Japan pension funds take risk plunge
Japanese public pension plans are feeling the heat as the Bank of Japan has driven yields on risk-free government bonds into the ground. In an epic shift, the pension funds are now opting to chase after higher returns in the stock market. - ZeroHedge
(Mar 20, '15)
China's coal mine deaths at record low
China's campaign to reduce the country's notoriously high coal-mine death toll has pushed the annual number of miners killed to below 1,000 for the first time, a near 90% drop in 12 years - if the figures are accurate. - Michael Lelyveld
(Mar 18, '15)
Anti-corruption drive hits Macau economy
President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive across China has deterred big spenders from splashing out in Macau's casinos, contributing to a 17% shrinkage in the island's economy in the 2014 fourth quarter and a near 50% fall in casino revenues in February.
(Mar 16, '15)
US irked at UK backing
China-led infrastructure bank
Britain's decision to become a founder member of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has incurred the ire of the White House, with a US official referring to Britain's "trend toward constant accommodation of China".
(Mar 13, '15)
China's biggest shipyard goes under
Rongsheng, once China's largest shipbuilder, is on the verge of bankruptcy, with orders dried up, banks refusing credit, and behind on repaying some of its US$3,.2 billion in combined debt. The few people remaining from a workforce once 30,000 strong complain they have not been paid since November.
(Mar 12, '15)
Conflicts in China's economic goals
Rising debt levels in China and recent pronouncements suggest an approaching collision of economic policy goals, with debt-burdened state-owned enterprises particularly at risk as banks take advantage of permission to impose higher interest rates. - Michael Lelyveld
(Mar 11, '15)
China's local loan pledges declared 'invalid'
China's Supreme People's Court has ruled the legal power of pledges extended by local governments to be invalid, a move that will inevitably affect the credibility of local loans, which used to enjoy the highest rating.
(Mar 10, '15)
Real pointers to China's future
The less glamourous points in the latest Chinese Government Working Report are not washed through mainstream media, yet it is these changes that will have a greater impact on people's livelihoods and influence anyone doing business in China or picking China stocks over the coming years.
(Mar 10, '15)
Foreign banks tighten loans to China SOEs
Beijing is trying to reform its system of state-owned enterprises and curb their debt overhang. Not quickly enough for some international banks that are imposing stricter lending criteria and asking for collateral from some SOEs they previously considered safe.
(Mar 9, '15)
Forecast of China's rise to
No.1 power 'misplaced'
Claims that China will surpass the US as the world's main economic power are misplaced, according to former Goldman Sachs partner Roy Smith, who foresaw Japan's eventual fall from economic grace a year before its land-price bubble began to burst.
(Mar 9, '15)
China tops Hollywood
Like most every other American industry, Hollywood looks east and sees a growing colossus in China. In February, China's monthly box-office topped the US market for the first time, and hardly a US-made film in sight. - By Jeff Labrecque
(Mar 3, '15)
China's investment law
reformed - but still grey
China's new Draft Foreign Investment Law has been hailed as a major overhaul of the existing foreign-investment regime, but it is clear there still is a huge amount of grey for overseas investors to contend with. - Jean-Marc F Blanchard
(Feb 27, '15)
Building railways beats wars
Wang Mengshu, long a leading Chinese railroad and tunneling engineer, has a dream, shared by international colleagues, for a China-Russia-Alaska-Canada-US rail link. "We have the technology" and it would benefit generations to come, he says. The only thing standing in its way is not money but politics. - John Driscoll
(Feb 27, '15)
China slows growth in demand for oil
After years of driving world energy markets, the growth of China's oil demand is slowing to a crawl. It is now estimated to rise at an average annual pace of 2.6% through 2020 - about half the rate during China's expansion of the previous decade. - Michael Lelyveld
(Feb 25, '15)
Red flags in China's PMI
China's February HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index beat expectations, but before investors pop the proverbial champagne corks of global recovery, it should be noted that the drop in employment accelerated, new export orders contracted the most since June 2013, and prices continued to fall. - ZeroHedge
(Feb 25, '15)
Mongolia signs pact with Japan
Mongolia's Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg this month signed an economic partnership agreement - his country's first - with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, in a move to help balance Mongolia's relations with neighboring China and Russia. - Alicia J Campi
(Feb 23, '15)
Banks, bribery and Party temptations
The US$1 million bribe came in a dollar-stuffed travel suitcase that a senior Chinese banker collected, in a Beijing bar offering cigars, jazz and wine, from a property developer who wanted loans from Agricultural Bank of China. The separate recent detention of China Minsheng Banking Corp president Mao Xiaofeng has grabbed the headlines but he is not alone.
