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CHINA CALLS FOR NON-OFFICIAL POLITICAL DIALOGUE WITH TAIWAN

April 26, 2013

TAIPEI - Chinese officials and scholars have called for non-official political dialogue between China and Taiwan as China’s former Commerce Minister, Chen Deming, becomes Head of the Chinese organisation responsible for dealing with Taiwan. Chen takes over from Chen Yunlin, who was appointed President of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in June 2008. At the ARATS board meeting, Chen said: "As cross-strait relations go ever deeper, the two sides eventually will need to look for solutions to our difficult political problems. ARATS supports exchanges and discussions on political issues between academic institutions and related personnel, and it also supports political dialogue between private citizens on both sides." He used the Chinese term "min jian" to indicate the unofficial nature of such dialogue.

ICC CALLS FOR SIMPLER CUSTOMS PROCEDURES, QUOTA-FREE ACCESS IN GLOBAL TRADE PLAN

April 24, 2013

DOHA – The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) today finalised recommendations for World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries to salvage parts of on-going Doha trade negotiations that could boost global GDP by US$960 billion. Several hundred business leaders and trade experts are meeting over four days for the ICC World Trade Agenda Summit, the first held in the Middle East.

TAIWAN’S MARCH EXPORT ORDERS DISAPPOINT, DOWN 6.6%

April 24, 2013

TAIPEI - Export orders from Taiwan fell 6.6% y/y in March, following a 14.5% contraction in February and should be seen in the light of market expectations of a 1.9% increase, says ANZ Bank. In the first quarter as a whole, export orders declined 1.7% y/y. “The decline was broad based. Notably, orders from Japan saw the largest decline, down 15.6% y/y, suggesting the weakening JPY is starting to have an impact on export orders,” ANZ says. “At this stage, we believe the Central Bank will not engage in aggressive easing.

RECESSION AT BAY, BUT CHINA MUST FEND OFF RISING NPLs: S&P

April 24, 2013

SINGAPORE - The bill for China's economic stimulus has to be paid - the question is when and how it will be paid, says Standard & Poor's in a report just published. The ratings agency says bank loans in China grew almost 60% in 2009-2010, staving off a recession, but that loan surge translates into higher credit risks on banks' loan books, which points to the possibility of rising nonperforming loans (NPLs). If that happens, the government's debt burden will rise as it absorbs some of the cost of these bad loans. "This hasn't happened yet, though.

CREDIT RISK WORSENS IN AUSTRALIA, CHINA, INDIA

April 22, 2013

PARIS - A survey by global credit insurance group Coface of corporate credit risk management in the Asia Pacific region for the fourth quarter of 2012 suggests that corporate payment experience in the region generally worsened. Companies in Australia, China and India specifically suffered more non-payment. By sectors, building & construction, IT, ISP and data processing, textile, clothing and shoes, and household electric and electronic appliances were at higher risk. Coface says companies in the region are less optimistic about recovery of global economy in 2013.

EU TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON BURMA, BUT U.S. STILL ON HOLD

April 19, 2013

RANGOON - The European Union is expected to permanently lift all sanctions on Myanmar, with the exception of its embargo on arms, next week. The sanctions were suspended for one year, until April 30, 2013, in recognition of Myanmar's ongoing democratic reforms - and to encourage further positive steps. Marae Ciantar, Head of the Myanmar practice of the law firm  Allens, says that, since then, and with the progressive easing of US sanctions, there has been an extraordinary level of interest from international investors in Myanmar.

CHINA HINTS AT FURTHER WIDENING OF YUAN’S DAILY CURRENCY BAND

April 18, 2013

HONG KONG – People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor, Yi Gang, has told an IMF conference that the RMB’s daily trading band will be widened “in the near future”. The daily trading band was last widened a year ago to +-1% from +-0.5% previously. In the meantime, the RMB has continued to appreciate against the USD, reaching a new high of 6.17 yesterday, before declining today to 6.18.

GLOBAL GROWTH PROSPECTS FOR 2013 FADING, SAYS EIU. CHINA DOWN, YEN WEAKENING

April 18, 2013

LONDON - Prospects for steady gains in global economic growth throughout 2013 are fading, according to the latest Global Forecast from The Economist Intelligence Unit. Although the US economy is strengthening and some key emerging markets will grow faster this year than in 2012, a synchronised global upturn is less likely in the next six months, the EIU says. It now expects growth in global economic output to be no higher in 2013 than the year before, although a better showing in expected in 2014. “We have reduced our 2013 GDP forecast for the euro zone to -0.7% from -0.4%,” the EIU says.

TAIPOWER FIGHTS TO SAVE FOURTH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

April 17, 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 17, 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.

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.

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