The DailyBrief

Wednesday January 18, 2017

Property prices barely moved in China in December 2016 as cooling measures in the overheated housing market took grip, writes Steve Wang. On average, tier-one cities saw prices at a standstill in December, compared with a 0.1% month-on-month gain during the previous month. Lower-tiered cities saw gains halved from November, with a 0.2% and 0.4% increase for tier two and tier three cities in December, respectively.

A day after China’s President Xi Jinping gave his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos championing globalization, the East Wind was due in London, bearing not only low-cost trinkets but the Chinese government’s high hopes for its New Silk Roads project. After a 12,000km journey from Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province, Richard Cook reports that the 34-wagon train carries more than just goods.

And the American Chamber of Commerce in China released a report, showing that more than 80% of its members say foreign companies are less welcome than in the past and most of them saying they have little confidence in China’s vows to open its markets. The survey is published hours after Beijing unveiled proposals to reduce restrictions on foreign investment in China. China will lower restrictions on foreign investment in banking, securities, investment management, futures, insurance, credit ratings and accounting, the State Council said on its website.

On a lighter note, the Indian city of Rajasthan will host the 10th anniversary of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, which starts on Thursday. Victoria Burrows reports that since its debut, the festival has hosted 1,300 speakers and welcomed nearly 1.2 million book lovers, and it has become the world’s largest free, unticketed event of its kind. Eka Kurniawan, the first native Indonesian to be nominated for the Man Booker International Prize, Lebanese-American statistician and writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and Irish film-maker Neil Jordan are among the guests.