(Feb 18, '15)
Beijing makes bid for 2022 Winter Olympics
Beijing is seeking once more to flaunt China's wealth on the world stage, with a bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics - it is in sole competition with Kazakhstan. The proposed cost is US$3.9 billion (against $40 billion it spent on the 2008 Summer Games). Never mind that the Alpine skiing venue gets little snow.
(Feb 18, '15)
Hainan data points to provincial debt surge
The announcement by China's Hainan province that its debt has risen 22% since June 2013 may point to a spike in the country's total local government debt as authorities come clean on hidden liabilities.
(Feb 17, '15)
Shanghai drops GDP goal
Shanghai, China's financial power center, is setting a policy precedent for the country by this year not issuing an economic growth target, which are usually a staple of national economic policy. - Michael Lelyveld
(Feb 17, '15)
China headwinds slow global recovery
Last year, the global economy was supposed to start returning to normal, with interest rates rising in the US and UK, increased inflation in Japan and a credit-led recovery in the eurozone. Twelve months later, normality seems as distant as ever -and economic headwinds from China are a major cause. - ZeroHedge
(Feb 16, '15)
China bars outside income for military
China's crackdown on corruption appears to have entered a new stage with a warning from President Xi Jinping that senior military officers will face punishment for obtaining any outside income. -
(Feb 11, '15)
HK Bitcoins 'disappear'
More than 30 Bitcoin investors, who claim they lost up to US$390 million, will report to Hong Kong police this week following the sudden disappearance of their investment platform's office and manager.
(Feb 9, '15)
Macau's loss, Australia's win
Macau suffered an eighth successive month of falling revenue as a corruption crackdown in mainland China deters high-rollers from the mainland from flaunting their wealth so close to home. Australia is seen as a safer place to bet.
(Feb 6, '15)
China lifts profile of humble potato
The humble potato, seen in some parts of China as tainted by Western "foreignness", has been elevated by the Chinese government to the level of an official food staple. Its higher profile will likely most benefit not small farmers but local government officials and their cousins who own farming companies.
(Feb 6, '15)
China's choices on shale gas goals
As China struggles to meet its goals for development of shale gas, still sourced from a single field, there are signs that the government will face pressure to subsidize the costs, perhaps for years.
- Michael Lelyveld
(Feb 4, '15)
China oil imports surge as prices fall
China has been providing one of the few supports for the world oil markets amid declining prices, with imports surging 10% last year to a record, probably in a move to fill the country's strategic petroleum reserve. - Michael Lelyveld
(Jan 30, '15)
Citic $10b sale faced government doubts
China's Ministry of Finance had reservations about selling one-fifth of Citic Ltd's shares to Japanese and Thai investors in a US$10 billion deal that marks the biggest foreign investment ever in a state-owned enterprise. Its top investor is China's largest industrial and financial conglomerate, Citic Group.
