Posts tagged ‘UBS’

14/01/2016

Economists React: China’s December Trade Data May Mean Worst Is Over – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Better-than-expected export and import data in December suggest the beginning of a modest improvement in trade despite recent turmoil in Chinese financial markets, economists say, even as a weaker yuan helps exporters.

China’s exports in December were off 1.4% from a year earlier, a smaller decline than November’s 6.8% or the median 8% forecast of 15 economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. Imports were down 7.6%, compared with November’s 8.7% and the 11% median forecast.

Following are excerpts from economists’ views on Wednesday’s trade data, edited for style and length:

The idea that China needs to devalue its currency to reflect a weakening export sector is not borne out by the 2015 trade figures, which show that China gained world-wide market share in a tough global trading environment. The past couple of months, we’ve seen exports surprise on the upside. Worries that something is going on in China behind the scenes, that real compelling economic fundamentals are pushing the yuan weaker, is inconsistent with what we’re seeing on the trade front.—Tim Condon, ING Group ING +0.96%

China’s December trade data was reassuring—indicating that, despite the turmoil on the stock and foreign-exchange markets, growth dynamics in the real economy are evolving more gradually and may actually be improving somewhat. The improvement in exports suggests that the global goods trade gained some momentum toward the end of 2015, with China helped by a weaker yuan. Headline December goods import data were down 7.6%, but import volumes have started to improve. We estimate import volumes were up 7.5% year on year in December, mainly due to better “normal imports” used in China’s own economy (rather than re-exported), implying a pickup in domestic demand momentum at the end of 2015.—Louis Kuijs, Oxford Economics

Better-than-expected trade data hint that the yuan depreciation in December—the currency fell 1.5% against the dollar—could have boosted external demand. For the year, China’s exports dropped by 2.8% and imports plunged by 14.1%. The underperformance of imports reflects sluggish demand for commodities as China moves toward a more consumption-driven growth model. It also highlights the deleveraging under way in China’s manufacturing sector because of the property slowdown. The mixed picture illustrated by China’s trade figures convinced us that growth will be under pressure. Also, China could steer further yuan depreciation at an appropriate pace and time to support economic growth and facilitate the deleveraging in many sectors plagued by overcapacity.—Zhou Hao, Commerzbank AG

China’s better-than-forecast trade figures may signal the beginning of a modest improvement as the yuan stabilizes against a weighted basket of currencies. That could translate into export growth of 5% to 7% and import growth of 1% to 2% this year. Demand may not be a big driver, but China is becoming more competitive with its exchange rate.—Ding Shuang, Standard Chartered STAN.LN +0.35%

China’s better-than-expected export data in December was mainly due to the world’s recovering appetite for exports from China, but its sustainability is still an open question. The devaluation of the yuan might have played a role in boosting exports, though it wasn’t the main driver. To what extent the yuan will influence exports this year is uncertain, given the central bank’s intervention in the foreign-exchange market. But January export figure should be relatively positive since 2015 provided a weak base for comparison.—Ma Xiaoping, HSBC HSBA.LN +0.49%

Source: Economists React: China’s December Trade Data May Mean Worst Is Over – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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19/10/2014

China’s Jet Set Spends Overseas While Luxury Sales Rise in U.S. – Businessweek

For the first time since Boston consultancy Bain & Co. began tracking the global luxury market, overall sales of luxury goods declined in mainland China over the first eight months of 2014. The dip was small—sales dropped 1 percent—but significant because of the outsize hopes brands from Prada (1913:HK) to Rolls-Royce (RL/:LN) have placed on wooing China’s socially ambitious spenders.

The fully-booked Nanatsuboshi (Seven Stars) luxury sleeper cruise train in Kagoshima, Japan

In the past year, the number of billionaires in China jumped by more than a fifth (from 157 to 190), according to Switzerland’s UBS (UBSN:VX) and Singapore research firm Wealth-X. But spending on luxury goods within mainland China has been squeezed by two significant trends: the continuing austerity and anticorruption drive led by President Xi Jinping and the growing preference for China’s jet set to snatch up expensive handbags and watches while on overseas trips (in part to avoid pricey import taxes at home).

Bain forecasts that overall global luxury sales will rise 5 percent in 2014, with the largest increases expected in the U.S. and Japan (at 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively). Some portion of that spending comes from Chinese tourists in New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, but the report doesn’t attempt to estimate how much. Bloomberg Businessweek has previously reported on the growing market for luxury train service in Japan, where household wealth is rising more quickly than at any time in the past five years and seniors want to enjoy their golden years.

via China’s Jet Set Spends Overseas While Luxury Sales Rise in U.S. – Businessweek.

21/03/2014

China Wants Its People in the Cities – Reuters

From: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-20/china-wants-its-people-in-the-cities

Thirty-five years ago, when paramount leader Deng Xiaoping launched gaige kaifang, or “reform and opening,” China was a much more agricultural country, with less than a fifth of its people living in cities. Since then hundreds of millions of rural residents have left the countryside, many seeking jobs in the export-oriented factories and construction sites that Deng’s policy promoted.

Commercial and residential buildings stand in the Luohu district of Shenzhen, China, on Dec. 18, 2013 In 1978 there were no Chinese cities with more than 10 million people and only two with 5 million to 10 million; by 2010, six cities had more than 10 million and 10 had from 5 million to 10 million. By the following year, a majority of Chinese were living in urban areas for the first time in the country’s history.

Now urbanization has been designated a national priority and is expected to occur even more rapidly. On March 16, Premier Li Keqiang’s State Council and the central committee of the Communist Party released the “National New-type Urbanization Plan (2014-2020),” which sets clear targets: By 2020 the country will have 60 percent of its people living in cities, up from 53.7 percent now.

