BUSINESS NEWS

Alliance established to push forward innovation

SHANGHAI DAILY - 2 hours 3 min ago
PWC China has officially launched the Alliance of Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation, a communication and sharing platform to push forward science and technology innovative. The alliance is designed to create an innovative ecosystem to enable resource sharing and drive mutual benefits among stakeholders, and it also aims to help develop Shanghai into a technology-driven innovation hub with global influence. Companies and institutions have launched various measures that seek to leverage the strengths and advantages in the innovation ecosystem and jointly promote innovation in major technologies, products and business models through collaboration. Shanghai released a guideline in 2015 to build the city into a global science and technology innovation hub. PwC is hoping to combine its resources and expertise from both home and abroad with the demand of both start-up companies and mature companies that seek to restructure its business through innovative business models. "We expect members from start-ups, local incubators and accelerators as well as venture capital firms and investment companies would join the alliance," said Elton Huang, PwC China Shanghai Senior Partner. Vice director of Huangpu District Chen Zhuofu said the alliance is expected to become an open platform to support the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and Huangpu District would provide relevant service for companies and institutions within the alliance.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Make sure your digital strategy creates value

AMERICAN BANKER - 3 hours 22 min ago
The temptation for banks these days is to digitize as much as possible, but that generally results in spending a lot and doing nothing really well. Picking one of these three business models can help banks choose technology best suited to add value and thus get the most bang for their buck.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Will new U.S. Bancorp chief's playbook deliver on offense?

AMERICAN BANKER - 3 hours 22 min ago
With U.S. Bancorp's leadership transition underway, the big question is whether it will deliver faster earnings growth — the one shareholder demand that has proven elusive.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

With core conversions, the question isn't if, but when

AMERICAN BANKER - 3 hours 22 min ago
Fearful banks hesitate on core conversions they need. But what's more risky? Keeping legacy technology? Or finally replacing it?
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Tap into crowd power to thrive amid disruption

AMERICAN BANKER - 3 hours 22 min ago
The way we buy today is already different than just a few years ago. In a decade, it will be totally transformed. Here is what every company must do to stay relevant and competitive in the coming decade of unprecedented disruption.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Bank Holding Companies with the Largest Credit Card Loan Portfolios

AMERICAN BANKER - 6 hours 8 min ago
On Sept. 30, 2016. Dollars in thousands.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Bank Holding Companies with the Largest Consumer Loan Portfolios

AMERICAN BANKER - 6 hours 32 min ago
On Sept. 30, 2016. Dollars in thousands
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

The anti-Venmo? Banks' p-to-p payment product eschews social ‘sharing’

AMERICAN BANKER - 7 hours 22 min ago
When Zelle launches, it will not allow users to share information about their payments with other folks in their network. That decision puts the P-to-P service on a different course than Venmo, its fast-growing rival.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Bank Holding Companies with the Largest Business Loan Portfolios

AMERICAN BANKER - 7 hours 22 min ago
On Sept. 30, 2016. Dollars in thousands
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Remembering Melanie Dressel, mentor to a generation of bankers

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 23:30
Columbia Banking's CEO, who died unexpectedly on Sunday, was a thoughtful and tenacious leader who leaves a legacy of turning a small Washington bank into a regional power in the Pacific Northwest.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Debt to the Penny for 02/17/2017

US TRESURY DEBT DAY-TO-DAY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 22:15
Debt Held by the Public: 14,403,413,744,145.80
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,529,091,129,955.66
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,932,504,874,101.46

Would weakening regulators' edge in court backfire on banks?

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 21:05
Banks have long been eager to see regulators knocked down a peg in the courts, but now that it might actually happen under President Trump, some are beginning to wonder if it might ultimately boomerang against the financial services industry.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Community bankers aren't holding their breath on reg relief

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 21:05
Attendees at an American Bankers Association conference believe a massive overhaul of banking regulations is unlikely.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Voice recognition's surprise shortcoming: aging customers

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 20:44
The human voice changes more quickly than you’d think, and this has to be taken into account by voice-recognition systems.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Wells Fargo fires four retail executives over accounts scandal

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 20:44
Wells Fargo has fired its consumer credit solutions head and three other senior managers for actions related to a scandal involving employees creating fraudulent customer accounts.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Hedge funds can't sue over investments in Fannie or Freddie

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 20:00
A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that barred hedge funds from suing to overturn the U.S. government’s 2012 decision to capture billions of dollars in the profits generated by the mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after their bailout.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Wells Fargo names Karen Peetz, former BNY Mellon president, to board of directors

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 18:30
She will be joined on the board by Ronald Sargent, a retired chairman and CEO of the office-supply company Staples.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

M&A-driven stock rallies don’t make your bank a winner

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 18:10
How to keep score in the industry and identify the truly victorious banks has never been tougher.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

PNC beefs up commercial book with vendor-finance deal

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:14
The Pittsburgh company is acquiring the U.S.-based commercial and vendor-finance operations of ECN Capital
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

EU agrees to fight MNC tax avoidance

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
EUROPEAN Union finance ministers agreed yesterday to close loopholes multinational corporations use to skip taxation on dividends, part of a drive to stop them from parking profits where they pay the least tax. The new rules, due to go into effect in 2020, should help the EU recoup revenues from companies that cut their tax bills by declaring profits in countries with low or no taxation. Tax-saving schemes used by Apple, Amazon, Google, Starbucks and other companies — all legal under current laws — have raised public pressure for EU-wide rules to close these loopholes. “We have reached a general approach,” Finance Minister Edward Scicluna of Malta, which holds the current six-month rotating EU presidency, said after the deal was reached. He called it a “bold step” to reduce these tax differentials, known in EU jargon as hybrid mismatches. “The agreement reached today will ensure that hybrid mismatches of all types cannot be used to avoid tax in the EU, even where the arrangements involve third countries,” the European Commission said. The deal postponed application of the new rules by one year to January 2020 because some countries noted possible negative consequences on competitiveness if changes were too quick. In some limited cases, the new rules will apply from 2022. In December, the finance ministers failed to agree on the issue after some of them said a proposal by the then Slovak presidency and backed by Britain would water down the plan. In a bid to quell multinationals’ concerns, Scicluna said there would be new proposals in coming months.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Study on tax reporting mechanism

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
SHANGHAI will conduct a study on setting up a new reporting system for individual income tax and cut costs for companies in its reform of fiscal and tax policies, government officials said yesterday. The city’s tax authority aims for a comprehensive tax reporting mechanism this year to propel a change in the individual income tax system, said Guo Jianfei, chief of the Shanghai State Tax Bureau and the Shanghai Local Tax Bureau. Shanghai’s proposal seeks to back China’s long-term mission of creating a comprehensive individual income tax system to allow for bigger pre-tax deductions. Interest on mortgages for a first home and education fees were expected to be included in the new pre-tax deductions, experts have said. Shanghai will also be proactive in lowering the tax burden for middle-income workers, said Song Yijia, head of the city’s finance bureau. The city will also continue to cut tax and administrative fees for companies to promote innovation and industrial reforms, authorities said.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

RRR cuts to continue

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
CHINA’S central bank said yesterday that bank reserve requirement ratio cuts would continue this year to reward commercial banks that support agriculture and small businesses. The central bank has cut the reserve requirement ratio this year for most of the country’s commercial banks as they provided credit support as required for agriculture and small businesses in 2016, said an official with the People’s Bank of China. The cuts will be effective from next Monday. To encourage credit support for agriculture and small businesses, the PBOC introduced directional bank reserve requirement ratio cuts in 2014. The list of commercial banks rewarded with lower deposit requirements are revealed in February every year.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Consumers upbeat

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
CHINA’S consumer confidence index climbed 2 points to 108 in the fourth quarter of last year, a survey showed yesterday, with consumers remaining upbeat on job prospects. Retail upgrading also lifted sentiment. China has been seeking to drive economic growth through domestic consumption instead of investment. The annual consumer confidence index dipped 1 point to 106 in 2016 from a year ago but remain generally stable as the country’s economic development entered a “new normal,” indicating that China’s consumer confidence was positive and optimistic throughout the past year, according to the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Shares up for 2nd day

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
SHANGHAI stocks yesterday rose for a second day as consumer, software, infrastructure and material shares gave the market a fillip. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.41 percent to 3,253.33 points, its highest close since December 1. Sentiment was also lifted by news that many listed companies scrapped or revised their plans for the private placement of shares, after regulators introduced policies to check “excessive” fundraising.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Covestro sales jump

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
SALES of German chemicals producer Covestro in China jumped 18 percent last year as the country expended efforts to boost new materials and renewable energy, the company said yesterday. Covestro’s net sales in China totaled 2.2 billion euros (US$2.3 billion), helped by the electric vehicle sector for which it produces plastics to replace metal to lessen the car’s weight and to save energy consumption.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

