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  • A pedestrian-friendly approach could transform key urban areas into vibrant social and retail hubs

    Hong Kong’s retail landscape is in danger of falling behind, as millennial and Generation Z consumers, who continue to influence the future of retail by setting new benchmarks for the industry, demand digitally-engaging, entertaining and shareworthy experiences. I believe a fundamental mindset shift is needed to deliver these experiences and secure Hong Kong’s retail competitiveness moving forward. To reinvigorate retail, the answer could lie in addressing one of the city’s major challenges: a…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Airbus warns of ‘catastrophic’ EU exit

    Airbus said yesterday it would have to make “difficult decisions” about future investment if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal, adding it had already spent tens of millions of euros in preparations.“There is no such thing as a managed ‘no deal,’ it’s absolutely catastrophic for us,” senior vice president Katherine Bennett said.“Some difficult decisions will have to be made if there’s no-deal … we will have to look at future investments.“We’ve spent tens of millions of euros on readiness, for example stockpiling parts, looking at the IT systems, working out how our employees will be able to cross over the many 80,000 journeys they make every year as part of our integrated European business.”Airbus, the world’s second-largest aerospace group, employs 14,000 people in Britain, including 6,000 at its main wings factory at Broughton, Wales, and 3,000 in Filton, western England, where wings are designed and supported.Critics of previous warnings by Airbus have cast doubt on whether the France-based group would move significant operations out of Britain, arguing Broughton is an efficient factory and that the case for staying is buoyed by a weak sterling.The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, but so far has not bedded down an exit deal.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Alibaba expands in Russia

    Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao Network, said it has signed a letter of intent to strengthen collaboration with Russian Post to boost cross-border trade in a bid to bolster Chinese exports.The two parties will build and upgrade the infrastructure of full-service centers in Russia, providing services for warehousing, orders, parcel-handling, sorting and courier delivery, and also increasing capacity during peak times.“Combining our two parties’ experience will improve the quality, cost-efficiency and speed of delivery of goods from China to Russia immensely,” said Nikolai Podguzov, general director of Russian Post.“We intend to become a key logistics partner with Cainiao in Russia.”Lin Wan, president of Cainiao Network, said: “Cainiao is committed to developing a global smart logistics network with a partnership approach, and we are delighted to join hands with Russian Post to help our merchants better serve Russian and global consumers.”The tie-up would boost cross-border logistics and also provide vendors on Alibaba’s overseas-buyer targeted site AliExpress with its warehouse and delivery services.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • American shops’ holidays not so happy

    US retail sales fell in December, posting the biggest drop since September 2009 and delivering more evidence that last year’s holiday sales fizzled unexpectedly.Even e-commerce suffered a big setback.The Commerce Department said yesterday that December retail sales dropped 1.2 percent from November.They were up 2.3 percent from December 2017.Total retail sales for 2018 rose 5 percent from the previous year.Excluding gasoline station sales, which swing widely as pump prices rise and fall, retail sales dropped 0.9 percent in December.The stock market recorded big drops in December.And a partial shutdown of the federal government began December 22 at the end of the holiday shopping season.“The shutdown came late in the month and likely had little impact on December sales, but consumer sentiment was weaker in the month amid stock market volatility,” analysts at Contingent Macro Research wrote in a research report.Non-store retailers, which include mail-order and e-commerce vendors, saw sales tumble 3.9 percent.That’s the most since November 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis.Retailers had high hopes for the 2018 holiday season.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Battlefield for investors in Beijing shopping malls moves to far-flung suburbs

    The battlefield for investors in Beijing shopping malls has moved far from the heart of the city.Increasingly, developers and investment funds are opening mega-malls in distant suburbs, competing for precious foot traffic with pet cafes, jazz bars and other novelties not available elsewhere.City planners are behind the shift: They want to disperse the 24 million residents of the nation’s capital city, which is built far out on a series of beltways, ending with the 7th Ring Road. As part of that…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Bourses rise on optimism for Sino-US trade truce

    Chinese stock markets saw broad-based gains yesterday amid optimism over US-China trade talks. More than 100 shares hit the daily 10 percent cap on price rises.The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index surged 2.68 percent or 71.97 points, to close at 2,754.36 points, logging its best day since November 2.The index was boosted by the strong performance of non-bank financial names and information technology companies.The smaller Shenzhen Component Index rallied by 3.95 percent to close at 8,446.92 points, while the Nasdaq-style ChiNext enterprise board surged 4.11 percent to end at 1,413.60 points. The blue-chip index climbed 3.21 percent.The A-share market saw more than 100 shares recording the biggest daily rise, with a combined turnover of 547.7 billion yuan (US$81.01 billion), up from 418.3 billion yuan the previous trading day.Dongxing Securities saw its shares rise by the daily limit of 10 percent to end at 11.32 yuan per share.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.6 percent to 28347.012 points. The rally came after the news that trade talks between the US and China are set to continue in Washington this week, after the two parities were reported to have made steady and methodical progress on both core and subsidiary issues in negotiations recently concluded in Beijing.The two countries are both motivated to negotiate due to the economic pain from tariffs imposed by both sides, Ethan Harris, head of global economics research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.“Despite scant details, investors remain optimistic on trade talks,” analysts at Mizuho bank said in a note.“With both sides set to resume negotiation in Washington this week, the market will continue to look out for signs of concrete progress.”Central government policies are also boosting the market.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Brexit apart, Spain’s political uncertainty is a microcosm of the euro zone’s deepening troubles

    Political parties in Spain will enter campaign mode this week after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Friday called for an early general election, the third such ballot in as many years. However, far from being an exception, the latest political uncertainty in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy comes as there are mounting signs of political instability and stagnating growth in other large European economies like Germany, France and Italy.

    With the euro zone “celebrating” its 20th anniversary…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Can China’s ‘Greater Bay Area’ really rival the likes of Tokyo, New York and San Francisco?

    About fours years after China’s top economic planners coined the term “Greater Bay Area”, details about the initiative were finally be unveiled on Monday. First mentioned in a 2015 blueprint of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, the term has become a buzzword among business communities in southern China and beyond.The initiative aims to connect the former European colonies of Hong Kong and Macau with nine cities in China’s southern Guangdong province. Officials from the three jurisdictions…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Can China’s emerging cities help counter the economic slowdown and US-China trade war?