(Jan 28, '15)
China implements new pollution rules
As China implements tougher pollution rules and stiffer penalties under its first reform of environmental law in 25 years, the government faces questions about how far the enforcement will go. - Michael Lelyveld
(Jan 21, '15)
China revolutionizes GDP data gathering
China's government is changing the way it gathers and handles economic data so that it can overcome discrepancies and contradictions that include province-level GDPs exceeding the national figure by 12%. - Michael Lelyveld
(Jan 14, '15)
China sinks to 'new normal'
President Xi Jinping recently told leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that China's lower growth rates are now the "new normal". That after economic activity has continued toward its third consecutive year of below 8% growth and quarterly expansion at the slowest annual pace since 1999. - Michael Lelyveld
(Dec 23, '14)
Jiangsu teachers stage protest
Hundreds of laid-off teachers converged on government buildings in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu demanding better pensions and health insurance.
and protesting at the government's refusal to honor promises to give them civil servant status.
(Dec 19, '14)
China climate pledge leaves coal-cap doubt
China's pledge to halt the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 has raised questions about when it will cut its consumption of coal and whether its continuing growth of emissions will swamp reductions in the rest of the world.- Michael Lelyveld
(Dec 3, '14)
China reaps harvest from Russia sanctions
The latest energy accords announced in Beijing, including those for a second Siberian gas pipeline, suggest that China is taking full advantage of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, and increasing its access to Russian resources while resisting demands for more favorable financial terms. - Michael Lelyveld
(Nov 26, '14)
China's graft body finds
vast wealth at official's home
The Chinese Communist Party's anti-graft watchdog recently found 37 kilograms of gold, documents showing ownership of 68 properties and 120 million yuan (US$19.5 million) in cash at the home of an official in the northern province of Hebei who is facing a graft inquiry.
(Nov 24, '14)
Hot money mocks
Xi's 'rule of law' vow
President Xi Jinping recently launched a drive for legal reforms and obedience to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, vowing to "comprehensively advance the rule of law". Yet, within days, reports of rampant trade fraud surfaced, citing the familiar ruse of filing fake invoices to hide flows of "hot money" and evade China's currency rules. - Michael Lelyveld
(Nov 21, '14)
Mongolian PM pays
for ailing economy
Mongolian politics were shaken last week, when the parliament voted to dismiss Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag for not addressing the country's drastically slowing economic growth, plunging foreign investment, and alleged corruption and cronyism. - Alicia J Campi
(Nov 10, '14)
China bids to curb mounting local debt
China has issued new rules aimed at ending backdoor lending schemes by local authorities used to finance construction and budget spending and which have led to a level of borrowing that threatens to spiral out of control. - Michael Lelyveld
(Oct 21, '14)
Mongolian poor turn garbage into gold
A training initiative in Mongolia has helped about 30,000 people form small businesses to turn discarded materials into handmade products. It also tackles a lack of governmental resources that means 90% of garbage in urban outskirts ends up on the street. - Jonathan Rozen
(Sep 24, '14)
China bids to cut coal
output, halt price fall
China is moving to slash coal production in a bid to reverse a 20% price decline this year as slower economic growth has sapped demand, while global competition from cleaner fuels has helped to drive coal prices down. - Michael Lelyveld
(Sep 16, '14)
'Made in Taiwan' zones
incur farmers' wrath
Taiwan's government says "free economic pilot zones" that will process tariff-free raw agricultural imports from China and elsewhere into "Made in Taiwan" produce are a boost for the country's "value-added" industries. Farmers say that by inviting in unfair competition - and produce of uncertain quality and safety - that Taipei is effectively committing financial suicide. - Dennis Engbarth
(Sep 12, '14)
Chinese citizen sues over blocked Internet
A Chinese citizen in the southern province of Guangdong has sued his Internet service provider, China Unicom, for blocking access to Google, in a move that has highlighted the country's censorship practices, even in official media.
