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Amanda Lee



Articles by Amanda Lee

Debt at China’s state-owned firms in spotlight as credit tightening raises default pressure

12 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s big state-owned firms are likely to face growing pressure to make payments on their debt this year as Beijing moves to tighten credit growth, government researchers and analysts said.Last year, Chinese state firms defaulted on 71.8 billion yuan (US$11.1 billion) worth of debt, accounting for 51 per cent of all defaults, and the largest default total for state firms since China first allowed onshore bond defaults in 2014, according to data from the National Institution for Finance &…

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Coronavirus: Chinese steelmaking hub hit, with highway closures reducing output and delivery

19 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Mainland China’s biggest coronavirus outbreak in months – in the northern steelmaking hub of Hebei province – has triggered curbs on transport, including truck deliveries of steel.But analysts expect the price of the metal to drop in the short term after a strong rise supported by the nation’s economic recovery.“As Hebei enters a state of war [with the coronavirus], together with a deep plunge in the temperature, the [steel] demand cannot be wholly met,” said Fubao Information, a data-analytics…

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China’s digital currency trial returns to Shenzhen for round two, with twice the participants and double the payout

21 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Shenzhen, China’s technological hub, will start its second trial of the nation’s digital currency this week, giving away virtual gift packets to its citizens as the nation steps up its testing efforts in a bid to launch the world’s first sovereign digital currency.The Shenzhen government said it will give away 20 million yuan (US$3.1 million) via “red packets” – gift envelopes traditionally given out during holidays and special occasions – to residents of Shenzhen’s Futian district via a…

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C919: what is China’s home-grown alternative to Airbus, Boeing duopoly, and why is it important?

25 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]What is the C919?The C919 is a narrow-body jet being built by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), a state-owned company based in Shanghai, to compete with Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320.How is the C919 being developed?The Chinese government formed Comac in 2008 to design and build the single-aisle C919.However, most of the parts are imported from foreign manufacturers, including the engine, avionics, control systems, communications and landing gear.According to a report…

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Former Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei attacks regulators for ‘failure’ to act over risk

December 20, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s former finance minister Lou Jiwei has criticised the country’s financial regulators, saying they had ignored systemic risks.In a speech made at the China Wealth Management 50 Forum in Shenzhen on Sunday, Lou highlighted a number of regulatory failures in the supervision of banks and bond markets and warned the country’s mounting debt threatened the economy.He said the country’s central bank had not taken precautions against systemic risks, citing its handling of the collapse of Baoshang…

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China faces urgent ‘unprecedented challenge’ to develop jet engine as foreign hostility grows

December 17, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China must be able to produce its own jet engine for commercial use as the world’s second biggest economy can no longer “leverage market access in exchange for technology” due to increasing foreign hostility, a senior engineer from state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic) says.Liu Daxiang, deputy director of the science and technology committee at Avic, said aviation technology had accelerated this century and competition was getting “more fierce”.“The established countries in…

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Boeing 737 MAX: plane’s return to China riddled with uncertainty as tensions with US rage on

December 11, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX took off for its first commercial flight in 20 months this week, the company is still facing challenges getting the passenger jet into the air in the critical Chinese aviation market, where its business has become entangled in tension between Beijing and Washington.Brazil’s Gol Airlines became the first carrier to return the plane to service on Wednesday, following two crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people and raised questions about its safety.The US…

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China debt: local government default risk grows as authorities struggle to repay credit

December 10, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s regional economies are under growing pressure to meet debt repayments after a years-long spending spree, as trillions of yuan worth of credit is set to mature next year, according to analysts.A series of recent defaults by state firms that count local governments as majority shareholders have raised doubts over the ability of some authorities to pay back debt, including off-balance sheet borrowing through so-called local government financing vehicles (LGFVs). The risk of default has…

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China’s commercial plane aspirations are overblown and no threat to Boeing or Airbus, Washington think tank finds

December 10, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing’s plan to make its own commercial aircraft to break up the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus remains a costly pipe dream, according to a Washington-based think tank.While Beijing has pumped at least US$45 billion into the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) to make commercial planes, including the C919 passenger jet, the odds that China can make the project a success “are between slim and none”, said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Centre for Strategic and International…

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China’s Xi Jinping declares victory on poverty alleviation, but warns of ‘unbalanced’ development

December 4, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Xi Jinping has declared victory in China’s fight against poverty, claiming nearly 100 million people have been lifted out of extreme material deprivation after eight years of struggle.“We have completed the task of poverty alleviation in the new era as scheduled,” the president said in a speech on Thursday during a meeting with the Politburo Standing Committee, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.“Under current standards, all rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty and all poor…

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US debt to China: how big is it and why is it important?

