Public Finance

Bond issuance set to go local

The mainland's Ministry of Finance has drafted a preliminary plan for a pilot scheme that would allow some local governments to issue bonds directly in order to address the imminent maturing of massive existing liabilities they may struggle to repay.

Friday, 5 August, 2011, 12:00am

Disaster averted, but risks remain

The US has pulled back from the brink of a potentially catastrophic default on its debt. China, the biggest foreign holder of US debt, led a global sigh of relief. Hong Kong has been spared the prospect of losses on its huge exposure to US dollar assets. It would be nice to be able to say also that world financial order has been restored.

4 Aug 2011 - 12:00am

For officials, the colour of money is too often grey

The pocketing of 'grey' income has become a de-facto form of bribe-taking in China.

It happens at all levels of government, and it's often hard to identify as it is sometimes masked as 'overtime pay' or 'bonuses'.

30 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

The dilemma for HK if US defaults on its debts

Hong Kong faces a dilemma as the prospect of an unprecedented US debt default looms large - it needs to keep buying US dollar assets to maintain its sensitive currency peg, yet at the same time try to protect the value of the city's wealth.

29 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

629 schools apply for study subsidy

Up to 629 schools have applied for subsidies for underprivileged children to go on overseas study tours. These short-term programmes are a common summer activity for children from middle-class families.

The financial support, capped at HK$3,000, is provided as part of the Community Care Fund, which helps students who would not otherwise be able to afford such fees.

20 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

More subsidies to boost pork supply

Beijing is increasing subsidies to pig farmers in an attempt to contain soaring pork prices that are adding to inflation woes.

The State Council decided that farmers would get 100 yuan (HK$120) for every reproductive female pig, along with other subsidies, to stimulate growth in pig supply.

14 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Unlocking prosperity

The world seems awash in public debt. Problems in Greece with its second bailout are the most prominent but other problems in European economies await. Across the Atlantic, the American political system is in a deadlock about containing the runaway federal deficit while many cities and states are struggling.

7 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

New default threats may signal surge in bad loans

Investors have found a whole new reason to worry.

A couple of months ago, an outfit called Yunnan Highway Investment announced it would be unable to repay 90 billion yuan (HK$108.19 billion) borrowed from a group of China's leading banks to fund road-building projects in the southwestern province.

6 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Ministries at odds over luxury goods tax level

The mainland's love affair with Gucci and Prada is causing headaches for top officials with the commerce and finance ministries at loggerheads over whether to cut the import tax on luxury goods.

1 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

City Digest

Subsidy takes edge off home electricity bills

A monthly subsidy of HK$150 will be credited to each residential CLP Power and Hongkong Electric electricity account starting from next month. The subsidy will last for 12 months and any unused credit can be carried forward until August 2014.

Gold, silver for Special Olympics swimmers

29 Jun 2011 - 12:00am

Exposed HK in harm's way

It's hard to think of an issue more discussed in financial circles these days than sovereign debt. In the United States, the national debt hovers ominously over next year's presidential election, and Standard & Poor's put the country's once bulletproof AAA rating on review for a downgrade in April.

27 Jun 2011 - 12:00am

US debt limit is no political toy

When US politicians get back to business after the Memorial Day weekend today they will resume a debate that is fascinating, urgent, passionate, stubborn, and potentially highly dangerous both for the American economy and for the country's political reputation and standing in the world.

31 May 2011 - 12:00am

Top salaries tax bill just HK$50m last year

The highest salaries-tax payer last year had a bill for HK$50 million. While that may seem a lot, the top tax bill was the smallest for five years.

Based on the standard 15 per cent tax rate, that single taxpayer earned at least HK$333 million. The next biggest tax bill was HK$41 million - on earnings of HK$273million.

7 May 2011 - 12:00am

Spending details on trips, cars and meals wanted

Beijing has stepped up its push for transparent government spending, requiring central to local government agencies to publicly disclose spending on foreign trips, official cars and often lavish lunches and dinners.

5 May 2011 - 12:00am

Bid to refund taxes voted down

An attempt by several lawmakers to force the government to refund the new tobacco and car taxes failed yesterday after the move was voted down in the legislature.

Lawmakers failed to repeal the public revenue protection orders which gave a provisional legal basis for the 41.5 per cent tobacco tax rise and 15 per cent increase in first-registration for vehicles.

5 May 2011 - 12:00am