HSBC profits dive on political storms

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
HSBC profits plunged last year on huge writedowns and restructuring charges, the banking titan said yesterday, warning of uncertainty over Brexit and Donald Trump’s economic policies. The bank with a focus on Asia said net profit tumbled to US$1.29 billion in 2016, down 90 percent year on year. Profit before tax was US$7.1 billion, down 62 percent, after HSBC slashed the value of its private banking activity in Europe by US$3.2 billion over an acquisition made in 1999. HSBC was hit by restructuring costs of US$3.1 billion following its notice in 2015 to cut 50,000 jobs and exit non-core markets. The bank also took a charge of US$1.8 billion following a change to its debt value. In the regulatory statement, HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint said the political sea-changes that had rocked the world in 2016 had contributed to “volatile financial market conditions.” Looking ahead, he highlighted “the threat of populism impacting policy choices in upcoming European elections, possible protectionist measures from the new US administration impacting global trade ... uncertainties facing the UK and the EU as they enter Brexit negotiations.” Flint said the bank was looking for worldwide agreement on financial rules to avoid possible “fragmentation in the global regulatory architecture as the new US administration reconsiders its participation in international regulatory forums.” Trump wants to dismantle some of the restrictions on banks put in place after the 2008 financial crisis, rules his Republican Party says have hampered Wall Street’s ability to make money. Observers worry that any such move to loosen controls could leave European and Asian-based banks at a disadvantage compared to their US counterparts.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Progressive and stable reform eyed

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
CHINA’S top leadership yesterday pledged to stick to the basic tone of “seeking progress while maintaining stability” in 2017, aiming for more progress from supply-side structural reform. The pledge came from a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, during which attendees discussed the draft government work report, scheduled to be submitted to the upcoming fifth session of the 12th National People’s Congress. The meeting was chaired by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The meeting highlighted the significance of 2017 as the 19th CPC National Congress will convene. Acknowledging that China has started strongly for the 2016-2020 period, the meeting called for further efforts to balance multiple economic tasks in 2017, including stabilizing growth, advancing reforms, pushing restructuring, improving people’s livelihood and preventing risks. At the macro level, China will implement proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies, said a statement released after the meeting. Reforms in key areas will be deepened, while the role of innovation will be boosted to facilitate economic upgrading, said the statement. China will also intensify efforts to tap the potential of domestic demand and strengthen internal growth momentum. Other tasks include pushing supply-side structural reform in the agriculture sector, widening opening-up, promoting green development and improving government services for people’s well-being. The meeting came ahead of China’s annual two sessions in March, during which lawmakers and political advisors will gather in Beijing to discuss the social and economic policies for the year.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Rare 1684 violin for auction

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
A representative from Sotheby’s Hong Kong holds a rare 1684 violin by Antonio Stradivari to the press during a media preview in Hong Kong yesterday, ahead of the violin’s auction on March 28 in London where it is estimated to fetch between US$1.55 million to US$2.45 million.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Gree seals US$2.9b supply deal

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
GREE Electric Appliance plans to sign a procurement agreement with Zhuhai Yinlong New Energy to buy services and products worth up to 20 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion) annually, Shenzhen-listed Gree said yesterday. Both parties will sign the preferential procurement deal for products and services such as intelligent equipment, molds and vehicle air-conditioners valued at 20 billion yuan in the next 12 months, Gree said. The deal offers Gree a channel to enter the vehicle air-conditioner and related markets, analysts said. Last year, Gree sought to buy Yinlong for 13 billion yuan, but the planned purchase failed to get shareholders’ approval. In December, Yinlong raised about 3 billion yuan from investors, including Gree’s Chairwoman Dong Mingzhu, who personally invested 1 billion yuan in Yinlong for a 7.5 percent stake.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Cut in coal supply to continue this year

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
CHINA will continue to cut coal supply in 2017 as “demand keeps falling” and it hopes that the reduction will help stabilize prices, the China National Coal Association said yesterday. China will trim 50 million tons of coal capacity in over 500 mines this year because “the supply-demand relation hasn’t been balanced to ensure the long-term profit rebound” for the industry. The association predicted coal use will continue a three-year slump, which would force companies to further cut production after coal consumption last year dropped 1.3 percent from that in 2015. The further cut in coal supply will be a tool to prevent a slump in coal prices, the association said, adding that it has asked key players to “actively cut production” to keep stable prices. Investment in coal fixed assets plunged 24.2 percent last year to 303.8 billion yuan (US$44.1 billion).
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Cold start damps 3 land plots sale

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
TWO land parcels sold at reserve prices in Shanghai yesterday while a third one was bought at an 18.6 percent premium, reinforcing a “cold” start in the local land market amid continued government rein-in policies to curb speculation. The three residential plots located in remote Jinshan District were the second batch of land sites released in Shanghai after the Spring Festival holiday. Beijing Construction Engineering Group paid 1.44 billion yuan (US$209 million), or an average gross floor area price of 11,627 yuan per square meter, for the 61,922-square-meter housing site in Binhai New City. The firm paid an 18.6 percent premium compared with its starting price of 9,800 yuan per square meter. Shanghai Construction Group bought the 71,671-square-meter plot in Fengjing Town for an average GFA price of 9,800 yuan per square meter. A joint entity of Huafang Co and NHU Real Estate got the 48,549-square-meter site in the industrial zone, the smallest of the three, for an average GFA price of 9,500 yuan per square meter. “The one in Binhai New City was the most popular among the three plots as seven developers competed in the auction, probably drawn by its walking distance to Metro Line 22 station as well as its moderate size,” said Lu Wenxi, senior research manager at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. As required by the land watchdog, 60 percent of the homes built on the site should be medium and small-sized apartments while 45 percent of the total space will be purchased by the government on completion for relocation purposes. New homes in the neighborhood now sell for between 22,000 yuan and 25,000 yuan per square meter while pre-owned properties cost around 18,000 yuan per square meter, according to Centaline data. Last Friday, three land plots for residential development in the city’s outlying Lingang port area were also sold close to reserve prices.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Yahoo hit for US$350m on Verizon deal

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
YAHOO is taking a US$350 million hit on its previously announced US$4.8 billion sale to Verizon in a concession for security lapses that exposed personal information stored in more than 1 billion Yahoo user accounts. The revised deal announced yesterday eased investor worries that Verizon Communications Inc would demand a discount of at least US$1 billion or cancel the deal entirely. The hacking bombshells, disclosed after the two companies agreed on a sale, represent the two biggest security breaches in Internet history. Under the amended deal, Yahoo will be responsible for 50 percent of any cash liabilities incurred following the closing related to government investigations and lawsuits related to the breaches. Liabilities arising from shareholder lawsuits and regulatory investigations will continue to be the responsibility of Yahoo. “The amended terms of the agreement provide a fair and favorable outcome for shareholders,” said Marni Walden, Verizon executive vice president and president of product innovation and new businesses. “It provides protection for both sides and delivers a clear path to close the transaction in the second quarter.” The security breaches raised concerns that people might decrease their usage of Yahoo e-mail and other digital services that Verizon is buying. A smaller audience makes Yahoo’s services less valuable because it reduces the opportunities to show ads — the main reason that Verizon struck the deal seven months ago. Yahoo has maintained that its users have remained loyal, despite any mistrust that might have been caused by its lax security and the lengthy delay in discovering and disclosing the hacks. The separate attacks occurred in 2013 and 2014; Yahoo disclosed them this past September and December.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Kakao ties up with Ant Financial

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
ALIBABA’S financial and payment affiliate Ant Financial will invest US$200 million in the mobile finance subsidiary of South Korea’s smartphone messaging and social networking platform Kakao Corp as the Chinese company continues to expand globally. The two parties will share payment resources and include more offline merchants to accept payment through both Kakao and Ant Financial’s mobile payment tools. Kakao decided in January to form a separate entity for its Kakao Pay financial service, and the investment will see Ant Financial offer its offline, banking and financial services through Kakao Pay in South Korea. Kakao has 48 million users, and the alliance with Alipay is set to boost its capability in mobile payment, risk control, cloud computing and innovative financial services. “South Korea is an important market for Ant Financial in its global expansion,” Douglas Fea­gin, president of Ant Financial International, said yesterday.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Local bond issuance backed in FTZs

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
CHINA will encourage local governments to issue bonds in free trade zones this year, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. Governments of regions with mature conditions can “actively” issue bonds in FTZs, according to a circular released by the ministry. Local officials were also told to attract more foreign-funded financial institutions to participate in underwriting. To rein in rising debt risks, China overhauled the management of government bonds in 2014, streamlining fundraising channels for local authorities while putting a cap on annual bond issues. New local government bonds cannot exceed the annual caps, the ministry said.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

China says US trade war ‘not an option’

