China retail sales lead business activity weakness, survey finds

The fall-off in retail sales on the mainland extends far beyond luxury goods, hurt by the government's corruption crackdown. Photo: AFP

Slowing retail sales stand out as the primary drag on the mainland's economic growth so far this year, while activity in almost every other business sector sagged, the latest quarterly China Beige Book survey found.

Saturday, 22 March, 2014, 4:58am 11 comments

Defaults, restructurings to rise as Chinese firms' debt soars

Heavily indebted firms like China Cosco have had to resort to selling assets to their parents. Photo: EPA

Mainland corporate debt has hit record levels and is likely to accelerate a wave of domestic restructuring and trigger more defaults as credit repayment problems rise.

27 Feb 2014 - 4:38am

Lending adds increasingly less to Chinese GDP, pressuring Premier Li

Observers say the mainland needs to channel more financing to its private enterprises, which are more profitable than their state-owned counterparts. Photo: Reuters

The government's broadest measure of credit rose 58 per cent to a record 6.16 trillion yuan (HK$7.8 trillion) in the January-March period, when gross domestic product gained 7.7 per cent, compared with 8.1 per cent a year earlier. Each US$1 in credit firepower added the equivalent of 17 US cents in GDP, down from 29 cents last year and 83 cents in 2007, when global money markets began to freeze.

31 May 2013 - 3:49am

IMF warns China of risks in investment binge

Spending on highways, along with other big-ticket projects, ensures that local government debts stay in the fast lane. Photo: Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund has urged self-discipline on China's provincial and city governments, warning headlong investment fuelled by rapid credit growth may threaten economic sustainability. The IMF's alert underscores the challenges facing the mainland's new leaders as they seek to lessen financial risk while keeping economic growth stable.

30 May 2013 - 3:49am

Concern raised over China credit growth

Concern raised over mainland credit growth

Total lending from banks and other financial institutions on the mainland was 198 per cent of gross domestic product last year, compared with 125 per cent four years earlier, according to calculations by Chu, the company's Beijing-based head of China financial institutions.

30 May 2013 - 4:33am

Cyprus to reopen banks, impose capital controls

A man withdraws money from an ATM machine at the Bank of Cyprus headquarters in Athens, Greece. Photo: EPA

Cyprus reopens its banks on Thursday while limiting withdrawals, banning cheques and curbing the use of Cypriot credit cards abroad, among measures imposed to avert a bank run after it agreed a tough rescue deal with international lenders.

28 Mar 2013 - 8:02am

What 'pivot'? Real US-China war will be over money

What 'pivot'? Real US-China war will be over money

Anyone who fears that Washington's "pivot" towards the Pacific increases the risk of conflict between the United States and China is behind the times.

America and China are already at war. Only the battle ground isn't the East China Sea. It's money.

13 Sep 2012 - 3:14am 3 comments

If this is a bubble, it is not about to burst any time soon

A reader has written in to take issue with a column from a couple of weeks ago which argued that despite the steep run-up in Hong Kong's housing prices over the last few years, there are still no signs of a classic credit-fuelled property bubble.

15 Aug 2012 - 11:15pm

Mainland agency aims to boost its global rating

A mainland credit ratings agency wants to break into the global market by rating yuan-denominated bond issuers in Hong Kong.

15 Aug 2012 - 10:47pm

Loans system revamp boosted amid lack of trust

The central government's plan to expand a planned revamp of the national financial loans system is a reflection of authorities seeking to combat rising moral degradation.

Analysts say the move also suggests that the government recognises that the public is becoming increasingly distrustful amid widespread corruption, negligence of duty and other malpractice among officials.

31 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Cash firm cleared of money lending

In a case that could dramatically change the city's lending industry, a court ruled that a cash-advance product offered to businesses is not a loan and does not breach the Money Lenders Ordinance.

Global Merchant Funding Limited was cleared yesterday of one charge of carrying on business as an unlicensed money lender after a trial at Eastern Court.

14 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Students need to dump credit cards

After reading an article about students being caught in credit card traps, it made me wonder who is most responsible for this. I think it is more the fault of university students and parents than the banks or the financial institutions.

12 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

No quick fix for cancer of local government debt

For the mainland's financial markets, government intervention at every level continues to distort prices and hamper growth.

But in some sectors, such as the local-government debt market, intervention doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

27 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Bank chief linked to loan sharking

The president of the Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC), who has been taken into custody on suspicion of having committed economic crimes, is found to have been involved in illegal fund-raising activities as well.

The revelation is a fresh sign that lax supervision had made the lender vulnerable to irregularities.

13 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Cash-starved SMEs join hands to issue bonds

The mainland's worsening credit crunch is driving cash-starved small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to join forces to issue pooled bonds.

Shandong Haiwang Chemicals and Lianxing Carbon, based in Weifang, Shandong province, will jointly issue 200 million yuan (HK$244 million) of pooled bonds with a tenor of three years.

6 Jun 2012 - 12:00am