    For 2019, Chinese investment firm and retailer Five Star Holdings is projecting a 50 per cent increase in revenue, even though China is fighting an economic downturn and a trade war with the United States.The company’s optimism stems from the strong revenue growth it has experienced in the past few years, half of it from China’s smaller cities and the rural regions where spending growth has surpassed that of major cities.Five Star, which has annual sales of about 50 billion yuan (US$7.4 billion…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • China and Hong Kong stocks climb on record new lending and trade deal outlook

    China and Hong Kong stocks rose for the first time in three days after official data showed that new lending by mainland banks surged to a record in January and on optimism that the Asian nation and the US are close to clinching a deal to resolve their trade dispute.The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.3 per cent, or 33.68 points, to 2,716.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 1.4 per cent, or 378.93 points, to 28,279.77.Traders cheered the news that China’s banks are pumping more money into the…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • China applauds ‘positive’ Donald Trump tweet, hopes for US trade war deal ahead of Washington talks

    A tweet by US President Donald Trump on the ongoing trade war is a “positive” signal, brightening prospects of a deal from this week’s talks in Washington, according to an opinion piece published by China’s major state media outlets on Monday.Monday’s opinion piece was published the day before a Chinese delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He is expected to leave for talks in Washington.In the tweet on Sunday, Trump said: “Important meetings and calls on China trade deal, and more, today with my…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • China crackdown on fraudulent P2P platforms results in 62 overseas arrests, US$1.5 billion of assets frozen

    Chinese police have investigated more than 380 peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms on suspicion of illegal fundraising and frozen assets worth 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion), following the dramatic implosion of the once-booming shadow banking sector.China’s Ministry of Public Security said it had arrested 62 suspects who were operators of fraudulent P2P platforms from 16 foreign countries including Thailand and Cambodia, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.This was a rare public…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • China has a black market for cheats in hit game Apex Legends even though it has yet to be launched there

    China is already home to a thriving black market for cheats and hacks in video games – and that is also true for new battle royale hit Apex Legends even though the game has yet to be launched in the country.Illegal software that gives players unfair advantages in Apex Legends is now up for sale on the Chinese internet, just as its developer is going after cheaters exploiting the game two weeks into its launch.A search of “Apex support” on Taobao Marketplace, China’s biggest online retail…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • China set for decades of strong growth

    China will maintain reasonably rapid growth while making a significant contribution to global growth, a US economist has said.“China’s absolute growth, I think, will continue in the middle to high single digits for several decades,” said Albert Keidel, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States.He mainly attributed his optimistic projection to China’s economic resilience as well as the country’s growth-oriented policies.In the midst of a complex external environment, China’s economy ended 2018 on firm footing, with an emphasis on higher quality growth.The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.6 percent year on year to 90.03 trillion yuan (US$13.28 trillion) in 2018, above the official target of around 6.5 percent, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Keidel, who is also an adjunct graduate professor at the Economics Department of George Washington University, said the average level of income and an appropriate distribution within that level of income are among the important metrics to gauge the health of an economy.“By both measures, China has done extremely well and is still doing well,” said Keidel, a former senior economist in the World Bank’s Beijing office.The longtime China watcher said the Chinese economy has been demonstrating great vitality since the country’s reform and opening-up.Calling the achievements China has scored over the past four decades of reform and opening-up “impressive,” Keidel noted that the country has “really given the world a model” to solve long-term problems such as increasing infrastructure investments to reduce bottlenecks.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • China’s Greater Bay Area still has hurdles to clear if it wants to be a tech challenger to Silicon Valley

    The “Greater Bay Area”, touted as China’s answer to Silicon Valley, may serve as a symbol of China’s determination to match US technological might, but a shortage of top-notch talent and schools, along with the simmering trade war between the US and China, have clouded its prospects in the short term, according to analysts.Beijing wants this proposed integrated area, which links nine cities in Guangdong province – including Shenzhen and Guangzhou – with the Hong Kong and Macau special…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • China’s stocks extend gains as shares linked to Greater Bay Area surge on development plan

    China’s stocks rose for a second day, with the benchmark gauge extending the biggest gain in three months, on optimism that growth in the world’s second-largest economy will gather pace. Hong Kong’s stocks also advanced.The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 per cent, or 1.39 points, to 2,755.75 in Tuesday morning trading. The Hang Seng Index gained 0.5 per cent, or 126.18 points, to 28,473.19.Hong Kong’s banking and insurance sectors among biggest winners under ‘Greater Bay Area’ blueprint,…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • City outlines blueprint to boost rental home sector

    the Shanghai government yesterday announced plans to stabilize the property market, including speeding up the development of rental apartments and increasing the supply of affordable housing units.The city aims to create a high-quality rental housing market and plans to build and convert 100,000 rental housing units throughout the year.Since 2017, Shanghai has continuously expanded rental housing. Last year, the city sold 118 hectares for rental purposes, with a planned construction over 2.5 million square meters.Shanghai also plans to accelerate the construction of affordable housing and improve support services for large residential units. As many as 60,000 new affordable housing units are expected to be supplied in 2019, compared with the target of 55,000 units in 2018.Last year, Shanghai saw a total of 80,000 new affordable housing units built — exceeding the target — and by the end of 2018, the city had a total 126,000 units of public rental apartments.On top of that, based on shared property ownership, eligible non-registered households with financial difficulties are now included in the housing welfare system.As of the end of 2018, the number of families benefiting from low-rent housing and affordable housing with joint property ownership reached 127,000 and 120,000 respectively, the government said.Shanghai said it will follow the principle that “houses are built for living and not for speculation” and it will focus on the regulation of the real estate market to maintain the continuity and stability of its control policies.Achieving strict control of high house and land prices is not a short term strategy, nor will it reduce the reliance of economic growth and fiscal revenue on the real estate industry, officials said.Meanwhile, the city will strengthen the supervision of the agency rental industry and further strengthen the monitoring of the rental housing market. To better guide market expectations, it seeks to improve the functions of the public service platform for rental apartments and establish a monitoring index system and an information release mechanism for home rent.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • EU to Trump: We’re ready for car war

    The EU promised a quick and effective response if the United States imposes import duties on European autos, a spokesman for the European Commission said yesterday.Brussels issued the threat after the US Commerce Department filed a report yesterday empowering President Donald Trump to apply car duties within the next 90 days.German Chancellor Angela Merkel has labelled as “frightening” the prospect that this report could label European car imports as a national security threat to the United States, enabling the tariffs.The White House has already used the national security argument — saying that undermining the American manufacturing base impairs military readiness, among other claims — to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. “Were this report translated into action detrimental to European exports, the European Commission would react in a swift and adequate manner,” EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters in Brussels.The protectionist Trump has threatened 25 percent duties on European autos, especially targeting Germany, which he says has harmed the American car industry.In 2017 just under half of the 17 million cars sold in the US were imported, most of them produced in Canada and Mexico.Those countries are expected to be exempt from any new automobile duties.German automobile groups last year exported 470,000 cars from Germany to the United States, according to the VDA manufacturers’ federation.The transatlantic flare-up followed a truce established in July, in which Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged no new tariffs while both sides pursued a limited trade deal.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Failed sports deal puts murky US$3.3 trillion market in China back into spotlight

