 billion this year, after it doubled to $7.6 billion last year from 2012’s $3.3 billion, according to data from Jones Lang LaSalle. Rival brokerage Colliers International is more bullish, saying it expects Chinese investors to spend at least twice as much on overseas property assets this year as last year.
Among some of last year’s higher-profile investments were Shanghai’s Fosun International purchase of the Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York for $725 million in October and state-owned conglomerate Greenland Holding Group’s 70% stake in Brooklyn’s $5 billion Atlantic Yards project. Greeland also paid $1 billion for a piece of land in Los Angeles on which it plans to build a hotel, office units, serviced residences and high-end homes.
President Xi Jinping’s Crackdown on Official Gift-Giving Is Transforming How Business Is Done in China – WSJ.com An unexpected peak-season rut for China’s calendar business illustrates how broadly a corruption crackdown has challenged business as usual. Private clubs are shutting down following official criticism they are extravagant; officials attend meetings without watches and belts to avoid suspicion they have ill-gotten wealth; military officers, once able to ride high in imported SUVs, were recently told to drive only domestically made vehicles.
The campaign may be beginning to drag on China’s economy by reducing demand, economists said after a report this week showed last year’s gross domestic product growth held steady at 7.7%.
China Bailout Costs Jump Seen in Policy Bank Yield Surge – Bloomberg The average yield premium over the sovereign for five-year debt sold by China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of China and Agricultural Development Bank of China widened 90 basis points from an August low to 142 basis points on Jan. 17, the highest in Chinabond data going back to 2007. The gap was 138 basis points yesterday. Yields have climbed on safer assets, including CDB’s, as delays in restructuring bad loans are stretching the central government’s ability to guarantee debt, Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a report this week.
China creates teams to spearhead economic change, with top leaders in charge | Reuters China has created six teams to supervise its boldest economic and social changes in 30 years, with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang personally taking charge, state media said on Wednesday.
Xi has been appointed the head of the central leading group for comprehensive reforms that will oversee the six teams, with Li as his deputy, state radio said after the group held its first-ever meeting.
Gazprom targets May for China gas deal, angles for pre-payments Gazprom on Wednesday proposed signing a major China gas export deal in May, as industry sources indicated that the Russian gas giant may offer a lower price in return for billions of dollars in upfront payments.
Industry sources say that Gazprom is hoping for $10-$11 per mmBtu from China. China is believed to pay $9 per mmBtu to Turkmenistan, the former Soviet state in Central Asia that beat Gazprom to the Chinese market.
China Auto Industry News | China to Account for 30% of Global Auto Sales by 2020 | China Car Times – China Auto News A recent study from KPMG indicates that the Chinese market will continue to expand considerably with it expected to account for 30% of global automotive sales by 2020 alone.
The study, carried out by KPMG as part of its fifteenth annual Global Automotive Executive Survey highlights many key points in the development of the Chinese auto industry which will coincide with the development of other BRIC markets which KMPG believes will benefit the top ten OEM manufacturers in China and to a lesser extent to the following ten.
Let the WMP house of cards fall apart next week | China Economic Review It’s time to let China’s wealth management house of cards fall apart. A potential US$500 million default at China Credit Trust (CCT) next week is the perfect place to start.
The 345 investors that bought CCT trust products through Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in 2011 aren’t sitting on buried treasure. Rather, the underlying assets for those products are a few dilapidated coal mines in Shanxi province. The price of coal has dropped 40% since a group of hungry investors poured their cash into the trusts, a form of wealth management product (WMP). The plant and equipment at the mine have also no doubt fallen in value.
China must spend $330 billion more to do fair share on climate – report | Reuters China must increase spending on emission cuts and clean technologies by 2 trillion yuan ($330 billion) to do its fair share to halt climate change, a report by Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics said.
China, the world’s biggest-emitting nation, has already pledged to spend 520 billion yuan to help prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2C, according to Chen Bo, co-author of the report.
Migrants find a home for capital in pursuit of foreign residence- Chinadaily.com.cn Migration for investment in overseas real estate markets has become a top choice for Chinese applicants, according to a report on China’s migration status released on Wednesday.
The Annual Report on Chinese International Migration 2014 shows that a growing number of Chinese investors are rushing to go abroad in order to buy properties and establish permanent residence in places like Europe and North America.