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
A potential trade war should not be used as an “option” to spoil Chinese-American relations as the two countries are able to resolve bilateral trade disputes through dialogue, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said yesterday. China and the United States, the world’s largest traders, should work together to promote trade and investment, said Gao, speaking at a briefing in Beijing. A good relationship between the two countries not only benefits both sides but helps global economic growth and recovery amid a still weak momentum, Gao said. US President Donald Trump pledged during his election campaign to raise import duties on Chinese goods to 40 percent but he has yet to take formal action. He also said he would declare China an “exchange rate manipulator.” However, in a phone conversation earlier this month to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said that the United States was ready to work with China to take bilateral ties to new historic heights. Gao said yesterday China would not comment too much on what the US president said during his election campaign, but would focus on the new American government’s attitude toward trade with China. “As a consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, cooperation was the only right choice for China and the US,” Gao said. Whatever changes in the US policy toward China, the trade relations between the two nations will eventually return to “the track of mutual benefits and win-win,” he said. China is now America’s largest trading partner and its third largest export destination after Canada and Mexico, according to a report from the US-China Business Council. China’s direct investment in America hit a record high of US$45 billion in 2016, a threefold increase on 2015. Robust bilateral trade and investment have supported some 2.6 million jobs in the US, according to the report. “A trade war should not become an option,” Gao said. “If the two sides fight, both will be hurt.” The US last year replaced China as the world’s largest trader as China’s foreign trade declined. Gao yesterday said China would not seek a “blind expansion in exports‚“ as it could undermine the country’s resources and environment. China would instead gain new grounds through improved standards, techniques, brands and services. Addressing China’s tightening inspection on outbound investment since late last year, Gao said measures were being taken to control irrational and blind outbound investment, where companies made huge investment into high risk areas and fields unrelated to their core businesses. The commerce minister said the government would guide companies to make more prudent and rational outbound investment while improving rules to facilitate outbound investment and protect the rights of investors.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

‘Wait and see’ on American tax plan

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:01
CHINA will make careful evaluations and respond accordingly if the United States unveils a detailed plan on the proposed border-adjustment tax, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said yesterday. China was aware of a recent proposal within the US administration concerning a border tax on imports, said Gao when answering a question on US President Donald Trump’s posts on Twitter. All countries should abide by international trade rules when formulating trade policies, the minister said.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Programs help students lead in China's development

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 17:00
CHINA’S construction industry, which accounts for a significant proportion of the country’s gross domestic product, is going through dramatic changes to address ongoing economic and environmental challenges. The National People’s Congress addressed many of these challenges in the 13th Five-Year (2016-2020) Plan, which announced key features encouraging green growth, adaptation to urban planning, and optimization of urban transport systems. In response, there is increasing demand within the industry for innovations to reduce waste and environmental damage as well as for more energy-efficient buildings, while similar changes also extend to urban planning and design, where professionals must accommodate the rapid momentum of China’s urbanization and address environmental concerns. With millions of people continuing to migrate to China’s cities, proper urban planning, design and construction, with a focus on sustainability, environment, and energy conservation, are essential, and there is huge demand for skilled professionals to lead this work. A number of postgraduate degree programs at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou are addressing this demand and equipping students with the skills they need to lead changes in China’s urban development. The MSc Sustainable Construction program enables civil engineers to take a leadership role in promoting sustainable development, by providing creative and innovative solutions to the challenges associated with sustainability in civil engineering practices. “The program primarily focuses on the integration of renewable energy strategies in the design of buildings and large-scale infrastructure,” says program director Konstantinos Papadikis. “We also look at the incorporation of recycled materials into construction as well as sustainable drainage systems, building information modelling, and life-cycle assessment of engineering projects.” Students develop skills that can be put to use on a wide range of real-world projects both when they graduate and while they study. One such project, being led by researchers at XJTLU with a local construction company, looks into the use of recycled materials in construction in order to produce permeable pavement blocks made from recycled aggregate, a waste material from the construction industry. The 600,000 yuan (US$87,250) project could help combat urban flooding. The Department of Industrial Design at XJTLU is also involved in the project and offers a competitive MDes Industrial Design program. Aimed at graduates or professionals with design or engineering background who want to broaden and deepen their design and research thinking, the MDes Industrial Design allows students to develop an appreciation for cross-cultural approaches toward design and product, service and systems development. Students are given a solid preparation for careers such as design practitioners, design managers, as well as for further studies in design-related PhD programs. Opportunities abound The Suzhou Industrial Park area, where XJTLU is located, is an ideal place to study environment-related subjects as it is a model of sustainable construction practices and innovative urban design and architecture. “The use of recycled materials is one of the primary aspects of the development of the area, while construction incorporates all of the technologies and methods that students will be taught in class,” says Konstantinos. “Students take part in site visits and fieldwork and there are plenty of opportunities for them to see in reality what is actually happening in modern construction.” XJTLU’s MSc Urban Design program also offers students the chance to see methods studied in class put into practice. Student Liu Wang Chen says: “We go on many field trips and we have very passionate tutors. I studied interior design for my bachelor’s degree, which is more about detail on a small scale. Urban design is on a bigger scale and there are challenges involved, but I like that.” The program allows students to engage in the complex issues of urban space production in the dynamic Chinese context. It considers the interplay between spatial design and social, economic, environmental and political issues evident in a range of urban settings. Graduates of the program, as with all XJTLU masters degrees, earn a University of Liverpool degree that is recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Education. “When I graduate I plan to work for a design studio,” says Liu Wang, “and to gain enough experience to start my own. I recommend this program as you can learn theory and practice your design skills.” Part-time options are available for all these programs allowing students to fit earning a highly valued degree from an international university around work commitments, while, at the same time, contributing to innovations in China’s design, construction and urban planning industries.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Citi agrees $5.4M fine to settle currency collusion case

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 16:38
Citigroup agreed to pay a penalty of almost $5.4 million to settle a South African antitrust investigation that said it participated in an alleged cartel to manipulate the value of the rand.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

HSBC vows to cut more costs after revenue drop

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 16:02
Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver is still battling to reverse five years of declining revenue as he pares back HSBC’s sprawling global footprint and reduces expenses.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Time to bring BSA into this century

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 15:40
As the Bank Secrecy Act approaches its 50th anniversary, legitimate questions have arisen about the efficacy of anti-money-laundering requirements and the burden of compliance.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Filling the Fed; Ditching Durbin

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 15:02
President Trump is considering bankers and financiers, not economists, to fill vacant Fed seats; the ABA is launching an ad campaign to roll back the Durbin Amendment on swipe fees.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Three land parcels sold with little premium in Shanghai

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 09:47
TWO land parcels sold at reserve prices in Shanghai today while a third one was acquired for an 18.6 percent premium, further evidence for a "cold" start in the local land market as government rein-in policies remained unchanged to curb speculation. The three residential plots, all located in remote Jinshan District, formed the second batch of land pieces released in Shanghai after the Spring Festival holiday. Beijing Construction Engineering Group paid 1.44 billion yuan (US$209 million), or an average gross floor area price of 11,627 yuan per square meter, for the 61,922-square-meter housing site in Binhai New City, after beating several rivals. That compared with its starting price of 9,800 yuan per square meter. Shanghai Construction Group acquired the 71,671-square-meter plot in Fengjing Town for an average GFA price of 9,800 yuan per square meter while a joint entity of Huafang Co and NHU Real Estate bought the 48,549-square-meter piece in the industrial zone, the smallest of the three, for an average GFA price of 9,500 yuan per square meter. "The one in Binhai New City was the most popular among the three plots as seven developers competed in the auction, probably attracted by its walking distance to Metro Line 22 station as well as its moderate size," said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. As required by the land watchdog, 60 percent of the homes built on the site should be medium and small-sized apartments while 45 percent of the total space will be purchased by the government upon completion for relocation purposes. Currently, new homes in the neighborhood sell for between 22,000 yuan and 25,000 yuan per square meter while existing properties cost around 18,000 yuan per square meter, according to Centaline data. Last Friday, three land pieces designated for housing development in the city's outlying Lingang port area were also sold close to reserve prices.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Shanghai Gold Exchange denies connection with fraudulent manufacturer

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 09:34
SHANGHAI Gold Exchange today denied a media report that it was connected with a supplier who has allegedly cheated loans with fake gold bars. A Caijing report on Monday accused Boyuan Mining Co, a metal producer based in Lingshan, Henan Province, who used to produce gold-plated tungsten bars, has caused loss of more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion) during the past decade through fraud. The report referred the producer as one of the suppliers of Shanghai Gold Exchange since 2010, due to its expansion on assembly lines of gold production. "Boyuan Mining Co is not on the list of licensed suppliers," said an announcement made by the exchange. "Gold ingots, gold bars and silver ingots traded in Shanghai Gold Exchange have been gone through strict inspections," Shanghai Gold Exchange has 24 suppliers on gold bars, 26 suppliers on silver ingots nationwide, along with 40 suppliers for gold ingots domestically and abroad, according to the exchange. Boyuan Mining Co has never been on the list since the exchange opened for trading in 2002, spokesperson from Shanghai Gold Exchange told Shanghai Daily today. The Caijing report said that Boyuan Mining Co managed to produce a type of gold-plated tungsten bars weighing five kilograms with 62 percent of tungsten and 38 percent of gold since 2005. The bullion price surged more than 30 percent in the year of 2007, marking its biggest rise since 1979. Caijing said the company used those fake gold bars as collaterals to obtain loans from several credit unions in both Henan Province and Shaanxi Province. Main suspects have been detained by the Police in May, 2016, the report added. Tungsten is an industrial metal that weighs nearly the same as gold but costs a little over 7.5 yuan per kilogram, while the bullion closed Tuesday at 2,751.9 per kilogram at Shanghai Gold Exchange.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Mercedes-Benz recalls vehicles over defective electronic power steering