    The high-profile failure of a European sports-rights agency has sent ripples into an opaque Chinese market for investment products that’s come under increased regulatory scrutiny.China Merchants Bank in 2016 used proceeds from a 2.8 billion yuan (US$414 million) wealth-management product to invest in London-based MP & Silva, the company that was dissolved by the UK High Court in October, as part of a Chinese consortium. As the investors tally their potential losses, the lender is now…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Farce, tragedy as Britain nears Brexit deadline

    It’s said that history often repeats itself — the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Many Britons feel they are living through both at the same time as their country navigates its way out of the European Union.The British government awarded a contract to ship in emergency supplies to a company with no ships. It pledged to replace citizens’ burgundy European passports with proudly British blue ones — and gave the contract to a Franco-Dutch company. It promised to forge trade deals with 73 countries by the end of March, but two years later has only a handful in place (including one with the Faroe Islands).Pretty much everyone in the UK agrees that the Conservative government’s handling of Brexit has been disastrous. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing this divided nation can agree on.With Britain due to leave the EU in six weeks and still no deal in sight on the terms of its departure, both supporters and opponents of Brexit are in a state of high anxiety.Pro-EU “remainers” lament the looming end of Britons’ right to live and work in 27 other European nations and fear the UK is about to crash out of the bloc without even a divorce deal to cushion the blow.Brexiteers worry that their dream of leaving the EU will be dashed by bureaucratic shenanigans that will delay its departure or keep Britain bound to EU regulations forever.“I still think they’ll find a way to curtail it or extend it into infinity,” said “leave” supporter Lucy Harris. “I have a horrible feeling that they’re going to dress it up and label it as something we want, but it isn’t.”It has been more than two and a half years since Britons voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the EU. Then came many months of tense negotiations to settle on Brexit departure terms and the outline of future relations. At last, the EU and Prime Minister Theresa May’s government struck a deal — then saw it resoundingly rejected last month by Britain’s Parliament, which like the rest of the country has split into pro-Brexit and pro-EU camps.May is now seeking changes to the Brexit deal in hope of getting it through Parliament before March 29. EU leaders say they won’t renegotiate, and accuse Britain of failing to offer a way out of the impasse.May insists she won’t ask the EU to delay Britain’s departure, and has refused to rule out a cliff-edge no-deal Brexit.Meanwhile, Brexit has clogged the gears of Britain’s economic and political life. The economy has stalled, growing only 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter as business investment registered a fourth straight quarterly decline.Big political decisions have been postponed, as May’s minority Conservative government struggles to get bills through a divided Parliament. Major legislation needed to prepare for Brexit has yet to be approved.Britain still does not have a deal on future trade with the EU, and it’s unclear what tariffs or other barriers British firms that do business with Europe will face after March 29.That has left businesses and citizens in an agonizing limbo.Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, a truckers’ lobby group, feels “pure anger” at a government he says has failed to plan, leaving haulers uncertain whether they will be able to travel to EU countries after March 29.McKenzie says truckers were told they will need Europe-issued permits to drive through EU countries if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal. Of more than 11,000 who applied, only 984 — less than 10 percent — have been granted the papers.“It will put people out of business,” McKenzie said. “It’s been an absolutely disastrous process for our industry, which keeps Britain supplied with, essentially, everything.”He’s not alone in raising the specter of shortages. Both the government and British businesses have been stockpiling key goods in case of a no-deal Brexit. Still, some Brexit-backers, such as former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, relish the prospect of a clean break even if it brings short-term pain.“Perhaps it is time for a Brexit recipe book, like those comforting wartime rationing ones full of bright ideas for dull things,” Moore wrote in The Spectator, a conservative magazine. He added that he and his neighbors were willing to “set out in our little ships to Dunkirk or wherever and bring back luscious black-market lettuces and French beans, oranges and lemons.”Brexit supporters often turn to nostalgic evocations of World War II and Britain’s “finest hour,” to the annoyance of pro-Europeans.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Fitch sees rebound in non-bank lending

    Fitch Ratings expects China’s non-bank consumer credit to return to growth this year after a sharp decline in 2018, as demand for online consumer loans remains strong and the government still aims for non-banks to support its efforts to promote inclusive finance to the under-banked population.That said, the authorities are unlikely to roll back the steps taken to improve oversight and contain risks in the sector, which makes a strong rebound unlikely, the rating agency noted in its latest report.China’s non-bank consumer loans doubled to stand at around 3 trillion yuan (US$440 billion) or 6 percent of the country’s total household debt, from the end of 2015 to the end of the first half of 2018, the report said. However, most of that growth came before regulation started to tighten in late 2017.China has intensified its crackdown on consumer credit in the “shadow banking” sector since December 2017, with stricter rules introduced on cash loans, such as a 36 percent ceiling for the annual percentage rate.The regulators also introduced higher capital requirements on micro-credit originators.Under regulatory pressure, many irregular lenders have exited the market, while stronger players have adjusted to ensure compliance with new requirements and diversified away from the compliance-heavy cash loan business.Ant Financial, a leading non-bank consumer lender and asset-backed security issuer, for example, has raised significant capital for its two micro-credit subsidiaries and scaled back its cash loan product, Jiebei.An asset-backed security is a financial security collateralized by a pool of assets such as loans, leases, credit card debt, royalties or receivables.Due to the close scrutiny placed on web-based micro-lenders, China saw its peer-to-peer lending fall particularly sharply last year, from a peak of 1 trillion yuan at the end of 2017 to around 750 billion yuan at the end of 2018.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Foreign investment jumps 4.8%

    Foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland expanded 4.8 percent year on year to reach 84.18 billion yuan (US$12.41 billion) in January, the Ministry of Commerce announced yesterday.FDI for the services sector more than doubled that for the manufacturing sector, reaching 56.2 billion yuan, MOC data showed.The high-tech sector reported a robust FDI inflow, growing 40.9 percent, with the high-tech service sub-sector using 15.77 billion yuan, a year-on-year expansion of 113.4 percent.FDI in central China reached 7.04 billion yuan, rising 11.6 percent year on year.MOC data showed that FDI from the United States surged 124.6 percent compared with January 2018, while that from countries along the Belt and Road increased 10.1 percent.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Foreign investors piling into mainland China stocks – and that’s expected to only grow