December 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]What is the US government debt that China holds?The amount of US debt held by China refers to securities such as bills, notes and bonds issued by the United States Department of the Treasury on behalf of the federal government to fund its annual budget deficit and roll over existing debt.How much does the US owe China?The Chinese government does not disclose how much US debt it owns, but the US Treasury publishes monthly data on all foreign holders of US debt, and China has historically been…

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China’s Premier Li Keqiang orders provincial governments to ‘tell the truth’ about economic conditions

November 24, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has told local government officials they must “tell the truth” about regional economic conditions so they can take the necessary steps to create more jobs, spur consumption and expand “effective investment”.Li made the remarks in a video meeting with officials from five provinces on Friday, during which they discussed the state of their economies and how best to manage recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement posted online by the government.The…

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China’s ‘grey rhino’ debt risk highlighted by bond defaults

November 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A series of bond defaults by state-owned firms has highlighted the “grey rhino” risks threatening China’s economic prospects, raising alarm bells about high national debt that has grown to more than three times gross domestic product (GDP).Yongcheng Coal & Electricity Holding Group, a mine operator owned by the Henan provincial government, defaulted on payment for a AAA rated 1 billion yuan (US$152.2 billion) commercial paper earlier this month, rocking investor confidence and stirring concern…

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China’s Li Keqiang vows stability as ‘complex and volatile’ international climate weighs on economy

November 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday acknowledged the “great pressure” facing China’s economy, both at home and in a turbulent environment abroad, but vowed the government would do all it could to drive stable and sustainable development.“Under the complex and volatile international economic and political conditions, for a large economy like ours … stability means progress,” Li said in an article published by the state backed People’s Daily.China’s economy has bounced back from the impact of the…

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China debt defaults stoke unease about ‘broader market contagion’

November 17, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A series of defaults on bonds issued by Chinese state-backed companies has sent shock waves through the world’s second largest debt market in recent days, raising questions about local government guarantees and the credibility of domestic ratings.Since last week, China’s bond market has seen defaults by a mine operator, an integrated circuit maker and a car manufacturer.The non-payments have rocked investor confidence as the bonds were issued by state-controlled firms, which are usually seen as…

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Singles’ Day: online shopping becoming China’s new normal as record sales build on pandemic boost

November 11, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Online shopping is becoming increasingly commonplace in Chinese consumers’ lives, and nowhere was that more evident than the Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza that peaked on Wednesday.E-commerce had already seen a massive boost this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, with shoppers reluctant or unable to venture out to bricks-and-mortar stores.Singles’ Day – the November 11 celebration that gets its name from the four ones in 11.11 – annually generates far more revenue than that of the…

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China’s firms sign US$73 billion worth of deals at flagship Shanghai import expo

November 11, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s flagship imports expo concluded with more deals signed this year than last, although foreign companies remain unconvinced about Beijing’s commitment to creating a level playing field for them in the domestic market.The third annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai booked a total of US$72.62 billion worth of deals for the purchase of goods and services over the coming year, up 2.1 per cent from last year.European businesses, though, said last year about half of the…

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China buys US$418 million worth of American poultry products in year through August

November 7, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China bought 283,183 tonnes of poultry products worth US$418 million from the United States in the first eight months of the year, representing 12 per cent of its exports of the food group in the period, according to an industry group.Included in the total was 118,662 tonnes of chicken feet worth US$263 million, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council said.Speaking via a video link to the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Saturday, Jim Summer, the group’s president, was upbeat about…

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China-Australia relations: looming ban on Australian goods clouds Shanghai import expo

November 6, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s informal ban on at least seven Australian products, set to take effect on Friday, is casting a pall over an import expo in Shanghai where the central government is trying to project an image of promoting free trade and goodwill.While Beijing has yet to formally confirm that imports of Australian wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster will be subject to increased restrictions from Friday, the state-run Global Times acknowledged the “import suspension” in an article on…

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Xi Jinping calls for global cooperation to get economies back on track