What’s the ultimate aim of creating a much more urban country? Simply put, all those new, more free-spending urbanites are expected to help drive a more vibrant economy, helping wean China off its present reliance on unsustainable investment-heavy growth. “Domestic demand is the fundamental impetus for China’s development, and the greatest potential for expanding domestic demand lies in urbanization,” the plan says.

To get there, China’s policymakers know they have to loosen the restrictive hukou, the household registration policy that today keeps many Chinese migrants second-class urban residents. China will ensure that the proportion of those who live in the cities with full urban hukou, which provides better access to education, health care, and pensions, will rise from last year’s level of 35.7 percent of city dwellers to 45 percent by 2020. That means 100 million rural migrant workers, out of a total 270 million today, will have to be given urban household registration.

To prepare for the new masses, China knows it must vastly expand urban infrastructure. The plan calls for ensuring that expressways and railways link all cities with more than 200,000 people by 2020; high-speed rail is expected to link cities with more than a half million by then. Civil aviation will expand to be available to 90 percent of the population.

Access to affordable housing projects funded by the government is also expected to rise substantially. The target is to provide social housing (roughly analogous to public housing in the U.S.) to 23 percent of the urban populace by 2020; that’s up from an estimated 14.3 percent last year, according to Tao Wang, China economist at UBS Securities (UBS) in Hong Kong. That means providing social housing for an additional 90 million people, amounting to about 30 million units, over the next seven years, Wang writes in a March 18 report.

The urbanization plan appears to face several big challenges. First, the government wants to maintain restrictions on migration to China’s biggest cities, which also happen to be its most popular. Instead, the plan calls for liberalizing migration to small and midsize cities, or those with less than 5 million. Whether migrants will willingly flock to designated smaller cities, rather than the megacities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, is an unanswered question.

Another obstacle to faster urbanization is that the plan doesn’t propose how to reform China’s decades-old land tenure system. Changing the system could allow farmers more freedom to mortgage, rent, or sell their land.

Finally, one of the most daunting problems is figuring out how to pay for implementing the ambitious urbanization targets. The cost of rolling out a much more extensive social welfare network will be substantial (today, most Chinese in the countryside have far lower levels of medical and pension coverage, as well as far inferior schools); building the new urban infrastructure will also be expensive.

 

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22/01/2014

* China’s princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven | World news | The Guardian

More than a dozen family members of China\’s top political and military leaders are making use of offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands, leaked financial documents reveal.

The brother-in-law of China\’s current president, Xi Jinping, as well as the son and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao are among the political relations making use of the offshore havens, financial records show.

Fu Liang is the son of Peng Zhen, former mayor of Beijing and one of China\’s \”eight elders\”. After a career in the rail industry, he shifted to a role in the leisure sector, as an investor in yacht clubs and golf courses.

The documents also disclose the central role of major Western banks and accountancy firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Credit Suisse and UBS in the offshore world, acting as middlemen in the establishing of companies.

The Hong Kong office of Credit Suisse, for example, established the BVI company Trend Gold Consultants for Wen Yunsong, the son of Wen Jiabao, during his father\’s premiership — while PwC and UBS performed similar services for hundreds of other wealthy Chinese individuals.

The disclosure of China\’s use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from \”Offshore Secrets\”, a two-year reporting effort led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands, and shared the information with the Guardian and other international news outlets.

In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean, adding to mounting scrutiny of the wealth and power amassed by family members of the country\’s inner circle.

As neither Chinese officials nor their families are required to issue public financial disclosures, citizens in the country and abroad have been left largely in the dark about the elite\’s use of offshore structures which can facilitate the avoidance of tax, or moving of money overseas. Between $1tn and $4tn in untraced assets have left China since 2000, according to estimates.

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China\’s inequality problem

Income inequality is a mounting issue in China, a consequence of the country\’s rapid growth. A Beijing university study suggests that income at the richest 5th percentile are 34 times higher than those of the bottom 5th percentile.

percentile

5%     ¥1,000$170

10      ¥2,000$340

25      ¥4,500 $765

50      ¥9,000$1,530

75      ¥15,900$2,703

90      ¥25,800$4,386

95      ¥34,300$5,831

Source: Beijing university study, 2012 incomes

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China\’s rapid economic growth is leading to a degree of internal tension within the nation, as the proceeds of the country\’s newfound prosperity are not evenly divided: the country\’s 100 richest men are collectively worth over $300bn, while an estimated 300m people in the country still live on less than $2 a day. The Chinese government has made efforts to crack down citizens\’ movements aimed at promoting transparency or accountability among the country\’s elite.

The confidential records obtained by the ICIJ relate to the incorporation and ownership of offshore companies, which is legal, and give little if any information as to what activities the businesses were used for once established. Offshore companies can be an important tool for legitimate Chinese businesses, especially when operating overseas, due to restrictions and legislation in the country.

via China’s princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven | World news | The Guardian.

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11/12/2013

Santander ups bet on China with Bank of Shanghai stake | Reuters

Santander (SAN.MC), Spain\’s largest bank, is to buy HSBC\’s (HSBA.L) 8 percent stake in Bank of Shanghai, just as many international rivals are beginning to sell out of China.

A man uses an ATM machine at a Santander bank branch in Madrid September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Santander, which already has a consumer finance venture in China as well as a car financing business, said on Tuesday the Bank of Shanghai deal also included a cooperation agreement, taking the value of its investment to 470 million euros ($647.3 million).

Several major U.S. and European banks including Bank of America (BAC.N) and Switzerland\’s UBS (UBSN.VX) have started shedding their Chinese holdings for a variety of regulatory and business reasons.

via Santander ups bet on China with Bank of Shanghai stake | Reuters.

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