    Foreign investors are piling into mainland China’s stock markets, attracted by good valuations after A-shares took a pounding last year.The overseas appetite is expected to only grow if the global index compiler MSCI enlarges A share inclusion in its benchmarks. It will announce its decision by the end of the month.“Last year, the China A[share] market was the worst performing market in the region,” said Raymond Chan, the chief investment officer for equity, Asia-Pacific, for Allianz Global…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Foshan leads the real estate rally among Greater Bay cities as speculators get ahead of curve

    Foshan, an industrial city next to Guangzhou, has experienced the biggest gain in property prices in the last 18 months among the 11 cities in the Greater Bay Area plan, according to an index by Hong Kong property agent Centaline Property.As of January, prices for new and used homes in the city have risen 35 per cent since July 2017, according to the Centaline Greater Bay Area Index. Zhaoqing ranked No 2 with a 22 per cent gain, followed by Jiangmen with a 16 per cent gain and Hong Kong with a…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Global car giants are the Nokia of today, rolling towards commercial extinction

    Think of the smartphone in your pocket. Now compare it with the mobile phone you might have carried 20, or even 30, years ago.They are hardly comparable. They are different sizes, different shapes, and worlds apart in what they can do.That brick from 20 years ago could make telephone calls and send short text messages – if you were lucky enough to have cellular coverage.With today’s smartphones you can not only watch movies, you can make them. They can monitor your health and fitness, tell you…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Govt seeks to address bonds risks

    China will launch an investigation into corporate bond risks, focusing on issuers’ ability to repay maturing notes.The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s state planning agency, announced it would investigate issued corporate bonds on their duration and check the risks to principal and interest payment.It aims to better prevent and address risks in the field of corporate bonds, and to enhance the ability of corporate bonds to serve the real economy, the NDRC said in a statement.The commission requires its provincial offices to conduct specific checks on all corporate bonds in operation, mainly focusing on the overall situation, the fields they invest in and their operating benefits.Local authorities will also work on clearing risks in corporate bonds, and actively make risk response plans and deal with bond defaults to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of bondholders.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Hemp-related stocks surge after third Chinese province expected to legalise cultivation

    The industrial hemp sector posted a big jump Monday morning on the Chinese stock market, as funds flew into the sector after local government media reported that northeastern Jilin province is expected to legalise its cultivation.Jilin would be the third province to cultivate the plant in China, which is the world’s largest hemp producing country. Yunnan and Heilongjiang provinces grow it already.Marijuana growth and consumption is illegal in China, but hemp – also part of the cannabis family –…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • HK shares soar

    The Hong Kong stock market yesterday hit its highest close since August, tracking the rally in mainland shares, after US President Donald Trump suggested a trade truce with China could be extended. The Hang Seng index ended 1.2 percent up at 28,497.59 points, its highest close since August 9, 2018, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index closed 1.4 percent higher. Trump said on Tuesday he could let the March 1 deadline for a trade agreement with China “slide for a little while.”

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • HNA mulls sale of Swiss aircraft maintenance firm SR Technics, potentially raising US$1 billion

    HNA Group, the embattled Chinese conglomerate, is exploring options for Swiss aircraft-maintenance firm SR Technics including a potential sale, people familiar with the matter said.The Chinese group, which grew out of an airline on tropical Hainan island, is working with an adviser on the potential disposal, the people said. HNA’s 80 per cent stake in SR Technics could be valued at US$700 million to US$1 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Home prices continue falling

    The index for existing housing in Shanghai extended its downward path last month despite a sustained upward trend in volume. The index, which tracks month-on-month price changes in 130 areas across the city, fell 0.28 percent, or nine points, to 3,885 in January — its 14th straight monthly fall — the Shanghai Existing Housing Index Office said in its latest report. Around the city, about 16,480 pre-occupied homes changed hands, an increase of 7.4 percent from December and up 41.5 percent from the same period a year ago. Pre-used homes costing less than 3 million yuan (US$442,843) accounted for 65 percent of the total, and those worth 5 million yuan or more made up 11.9 percent. Prices of pre-occupied homes climbed in 21 areas, fell in 83 and were flat in 26. “Increasing transactions during the traditional low season indicated that the market has somewhat stabilized,” the office said. “The rebound in transactions was mainly boosted by continuous price cuts by individual home owners as well as the fact that some buyers and sellers preferred to secure their deals before the Spring Festival holiday.”

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Honda to shut UK car assembly in the latest blow to Britain’s shrinking automotive industry

    Honda Motor plans to close its factory in the UK in the biggest blow yet to the British auto industry already buckling under thousands of job cuts and the loss of key models in the run-up to Brexit.The site in Swindon, about 80 miles west of London, is the nation’s fourth-largest automotive plant and employs about 3,500 workers where the Honda Civic hatchback is made.Production for Europe will consolidate in Japan in 2021, Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said on Twitter. Honda also…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Hong Kong watchdog issues record HK$15.2 million fine to Chinese broker over failure to report money laundering

    The Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong’s securities watchdog, has fined mainland Chinese state-owned firm Guosen Securities (HK) Brokerage a record HK$15.2 million (US$1.9 million) for failure to report money-laundering activity, it said on Monday.An investigation found the Hong Kong unit of Shenzhen-based Guosen had processed 10,000 third-party deposits amounting to HK$5 billion for more than 3,500 clients during a 14-month period until December 2015.Hong Kong markets watchdog to sue…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Hong Kong’s financial services to gain from new cross-border services, says HKMA chief executive

    The Hong Kong Monetary Authority will work with the People’s Bank of China to introduce cross-border mobile payments, account openings and other wealth management services as part of the Greater Bay Area integration, according to the authority’s chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam.“We will study with the PBOC and other mainland officials how to introduce more cross-border mobile payments to allow people in Hong Kong and the mainland to be able to use their smartphones with e-wallet mobile apps…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • How much is enough to retire in Hong Kong? HK$19,000 a month sounds about right, survey finds

    How much will you need each month to retire in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the Greater Bay Area?Hongkongers think HK$19,000 (US$2,420) is about right. That’s roughly double than what workers in Guangdong and Macau think they need, according to a retirement survey by insurer FWD Hong Kong released on Monday.Workers in the nine municipalities of southern Guangdong province aim to have 8,700 yuan (US$1,285) per month while those in Macau want 11,700 patacas (US$1,450) each month for retirement,…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • HSBC returns to a profit in the fourth quarter despite challenging markets