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:46
GERMAN carmaker Mercedes-Benz started recalling 59 vehicles in China on Tuesday due to defective electronic power steering, according to China's quality watchdog. The recall affects 29 cars made between July 4, 2013 and March 3, 2015, as well as another 30 vehicles of different models manufactured between June 16, 2014 and June 27, 2015, according to an online statement by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The defective electronic power steering in these vehicles could lead to vehicle collisions and fires, causing safety risks, said the statement. The company will replace the defective parts free of charge.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

China's consumption to maintain strong growth in 2017

SHANGHAI DAILY - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:36
CHINA will maintain strong growth in consumption this year with deepening supply-side structural reform, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Tuesday. The trend will persist between 2016 and 2020 and feature more online retail sales and consumption of more quality goods and services, he said at a news conference, citing stellar growth in these sectors. Retail sales, a key indicator of consumption, have been growing at double-digit rates annually for years, he said, adding e-commerce has facilitated the spike in consumption. The volume of online retail sales rose 26.2 percent to hit 5.2 trillion yuan (US$755.3 billion) in 2016 over the previous year, he said. Consumption is shifting gears with Chinese consumers buying more expensive and premium products. Over 28 million automobiles were sold in China last year, up 13.7 percent year on year, while new-energy vehicles posted growth of 53 percent, he said. Consumption of services is growing faster than that of goods thanks to rapid expansion in sectors such as catering, housekeeping and care, he added. Consumption has become the primary driver of China's economy since 2014, contributing 64.6 percent to China's GDP growth in 2016, up 4.9 percentage points than in 2015, Gao said. The ongoing supply-side reform will narrow the discrepancy between the supply of goods and services and shifting market demands, unlocking more potential. Retail sales of consumer goods are expected to jump by 10.2 percent year on year to exceed 37 trillion yuan in 2017, contributing more than 70 percent of the country's economic growth, according to an earlier report issued by the China General Chamber of Commerce. In 2017, China will forge ahead with the supply-side structural reform by improving the supply structure and consumption environment, the minister said.
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Melanie Dressel, pioneering bank CEO, dies

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 06:44
In addition to transforming Columbia Banking System and navigating it through the financial crisis, Dressel was an industry leader.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Breaking Banks: Fintech charter; blockchain, credit scores and refugees

AMERICAN BANKER - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 00:10
First half: Brett King says the OCC fintech charter is overdue. Second half: fintech and refugees.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

The busiest airports in Europe

THE ECONOMIST - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 18:43

ANYONE who has tried to hold a conversation in a West London garden will wonder how it is possible to squeeze any more more flights into Heathrow Airport. On average, a chinwag is interrupted every minute or so by a Boeing or an Airbus rumbling overhead. 

And yet each year more people manage to pass through. The latest figures from Airports Council International (ACI), an industry group, show that in 2016 passenger numbers grew by 1% at Europe’s busiest hub, to 75.7m. Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Europe’s second busiest airport, lags way behind (see chart).

Heathrow’s two runways are currently running at the very limit of their capacity. That will change once a third runway opens, perhaps in 2026. But in the meantime the only way for the airport to continue to grow is to service bigger planes. This year Korean Air became the ninth airline to fly A380 superjumbos into the airport....Continue reading

Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Civil aviation sector soars last year

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
CHINA’S civil aviation sector posted strong growth in passenger trips and cargo transport in 2016, official data showed yesterday. Air passenger trips rose 11.8 percent year on year to 487.8 million last year, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The growth was faster than the 11.3 percent gain posted in 2015 and the annual average rate of 10.4 percent between 2010 and 2015. Passenger trips made on domestic routes rose 10.7 percent year on year to 436 million in 2016, while those made on international routes surged 22.7 percent to 51.6 million. During the same period, cargo and mail transport totaled 6.7 million tons, up 6 percent year on year. China ranks second in the world by passenger and cargo turnover by air, behind the US. China aims to build 44 new airports and complete construction of 30 airports from 2016 to 2020, most in the mid-west regions under a plan released by the CAAC last week.
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Mobike rides to new financing

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
CHINESE bicycle-sharing startup Mobike yesterday said it has raised funding in a new round led by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and hedge fund Hillhouse Capital, bringing its total new funding in 2017 to more than US$300 million. The Shanghai-based startup said last month that it raised US$215 million from a range of investors including Tencent Holdings Ltd, Warburg Pincus LLC and Chinese travel firm Ctrip.com International Ltd. Mobike also announced an undisclosed investment from Foxconn last month, in a bid to double the number of bikes it produced last year to 10 million in 2017. A spokesman for the startup declined to confirm the amount of the most recent investment. Mobike has not shared its valuation. Mobike allows users to find, ride and pay for company bicycles scattered throughout 21 Chinese cities using an app and QR codes. It is one of two Chinese bike-sharing firms that have raised hundreds of millions in funding since the start of 2016.
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New home sales continue to gain pace

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
SHANGHAI’S new home market continued to gain momentum last week, ahead of an expected overall rebound as early as next month. The sales of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, jumped 20.4 percent to 93,000 square meters during the seven-day period ended on Sunday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report released yesterday. These new homes sold for an average 48,900 yuan (US$7,111) per square meter, a week-on-week increase of 1.1 percent. “The market has been picking up its strength recently at a rather moderate pace, which is within our expectations,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Centaline. “The volume of upcoming new supply, particularly the supply of medium to low-end apartments, and developers’ pace of release should be two important factors that might help decide if the current rebound could be sustained.” Some 119,000 square meters of new homes were released locally, up 94.6 percent from a week earlier, Centaline data showed. Most of these new houses are located in outlying areas such as Nanhui and Songjiang and cost no more than 40,000 yuan per square meter. “That could be good for a faster recovery of the market,” Lu said. “From previous experience, a notable rebound usually begins with strong sales in the medium to low-end segment.” High-end and luxury projects again sold robustly, with two of the five best-selling developments costing 80,000 yuan per square meter and above. A project in the Pudong New Area led with weekly sales of 63 units for an average 87,481 yuan per square meter.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

HK Disneyland suffers loss for 2nd year

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
Hong Kong Disneyland has reported a net loss of HK$171 million (US$22.03 million) for the 2016 fiscal year, a second loss following the 2015 fiscal year, due to a slower Hong Kong tourism market. In the fiscal year through October 3, the resort generated revenue of HK$4.8 billion. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounted to HK$715 million. The resort received more than 64 million guests since its opening in 2005, including 6.1 million during the 2016 fiscal year. Hong Kong locals accounted for 39 percent of total attendance, while Chinese mainland and international visits made up 36 percent and 25 percent respectively. Hotel occupancy was similar to the previous year at close to 80 percent. “Hong Kong Disneyland continued to drive visitation with exciting new offerings and seasonal events during the year amid a soft tourism and leisure market,” said Samuel Lau, executive vice president and managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland. He said the resort is excited that the Iron Man Experience, the first Marvel-themed ride at a Disney park, debuted last month and that a new resort hotel and other exciting offerings will open later in fiscal 2017. Hong Kong Disneyland said it will build two new themed areas featuring Marvel and “Frozen,” a transformed Castle and Hub area with two entirely new day and night shows. Hong Kong Disneyland is owned by Hongkong International Theme Parks Ltd, a joint venture between the Hong Kong city government and The Walt Disney Co.
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Kraft exits US$143b bid for Unilever

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
KRAFT Heinz Co’s rapid retreat from its surprise US$143 billion bid for Unilever in the face of stiff resistance knocked the Anglo-Dutch company’s shares yesterday as investors assessed the impact of the failed approach. Kraft, which is backed by Warren Buffett and the private equity firm 3G, wanted to buy Unilever as part of its strategy to become a global consumer goods giant by buying competitors and cutting costs and jobs to drive profits. But the US food group had not factored in Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman dismissing its offer as having no financial or strategic merit and refusing to come to the table. The vehemence of this response, along with fears of a political backlash, was enough to put off 86-year old Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway has a long-held aversion to making hostile bids, sources said. “Kraft didn’t realize how hostile their approach would be perceived,” one source said. A source close to Kraft said its officials alerted Britain’s Business Secretary Greg Clark in a brief call on Friday soon after it made its approach public. Kraft laid out its plan to create a consumer goods behemoth with headquarters in the United States, Britain and the Netherlands and promised to keep Downing Street informed on any developments. For Kraft, Britain’s response was a major concern after Prime Minister Theresa May signaled she would take a more proactive approach to foreign takeovers, sources said. May, who had previously singled out Kraft’s 2010 acquisition of another British household name, Cadbury Plc, as an example of a deal that should have been blocked, had indicated her government would want to examine the deal if it went ahead, according to a person familiar with the situation. However, a spokesman for May said yesterday that the government had not been involved in Kraft’s decision to pull its proposal. “The issue of the withdrawal from the Unilever deal by Kraft is an issue you should put to Kraft. No. 10 wasn’t involved in it,” the spokesman said. “The simple fact is that the bid has been withdrawn so I don’t have a view on a bid that doesn’t exist.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who used to work at Unilever, had also said he would examine what it would mean for the Netherlands in the “positive and the negative” sense. Buffett and 3G Capital’s Jorge Paulo Lemann, which together own almost 51 percent of Kraft, had hoped Unilever would be more receptive to its overture, given their success backing brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev on its 79-billion-pound (US$99 billion) takeover of London-based SABMiller last year. Unilever’s London-listed shares, which jumped 13 percent to a record high when the bid was made public on Friday, fell 8 percent to give it a market value of 100 billion pounds after Kraft said it had “amicably agreed” to withdraw its proposal.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

