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August 18, 2019

China warned it shouldn’t pin its hopes on Russian soybeans plugging supply gap caused by US trade war

Russian soybean exports to China are likely to remain low for the next few years, an agricultural specialist has warned, suggesting that amount produced will not be enough to provide a real alternative to the US.China suspended purchases of US soybeans and other farm products this month after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese products, compounding the shortages caused by 25 per cent tariffs on the crop that have been in place since July last year.Russia is…
August 18, 2019

A Chinese Toy Story: why do adult men buy designer toys?

Don Tang is proud of his toys. So much so that the Shanghai resident, 32, puts them on display both in his home and in the office of the company he runs.And there are plenty to display. Tang, 32, has some 100 collectibles and the number is growing all the time. Each month he sets aside 2,000 yuan (US$280) to buy the top trending toys, newest releases, or one-of-a-kind items – either from physical stores, online or at toy conventions in China.But the toys are not connected to his work as the CEO…
August 18, 2019

Chinese toys boom being fuelled by adult male consumers of collectibles

Don Tang is proud of his toys. So much so that the Shanghai resident, 32, puts them on display both in his home and in the office of the company he runs.And there are plenty to display. Tang, 32, has some 100 collectibles and the number is growing all the time. Each month he sets aside 2,000 yuan (US$280) to buy the top trending toys, newest releases, or one-of-a-kind items – either from physical stores, online or at toy conventions in China.But the toys are not connected to his work as the CEO…
August 17, 2019

Uncertainty hangs over Foxconn’s newest China factory as trade war and economic slowdown take a toll

When ground was broken in March 2017 for a new US$9 billion factory owned by a subsidiary of Foxconn Group, the event was witnessed by then Guangdong party secretary Hu Chunhua and Terry Gou Tai-ming, the Taiwanese billionaire who created Foxconn, the world’s largest assembler of Apple’s iPhones and tablets.The plant was hailed by local media as an example of Chinese efficiency in promoting investments that matter for the future and the country’s key role in the global value chain.The Southern…
August 17, 2019

China changes the way bank loan rates are set, with HSBC left out of rate-setting club

China has changed its system for deciding bank lending rates so that the central bank can effectively influence and control interest rates, a significant move in the world’s second-biggest economy.The change – part of China’s long-standing pursuit of a market-based central banking structure – comes as the country’s economic growth is losing steam amid a protracted trade war with the United States and as Beijing seeks to cut financing costs for struggling small firms.Under the new system, a club…
August 17, 2019

The world’s biggest pork eaters are developing a palate for beef and other substitutes

China’s pork consumption has probably peaked, as consumers are opting for a healthier and a more varied diet.Some 41.4 million tonnes of pork was consumed by the nation’s 1.4 billion people last year, according to market research provider Euromonitor. Although slightly higher than 41 million tonnes in 2017, it was 4.7 per cent lower than the historical peak of 42.5 million tonnes in 2014.On a per capita basis, last year’s consumption of 29.8kg was also 4.5 per cent lower than in 2014.Darin…
August 16, 2019

A miserable Year of the Pig for China’s hogs is godsend for American farmers

In China, pigs symbolise wealth. And 2019, being the Year of the Pig, was supposed to be a great year to make money. Instead, the nation’s 26 million hog farmers are battling the deadly African swine fever epidemic that is in its second year now.The virus, harmless to humans, has spread across 32 of the nation’s 34 administrative regions since the outbreak was first reported in August 2018, affecting a large portion of the nation’s 348 million strong swine inventory, according to Rabobank.“We…
August 16, 2019

Trade war and globalisation backlash pushing trading nations to the economic brink as recessions loom

Three years of full-blooded backlash against globalisation have pushed both Germany and Singapore to the brink of recession, highlighting the increasingly dire situation facing the world’s trading nations.Singapore, along with Hong Kong, has long been championed as Asia’s beacon of free commerce and relaxed business rules. On Friday, however, its non-oil exports for July were reported to have fallen by 11.2 per cent from a year earlier, better than the expected 15.3 per cent drop, but still a…
August 16, 2019

China reluctant to place large soybean orders despite Donald Trump’s US trade war demands

Concerns over an excessive reliance on the United States for supplies of soybeans, coupled with China’s now weaker position in the market when buying the often-controversial agricultural product, are two key factors underlying Beijing’s reluctance to place large orders, industry insiders said on Friday.Soybeans have become a focal point in the China-US trade war, and were again thrust into the spotlight earlier this month when US President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on US$300…
August 16, 2019

China plans to allow foreign investment in VPN services as part of Beijing trial in latest opening up move

China’s effort to further up open up and attract foreign investment continued with the city of Beijing unveiling plans to allow overseas firms to invest in virtual private network services within a trial zone by the end of the year.Foreign investors will be allowed to invest in virtual private network (VPN) services, which allow users to bypass China’s Great Firewall to access services such as Google and Facebook which are currently blocked, although foreign ownership in such providers will be…
August 16, 2019

