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The week in review: China’s June industrial profit growth accelerates, CSRC amends information disclosure requirements, finance minister warns against government debt risk

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By Addison Gong, Rebecca Feng
27 Jul 2020

In this round-up, China’s industrial profits jump for a second consecutive month, the securities regulator tweaks requirements around information disclosure by listed companies, and the Chinese finance minister says the country must continue to keep government debt risk at bay.

June industrial profits reached Rmb666.6bn ($95.2bn), marking an 11.5% year-on-year growth, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday morning. The growth accelerated from May’s 6% year-on-year growth.

However, accumulated industrial profits in the first six months reached Rmb2.5tr, a 12.8% year-on-year decline.

State-owned enterprises and private enterprises saw their profits fall 28.5% and 8.4% year-on-year, respectively, in the first six months this year to Rmb661.4bn and Rmb712bn.

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The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) made a series of changes last Friday to rules on listed companies’ information disclosure.

The CSRC added a clause requiring companies to use “simple, clear and easy-to-understand” language when disclosing information.

It also required companies to report any major changes in the businesses of their actual controllers or companies owned by the actual controllers. Additionally, in cases where a listed company’s board of directors cannot guarantee the accuracy of the company’s disclosure, they must provide, in writing, the reasons for the failures and disclose them to the public.

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The combined revenues from 134 Chinese securities houses for the first half of 2020 increased by nearly 20% year-on-year to Rmb213.4bn, according to data from the Securities Association of China. Their net profits of Rmb83.15bn were almost 25% higher than a year ago. Ten of the securities houses were loss making.

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China should promote the use of the renminbi in financing offshore projects as well as cross-border loan trade payments, said Xiao Gang, former chairman of the CSRC, at the 2020 International Monetary Forum held on Saturday. Xiao also said the country should encourage multinational companies to set up global or regional capital management centres onshore.

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Foreign exchange market transactions in June totalled Rmb17.7tr, or $2.5tr, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The number for the first half of the year stood at Rmb92.7tr.

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The Chinese finance minister Liu Kun said local governments must not neglect their debt risks while combating the Covid-19 pandemic, nor should they raise debt illegally and create new risks because of fiscal difficulties.

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China’s Guangdong province has put in place a number of measures to stabilise foreign capital. These include supporting foreign institutional investors to invest in Chinese private equity and venture capital funds in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area through the Qualified Foreign Limited Partner (QFLP) scheme.

The provincial government will launch a trial programme for foreign debt management, which will make cross-border financing easier for foreign-funded companies. It is also encouraging foreign investment in the electric vehicles industry, while promising to relax foreign ownership restrictions for manufacturers of commercial vehicles.

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The National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors, a regulator of China’s interbank bond market, has followed in the steps of the CSRC by saying it will suspend GF Securities’ license to be the lead underwriter of all debt financing instruments of non-financial enterprises.

The suspension period will last from July 20 this year to July 19 next year, according to a last Friday announcement.

The CSRC banned GF Securities from sponsoring IPOs and underwriting bonds earlier this month due to the firm’s failure to perform due diligence on Kangmei Pharmaceutical.

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The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has said that apps by Bosera Asset Management Co, China Asset Management Co, China Universal Asset Management Co and Tianhong Asset Management Co violated users’ rights.

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The US has “single-handedly” created the difficulties currently facing US-Sino relationship, said Wang Yi, the foreign minister of China, last Friday. The US’s intention is to do whatever it takes to disrupt the country’s development process, and China, which is still hoping to respect and co-operate with the US, will not allow it to make trouble, Wang added.

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A group of men forcefully entered the Chinese consulate in Houston through a rear door last Friday afternoon local time, Reuters reported. The US government’s order for the consulate to close took effect at Friday 4pm Houston time. The article was subsequently cited by People’s Daily.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry, responded to the news on Sunday.

“The Chinese side deplores and firmly opposes the US move of forcibly entering China's Consulate General in Houston and has lodged solemn representations,” he said. “China will make legitimate and necessary reactions.”

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Tencent’s messaging app WeChat stopped services for accounts registered with local numbers in India over the weekend, according to news reports from Chinese and Indian media.

The south Asian country earlier this month announced a ban on WeChat together with another 58 China-based apps amid tensions between the two countries.
By Addison Gong, Rebecca Feng
27 Jul 2020