(Sep 8, '14)
China coal projects spark climate fears
China is slowing the growth of power plants that convert coal into natural gas as international criticism mounts over the environmental effects. An edict came days after Greenpeace highlighted the climate change consequences of some 50 planned coal-gas projects. - Michael Lelyveld
(Aug 27, '14)
Sino-Russian gas deal faces sanctions risk
Western sanctions on Russia could stall its plans to export natural gas to China under a US$400 billion, 30-year deal agreed earlier this year. The sanctions target equipment for Russian oil projects and exploration, but could also impact the gas sector. - Michael Lelyveld
(Aug 12, '14)
China paying for corruption crackdown
The mounting toll of probes, prosecutions and punishments in China for offenses ranging from bribery to moral misbehavior has sent officials running for cover, slowing implementation of new economic policies to a crawl. - Michael Lelyveld
(Aug 5, '14)
Losses mount in China loan fraud
Investigators in China are struggling to get to the bottom of a growing form of fraud, amid reports of steel makers using letters of credit for iron-ore shipments as a source of funding to by-pass lending curbs. - Michael Lelyveld
(Jul 22, '14)
Macau gambles away its future
Casinos in Macau now earn seven times more than their Las Vegas counterparts, in the process creating an economy reliant on Chinese gamblers and a workforce knowledgeable about hotel service and roulette but little else. - Martin Murphy
(Jul 10, '14)
Shanghai free-trade zone reforms falter
Nine months after the launch of Shanghai's free-trade zone to great fanfare, China's showcase economic initiative seems to have landed with a thud. - Michael Lelyveld
(Jul 8, '14)
North Koreans wise up to China smartphones
As smartphone use emerges in North Korea, shops have sprung up in Chinese border cities targeting North Koreans who travel there for shopping. While Chinese phones cost less and offer superior quality to home-grown smartphone models like the "AS1201 Arirang", prospective buyers balk at the complex and expensive process of bringing them home.
(Jun 26, '14)
away its future
The prosperous Chinese region of Macau, whose casinos now earn seven times more than do casinos in Las Vegas, is gambling away its future on the gaming industry - which may be exactly what Beijing wants.
Sino-US trade ties sink over spying row
To Sino-US trade tensions over tariffs, the yuan and dumping disputes must be added the US indictment of Chinese officials for alleged commercial espionage. Renewed focus on cooperation, rather than hostility, would benefit both countries. - Priyanka Pandit
(Jun 13, '14)
CNPC faces pain on Russia gas deal
Nearly three weeks after Russia signed a US$400 billion deal to export gas to China, the terms remain a commercial secret, but at the most commonly suggested starting price of $350 per thousand cubic meters, importer China National Petroleum Corp could face growing losses.
(Jun 10, '14)
China tries new way to measure jobless
The Chinese government has unveiled a new measure of unemployment, acknowledging doubts about the accuracy of official reports that move markets around the world. - Michael Lelyveld
(May 22, '14)
Tech poison killing Chinese
Apple and other big manufacturers are being pressed to swap less-deadly chemicals for the cancerous ones poisoning their Chinese workers, whose predicament is the focus of a new documentary, Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics. - Andrew Korfhage
(May 16, '14)
Pitfalls in PPP undercut China's size
A World Bank study on purchasing power parity points to China overtaking the US as the world's biggest economy, but adjusting GDP for purchasing power differences is so filled with problems it is difficult to find any economist who takes these measures very seriously.
(May 9, '14)
Alibaba files for IPO
Alibaba Group, which accounts for about 80% of all e-commerce in China, has filed registration documents for what may be one of the biggest initial public offerings yet in the United States. Until the sale, which may be months off, potential investors have to get to grips with what in fact is up for grabs.
(May 7, '14)
Yue Yuen strike spreads to Jiangxi
A strike by workers at a Yue Yuen shoe factory, one of the biggest in China, in southern Guangdong province has spread to another factory run by the Taiwan-owned company in eastern Jiangxi province.