November 4, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday appealed for global cooperation to overcome the economic challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.In a video address to the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Xi said the “trend of opening up and cooperation among countries remains unchanged” and all nations should promote “mutual openness”.The annual event comes as most of the world is still battling Covid-19 and governments fear importing new infections. Some foreign visitors are…

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Boeing’s China aviation business in the spotlight after Beijing announces sanctions on defence unit

October 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Aerospace giant Boeing is under the spotlight in China, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, after Beijing said it would sanction the Chicago-based firm’s defence subsidiary over arms sales to Taiwan.China’s foreign ministry said on Monday it would levy sanctions on US firms Boeing Defense, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, just days after the US State Department approved a potential US$1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province that must be reunited with…

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China to curb ‘chaos’ in semiconductor industry and hold bosses accountable for risky, loss-making projects

October 20, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China will strengthen supervision of new entrants into its “chaotic” semiconductor industry following a number of high-profile collapses during Beijing’s push to reduce its reliance on imports by boosting investment in home-grown computer chip development and manufacturing.Meng Wei, a spokeswoman with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said that some companies “with insufficient knowledge of integrated circuit development” have “blindly entered into projects”.“The risks of…

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China must loosen capital curbs to boost international use of yuan, says former bank executive

October 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China needs to increase international use of its currency so that it can lift the yuan’s share of international payments, according to a former senior executive at one of China’s big four banks.Despite China’s growing influence in the global economy and trade, there is a “big gap” when it comes to the use of the yuan in foreign trade, investment, and financial transactions, said Wang Yongli, a former vice-president with the Bank of China and a former board member for Swift, the international…

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China faces coal shortage as import restrictions, tighter environmental checks begin to bite

October 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, is facing a supply shortage heading into winter amid tighter restrictions on imports, including a reported freeze on coal from Australia.The world’s biggest miner BHP Group said on Wednesday it had received deferment requests from Chinese customers, after reports that Beijing had imposed a ban on Australian thermal and coking coal as trade tensions intensified between the two countries.Analysts said China’s domestic coal production has…

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China-Cambodia free trade deal highlights Beijing’s push for economic influence in Southeast Asia

October 14, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The relatively speedy free trade deal that China sealed with Cambodia this week to cut tariffs and boost investment highlights Beijing’s intention to strengthen its economic influence among Asean members amid a growing rivalry with the United States in the region.However, the full scope of the trade pact, put together in less than a year, has not yet been unveiled.China already has existing trade agreements with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Cambodia. And…

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Which central bank will launch world’s first digital currency?

October 14, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The race among central banks to launch sovereign digital currencies is heating up. China has made considerable progress, with hopes of using its nascent digital currency to help internationalise the yuan, but several other nations are warming to the idea of relying less on cold, hard cash in more flexible payment systems.What is a central bank digital currency?Central bank digital currencies are traditional money, but in digital form, issued and governed by a country’s central bank.They differ…

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China’s ‘three red lines’ strike delicate balance between curbing real estate debt and local government finances

October 6, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As China moves to tackle excessive borrowing in the real estate sector, it is walking a tightrope between providing cash-strapped local governments with revenues from land sales and keeping a lid on rising house prices.Chinese regulators in August tightened funding conditions for 12 major property developers, setting caps on the amount of debt they could hold in relation to cash on hand, the value of their assets and as a proportion of equity in their businesses – dubbed “the three red lines”…

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Europe mulls digital euro as China pushes ahead with own electronic currency

October 5, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The European Central Bank (ECB) has moved a step closer to pursuing a digital euro, becoming the latest global central bank to seriously consider following China’s lead in creating a digital currency.China appears to be the clear leader in developing a sovereign digital currency, with pilot tests under way in several parts of the country.But other central banks are starting to explore the idea, spurred on in part by the attention the Chinese project is getting and the nation‘s advanced system…

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China looks beyond GDP growth rate as Beijing outlines five-year plan and 2035 vision amid rivalry with US

September 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China is set to play down the nation’s headline growth rate to highlight “growth quality” and “security” in its development plan for 2021-25 and beyond, as Beijing tries to strengthen domestic weak links in preparation for a protracted rivalry with the United States, according to China’s government advisers.President Xi Jinping chaired a gathering of the Politburo – the centre of power within the Communist Party – on Monday, and the body endorsed the country’s five-year plan for 2021-25 as well…

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