News of pension funds in stocks boost key index

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
SHANGHAI stocks gained the most in three and a half months yesterday on news that pension funds were being invested in the stock market. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.18 percent to end at 3,239.96 points. Media reported on Friday that China has started investing an initial 360 billion yuan (US$$52.3 billion) of pension insurance funds from seven provinces and cities in financial markets. The first tranche of that investment was expected to flow into the stock market as early as this week, Chinese media said yesterday. The news buoyed investors, said Chen Guo, analyst at Changjiang Securities. The China Securities Regulatory Commission also released new policies to tighten its grip on approvals of private share placements by listed companies in terms of deal prices and scales to contain excessive refinancing. The CSRC criticized certain listed companies for deviating from their main businesses, being engaged in excessive refinancing and investing in unrelated industries. “The new rules will foster the growth of those listed companies with abundant cash flow and great growth potential, and restrain market speculations,” said Chen Guo, a senior analyst at Essence Securities. Bailian Group surged by the daily limit to 17.82 yuan as the Shanghai-based retail conglomerate yesterday announced a strategic alliance with Alibaba.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Overseas M&As cool but inbound deals up

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
OVERSEAS acquisitions by Chinese buyers are cooling after two record years but deals into China are on the rise, and new rules will make it easier for foreign buyers to tap China’s giant consumer potential. Inbound merger and acquisition deals have already reached US$7.1 billion so far in 2017, almost double the amount in the same period of last year and are well on track to beat the 2016 total of US$46 billion, while outbound deals tumbled more than 40 percent to US$8.4 billion, Thomson Reuters data showed. Deals in retail and consumer staples accounted for nearly half those early transactions, far outpacing real estate and financial deals, which usually dominate inbound M&As. Belgian investment firm Verlinvest is ahead of the trend. It set up a US$300 million venture last year with Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Resources and has already deployed more than half of the funds. Verlinvest, which manages funds for the founding families of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is investing in minority and majority stakes in leading Western brands so it can push them through China Resources’ distribution channels in China, said Nicholas Cator, who is responsible for the Asia business. “We’re going to be focusing on those high-growth sectors that are based on consumer trends, like health-related food and beverage products, health care, education, cinema or entertainment, or anything linked to kind of cultural production and content,” he said. Verlinvest’s joint venture in December bought an undisclosed stake in Oatly, a Swedish maker of dairy-free products, and plans to expand it into China, and in November it bought a majority stake in Red Sun Enterprise, which owns senior care homes in Shanghai and Nanjing. China has been trying to rebalance the economy away from infrastructure, heavy industry and export-led growth and toward domestic consumption. Looser approvals regime After a trial in a few of its free trade zones, China in October expanded to the entire country a new liberalization program. Apart from a “negative list” of industries deemed too sensitive, foreign investments no longer need to go through a cumbersome approval system, and there has even been some loosening in the off-limits list. “The direction China is going is that for most sectors, provided it’s not in the so-called negative list, where there would be additional scrutiny, the process for corporate establishment and changes including share transfers should be simpler,” said Tracy Wut, M&A partner at law firm Baker McKenzie in Hong Kong. “From the recently amended negative list, there are further relaxations in certain sectors to which the government is trying to encourage foreign investments.” CDIB Capital International Corp, part of Taiwan-based financial group China Development Financial Holding, is also seizing the opportunities. In August, it invested 200 million yuan (US$29 million) for a stake in outdoor sports retailer Tutwo (Xiamen) Outdoor Co, betting on a jump in demand for hiking, skiing and camping gear. “Clearly there’s going to be more of a focus on domestic growth and consumption is one of the themes,” said Lionel de Saint-Exupery, president and CEO of CDIB. “Consumption is still relatively robust, but we’re not just seeking average growth, we’re seeking hyper growth and that you can see in new categories.” The biggest fly in the ointment, according to David Cogman, a principal focusing on China at consulting firm McKinsey & Co, is the lofty valuations for assets on the Chinese mainland. Consumption and services companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen trade at about 30 times their earnings, compared with a multiple of 17 for similar companies trading in Hong Kong and about 20 for US-listed companies, Thomson Reuters data showed. “At the end of the day, particularly if you’re a fund looking across multiple markets, your investment committees still have to think where to put the capital and that’s hard to do with the current numbers you see in China,” he said.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Lenovo appoints new exec

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
LENOVO Group Ltd yesterday appointed a former senior executive from China Mobile to lead its mobile business group, after the firm’s global smartphone sales tumbled 26 percent in the fourth quarter. Lenovo, the world’s biggest personal-computer maker, aims for new growth engines like smartphones. But it faces challenges from domestic rivals like Huawei and Oppo. Gary Yu, former China Mobile’s general manager in Zhejiang Province, was appointed Lenovo’s vice president to head its smartphone business. The appointment reflects a “new beginning” for Lenovo’s smartphone business in 2017 as the company focuses on distribution and expands its offline sales channels, according to Lenovo. In the fourth quarter, Lenovo’s global smartphone sales suffered a drop of 26 percent from a year earlier. The company’s revenue fell 6 percent year on year in the quarter while its net profit plunged 67 percent to US$98 million.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Alibaba and Bailian tie up to develop new retail formats

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:01
ALIBABA Group and Shanghai-based retail conglomerate Bailian Group announced a strategic alliance yesterday to develop new retail formats. The two companies will share resources such as offline retail branches, merchandising capability, logistics facilities and Internet technologies. “We hope Alibaba and our partners would continue to leverage the Internet, data and payment capability to create new value for consumers,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang. The partnership intends to bring in new customers, to offer new retail experience and to boost new technology development, Zhang added. The two partners are also expected to design new retail outlets and to research and develop retail technology, customer relationship management and payment system. Alibaba’s payment affiliate Alipay is set to be integrated with Bailian’s prepaid card service to offer more convenience for shoppers to pay their online and offline shopping. But no specific timetable has been released for the service launch. The news of the tie-up, which does not involve capital investment, lifted shares of Shanghai-listed Bailian Group by the daily cap of 10 percent. Ye Yongming, chairman and president of Bailian Group, said the two parties aim to lead a new wave of retail formats and blaze a trail in restructuring for retail business. Cao Lei, director of consultancy China E-commerce Research Center, said: “It’s an inevitable choice for both online and offline retailers to seek new growth potential by working together.” Alibaba’s other ventures in offline retail include its share swap deal with Suning Commerce Group and a privatization deal to acquire department store chain Intime.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Shanghai’s property market shows signs of recovery

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 10:34
SHANGHAI'S new housing market continued to gain momentum last week, signals for a warm-up before an overall rebound as early as next month. The purchases of new residential properties, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, jumped 20.4 percent to 93,000 square meters during the seven-day period ended on Sunday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report released today. These new homes sold for an average 48,900 yuan (US$7,094) per square meter, a week-over-week increase of 1.1 percent. "The market has been picking up its strength recently at a rather moderate pace which is somewhat within our expectations," said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Centaline. "The volume of upcoming new supply, particularly the supply of medium- to low-end apartments, as well as developers' pace of release, should be two important factors that might help decide whether the current rebound could be sustainable or a meaningful one." Citywide, high-end and luxury projects continued to register comparatively robust sales with two of the five best-selling developments costing 80,000 yuan per square meter and above. A project in Pudong New Area led all with weekly sales of 63 untis at an average price of 87,481 yuan per square meter. On the supply side, some 119,000 square meters of new residential properties were released into the local market, a week-on-week surge of 94.6 percent, Centaline data showed. The majority of these new supplies are located in outlying areas such as Nanhui and Songjiang and cost no more than 40,000 yuan per square meter. "That could be good for a faster recovery of the market," Lu said. "From previous experiences, a notable rebound usually begins with strong sales in the medium- to low-end segment."
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Chengdu to run 1,000 cargo trains to Europe in 2017

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 08:55
SOUTHWESTERN China's city of Chengdu is expected to run 1,000 cargo trains to Europe in 2017, more than double the number last year, the Chengdu International Railway Services Company said Monday. Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, ran 460 cargo trains to cities in Poland, the Netherlands and Germany last year -- more than any other Chinese city. Chengdu delivered a total of 73,000 tons of goods worth US$1.56 billion in 2016 globally. The southwestern hub has planned three major rail line services to Europe, with a middle route to Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, a southern route to Turkey and beyond, and another northern route to Russia. This year, new routes linking Chengdu to Istanbul and Moscow will be officially launched, company chairman Fan Jun told Xinhua. Fan said trains to Istanbul and Moscow would take about 16 days and 10 days, with each route planning to operate 200 and 150 trains in 2017, respectively. Demand for rail cargo service between China and Europe, an alternative to slower and riskier sea freight and much costlier air cargo, has exploded in recent years. By June 2016, trains had made nearly 2,000 trips between 25 Chinese cities and Europe, with a total import and export value of US$17 billion.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Central bank injects more money into market