Japan overtakes China as the biggest creditor to the US, as Japan’s June Treasuries holdings jump to a 30-month high

Japan surpassed China in June as the top holder of US Treasuries as the trade war between the world’s two largest economies intensified.Japan increased its holdings of US bonds, bills and notes by US$21.9 billion to US$1.12 trillion, the highest level in more than two and half years, according to data released by the Treasury Department on Thursday. Meanwhile, China’s ownership rose for the first time in four months to US$1.11 trillion, up by US$2.3 billion.The last time Japan held the position…
August 16, 2019

Hong Kong protests could threaten city’s status as an international shipping hub, analysts say

Hong Kong’s status as an international shipping hub could be under threat, should China fast-track plans for economic integration due to the ongoing anti-government protests, analysts said.While Beijing has never spoken publicly about the economic consequences of the escalating protests over the past two months, a widely shared view within China is that the central government should reduce its reliance on Hong Kong as its key financial and logistics gateway to the rest of the world.This could…
August 15, 2019

China’s small banks still struggling to obtain funds to lend three months after first bank failure in 20 years

China’s numerous small banks are still struggling to raise the finances needed to be able to offer more loans to aid the slowing economy nearly three months after the country’s first bank failure in more than 20 years.After the government takeover of Baoshang Bank at the end of May, larger banks and investors remain cautious about providing financing to smaller institutions, fearful that their balances sheets hide large numbers of bad loans amid a continued government clampdown on risky lending…
August 15, 2019

Donald Trump suggests meeting with China’s Xi Jinping to reach ‘humane’ response to Hong Kong protests

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to propose a face-to-face meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to find a “quick” and “humane” solution to the weeks of unrest in Hong Kong.In a series of tweets on Wednesday night Washington time, Trump also appeared to link the outlook for trade talks with China with a resolution of the Hong Kong protests.“I know President Xi of China very well,” Trump said. “He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a…
August 15, 2019

China’s banks resisting calls for more loans to firms due to rising default risks, lower demand due to trade war

China’s efforts to boost lending continue to struggle with many banks only willing to lend on a short-term basis due to concerns about creditworthiness, with corporate demand for credit declining at the same time due to the slowing economy and the effects of the trade war with the United States.Loan data for July released earlier this week was disappointing, with the levels of new bank lending and overall credit supply – also known as total aggregate financing – falling below expectations at 10…
August 14, 2019

‘Risks still too big’ for China to send in troops to quell Hong Kong unrest

The unrest in Hong Kong does not yet warrant direct intervention by Beijing despite hardening public sentiment and calls for tougher action in mainland China, according to Chinese government advisers.Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert at Renmin University and an adviser to the State Council – China’s cabinet, said China would risk damaging its ties with the United States and other major foreign powers, upsetting its own development and losing Hong Kong’s special status if it took…
August 14, 2019

Commerce chief Wilbur Ross says no date for next round of US-China talks

This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Doug Palmer on politico.com on August 14, 2019.US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested on Wednesday that the United States and China have not determined when to hold their next round of face-to-face trade talks.“I don’t believe a date has been set,” Ross said in an interview on CNBC. Instead, the next step in the long-running negotiations is “perhaps another phone call in a couple of weeks”.He made…
August 14, 2019

US-China trade war takes a breather as Beijing sees ‘positive signal’ in Donald Trump’s tariff delay

Escalating trade tensions between China and the United States eased slightly on Wednesday as Beijing hailed the decision by US President Donald Trump to delay or remove some planned tariffs against Chinese products as a “positive signal”.The small ceasefire, announced by Trump on Tuesday, came after Vice-Premier Liu He, China’s lead trade negotiator, talked with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin by phone on Tuesday.Liu, though, did lodge “solemn…
August 14, 2019

China ‘smoothing’ of economic data is distorting global growth and policy responses, study says

China’s official economic data over the past four years has been “too smooth to be realistic”, given the significant volatility in key industries over the same period, according to a new study by Rhodium Group, a US-based economic research house.A new report claims that this unrealistic data has led to distortions in global economic growth estimates, which in turn has affected economic policy decision-making throughout the world, with China paying the highest price.Beijing has always…
August 14, 2019

China may use foreign exchange reserves to fight US financial war risk, analysts say

As the United States widens the conflict with China into the realm of finance, raising the possibility that Washington will use the US dollar payment system as a weapon, analysts are wondering whether China will shift how it uses its US$3.1 trillion in foreign exchange reserves in anticipation of extreme financial volatility. China, analysts said, may consider preparing itself against a possible US financial attack by shifting towards a more defensive stance, such as using its foreign exchange…