ATI Newswire - Subscriber Only

BEIJING, HENAN REPORT FIRST CASES OF BIRD FLU OUTSIDE YANGTZE DELTA

April 15, 2013

BEIJING — The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a seven-year-old girl has become the first reported case of H9N9 bird flu in Beijing, with two further cases reported in Henan, the first cases outside the Yangtze Delta region. Beijing municipality has been ordered to stock enough Tamiflu (a drug thought to combat H9N9) for 2 million people. The National Health and Family Planning Commission have to date reported 46 cases of H9N9 bird flu with 11 fatalities.

HSBC EXPECTS SLOWER CHINA GROWTH TO PROMOT POLICY RESPONSE

April 15, 2013

BEIJING — HSBC says China’s first quarter numbers mainly reflect 1) weak global demand; 2) a policy vacuum during the leadership transition and 3) the impact of Beijing's new initiatives to rein in extravagancy, cool property prices and institutional changes. “1Q GDP is still above 3Q's trough of 7.4%, and strength in leading indicators and PMI numbers point to the continuation of recovery,” HSBC says. “With inflation easing, the disappointing growth number will likely prompt policy response, lifting growth in coming quarters,” the bank says.

CHINA RECOVERY REMAINS WEAK, BUT MOMENTUM TO PICK UP IN Q2, SAYS ANZ

April 15, 2013

BEIJING — China’s Q1 GDP growth eased to 7.7% y/y, down from Q4’s 7.9%, suggesting that China’s economic recovery remains fragile, but ANZ Bank believes growth momentum is likely to pick up somewhat in Q2 on strong Q1 total social financing and robust investment growth. “We project 8.1% and 8.0% growth for Q2 and Q3, respectively, while sub-8% growth will be very likely in Q4,” ANZ says.

CHINA GDP DISAPPOINTS, BUT SUPPORTIVE POLICIES SHOULD SUSTAIN GROWTH: BBVA

April 15, 2013

BEIJING — First quarter GDP growth in China came in at a weaker-than-expected 7.7% y/y, down from 7.9% y/y in Q4 2012, while a set of monthly activity indicators for March were also below expectations. These included industrial production (8.9% y/y vs. consensus: 10.1%) and fixed asset investment (20.9% y/y, ytd vs. consensus: 21.3%), while retail sales growth was in line with expectations (12.6% y/y vs. consensus: 12.6%) and credit growth, released last week, exceeded expectations.

TAIPOWER FIGHTS TO SAVE FOURTH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

April 15, 2013

TAIPEI - The State-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) has reiterated that it will incur an estimated loss of NT$330 billion (US$11 billion) and face possible bankruptcy if construction of Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant is cancelled. Hsu Yung-hua, Taipower’s acting Vice President, said it will cost Taipower an additional NT$7 billion to NT$8 billion each year if the start of operations at the plant is postponed

INDIA INFLATION DROPS TO THREE-YEAR LOW IN MARCH

April 15, 2013

NEW DELHI - India’s wholesale price inflation (WPI) fell sharply to 6.0% y/y from 6.8% in February, its lowest since November 2009 amid a broad-based let up in price pressures. Core inflation eased for the seventh successive month to 3.4% y/y from 3.8% previously, signalling continued weak pricing power. BBVA Bank says the latest inflation numbers coupled with recent disappointing activity indicators, support the case for another 25 bps cut in the repo rate by the Reserve Bank of India at its next policy meeting on May 3, following similar cuts in its last two policy meetings.

TAIWAN TO EASE OVERSEAS INVESTMENT RULES FOR INSURERS

April 3, 2013

TAIPEI - Taiwan's financial regulator plans to allow Taiwanese insurers to invest in overseas corporate bonds with lower credit ratings than are currently allowed, and to invest in properties abroad. This will allow local insurers to invest in overseas corporate bonds with at least a "BB+" rating, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said, noting that the current regulations require no lower than a "BBB+" rating.

PARLIAMENT DISSOLVED, MALAYSIA READIES FOR GENERAL ELECTION

April 3, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, today dissolved Parliament, with the country expected to go to the polls in what will be the 13th General Election on April 20 or 27. The incumbent Barisan National Party in 2008 won just 50.3% of the popular vote but 63% of the 222 seats available. Most observers expect the election race to be close. While Najib’s approval rating was measured at 61% in January, it has fallen from 71% a year earlier (ATI).