Shadow Banking Again in the Limelight-Caijing The General Office of the State Council recently introduced a new set of guidelines – known as Document No. 107 – to curb the country’s massive shadow banking system. The guidelines are widely regarded as China’s highest level document aimed at regulating risky off-balance-sheet lending.
Document No. 107 officially defines the shadow banking system in China for the first time. It also clarifies responsibilities of the country’s central bank and the separate regulatory agencies for the banking, securities and insurance sectors when it comes to supervising shadow-banking activities, and pledges to establish a regulatory framework featuring both central- and local-level regulation.
China abandons its pursuit of growth at all costs – FT.com Implicit in this change of direction is a trade-off between growth and economic efficiency. The government is expecting growth of about 7.5 per cent in 2014. In previous years it has made its forecast deliberately low and then come in triumphantly above expectations. This year, if anything, it could go the other way. By the end of 2014 growth may be slowing towards 6 per cent, even if the result for the year as a whole is still likely to be 7 per cent or above.
China Reforms Hydro-Electricity Prices – WSJ.com China on Wednesday said it would reform the price that power-grid operators pay to hydropower plants for electricity to encourage investment in the industry.
Chinese officials admitted last month that the country is struggling to meet its 2015 targets for clean-energy production. China wants non-fossil fuels to make up 11.4% of its energy mix by 2015, but consumption reached only 9.4% in 2012.
For Liquor Makers, Cheer Dries Up in China – WSJ.com The crackdown on conspicuous consumption—part of an anticorruption drive led by President Xi Jinping—has hit spirits companies harder than most. Profit warnings, executive departures and restructuring drives have all been linked to the ban.
China is the world’s biggest alcohol market, making up 38% of global spirits consumption, according to the International Wine & Spirit Research industry body. The country is especially important for cognac makers: Rémy Cointreau derives about 40% of its total profit from cognac sales in China, while sales of the French liquor account for 15% of Pernod Ricard S’s earnings.
China listings no lure to investors after closure of 3.6m trading accounts | South China Morning Post The number of mainland stock accounts containing funds shrank to a three-year low of 53.7 million on Friday, a drop of 3.6 million from the June 2011 peak.
The retreat, spurred by slowing economic growth and a shift towards higher-yielding wealth management products, is fuelling losses in the Shanghai Composite Index that erased US$571 billion of market value in the past four years and sent the gauge to a five-month low on Monday.
12 new free-trade zones to follow in Shanghai’s footsteps | South China Morning Post The 12 would include Guangdong, which has been lobbying the central government by highlighting its economic ties with Hong Kong, and Tianjin , Xinhua cited an official source as telling its subsidiary the Economic Information Daily. It did not name the remaining 10.
He said other candidates included Zhejiang’s Zhoushan , which consists of several islands with a focus on the shipping business; Qingdao , an important port city; Chengdu , a southwestern business hub; Wuhan , a central province; and Hangzhou , where e-commerce giant Alibaba is based.
Hi-tech industry helps Shenzhen beat GDP goal | South China Morning Post Mayor Xu Qin will tell delegates that the city’s economy grew by 10.5 per cent last year compared with 2012. Xu early last year set a target of a 9 per cent rise in gross domestic product. Per capita GDP in the city reached US$22,000.
Xu’s work report said Shenzhen’s six strategic industries – biotechnology, information technology, new energy, new materials, telecommunications and the cultural and creative industry – recorded growth of 19.8 per cent last year.
Wealthy Chinese want British education for their children – FT.com The Hurun Report, a closely watched annual survey of China’s entrepreneurs and investors, found that 29 per cent gave Britain as the ideal country for their children’s secondary education, followed by the US with 26 per cent.
The influx of Chinese in Britain’s education system would have spillover effects for the rest of the economy, he added. “These people will have two years in the UK at sixth form, followed by four years at university, followed very likely by a year or two of work experience. So they’re going to have a very personal relationship with Britain for the best part of 8 years.”
Chinese Hotels Drop Stars to Score Political Points – China Real Time Report – WSJ Amid China’s anti-extravagance sweep, hotels are downgrading themselves to score political points – and win back business from politicians. A year ago this week, President and Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping declared war on “undesirable practices” by officials that he said risked creating an “invisible wall that separates the party from the people.”
Chinese oil giants make use of offshore shell companies in Caribbean | World news | theguardian.com The country’s biggest oil companies – Sinopec, PetroChina and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) – are among the world’s largest businesses, but executives in the industry are embroiled in multiple corruption probes, many tied to networks of shell companies around the world.