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 07:43
CHINA'S central bank made a net cash injection via open market operations for the third consecutive day Monday in an effort to ease a cash strain. The People's Bank of China conducted 170 billion yuan (about US$24.7 billion) of reverse repos, a process by which the central bank purchases securities from banks through bidding with an agreement to sell them back in the future. The injection saw a net 100 billion yuan pumped into the market Monday, offset by 70 billion yuan in maturing reverse repos. The operations included seven-day reverse repo priced to yield 2.35 percent, 14-day contracts with a yield of 2.5 percent, and 28-day agreements with a yield of 2.65 percent, according to a central bank statement. In Monday's interbank market, lending worth 53.5 yuan to financial institutions via the medium-term lending facility is set to mature. China's central bank reiterated in a quarterly report Friday that it would implement a prudent and neutral monetary policy while keeping liquidity stable. The market has accommodated to the changing scales and yields of bidding, which will help reinforce the function of supply and demand in the determination of value in the future, according to the central bank. "The central bank did not touch on interest rate rises in its report,  which indicated there is no imminent monetary tightening cycle," said Deng Haiqing, chief economist with JZ Securities.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Alibaba partners with Bailian Group

SHANGHAI DAILY - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 05:41
ALIBABA and local retail conglomerate Bailian Group has announced a strategic alliance today to pushing forward partnership in new retail formats. The two parties will share resources in terms of offline retail branches, merchandising capability, logistics facilities and Internet technologies. In a bid to reshape the retail landscape, Internet giants like Alibaba and JD.com has been strengthening their presence in offline retail channels. “We hope Alibaba and our partners would continue to leverage the Internet, data and payment capability to create new value for customers,“ said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang. Ye Yongming, chairman and president of Bailian Group, said the two companies seek to lead a new wave of retail reformatting and to become a trailblazer in terms of strategic restructuring for its retail business operations. Alibaba’s previous venture in offline retail include its share-swap deal with Suning Commerce Group and a privatization deal to merge with brick-and-mortar retail chain Intime. Shanghai’s social retail sales was up 8 percent annually to 1.09 trillion yuan in 2016.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Mongolia and IMF agree on US$5b bailout

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 17:01
THE Mongolian government and the International Monetary Fund said yesterday that they and other partners have agreed to a more than US$5 billion loan package to help get Mongolia’s economy back on track. The deal is subject to approval by the IMF’s executive board, which is expected to consider Mongolia’s request in March. Under the preliminary agreement, the IMF would provide US$440 million over three years. The Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Japan and South Korea are together expected to provide up to US$3 billion, and the People’s Bank of China is expected to extend its 15 billion yuan (US$2 billion) swap line with the Bank of Mongolia for at least three years, the IMF said in a statement. Mongolian Finance Minister Choijilsuren Battogtokh said that the six-month negotiations had been tough, and that the government would be revising its 2017 budget before the IMF executive board considers the loan. He said the government proposed increasing revenue by increasing taxes, and by raising the retirement age from 55 to 65 for women, and from 60 to 66 for men. Its proposals have to be approved by parliament during a session in March, which is likely because the ruling Mongolian People’s Party has a clear majority. Battogtokh said that with the loan package, the government estimated growth would be “below zero percent” in 2017, 1.8 percent in 2018 and 8.1 percent in 2019. The economy of mineral-rich Mongolia has been hit hard in recent years by a sharp decline in commodity prices and a collapse in foreign investment. Mongolia’s national debt now stands at about US$23 billion, or twice the annual economic output, and a US$580 million payment to foreign bondholders is due March 21. Battogtokh said that the government, at the IMF’s suggestion, will refinance the US$580 million bond with another similar commercial bond. “We will offer the new bonds at a market-friendly rate,” the finance ministry said on its website. The IMF statement said the loan agreement would mean Mongolia has to strengthen its banking system and adopt fiscal reforms to ensure that budget discipline is maintained. Generally, terms required by the IMF as a condition for such lending prompt complaints in borrower countries that the conditions hurt the poor or undercut economic growth by reducing social spending or investment in public facilities. Adding to Mongolia’s woes is an exceptionally cold winter for the second straight year, which the Red Cross warned last week was putting the livelihoods of more than 150,000 nomadic herders and families at risk. Dale Choi, an analyst with the Mongolia Metals and Mining research firm, said the agreement means investors can now make assumptions and investment decisions. “It brings clarity, which investors have been waiting for,” he said.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Securities watchdog crackdown to help investors

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 17:01
CHINA’S securities watchdog has said it will give more priority to supervision in the capital market to guard against risks and protect investors. Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said the CSRC would strictly supervise the market to maintain stability. The CSRC is working with the Ministry of Public Security, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in cracking down on market fraudsters, and drafting judicial interpretations of supervision policies. The CSRC issued 218 penalty notices in 2016, up 21 percent year on year, and confiscated 4.28 billion yuan (US$626 million), nearly triple the amount the previous year. The securities watchdog has also strengthened its cooperation with overseas counterparts, dealing with 178 international cases in 2016. “To prevent market risks, the regulator will keep a close eye on financial conditions both at home and abroad and be prepared,” CSRC assistant chairman Xuan Changneng said in January. Xuan said that progress was made in capital market regulation last year thanks to action against wrongdoing and a vibrant market. “The stock market in 2016 was much steadier compared with a year earlier. “Only seven trading days registered changes beyond 2 percent from March to December last year, and the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 15 percent in the period,” he said. “The two stock exchanges both saw fluctuations of less than 10 percent in the second, third and fourth quarters.” IPOs and refinancing by cash raised 1.33 trillion yuan last year, up 59 percent. IPOs hit a five-year high, according to Xuan. “The bond market also flourished, with non-financing enterprises issuing 2.9 trillion yuan of bonds last year, up 170 percent,” he said. “While financial risks were generally controllable, challenges remain,” said Lai Xiaomin, president of China Huarong Asset Management, a major state-owned asset management company. Lai highlighted the buildup of non-performing loans, a slower economy, shortage of liquidity and squeezed profit space as major risks. He called for better corporate governance structure to hold directors and supervisors responsible, while stepping up regulation and granting greater authority to regulators. In July, the CSRC delisted a company for fraud during its IPO, the first time authorities have taken such action. The CSRC said the company would be barred from relisting.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Reprieve for German Opel

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 17:01
FRENCH automaker PSA has pledged to keep Opel plants in Germany running if a planned merger goes forward, and to refrain from layoffs until at least 2019, a newspaper report said yesterday. PSA, the parent company of France’s Peugeot, Citroen and DS, has confirmed it is interested in taking over Opel, the German arm of US giant General Motors. But the plans have sparked fears in Germany that Peugeot will cut jobs that overlap with existing positions in France. Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported that Olivier Bourges, who sits on PSA’s executive committee, had assured German officials at a meeting at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office that contracts would be honored. They stipulate redundancies would be ruled out until the end of 2018.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Bullet trains speed ahead

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 17:01
Two bullet trains are seen in Nanning in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The region has built 1,737 kilometers of high-speed rail since 2013 when there were none. It plans to connect all 14 cities in the region by the end of 2020.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

CNPC gets 8% share of UAE oil concession

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 17:01
THE China National Petroleum Corporation yesterday secured an 8 percent share in an onshore oil concession in Abu Dhabi in a deal worth US$1.77 billion, the Emirati company said. The Chinese giant signed a deal with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for a stake in the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations which operates the 40-year concession, ADNOC said in a statement. “This will be a mutually beneficial partnership that will enable us to maintain strong production levels,” ADNOC chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said. CNPC chairman Wang Yilin said he hoped the deal would “lead to further opportunities to participate in the UAE’s energy sector.” CNPC is China’s largest oil and gas producer and supplier, responsible for more than half of China’s crude oil output and 71 percent of its natural gas production. CNPC also has oil and gas projects in 37 countries in Africa, Central Asia and Russia, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, it said. The United Arab Emirates is China’s second-largest trading partner in the Middle East. British oil giant BP last year secured a 10 percent share in the same concession. France’s Total won a further 10 percent out of the total 40 percent earmarked for foreign companies. Inpex Corp. of Japan secured 5 percent and South Korea’s GS Energy 3 percent. ADNOC is still looking for a partner for the remainder of the concession.
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Wuhan gets first WiFi flight

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 09:19
CHINA Eastern Airlines will officially offer WiFi on a flight between Wuhan, central China, and Sydney, on Monday, company sources said Sunday. This is the first flight from Wuhan to offer its passengers Internet access, said Mei Xiaoling with the airline's Wuhan subsidiary, adding that mobile phones must still be switched off during the flight.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Air Canada launches direct flight between Shanghai and Montreal

