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CHIM SAU-WAI
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People's Bank of China (PBOC) deputy governor Hu Xiaolian has been appointed the chairwoman of Export-Import Bank of China and its Communist Party chief, in the latest reshuffle in the top echelons of the country's central bank.

The People's Bank of China rate cut in November last year hasn't made it easier for small enterprises to borrow money, with interest rates on some small loans as high as 20 percentage points above the benchmark, according to a logistics firm that's connecting customers with good credit to banks or small loan companies for loans.

A strong US dollar, weak oil prices and capital flowing back to the United States will make it more difficult to invest internationally this year, says sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC).

The mainland's high-speed rail has a promising initial traffic, the World Bank said in a paper, praising the world's fastest expanding high-speed rail system again.

Luxury apparel brands are launching online stores on Tmall amid falling demand on the mainland as the country's luxury consumption is expected to decline this year for the first time in a decade.

A report on Hong Kong's port development commissioned by the government found that the city has been facing more competition from other south China ports.

"There are so few visitors and I don't want to pay the rent," says Du, a shoe seller who rents a store of about 30 sqmetres in a gigantic new trade centre on the southern outskirts of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province.

A move by the European Union's top executive body to disclose the details behind an air cargo cartel that prompted it to fine 11 airlines will make it easier for logistics companies to press for damages.

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn is seeking damages of about US$2.5 billion from more than a dozen airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways, arising from lawsuits that allege the carriers engaged in cargo cartels.

Exports grew strongly in China and India in the third quarter of the year but slowed in other major economies, according to international trade statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

A Wenzhou-based private commercial bank could launch before the end of the year, according to a financial newspaper that quoted anonymous sources.

The bullish mood on the stock markets after the mainland's first cut in interest rates in more than two years spilled over into the land market yesterday, with a Guangzhou developer paying 6.45 billion yuan (HK$8.1 billion) for a site in the city.

China has secured its biggest overseas engineering contract with a deal worth almost US$12 billion to build a railway in Nigeria.

SF Express, the largest private express logistics company on the mainland, is mulling whether to expand full logistics services to Europe and aims to increase its cargo aircraft fleet to 100 planes by 2018 from 36 now.

The mainland has approved construction of five railway projects worth 152.7 billion yuan (HK$192.4 billion), the National Development and Reform Commission said, taking the number of railway projects approved since July to 21.

A survey has shown that companies in Hong Kong that ship goods by air are cautious about the outlook for shipments in the fourth quarter, the traditional peak season, owing to declining orders from Europe and weak demand for luxury goods.

China CNR Corp and CSR Corp, the country's two biggest train makers currently discussing a merger, are likely to combine their overseas assets and projects into a joint venture to focus on global expansion.

Mexico cancelled a US$3.75 billion rail contract awarded to a Chinese-led consortium amid an outcry over the tender process, casting a shadow over President Enrique Pena Nieto's state visit to China.

Japanese firm Chiyoda Steel plans to proceed to a full trial against Bank of China (Hong Kong) for not honouring its letter of credit because the words "steel grade" were missing in the trade document.

Shares in state-owned logistics firm Sinotrans were suspended from trading after falling up to 27.9 per cent earlier after media reported that subsidiaries of its parent company were involved in fraudulent inventory management.

Export transactions at the autumn session of the Canton Fair, China's largest trade fair, dropped 6.1 per cent compared with the spring session this year to US$29.16 billion, the second-lowest transaction value since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Hong Kong does not need to change its currency peg to the US dollar, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said after the latest suggestion that the government should look to the yuan instead.

The Standard Chartered SME Index fell in the fourth quarter to its lowest level in two years, reflecting pessimism on worries about the end of the US Federal Reserve's quantitative easing programme and a slowing economy in mainland China.

The central government is pushing for the merger of China CNR Corp and CSR Corp, the mainland's two biggest train makers, to form a giant capable of boosting high-speed train exports, according to mainland media.

The Ministry of Commerce should set up regulations and a licensing system for collateral management companies in wake of the Qingdao metals and other major financing frauds.

Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric, an indirect subsidiary of mainland train maker CSR Corp, has more than doubled its net profit for the first nine months of the year from the year-earlier period.

Mainland train maker China CNR Corp has won its first US order as part of a joint venture that will sell 284 subway cars to Boston for US$556.6 million, it said on its website yesterday.

The number of buyers attending the mainland's largest trade fair was down significantly on the first day of its autumn session, with the downturn attributed to fear of Ebola and global economic gloom.

The number of exhibitors at the mainland's largest trade fair has increased for the second consecutive time this year, but organisers remain cautious about the outlook for international trade.

As China's outward foreign direct investment grows, companies and economists see more opportunities for Hong Kong to become the launch pad to support China's "going out".

The battle between Tianhe Chemicals Group and Anonymous Analytics continues as the company issued a further statement on Friday rebutting fraud allegations.

Beleaguered mainland developer Agile Property yesterday called off its HK$2.8 billion rights issue, after Standard & Poor's put its long-term credit rating on negative watch for lack of explanation about its share suspension and growing refinancing risk.

China Nickel Resources remains pessimistic about the steel market despite reporting that its net loss in the first half of the year narrowed to HK$70.7 million from HK$102 million a year ago.

Legal experts doubt a new set of warehouse industry standards on collateral management on the mainland will be able to mitigate the problem of multiple pledging of warehouse receipts for loans - the alleged cause of the Qingdao metals financing fraud.