    HSBC said on Tuesday that it returned to a profit in the fourth quarter despite challenging market conditions and a weaker outlook for the global economy.The improved results came as several banking rivals suffered tougher year ends, as global markets were particularly volatile in December.Asia-Pacific markets were hit especially hard last year, with the Shanghai Composite Index down nearly 25 per cent for the year, making it the worst performing major benchmark worldwide. Asian markets have…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Huawei is just the start: 5G will be a central front in the US-China war for technological supremacy

    Washington-led opposition to the involvement of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in the roll-out of 5G technology is just an early skirmish in what will be a long struggle for technological supremacy between China and the United States. The stakes are high, with national security concerns and the lure of big profits going hand in hand. The US National Security Strategy, published in December 2017, bracketed China with Russia, contending that both “challenge American power, influence, and interests…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Huawei to deploy ultra-fast 5G telecoms network coverage at Shanghai’s railway hub in world-first

    Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, said it will deploy ultra-fast 5G network coverage at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station by the end of the year, making it the first railway station in the world that will allow passengers to experience data speeds up to 100 times faster than what is currently available.The station will be built upon the 5G digital indoor system (DIS) co-developed by Huawei and China Mobile’s Shanghai unit, with the aim of…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Inflation in UK drops below 2% BOE target

    Lower energy costs as well as a waning impact from the pound’s sharp fall in the aftermath of the country’s Brexit vote have helped consumer price inflation in Britain fall below the Bank of England’s target of 2 percent for the first time in two years.The Office for National Statistics said yesterday that consumer prices rose by 1.8 percent in the year to January, down from the 2.1 percent recorded in the previous month.Inflation has been consistently falling since August as the effects of the pound’s decline drop out of annual comparisons. The latest decline was further accentuated by a fall in the price of electricity, gas and other fuels.Inflation is now at its lowest since January 2017, when it was also 1.8 percent.Inflation has been above the Bank of England’s target for the past two years largely because the fall in the pound after the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 ratcheted up the cost of imported goods.The rise in inflation to a cyclical peak of 3.1 percent in November 2017 prompted rate-setters to increase interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade and the benchmark rate now stands at 0.75 percent.The news that inflation has fallen below target once again helps ease the dilemma facing rate-setters at the Bank of England as they await clarity over Brexit.Should Britain crash out of the EU without a deal on March 29, the bank says inflation could spike higher.That could cause it to raise interest rates — even during a sharp recession.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Infrastructure growth soars for China in Q4

    China registered a brisk growth of infrastructure investment in the fourth quarter last year, Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday.Most listed construction companies in the infrastructure sector reported more new orders in the period, with PowerChina and the China Gezhouba Group Corporation seeing an order growth of above 60 percent.Such growth came after the issuance of a guideline by the State Council last October on boosting the investment in nine kinds of infrastructure facilities including railways, highways and waterways, airports, water conservancy, energy and environmental protection as well as infrastructure conducive to agriculture and rural development.Many provinces have unveiled infrastructure construction plans for this year, with Henan and Sichuan’s planned investment exceeding 3 trillion yuan (US$443 billion), according to the paper.This year’s plans demonstrate the growing emphasis on investment in fields such as advanced manufacturing and modern services.And many local authorities are encouraging private investment in construction projects.Lian Ping, a chief economist at the Bank of Communications, said infrastructure investment still has great growth potential this year.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • It’s time for China to be honest about the poor shape of its economy

    The truth is out there – all Beijing needs is a clearer picture about China’s future potential and how to achieve it, with so much impending uncertainty. Officials still seem confident economic growth can come in at around the 6 per cent mark this year, although real data trends suggest otherwise. China’s economy is slowing quite dramatically and the government should be quick to admit it. 

    Beijing seems long on hype and short on reality about what’s really happening to growth. The global…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Lower-tier cities’ delivery craving booms

    Lower-tier cities saw the biggest growth in sales volume of on-demand delivery services during the Chinese New Year as consumers from inland regions embraced booming new consumption channels, according to Alibaba’s lifestyle services platforms Koubei and Ele.me.Eight out of the top 10 fastest-growing cities for delivery orders during the Chinese New Year were third-tier cities, Ele.me data showed.Baoding, Langfang and Yancheng were the top three cities for the number of deliveries, while Shantou, Dongguan, Foshan and Hefei were also amongst the fastest growing.About 4,000 deliveries were sent on Chinese New Year’s Eve to people at work in places such as police stations, fire departments and sanitation bureaus, and hundreds of thousands of delivery staff were also hard at work delivering orders during the weeklong holiday.Delivery orders nowadays not only include meals and beverages, but also groceries and flowers as consumers embrace new buying options.Educational institutions and childhood learning spaces also gained traction, with sales volume climbing 60 percent from the same period a year earlier.And tastes in sport and recreation are also diversifying, spending at skiing stadiums, ping pong houses and swimming pools all rose 30 percent from a year earlier.But yoga was the standout as the fastest-growing segment, jumping more than four times on an annual basis.China has one of the world’s leading e-commerce economies, with cashless and online shopping booming.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Market for new properties sees robust growth

    sales of new homes gained momentum in Shanghai last week as expected, with medium to high-end properties being the most popular, the latest market data shows.The area of new residential properties sold, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, surged to around 80,000 square meters during the seven days to Sunday, in sharp contrast to less than 4,000 square meters during the previous seven days, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a weekly report released yesterday.“The Pudong New Area and outlying Jiading District were among the first to see a notable rebound after the weeklong Spring Festival holiday came to an end,” Lu Wenxi, Centaline’s senior research manager said. “Meanwhile, sentiment also started to improve as some real estate developers gear up for March, which is supposed to witness the first major sales boom in a year.”Weekly transactions in Pudong and Jiading both stood at around 17,000 square meters, but several downtown districts registered very sluggish sales, Centaline data showed.Citywide, new homes sold for an average price 62,977 yuan (US$9,296) per square meter, a week-on-week increase of 29.1 percent, the highest weekly rise this year.Notably in the top 10 list, five projects asked for more than 80,000 yuan per square meter on average, including two with price tags of over 100,000 yuan per square meter.Outperforming all was a residential development in Pudong which managed to sell 8,716 square meters, or 92 units, for an average price of 86,578 yuan per square meter. It was most closely trailed by a project in Anting, Jiading, where 58 units of new homes were unloaded for less than 30,000 yuan per square meter, according to Centaline data.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Market surges 2% on move to woo foreigners