RMB TRADING COMES TO SINGAPORE – MAJOR EXPANSION TIPPED

April 2, 2013

SINGAPORE – The offshore RMB market launched in Singapore today (Tuesday) with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announcing that it has signed an agreement allowing ICBC Singapore Branch, through both an agency bank and a clearing bank model, to provide cross-border RMB trade settlements. Commenting on the move, ANZ Bank said it expected Singapore’s RMB business will grow quickly. Earlier, the PBOC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore expanded their bilateral currency swap line to RMB300 billionn.

NOVARTIS LOSES PATENT BID IN INDIA FOR KEY CANCER DRUG

April 2, 2013

NEW DELHI – India’s Supreme Court has dismissed a bid by Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG's for patent protection for its cancer drug Glivec, in what is seen as a blow to Western pharmaceutical firms targetting India to drive sales and a victory for local makers of cheap generics. Analysts say the decision sets a benchmark for intellectual property cases in India, where many patented drugs are unaffordable for most of its 1.2 billion people, and does not bode well for foreign firms engaged in ongoing disputes there, including Pfizer Inc and Roche Holding AG.

CHINESE BANKS CAN BUY MORE EQUITY IN TAIWAN BANKS

April 1, 2013

TAIPEI - Taiwan will raise the cap on Chinese banks' holdings in domestic financial institutions to as high as 20%, following consensus reached by Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman, Chen Yuh-chang, and China's Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) Chairman, Shang Fulin, during the third round of cross-strait banking talks in Taipei. Taiwanese banks are already allowed to acquire up to 20% stakes in Chinese banks, and the new consensus brings Mainland financial institutions closer to the threshold applying in Taiwan.

BEIJING AND SHANGHAI DETAIL NEW PROPERTY REGULATIONS

April 1, 2013

BEIJING – Both the Beijing and Shanghai governments have announced further details of their new property regulations. A 20% capital gains tax on property sellers, in comparison to previous tax rates of 1% – 2% on the final sale price, will be strictly levied in Shanghai and Beijing if the original value of the house can be verified. The 20% tax will be incurred by sellers if a house owner sells the property within five years after purchase and the apartment is not the only one owned by the family.

CHINA MANUFACTURING SECTOR CONTINUING A MODEST IMPROVEMENT

April 1, 2013

HONG KONG - After adjusting for seasonal factors, the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index™ for China – a composite indicator designed to provide a single-figure snapshot of operating conditions in the manufacturing economy – posted 51.6 in March, up from 50.4 in February, signalling a modest improvement. Operating conditions in the Chinese manufacturing sector have now improved for five consecutive months. Production levels increased for the fifth month in a row in March, with the rate of expansion accelerating from February to a solid pace, the second-fastest in two years.

CHINA CURBS WEALTH MANAGEMENT PRODUCTS IN SHADOW BANKING CRACKDOWN

March 29, 2013

BEIJING - The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has reportedly introduced new measures to rein in banks’ issuance of wealth management products (WMPs), which have fuelled the growth of lending in the non-bank financial sector. In particular, the CBRC is reported to have imposed limits on WMPs used to fund trust loans, bank acceptances, and entrust loans. For WMPs beyond the established limits (4% of total assets and 35% of total WMPs), banks are instructed to move them back onto their balance sheets by end-2013.

CHINA STATE COUNCIL SIGNALS FISCAL, TAXATION REFORMS

March 29, 2013

BEIJING – China’s State Council, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang,has stepped up its rhetoric on fiscal and taxation reforms, with State media reporting that the Council announced it would "actively advance reforms in major sectors, trying to make substantial progress". Fiscal and taxation reform are seen as central to tangible Government reform, and a rebalancing of the economy away from State investment towards the private sector.

CHINA WARNS VIETNAM OVER FISHING INCURSIONS NEAR XISHA ISLANDS

March 29, 2013

BEIJING - In a move indicative of recent military brinksmanship, China has warned Vietnam to stop vessels ‘illegally’ fishing near the Chinese-claimed Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. In the third week of March, Vietnam claimed that a fishing vessel was fired at and chased by a Chinese military vessel, a claim China has not denied and instead branded ‘necessary and legitimate’. Chinese claims to ownership of island groups in the South China Sea has led to a deterioration of relations with ASEAN, in particular with Vietnam.

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