Research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) based on leaked financial records from the British Virgin Islands, reveal dozens of companies tied to the three oil giants, many of which are not disclosed on any publicly available filings by the businesses.
China Insurer Ping An Promises to Look Into ‘VIP’ Investment Product Collapse – China Real Time Report – WSJ One of China’s largest insurers said it will look into allegations from investors that some of its salespeople sold them another firm’s product that they now say has collapsed.
In a statement to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Ping An Insurance Group Co. said the company forbids its insurance agents from selling products on behalf of other financial institutions.
ICBC May Pay Part of Funds in Troubled Trust: Time-Weekly – Bloomberg ICBC and China Credit Trust may each take responsibility for 25 percent of payments for the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) trust, the newspaper reported on its website today, citing a person it didn’t identify. The Credit Equals Gold No. 1 product raised money for a coal mining company that collapsed after its owner was arrested. The government of Shanxi province, where the company was based, may take responsibility for the remaining 50 percent, according to the report on the website of Guangzhou city-based Time-Weekly.
Special Report: How Caterpillar got bulldozed in China | Reuters The night of the awards on November 16 three Caterpillar lawyers were wrapping up an eight-hour grilling of Wang Fu, Siwei’s chairman. Major accounting problems had been unearthed at Siwei headquarters in the gritty Chinese city of Zhengzhou. Two months later, on January 18, 2013, Caterpillar said it had discovered “deliberate, multi-year, coordinated accounting misconduct” at Siwei.
Wang was sacked. Caterpillar took a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $580 million – 86 percent of the value of the deal. The company says it was caught unaware by the problems at Siwei and only discovered them in November 2012, five months after the deal closed.
Are Lenovo and IBM Finally Close to Another Deal? It has taken a long time, but Lenovo (NASDAQOTH: LNVGY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) may be about to finally strike a bargain for IBM’s x86 server business. Lenovo has openly acknowledged its interest in this business, but the companies have been at odds on deal terms. With ongoing share loss in the server business and a desire to reallocate capital to higher-returning businesses like software and services, IBM would do well to close this deal.
Yu E Bao Deals with the Pressure of Being No. 1 – As of January 15, Yu E Bao has more than 250 billion yuan in investment from over 49 million users, says Tian Hong Asset Management Co., the company that manages Yu E Bao. That makes it the 14th-largest money market fund in the world, data from Bloomberg shows. Combined with other investment funds, the amount managed by Tian Hong has exceeded 260 billion yuan.
An excerpt of the interview follows.
Text, Chat, Profit: Tencent Launches Investing on WeChat – China Real Time Report – WSJ The new service is no doubt aimed at competing with Alibaba’s service, which was introduced last year. It’s also likely a ploy by Tencent to entice users to link their bank and WeChat accounts. The fund, called Licaitong, offers an impressive 7.3940% seven-day annualized yield, besting Yu’e Bao’s rate by almost 1%.
Magnum Entertainment Soars on First Nightclub IPO in Hong Kong – Bloomberg Magnum Entertainment Group Holdings Ltd. (2080), the first nightclub operator to go public in Hong Kong, more than doubled on its first day of trading.
Magnum raised $16.3 million in an initial public offering, selling shares at the top end of a marketed range, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock jumped as high as HK$3.21 from its offer price of HK$1.50, and traded at HK$3.05 at 9:57 a.m. local time.
China Mobile shakes up fixed-line broadband | South China Morning Post A welcome development looks set to shake up China’s fixed-line broadband sector this year, with word that leading wireless carrier China Mobile (0941.HK; NYSE: CHL) is offering aggressive pricing after receiving a license to offer fixed-line service late last year. Of course I’m speaking from the consumer’s perspective, since China’s 1.3 billion consumers and millions of businesses have had little or no choice for the last decade when choosing a fixed-line broadband supplier.
Qihoo 360 to distribute and facilitate Disney’s mobile games｜WantChinaTimes.co The two companies reached an agreement on Wednesday. Disney Mobile will sign over the intellectual property rights to its mobile games to Qihoo while the Chinese company’s 360 Mobile Assistant will use Qihoo’s resources to distribute and facilitate the games. The two companies will also provide various Disney-related products such as browser skins and computer desktop wallpapers of Disney images, said Jiang Zuwang, director of the Qihoo’s Mobile Gaming group.