(Apr 22, '14)
Doubts cloud China's urbanization drive
Nearly a month after China unveiled its ambitious urbanization program, doubts persist about the impact and wisdom of moving more than 100 million rural residents to cities in the next seven years. - Michael Lelyveld
(Apr 15, '14)
Greener energy blossoms in China
China's renewable energy revolution is powering ahead, with 2013 marking an important inflection point where the scales tipped more towards electric power generated from water, wind and solar than from fossil fuels and nuclear. - John Mathews and Hao Tan
(Apr 4, '14)
IMF chases wrong targets in China
The International Monetary Fund is targeting unsound banking practices in China, despite the fact that Chinese Communist Party influence virtually nullifies the threat of bankruptcy for state-owned entities. The real issue is financial repression and a lack of private ownership - problems that require more than piecemeal reforms. - James A Dorn
(Apr 3, '14)
China runs risk with new gas import route
China is planning to start work on a new gas route through Central Asia, in particular Tajikistan, this year despite cross-border conflicts in the region that threaten transport and trade. - Michael Lelyveld
(Mar 26, '14)
Taiwan trade pact
vital for growth
The occupation of Taiwan's legislative chambers by students protesting against the latest proposed trade pact with mainland China highlights the island's changing position in international trade and why it needs regional integration with China and emerging Asia. - Dan Steinbock
(Mar 24, '14)
China struggles with energy over smog crisis
Residents of China's cities can expect little relief from air pollution even as the government raises its targets for energy conservation.
If total energy use keeps rising at current rates, outpacing gains in efficiency, the focus on GDP growth means that smog will only thicken. - Michael Lelyveld
(Mar 20, '14)
China reforms at
a 'critical juncture'
China plans to transform from the world's factory floor to research and development hub will create unprecedented downward pressure on the economy, and the radical reform process will only succeed if state-owned enterprises are opened up to private investment. - Dan Steinbock
(Mar 18, '14)
on show in
Trade was booming at this year's China-Arab Economic Forum in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, with Beijing successfully using the region's Islamic heritage to boost the long-neglected local economy and improve links with Arab countries. That success is in stark contrast to similar efforts in restive Xinjiang province.
- Haiyun Ma
(Mar 14, '14)
Default fuels hope for China bonds
No one stepped in to stop Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology becoming the first defaulter in China's onshore corporate bond market last week. That suggests the easy money is over for Chinese companies, and fuels hope that necessary restructuring is on the way. - Andrew M Johnson
(Mar 11, '14)
Premier Li looking short of real power
The opening of China's annual session of parliament was an opportunity for Premier Li Keqiang to present his proposals for the economy, historically a central part of his portfolio. President Xi Jinping's increased powers, however, left the prime minister looking a hollow man.
(Mar 7, '14)
China lending curbs
lift shadow economy
The Chinese government's crackdown on excess and outmoded production, backed by lending limits on state-owned banks, has added new uncertainty to economic growth data as more business is forced off the official books.
- Michael Lelyveld (Feb 18, '14)
Reforms in China:
The impact on growth
Economic reforms recently proposed by China's leaders aim to unlock greater productivity potential in the economy and return the country to a sustainable growth path. But, even assuming they are forcefully implemented, the higher productivity resulting from the reforms will not lead to higher reported GDP growth.
(Jan 30, '14)
China keeps its telecoms sector close
Moves by China to prise the vast, expanding telecoms market away from state-owned enterprises have not overjoyed foreign companies. These firms know that despite Beijing's neoliberal window dressing, telecoms are a strategic sector propped on national security considerations including political stability. - Romi Jain
(Jan 30, '14)
Taiwan's farmers win
key battle to keep land
Taiwanese farmers have secured a landmark court victory in their long fight against expropriation of their fields for projects that use part of the land for infrastructure while other parts are sold to raise funds for construction or local government finance.
- Dennis Engbarth (Jan 21, '14)
China's digital media role raises concerns
Countries across the globe have switched to digital broadcasting. In Kenya, this is giving China an important role both in the technical switch from analog and in the supply of media content, while some local bidders have been excluded from the latter - raising concern among Kenyans over potential repression of the media.
- Miriam Gathigah (Jan 14, '14)
China 'high growth" is a pipedream
Predictions that China, helped by recently proposed reforms, is about to embark on a decade of 7-8 % growth misunderstand the nature of China’s transformation and ignore the history of previous similar growth miracles. It is almost impossible that GDP growth rates over the rest of this decade remain at or close to current levels.
(Jan 6, '14)
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