China policy round-up: Xi visits Europe, trade talks continue, local government bonds available to retail

In this round-up, Chinese president Xi Jinping starts a five-day visit to Europe, the eighth and ninth rounds of trade talks are scheduled and local government bonds will soon be available at bank counters.

  • By Rebecca Feng
  • 22 Mar 2019
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Chinese president Xi Jinping is on state visits to Italy, France and Monaco from March 21 to March 26. Among the three countries, his visit to Italy has generated the most attention.

Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister, is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in support of the Belt and Road Initiative during Xi’s visit. The MoU will make Italy the first European Union member or G7 country to officially support the controversial initiative.

Much preparation has been done for the Italy trip. Xi replied to a letter from students at Convitto Nazionale, a high school in Rome at the beginning of the week. He also published an article in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily newspaper.

The visit will bring investments and deals, including a possible Panda bond issued by Italy’s state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Reuters reported.

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US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US secretary of the treasury Steven Mnuchin are heading to Beijing on Thursday and Friday next week for the eighth round of negotiation, according to a report by state media Xinhua.

After that, Chinese vice premier Liu He will go to Washington DC at the beginning of April for the ninth round of trade talks.

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he would keep the existing tariffs until a deal is reached.

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Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will be among the first batch of commercial banks to make local government bonds available for purchase to retail investors. Their customers will be able to buy bonds in their branches from Monday (March 25).

The first local government to make its bonds available to retail investors will be the city of Ningbo. The local government is planning to sell a Rmb840m ($125m) three year bond to raise funds to purchase land reserves.

Out of the Rmb840m, Rmb300m will be allocated to retail investors and small institutional investors at the counter of ICBC, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of Ningbo.

The minimum investing threshold for retail investors is only Rmb100.

Chinese bank customers can already buy central government bonds over the counter.

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China has loosened regulations on the financial management of multinational companies, according to a Monday statement issued by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (Safe).

Most importantly, the previous restriction that multinational companies can only have a working relationship with three domestic banks is scrapped. The new rules will also simplify the registration process for multinational companies borrowing from overseas or lending money abroad.

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China’s foreign minister Wang Yi met with Teodoro Locsin Jr, foreign affairs secretary of the Philippines, on Wednesday. The two discussed ways to deepen collaboration on BRI projects.

Locsin also confirmed that president Rodrigo Duterte will come to the BRI conference in Beijing next month.

On the day before Wang and Locsin’s meeting, Zhong Shan, head of China’s Ministry of Commerce, met with Philippines’ business leaders and the economic management team of the cabinet. The two parties discussed ways to facilitate infrastructure investment and the development of democratic societies, claimed China’s ministry of commerce.

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Bank of America’s Shanghai branch became the first US non-body corporation member of the Shanghai Clearing House on Wednesday after successfully conducting a renminbi interest rate swap on Tuesday.


  • By Rebecca Feng
  • 22 Mar 2019

GlobalRMB Panda Bonds league table

Rank Arranger Share % by Volume
1 China Merchants Securities Co 26.40
2 Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) 20.00
3 China Securities 13.33
4 Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) 12.00
5 Bank of China (BOC) 11.33

Panda Bond Database

Pricing Date Issuer Country Size Rmb (m)
1 13-Mar-19 Global Logistic Properties via Iowa China Offshore Holdings Hong Kong 3,300
2 12-Mar-19 United Overseas Bank (UOB) Singapore 2,000
3 05-Mar-19 BMW Finance N.V. Germany 3,000
4 01-Mar-19 Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) China 1,500
5 25-Feb-19 New Development Bank China 3,000

Offshore RMB Bond Top Bookrunners

Rank Bookrunner Share % by Volume
1 Standard Chartered Bank 22.89
2 Credit Agricole 8.87
2 HSBC 8.87
4 DBS 6.72
5 China CITIC Bank Corp 5.85

Latest Offshore RMB Bonds

Pricing Date Issuer Country Size Rmb (m)
1 16-Apr-19 ICBC Singapore Branch China 1,000
2 10-Apr-19 Bank of China Macau Branch (BOC Macau) China 4,500
3 15-Mar-19 Bank of Communications Hong Kong Branch (BOCOM HK) China 2,500
4 13-Mar-19 Daimler International Finance Germany 1,000
5 05-Mar-19 Fantasia Holdings Group Co China 1,000