    Shanghai shares jumped nearly 2 percent as market sentiment was lifted by new rules to support equity incentives for foreign employees at domestic listed firms.The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 1.84 percent at 2,721.07 points.Almost all sectors posted gains. Shares of more than 80 companies listed on the A-share market soared by the daily limit of 10 percent. Shares of brokerages, electronics manufacturers and telecommunications firms were among the biggest gainers.Sentiment rose after the People’s Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange released detailed regulatory requirements on Tuesday to support equity incentives for foreign employees at domestic listed firms, in a bid to further open up the capital market.Procedures will be streamlined as the money involved will be managed in a registration-based manner, according to a statement published on the official websites of the People’s Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.Related operations such as cross-border payment and remittance can be conducted after registration without having to apply for approval.The new rules also allow foreign workers to choose the source of the money involved in equity incentives. It can be from their legal domestic income or be remitted from overseas, Xinhua news agency reported.Investors were also buoyed after Xiao Yuanqi, spokesperson for the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said that it encourages insurance companies to buy shares of listed companies.Xiao said that insurance funds play an important role in stabilizing China’s capital market. The commission encourages insurance companies to buy more shares and bonds in high-quality listed companies to make value investments and long-term investments.Zhu Junsheng, deputy director of the Insurance Research Department of the Development Research Center of the State Council, said that the move will boost market confidence as well as promote healthy development of the capital market.Eastern Communications Co surged 9.98 percent to 16.64 yuan (US$2.46), Sinolink Securities Co jumped 7.19 percent to 8.65 yuan and New China Life Insurance Co added 3.43 percent to 44.01 yuan.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • More C919 prototypes to take off

    Another three prototypes of the C919, China’s first domestically developed narrow-body passenger jet, will undergo test flights this year, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) says.The No. 104 C919 is being assembled at the COMAC assembly line in Shanghai, while major parts for the No. 105 and No. 106 are being manufactured.They will carry out maiden flights from Pudong International Airport by the end of the year, making the total number of prototypes six. All six will be used to acquire an airworthiness certificate.The No. 102 and No. 103 C919s are being refitted at the assembly line following previous test flights. Further tests will be carried out on the two prototypes after the three-month refitting.The first C919 made its maiden flight from Shanghai on May 5, 2017.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Non-oil imports from Singapore plunge 25.4%

    Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) to the Chinese mainland fell 25.4 percent year on year in January, compared with the previous month’s expansion of 15.4 percent, according to a media release issued by the Singapore government yesterday.The detailed breakdown showed that electronics exports from Singapore to the Chinese mainland declined by 12.3 percent year on year.Non-electronics exports went down 29.2 percent year on year.The city state’s NODX exports to its top 10 NODX markets fell in January.Singapore’s total NODX declined by 10.1 percent year on year in January, after the recalculated 8.5 percent decrease last December.On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, the NODX decreased by 5.7 percent to S$13.4 billion (US$9.88 billion) in January.In a breakdown of Singapore’s total NODX, Singapore’s electronics exports declined by 15.9 percent year on year in January, after an 11.2 percent decrease in the previous month.Meanwhile, non-electronics exports declined by 7.9 percent year on year.That followed a 7.4 percent decrease in December 2018.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Output falls, stoking fears of recession for eurozone

    Slumping industrial output across the 19-country eurozone is stoking talk of a possible recession this year, even before any additional damage from Brexit.Official figures yesterday showed that industrial output in the eurozone was 4.2 percent lower in December than the year before, increasing concerns about the economy just at a time when the bloc is facing the prospect of Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal.The annual rate of decline in industrial production was the worst since November 2009.And it has ratcheted up expectations that eurozone economic growth in the fourth quarter may be revised down from an already paltry quarterly rate of 0.2 percent.Compared with the previous month, output was down 0.9 percent in December against expectations for a 0.4 percent fall. The fall was not confined to one sector or one country — it was broad-based.“The downturn will serve to keep worries about a possible eurozone recession alive,” said Andrew Kenningham, chief European economist at Capital Economics. “The risk of an outright recession has clearly risen.”The outlook for the eurozone has turned gloomier in recent months. As well as growing worries over the global economy due to trade tensions between the United States and key trading partners, including Europe, and new emissions standards for cars, the eurozone has to deal with the fear that Britain could crash out of the EU without a deal.Although that would hit Britain’s economy harder, the eurozone would also be affected by the return of tariffs and other barriers on the flow of goods with one of its biggest trading partners.In a study published yesterday, research group Oxford Economics said consumer-facing industries that rely heavily on trade with the UK, such as the German automotive sector, are “particularly vulnerable” to the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal and without a transition to new arrangements.“Hardest hit would be small, open economies such as Ireland, and high-tariff consumer goods industries such as the automotive, textiles and clothing, and food and beverages sectors,” said Stephen Foreman, senior economist at the consultancy.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Passenger car sales lowest in 7 years

    China’s auto market dived in January, with sales down 15.8 percent year on year, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed yesterday.China sold 2.367 million vehicles last month.Output reached 2.365 million units, down 12.1 percent from a year earlier.Passenger car sales fell for the seventh straight month, plunging 17.7 percent year on year to 2.02 million units.This marks the biggest decrease since January 2012.Xu Haidong, assistant secretary-general of the CAAM, said sales will likely continue the downward trend in February, partly due to a slowing economy and a demand decline in smaller cities.The slowdown can also be attributed to the Spring Festival holiday, which started on February 5, as consumers always delay their purchases ahead of holidays, analysts said.The January drop comes on the heels of a 2.76-percent drop in last year’s sales, the first decline in 28 years.There was still a bright spot though last month. New energy vehicles performed strongly, with sales surging 138 percent year on year to 96,000 units. Sales of all-electric cars hit 75,000 vehicles, up 179.7 percent, while those of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles amounted to 21,000, up 54.6 percent.Thanks to the government’s preferential policies to boost clean energy use to curb pollution, China has become one of the fastest-growing NEV markets in the world.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • PBOC issuance boosts HK offshore business role