Top Chinese App and Mobile Game Trends in 2013: Wandoujia Chinese Android app distributor Wandoujia (or SnapPea) and research institute iResearch jointly released a report on the hottest trends of Chinese mobile apps and games in last year.
Square-like Chinese startup QFPay swipes $16.5M in series B funding QFPay, maker of a Square-like gadget for taking e-payments via a smartphone, has secured series B funding worth $16.5 million, 36Kr reports today.
QFPay’s main product is QPOS, which looks like a mini calculator. It connects wirelessly to Android tablets or phones, or iPhone or iPad; or there’s a wired version that hooks up to a PC. It can be used by retailers of all sizes to take credit card or bank card transactions.
The Himalayan Times : Two banks asked to set aside Rs 1.5bn to pay MWSDB – Detail News : Nepal News Portal Himalayan Bank Ltd (HBL) and Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) will have to deposit Rs 1.51 billion at the central bank for possible payment to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, according to a court order.
HBL will have to deposit Rs 660 million and BoK has to deposit Rs 850 million as a provision to pay MWSDB the counter guarantee amount. The two Nepali banks stand to lose about Rs 1.5 billion to the project after their client — China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation — failed to complete the construction of the tunnel.
LNG Stock Prices: Three Reasons 2014 Will Bring the Biggest Gains Yet China continues to turn more to natural gas as a solution to the country’s air pollution problem. It aims to triple the use of natural gas by 2020 to above 300 billion cubic meters from approximately 100 billion cubic meters now.
China only began importing LNG in 2006, but by the end of 2012 it had six LNG import terminals in operation. The total capacity of these terminals is 18.8 million tons of LNG.
Addax signs 10-year Gabon petroleum deal – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Addax Petroleum Corp, the biggest overseas subsidiary of Sinopec Group, has won a 10-year contract to extract oil at three fields in Gabon.
At peak production, the company will account for about 20,000 barrels a day, or nearly one-eighth of the African country’s oil output.
New batch of dairy brands recommended – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn The China Dairy Industry Association (CDIA) announced Wednesday the second batch of the association’s recommended baby formula brands. Twelve baby formula products from six domestic dairy companies were promoted in a press conference held in Beijing Wednesday.
The six companies are Zhejiang Beingmate Technology Industry and Trade Co, Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co, and four regional dairy brands.
LifeWatch announces strategic partnership with China Telecom for the sale of medical smartphones LifeWatch AG (SIX Swiss Exchange: LIFE), the leading wireless cardiac monitoring service provider in the U.S., makes a huge step forward in its strategy to complement its offering with products and ser- vices that are independent from third party payees. Today, Yacov Geva, CEO, signed a binding memorandum of understanding with China Telecom with a potential of more than USD 400 million sales of medical smartphones LiveWatch V and subsequent generation and related services in China over five years.
China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL): China Mobile: A Long-Term Buying Opportunity – Seeking Alpha Although CHL is currently facing some headwinds, the company has an enviable history of growth. From 2003 through 2012, CHL increased both revenue and EPS every year with a 9-year CAGR of 14.7% and 13.7%, respectively. Although rivals China Unicom and China Telecom grew revenues at a faster pace in recent years, their growth came at the expense of profitability as both companies spent heavily on marketing and subsidies to attract CHL customers. For example, although CHL has lagged badly from 2009 through 2012 in terms of revenue, the company has outpaced both CHU and CHA in terms of EPS growth at a 3-year CAGR of 3.9% vs. 0% for CHA and a negative 9.1% for CHU.
WeChat 5.2 Supports Nine Categories of Mobile Payments It now supports making payments for Didi (the taxi app venture backed by Tencent), Licaitong (the mutual fund, released several days ago, similar to Alipay’s Yuebao), purchases on Tencent’s online retailer Yixun, QQ Coins (the virtual currency used in Tencent ecosystem), movie tickets, lottery tickets, making donations, phone bills and splitting bills.
Volvo AB: Chinese Authority Approves Dongfeng Motor JV – WSJ.com Swedish truck maker Volvo AB (VOLV-B.SK) Wednesday said the National Development and Reform Commission in China on Jan. 7 approved the establishment of a previously announced joint venture between the company and China’s Dongfeng Motor Group Company Ltd. (0489.HK).
Volvo in January last year announced an agreement with Dongfeng to acquire 45% of the Chinese vehicle maker’s new subsidiary Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles, which will include a large part of its medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles business.
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