SHANGHAI DAILY - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 06:27
AIR Canada yesterday began operating the first direct flight between Shanghai and Montreal in a bid to cap the increasing demands of Chinese tourists traveling to North America. The airline's Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Flight AC18 took off around 6pm from Pudong International Airport yesterday. It is scheduled to land at the Montreal Trudeau airport at 6:35pm local time to become the longest route of the Canadian airport with flying length of over 13.5 hours. The Dreamliner to operate the new route will have 20 premier business-class seats that can be turned into flat beds as well as 21 luxury economy seats with ample private space. The aircraft has 210 economy class seats. Passengers can transfer from Montreal to other Canadian and American destinations, the carrier said. The airline so far has about 30 direct flights between China and Canada. Other routes include Shanghai-Vancouver and Shanghai-Toronto. The new flight became the 104th international route of the Pudong airport, the airport authority said yesterday. The number of passengers from the Pudong airport to North American destinations has increased by 14.4 percent to 3.9 million annually from 2010 to 2016, the authority said. The airport currently has 165 flights every week to North America, comparing with 74 in 2010.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Citi cuts CEO Corbat's pay 6.1% to $15.5M

AMERICAN BANKER - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 00:30
Michael Corbat is getting a pay cut for a year when Citigroup's profit fell 14% and return on assets failed to meet his 2016 target.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Ocwen agrees to big penalties to resume business in California

AMERICAN BANKER - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 00:10
The mortgage servicer will pay at least $25 million in cash and provide some $200 million in debt relief to borrowers to resolve a range of alleged violations. But Ocwen will also be allowed to resume acquiring servicing rights in the nation's largest state.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Can bank divestment stop the Dakota Access Pipeline?

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 23:50
Activists are pressuring banks involved in financing the controversial Dakota Access pipeline to abandon the project by threatening to withdraw their money and sever business ties. Can that tactic change how banks approach lending – and what does it mean for banking if it can?
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Bankers' interest in MPF program grows again after long hiatus

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 23:50
The Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank experienced a significant jump in mortgage originations in 2016 due to a "re-introduction" of its traditional Mortgage Partnership Finance loan product.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

How the CFPB constitutionality case will play out

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 23:25
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's temporary legal victory on Thursday has lowered the odds that President Trump will seek to remove the agency's director, Richard Cordray, despite repeated calls by prominent Republicans for his ouster.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Fannie Mae will pay U.S. $5.5B after reporting profit

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 23:25
Fannie Mae said it earned $5 billion in the fourth quarter, doubling its profits from a year earlier with a big boost from gains on derivatives the company uses to hedge risk.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

B of A boosts CEO Moynihan's pay 25% to $20 million

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 23:25
Bank of America awarded Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan $20 million for his work last year, raising his compensation 25 percent.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Debt to the Penny for 02/16/2017

US TRESURY DEBT DAY-TO-DAY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 22:15
Debt Held by the Public: 14,403,392,566,439.40
Intragovernmental Holdings: 5,523,188,600,438.96
Total Public Debt Outstanding: 19,926,581,166,878.36

Freddie focusing on credit risk transfers as portfolio winds down

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 22:00
Freddie Mac is ramping up its use of credit risk transfers, completing $215 billion in single-family transfers last year, up to $600 billion since 2013.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Wells’ pain persists, especially in credit cards

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 22:00
The number of new checking accounts at the embattled Wells Fargo fell by double digits year over year, and account closures remained brisk. Yet the figures on credit card applications were worse.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

'Rules Don't Apply': Mnuchin's Hollywood days

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 21:34
Steven Mnuchin was selected for Treasury Secretary because of his experience at Goldman Sachs and OneWest Bank. But Mnuchin is also known in Hollywood as a "money man." Following are selected films from his many credits.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Dubai is to test passenger-carrying drones

THE ECONOMIST - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 21:31

AT TIMES it can feel like we are living in an episode of “Travel Futurama”. This week: flying drone taxis.

Dubai, a city that sometimes seems to inhabit a time zone five years ahead of the rest of the planet, has embraced another improbable travel innovation, to go alongside its enthusiasm for hyperloop trains and long driverless metro lines. This week, the Emirati metropolis announced it is to test passenger-carrying drones in its skies by July.

The unpiloted drone taxis won’t exactly replace the traditional earthbound sort, since they will be able to carry only one passenger, who together with luggage cannot weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds). And it will have a range of just 50 kilometres (31 miles), or half an hour of flying time. But if it works, the long-term implications are huge not only for Dubai, which has among the world’s Continue reading

Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Why this bank is taking on clients other institutions deem too risky

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 20:42
Many customers at Neighborhood National Bank in San Diego offer check-cashing services that draw attention for Bank Secrecy Act compliance.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

S. Korea court declares Hanjin Shipping bankrupt

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
THE axe finally fell on South Korea’s once-mighty Hanjin Shipping yesterday as a Seoul court declared it bankrupt after struggling for years under the weight of billions of dollars worth of debt. Hanjin filed for bankruptcy protection in August owing US$5.37 billion as creditors refused to bail it out, with dozens of its vessels stranded outside around the world as they were refused entry to ports. An accounting firm hired by the Seoul court concluded earlier this month that the company’s liquidation value would be greater than its worth as a going concern. The firm, which was once South Korea’s biggest shipping firm and the seventh-largest in the world, has since been forced to sell most its assets at home and abroad to pay off debts, with most of its 1,500 workers laid off. “We will try to ensure that the bankruptcy process would enable the firm to pay off debts to all debt holders in a fair and proper fashion,” the court said in a statement. Trading in the firm’s Seoul-listed shares was also halted yesterday. Hanjin’s demise represents the biggest bankruptcy in container shipping and news of its impending doom last year caused chaos in the global industry. Most of its fleet of 141 ships were banned from docking in the US, China and many other countries because of its failure to pay ports for their services. The family-run firm started going under after the shipping industry suffered its worst downturn in six decades caused by slumping global trade. Mismanagement by top executives — including the late former owner’s widow who took helm in 2007 despite having no experience in business — is also blamed for its collapse.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

4G users total 770m

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
CHINA had 770 million 4G users at the end of 2016, double the number from a year earlier, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed yesterday. More than 58 percent of China’s mobile phone users were 4G subscribers at the end of 2016, said Zhang Feng, spokesperson and chief engineer of the ministry. There were 386 million 4G users at the end of 2015. China has the world’s largest 4G network and is aiming to add 2 million 4G base stations, mainly for townships and villages, by 2018. China is also researching and testing 5G technology with a goal to commercialize it by 2020.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

PPPs sought for rural infrastructure

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
CHINA will use public-private partnerships to boost under-funded rural infrastructure and narrow the urban-rural gap, according to a State Council guideline. A dynamic financing program that enlists multiple public and private entities will be established by 2020, said the guideline made public yesterday. Under the program, government spending will be complemented by PPPs to maintain steady investment growth, while state-owned enterprises and other private market players will be encouraged to sponsor the projects. China has launched many rural infrastructure projects over the last few years but the generally underdeveloped infrastructure in rural areas is holding back the goal to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way by 2020. To improve water, road, electricity and communication facilities in rural areas, the government has promised some 3.4 trillion yuan (US$495 billion) between 2016 and 2020, said Tang Renjian, deputy director of the central rural work leading group. Only one third of this fund has been secured, however, meaning private investment and PPPs will need to step up, he said, in an earlier elaboration of China’s first central policy document in 2017 on rural issues.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Security fears kill chip firm’s takeover

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
GERMAN semiconductor maker Infineon’s planned takeover of American firm Wolfspeed will not go ahead, the US company’s owner Cree said, due to “national security concerns” from US authorities. “Cree and Infineon have been unable to identify alternatives which would address the national security concerns of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States,” Cree said in a statement. Infineon had hoped to buttress its business in radio frequency and power solutions with the Wolfspeed acquisition, as the semiconductor sector goes through a bout of consolidation. But prospects the tie-up would come to fruition receded after the committee made its opposition known earlier in February. The committee found the US$850 million proposed takeover announced in July presented a national security risk. It did not propose a way for the deal to go ahead while satisfying its concerns.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Courier deliveries boom

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
CHINA’S courier delivery sector continued to grow in the first month of the year thanks to the country’s continued efforts to boost consumption and services, official data showed yesterday. Revenue for Chinese courier businesses hit 30.99 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion) in January, up 6.2 percent year on year, according to the State Post Bureau. A total of 2.21 billion deliveries were made during the period, up 2.6 percent year on year, the bureau said. Over 8 billion deliveries are expected to be made in the first quarter of 2017 with revenue likely to reach over 100 billion yuan, according to SPB data. China aims to nearly quadruple the revenue of its courier market by 2020 from the 2014 level of 204 billion yuan. The country aims to establish a delivery network that covers the whole nation with high-quality services by 2020.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Juneyao orders 5 787-9s

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
JUNEYAO Airlines has finalized an order for five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at US$1.32 billion at list prices. The new order is the Shanghai-based private airline’s first Boeing order and its first wide-body airplane deal. The airline said last month that it was planning on five firm Dreamliner orders with an option for five more. “Today’s order is set to play a key role in our growing business in the years to come, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Boeing into the future,” said Juneyao Chairman Wang Junjin. Juneyao flies domestic routes and short-haul routes to Japan, South Korea and Thailand. It eyes flights to North America, Europe and Australia by 2020.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Mattel, Babytree tie up