    The latest issuance of bills denominated in yuan by the People’s Bank of China in Hong Kong will boost the city’s role as offshore yuan business center, analysts said.China’s central bank said in a statement on Wednesday that it has auctioned 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) in three-month and one-year bills in Hong Kong and the notes were six times oversubscribed, indicating high market demand for such issuance in Hong Kong.The central bank issued 10 billion yuan in three-month bills at a coupon rate of 2.45 percent and 10 billion yuan in one-year bills at a coupon rate of 2.8 percent in Hong Kong.The move was aimed at expanding the range of yuan-denominated financial products of high credit rating in Hong Kong and improving the yuan yield curve in the region, said the PBOC statement.The PBOC sold its first yuan-denominated bills in Hong Kong to raise 20 billion yuan in November last year.Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s spokesperson welcomed the issuance, saying it can boost the development of offshore yuan business in Hong Kong, as well as strengthen Hong Kong’s position as the global hub for yuan trade settlement.The issuance of bills can enrich the offshore market with more high rating yuan products and improve yield curve, as well as provide more choices for local banks to manage yuan liquidity, the spokesperson said.Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International, said the coupon rates for the two notes were lower in the issuance than the previous one, but the market is still active, indicating that investors are positive toward such yuan products.George Yang, chief economist at Prime China Securities, said the notes were six times oversubscribed this time, much higher than the 3.8 times last time, indicating climbing demand for such bills. He believes this can boost yuan-denominated assets.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Renault set to cancel US$34m Ghosn deal

    The board of Renault was poised to cancel as much as 30 million euros (US$34 million) in deferred pay and severance to its ousted boss Carlos Ghosn, as directors met yesterday to approve its full-year accounts.Renault will scrap around 460,000 performance shares attributed to Ghosn since 2014-15 and now worth 26 million euros, under proposals backed by the French government, its biggest shareholder, two people familiar with the matter said.The board is also likely to drop a two-year non-compete clause worth 4-5 million euros to Ghosn, who was forced out in January following his arrest in Japan for suspected financial misconduct at Nissan, Renault’s alliance partner.A Renault spokesman did not immediately return calls and messages seeking comment.Ghosn, 64, was arrested in Japan and ousted as Nissan chairman last November and has since been indicted along with Nissan and a fellow director for failing to disclose more than US$80 million in additional 2010-18 compensation that he had arranged to be paid later.Ghosn denies the deferred pay was illegal or required disclosure.The scandal, triggered by a Nissan internal investigation, initially strained ties with 43.4-percent-owner Renault as the French carmaker continued to back Ghosn until he was eventually forced to resign last month.Renault appointed new Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard on January 24 and last week passed evidence to prosecutors that the company had paid part of Ghosn’s 2016 Versailles wedding costs, in a first case of his suspected misconduct at the French carmaker.Ghosn’s representatives say he was unaware the 50,000 euro rental had been charged to Renault and now plans to repay it.The proposal to scrap most of Ghosn’s severance package was drawn up by Renault’s remuneration committee and is unlikely to be rejected by the full board, the sources said.Left intact, his golden parachute could have been politically explosive in France, where President Macron is battling “yellow vest” street protests over low pay and inequality.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Rise in exports, imports signals robust economy

    CHINA’S exports and imports both rose at a faster-than-expected rate in January, another sign that the economy remained resilient despite growing external uncertainties.

    China’s total imports and exports rose 8.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.73 trillion yuan (US$403 billion) last month, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday.

    Exports rose 13.9 percent year on year to 1.5 trillion yuan last month, while imports grew 2.9 percent to 1.23 trillion yuan, customs data showed. The trade surplus expanded 1.2 times to 271.16 billion yuan.

    The increase in exports was significantly higher than analyst forecasts, partly driven by front-loading by exporters before the Spring Festival, which fell at the beginning of February as compared with the end of February last year, China Merchants Securities said in a research note.

    “It could also be the case that the negative impacts brought by previous front-loading activities had peaked in December,” it said.

    While imports climbed mildly, the data also beat expectations, it noted.

    Exports and imports of products under the general trade category rose 13 percent year on year to 1.66 trillion yuan, accounting for 60.9 percent of the total foreign trade, 2.3 percentage points higher than the same period of last year, customs data showed.

    In terms of regions, China’s trade with the European Union, ASEAN countries and Japan increased 17.6 percent, 7.8 percent and 6.5 percent.

    Trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 11.5 percent to total 770.8 billion yuan. It now accounts for 28.2 percent of China’s total foreign trade, which is 0.7 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

    Exports to the United States went up 1.9 percent, while imports tumbled 38.6 percent.

    The private sector made a greater contribution to the country’s foreign trade last month, with the imports and exports of private companies surging 17 percent to 1.15 trillion yuan. This accounts for 42.3 percent of the overall foreign trade, 3 percentage points higher than the same period of last year.

    Meanwhile, imports and exports of state-owned enterprises totaled 469.82 billion yuan, up 6 percent, accounting for 17.2 percent of China’s total foreign trade. 

    China’s exports in January were mainly driven by mechanical and electrical goods, rising 11.5 percent to account for 57.1 percent of the country’s total exports.

    The seven major labor-intensive manufacturing sectors — clothing, textiles, furniture, shoes, plastic products, bags and toys — together posted exports of 310.4 billion yuan, an increase of 17.4 percent from a year earlier, accounting for 20.7 percent of China’s total exports.

    Chinese officials believed the country is capable of maintaining stable trade growth in 2019.

    The gradual recovery of the global economy, China’s opening-up efforts and pro-trade policies, accelerating industrial upgrading and improving corporate vitality will lend strong steam to trade growth this year, Chu Shijia, head of the comprehensive department of the Ministry of Commerce, said on Tuesday.

    China has vowed to cut taxes to a larger scale this year to boost domestic demand.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Thousands stranded as UK budget carrier suddenly shuts

    Hundreds of passengers throughout Europe have been stranded by the abrupt collapse of British regional airline Flybmi.British Midland Regional Limited, which operates as Flybmi, said it’s filing for administration — a British version of bankruptcy — because of higher fuel costs and uncertainty caused by Britain’s upcoming departure from the European Union.“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and a lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe,” the airline said on its website late Saturday.The airline thanked workers for their dedication and said “it is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement.”The airline operated 17 jets on routes to 25 European cities. It employed 376 people in Britain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium and says it carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights last year.Pilots union chief Brian Strutton said the airline’s collapse came with no warning and “is devastating news for all employees.”“Our immediate steps will be to support Flybmi pilots and explore with the directors and administrators whether their jobs can be saved,” he said.Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29 but there are serious doubts about whether the British Parliament will approval the Brexit withdrawal deal that Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU. That is making it more difficult for businesses to plan for the separation.Flybmi said all flights will be canceled and advised passengers to seek refunds from credit card issuers, travel agents or travel insurance companies.Passengers were told not to travel to the airport yesterday unless they had made arrangements directly with other airlines. Flybmi said it would not be rescheduling passengers on other airlines’ flights.Many passengers were left stranded by the shutdown. Hannah Price told Sky News she was planning to return Monday to Britain from Brussels on Flybmi.“Unfortunately for me, I was supposed to be flying home with them in less than 48 hours to Bristol. I don’t think that’s going to happen now,” she said.The collapse will have a major impact on the Northern Ireland city of Derry, also known as Londonderry, which will lose its only air connection to London. Local officials said they were urgently seeking a new carrier to keep the link open.Flybmi was still seeking customers until the day before its collapse, urging people in a tweet to book flights to Germany for a winter sports holiday.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • US CPI steady, gives Fed room on rates