The legal dispute between Citic Resources and Qingdao Port over a cargo of base metals involved in a fraud investigation centres on warehouse receipts that the port denies issuing.

Alibaba logistics partner ZTO Express is cooperating with the French post office, La Poste, to launch an express delivery service from China to Europe as part of the e-commerce giant's overseas expansion.

High logistics costs and customs clearance problems have hindered the growth of international e-commerce trade, said Tommy Lui, head of global freight management for LF Logistics.

Mainland trade centres and logistics property operator Wuzhou International is in talks with e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba for possible co-operation, founder and chairman Shu Cecheng told the South China Morning Post.

MTR Corp and its consortium partners have won a A$3.7 billion (HK$26 billion) contract to deliver and operate Sydney's North West Rail Link, Australia's largest public transport project, which is worth A$8.3 billion in total.

Inflated mainland export figures last year due to fake invoicing have led to slower growth rates in trade data this year, economists said, and that might cause Beijing to miss its full-year external trade growth target of 7.5 per cent.

Qingdao Port International said yesterday the metals financing fraud uncovered at the port involved about 400,000 tonnes of base metals.

State-owned train makers China CNR Corp and CSR Corp have won new orders worth a total of 6.8 billion yuan (HK$8.6 billion), including overseas deals valued at 1.8 billion yuan.

China's railway investment accelerated in July and August as government spending on the rail network rose 20 per cent in the first eight months of the year on the year before to 405 billion yuan (HK$510 billion).

China's express delivery companies and their e-commerce partners have been forced by high costs to pull back from door-to-door delivery and instead ask customers to pick up their packages to keep shipment prices low.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding is seeking to raise up to US$24.3 billion in what could become the world's biggest ever share sale.

Shortly after the market opened, shares in CSR were up 7 per cent, trading at a 52-week high of HK$7.65, while shares in CNR rose by 5.7 per cent to touch a record high of HK$7.20 since its listing in May.

State-owned train makers CSR Corp and China CNR Corp said yesterday they had not submitted plans for a merger and nor had they received instructions to merge from the authorities.

The mainland is expected to release 300 billion yuan (HK$377 billion) worth of railway construction contracts in the remaining months of this year as the government steps up support for railway investments, said China Railway Group, the country's largest railway builder.

MTR Corp said it would absorb the HK$3 billion cost overrun on the delayed West Island and South Island lines as the firm unveiled a 28.5 per cent rise in first-half earnings to HK$7.9 billion.

Li & Fung, the world's largest sourcing company, reported a 9 per cent decline in core operating profit to US$227 million in the first half of the year and the firm expects a tough second half in the United States, which is still its key export market.

Kerry Logistics Network is looking to expand in mainland China and Southeast Asia after reporting an 8 per cent rise in core net profit to HK$490 million for the first half.

CWT Commodities is considering legal action as Qingdao port confirmed two more civil lawsuits have been launched by firms embroiled in a suspected metals financing fraud that could total almost US$1 billion.

A chilly start to the year in the United States and disruption from anti-Chinese factory riots in Vietnam are expected to weigh on Li & Fung's results for the first half of the year.

China says it "strongly regrets" a decision by the World Trade Organisation to uphold its ruling that the country violated global trade rules by restricting exports of rare earth elements.

Police are investigating into the death of the deputy commissioner of Qingdao customs, which controls imports and exports at the mainland city's port, Xinhua said yesterday.

Global Logistics Properties of Singapore announced it would invest 2 billion yuan (HK$2.5 billion) for a 15.3 per cent stake in China Materials Storage and Transportation Development.

Dry bulk company Sinotrans Shipping said first-half net profit expanded sixfold to US$10 million as revenue jumped 20 per cent to US$112.7 million.

Recurring earnings before property revaluation and exceptional items for the first half at Hutchison Whampoa grew 13 per cent year on year to HK$13.5 billion, beating analysts' expectations.

Citic Resources has filed a lawsuit against Qingdao Port International, demanding US$108 million in compensation if its fails to deliver base metals retained by the authorities as part of the fraud investigation which struck one of the biggest ports on the mainland.

President Xi Jinping believes a slight slowdown in economic growth would be acceptable, Li Yang, a deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told a briefing yesterday as the government think tank said growth could ease to as low as 6.4 per cent.

While the worst fallout from the Qingdao metal-backed financing scandal may have passed, mainland copper imports are slowing, with volumes shifting from small traders to larger ones as banks become more cautious.

NWS Holdings plans to pay 2.56 billion yuan (HK$3.2 billion) for a 51 per cent stake in the company that operates the Erguang Expressway in Guangdong province.

The MTR Corp has landed a £1.4 billion (HK$18.5 billion) contract to run the Crossrail train line that is being built across London.

Nearly 30 per cent of Hong Kong-based manufacturers with factories in the Pearl River Delta plan to scale back their investment in the area.

Orient Overseas Container Line said it would consider lodging a "preliminary appeal" against the verdict of the French court that found the Hong Kong shipping line guilty of involuntary manslaughter over the death 11 years ago of Courtenay Allan, one of its senior executives.

State-owned China Shipping Group, through two subsidiaries, will partner with Alibaba to establish an integrated logistics platform, combining its traditional shipping services with e-commerce.

The family of former Orient Overseas Container Line executive Courtenay Allan wrote to the shipping line's chairman demanding a public apology after the company was last week found guilty by a French court of involuntary manslaughter for his death.