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
BARBIE maker Mattel Inc is partnering with Chinese online parenting community Babytree to tap the booming early childhood education market in China. The two parties will co-develop child development assessment tools and customized parenting content and development curriculum, they said on Thursday. They will also create an online platform to promote and coach parents on maximizing early childhood development. Earlier this week, Mattel said it would team up with Alibaba to tap its consumer data to develop toys and learning products for the Chinese market.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

PBOC sells least forex in 5 months

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
CHINA’S central bank sold the least amount of foreign exchange in five months in January, reinforcing views that capital outflows have eased as policy-makers step up scrutiny of cross-border flows and as the yuan steadies. Net forex sales by the People’s Bank of China amounted to 208.8 billion yuan (US$30.4 billion) last month, according to central bank data released yesterday. That compared with net sales of 317.8 billion yuan in December and 644.54 billion yuan in January 2016. Also yesterday, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said commercial banks’ sales of foreign currencies fell to a three-month low of US$19.2 billion, compared with US$46.3 billion in December. SAFE said pressure from capital outflows has eased in 2017 and cross-border flows were becoming more balanced. China’s forex reserves fell to below the US$3 trillion level in January for the first time in nearly six years. But the drop eased from recent months, suggesting capital flight is slowing. A recent stumble in the rising US dollar has also helped ease pressure on the yuan and other emerging-market currencies. The yuan has gained 1.2 percent against the dollar so far this year, after sliding 6.6 percent in 2016. Currency strategists surveyed by Reuters, however, expect the yuan to come under renewed pressure in coming months on expectations that the US central bank will raise interest rates two to three times this year, bolstering the dollar. Tim Condon, ING’s head of Asia research in Singapore, said the forex sales data were good news for the PBOC as it indicated a significant drop in onshore dollar buying in January, but added that the fate of the yuan depends on the dollar. “There’s still uncertainty as to what would happen if we go into a period of sustained dollar appreciation,” Condon said. SAFE said foreign currency purchases for travel and overseas study fell 28 percent month on month in January, the biggest travel season in China, indicating more stringent reporting requirements could be having an effect on individuals’ forex purchases. Banks on January 1 began requiring individuals using their US$50,000 annual foreign currency quota to specify how and when they will use funds, with additional documentation sometimes required. The new rules are meant to prevent forex purchases from being used for illegitimate purchases such as property. Outbound direct investment from China fell 35.7 percent in January from a year earlier.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

3 land plots sold close to reserve prices

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
THREE adjacent land parcels in Shanghai’s outlying Lingang port area were sold yesterday to major domestic real estate developers close to their reserve prices as the city’s land market opened to a “cold” start in the Year of the Rooster. Shanghai Greenland Group, China Vanke Co and Country Garden Holdings Co acquired the three plots — covering 61,380 square meters, 40,361 square meters and 64,418 square meters respectively — for an average gross floor area price of 21,180 yuan (US$3,086) per square meter, 21,370 yuan and 21,086 yuan respectively. The prices marked a premium of 0.85 percent, 1.76 percent and 0.41 percent from their starting prices. The three sites, all earmarked for residential development, are located about 800 meters away from the Lingang Avenue Station of Metro Line 16. “Though accessed by one Metro line, Lingang remains a remote neighborhood in Shanghai where infrastructure and ancillary commercial facilities are still not good enough to attract home seekers,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co. “Real estate developers seemed more rational and cautious in their latest land acquisitions” because of strictly implemented government rein-in measures, he added. As required by the city’s land watchdog, at least 80 percent of homes built on the sites must be small and medium apartments while 15 percent of the total space should be held by the developers and not sold on the open market.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

China eyes 6% rise for industrial output

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
CHINA aims for a 6 percent growth in industrial production this year, which it sees as “a stable rate to bolster economic growth,” while it will make more efforts to develop advanced manufacturing and cut steel overcapacity, said Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology. The target is unchanged from last year’s, which will “meet the stable domestic demand growth and is in step with the GDP increase,” Miao said yesterday. The government will upgrade traditional manufacturing with digital technologies, he added. Although the production value of high-tech industries surged 10.8 percent last year to account for 12.4 percent of the industrial’s total, “traditional manufacturing takes up more than 80 percent to dominate the industrial performance,” Miao said. The minister added that digital control and process have been used in 45.4 percent of “key manufacturing work flows.” Xu Lejiang, vice minister of industry and information technology, also said China will be unwavering in its efforts to eliminate excess steel production capacity this year. The government will do more in 2017 — the pivotal year — “to curb steel overcapacity” given that “last year most of the trimmed capacity came from idle blast furnaces,” Xu added. He pledged measures to further stimulate the sector this year, including reductions of low-quality steel products and phasing out outdated and substandard capacity.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Shinezone plans to float IPO this year

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
SHANGHAI-BASED Shine­zone, which helps firms publish mobile games overseas, yesterday said it will launch a domestic initial public offering this year after raising about 400 million yuan (US$58 million) in the latest round of financing. Shinezone, whose investors include Sina and IDG, helps domestic game firms and startups to expand game titles in overseas markets through Facebook, Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play. The latest round of financing lured new investors Bank of Ningbo and China Fortune Securities. The firm declined to reveal more details of its planned IPO but it expects to complete the process this year. Chinese developers have rapidly gained a foothold overseas in apps for entertainment, social networking and videos, according to US research firm App Annie. Their combined revenue from Apple’s App Store in the year through September 30 rose 1.6 times to US$400 million in the US market alone, according to App Annie.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

Investors’ selloff hits shares

SHANGHAI DAILY - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:14
SHANGHAI shares fell yesterday as investors’ profit-taking offset gains made by brokerages. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.85 percent to 3,202.08 points. For the week, the barometer gained 0.17 percent. Most sectors fell, including industrial, telecom and infrastructure shares. Lingyuan Iron & Steel Co lost 4.61 percent to 3.52 yuan (51 US cents), China United Network Communications Ltd fell 3.42 percent to 6.50 yuan, and Hunan Tyen Machinery Co slid 4.26 percent to 12.82 yuan. However, brokerages gained as the China Financial Futures Exchange eased curbs on domestic stock index futures trading by reducing margin requirements for transactions and commission fees from yesterday.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS, INTEL 3

How to solve the bank fee conundrum hurting consumers

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:12
Many bank overdraft-related practices favor profits over customer financial health, but those practices are driven in part by lost revenue from an ill-advised Dodd-Frank Act provision.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

A well-informed consumer base can help issuers fight fraud

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 17:50
The EMV migration has caused fraud to migrate to other channels. Issuers can make consumers aware of this threat and give them a handful of steps to spot trouble.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Auto lenders' use of kill switches being probed by FTC

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 17:50
The Federal Trade Commission is looking at whether auto finance companies that use sophisticated technology like ignition kill switches are illegally harassing subprime borrowers that have fallen behind on their payments.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Amazon buying Capital One? Fat chance, but fun to ponder

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 17:10
Chatter about bank-nonbank combinations pops up frequently, as it did in a low-profile way this week, but there are reasons you should be skeptical even in these anything-could-happen times.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

Trump's Dodd-Frank review could do a lot of good — if done right

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:52
If policymakers put empirical evidence ahead of ideology, the executive order is an opportunity to build on post-crisis improvements and address unintended consequences of reforms.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

West Town to buy Sound Banking in North Carolina

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:30
West Town will pay $24.6 million in cash and stock for Sound Banking. The deal will close later this year.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

First Merchants to buy Independent Alliance in Indiana for $251M

AMERICAN BANKER - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:30
The deal comes months after First Merchants bought a minority stake in Independent Alliance.
Categories: BUSINESS NEWS

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BEST NEWS OF THE YEAR 2016 AWARD GOES TO BBC FOR REPORTING :

LONDON (Reuters) - A 14-year old girl who died of cancer has been cryogenically frozen in the hope she could be brought back to life in the future after winning a landmark court case shortly before her death, the BBC reported on Friday, 2016-11-18.
The youngster knew she only had weeks to live when she wrote a heartbreaking letter to a judge asking to be frozen until a cure could be found.

REASON FOR CHOICE OF BEST NEWS 2016: Even though we think that life continues somewhere else, like in heaven or paradise, she wanted to have it, and get brought back to life in the future, AND FOUGHT FOR IT ! AND WON ! She was only 14 years old, and wanted to live. In the future, we might end up with a 14-year old girl, living in 2 worlds at the same time. That was our main reasons. Hope you support our choice of NR 1 best news 2016. Especially considering the fact that she was 14 years old, and had to die, in this sometimes quite fucked up world, but her will and desire to live, manifested in a HOPE, that she MIGHT be brought back to life in the future somewhere. That is why this was the best news in 2016. She was only 14 years old and none could help her with her cancer. So I insist that IF we can make a body live again that has been frozen, she will be the first one "ONLINE" again.
/End of OPERATORS intellectual judgement comment. /
More details here !