    US consumer prices were unchanged for a third straight month in January, leading to the smallest annual increase in inflation in more than one-and-a-half years, which could allow the Federal Reserve to hold interest rates steady for a while.The Labor Department said yesterday its Consumer Price Index last month was held down by cheaper gasoline, which offset increases in the cost of food and rents.In the 12 months through January, the CPI rose 1.6 percent, the smallest gain since June 2017. The CPI increased 1.9 percent on a year-on-year basis in December.Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI gained 0.2 percent, rising by the same margin for a fifth straight month. In the 12 months through January, the so-called core CPI rose 2.2 percent for a third straight month.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the CPI edging up 0.1 percent in January and the core CPI rising 0.2 percent.The steady increases in the core CPI likely do not signal a material shift in underlying inflation. The Fed, which has a 2 percent inflation target, tracks a different measure, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, for monetary policy.The core PCE price index increased 1.9 percent on a year-on-year basis in November after rising 1.8 percent in October. It hit 2 percent in March last year for the first time since April 2012.The December PCE price data will be released on March 1. It was delayed by a five-week partial shutdown of the federal government. The Fed kept interest rates unchanged last month.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • US firms losers in Trump’s trade war

    US BUSINESSES paid an additional US$2.7 billion in tariffs in November, according to data from a coalition of US business groups.The group, which brands itself “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” and includes the Americans for Free Trade coalition and Farmers for Free Trade, crunches tariff payment data nationally and by state.The data is part of a monthly series called the Tariff Tracker, which the group releases in a tie-up with The Trade Partnership, a Washington-based international trade and economic consulting firm.The monthly import data, it said, is calculated using numbers from the US Census Bureau, and the monthly export data is compiled using numbers from the Census Bureau and the US Department of Agriculture.The November numbers are the latest government ones available due to the recent US government shutdown, which ended only recently.The group’s spokesman, former Republican congressman Charles Boustany, said the data shows Americans — and not foreign competitors — are the big losers in the trade war.“US businesses are being hit by a double whammy of historic tax increases in the form of tariffs and declining exports as farmers and manufacturers lose opportunities in the overseas markets they rely on,” Boustany said.The group also said retaliatory tariffs have severely impacted US exports.In November, US exports of products subject to retaliatory tariffs declined by US$4.1 billion, or 37 percent, from the previous year, it said.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • US says European autos pose a security threat, tariff hike looms

    The US Commerce Department has sent a report to President Donald Trump that could unleash steep tariffs on imported cars and auto parts, provoking a sharp backlash from the industry even before it is unveiled, the agency confirmed.Late on Sunday, a department spokeswoman said it would not disclose any details of the “Section 232” national security report submitted to Trump by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.The disclosure of the submission came less than two hours before the end of a 270-day deadline.Trump has 90 days to decide whether to act upon the recommendations, which auto industry officials expect to include at least some tariffs on fully assembled vehicles or on technologies and components related to electric, automated, connected and shared vehicles.As the White House received the report, the industry unleashed what is expected to be a massive lobbying campaign against it.The industry has warned that feared tariffs of up to 25 percent on millions of imported cars and parts would add thousands of dollars to vehicle costs and potentially lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses throughout the US economy.The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents auto parts suppliers, warned that tariffs will shrink investment in the United States at a time when the auto industry is already reeling from declining sales, Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, and tariffs on auto parts from China.“These tariffs, if applied, could move the development and implementation of new automotive technologies offshore, leaving America behind,” it said in a statement.“Not a single company in the domestic auto industry requested this investigation.”The Commerce Department started its investigation in May 2018 at Trump’s request. Known as a “Section 232” investigation, its purpose was to determine the effects of imports on national security and it had to be completed by Sunday.Automakers and parts suppliers are anticipating its recommendation options will include broad tariffs of up to 20 percent to 25 percent on assembled cars and parts, or narrower tariffs targeting components and technologies related to new energy cars, autonomous, Internet-connected and shared vehicles.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • World sees red as Chinese New Year goes increasingly global

    Chinese New Year has gone global in the last couple of years with a marked uptick in engagement worldwide. Heavily impacted by the growing global awareness of Chinese New Year is the retail sector — especially high-end merchandise and luxury brands.Brand leaders and major retail chains are finding Chinese New Year has a profound effect not just on the global supply chain for their goods sourced from China, but on their retail sales at home as well.Buying new things to wear and to give as gifts is an important way for Chinese consumers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Total earnings of retail and catering enterprises in China this year rose 8.5 percent year on year to a record 1.01 trillion yuan (US$150 billion), according to the latest data from the Ministry of Commerce.In 2017, Chinese consumers accounted for 32 percent of all luxury brand purchases worldwide, according to Boston-based consultancy Bain & Co. A November study by the company also said Chinese consumers will be responsible for nearly half of global high-end luxury sales by 2025.So, savvy global brands and top retail chains are all “seeing red” — the auspicious Chinese New Year color — and getting into the action to promote their goods and services by targeting Chinese consumers with new product lines, specialty items and marketing campaigns inspired by the Lunar New Year. The top retailers and global brand leaders have found appealing ways to build hype and consumer anticipation leading up to and beyond the New Year as they seek to expand and extend consumer engagement.In particular, younger Chinese consumers tend to spend their holiday money, rather than save it, and are looking for immediate gratification via shopping, encouraging retailers to target this lucrative demographic.For instance, seeking greater relevance with young Chinese consumers, Lululemon, the Canadian athleisure retailer, created a Chinese New Year collection last year. It paired 10 healthier lifestyle practices with 10 Chinese cultural elements and lunar festival traditions in a marketing campaign entitled “Practice Takes Practice.”Weaving elements of the traditional Chinese zodiac into product designs and marketing campaigns can lead to successful cross-cultural sales opportunities and helps brands appeal to Chinese consumers.Also, the animal traits of the zodiac character each year give a hint about how Chinese consumers see the year to come, so they can be artfully taken into account when designing these new products.Online retailer Amazon has a vast array of Chinese New Year theme-related merchandise to entice Year of the Pig shoppers, including decorations, clothing, statues, jewelry, and more, all just one click away.Many top retail chains have also gotten into the Chinese New Year fever, staging Chinese New Year-themed marketing campaigns and merchandise.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily