SHANGHAI - Hong Kong’s top anti-graft watchdog has detained 21 employees at a Government contractor for allegedly faking test results for materials used to build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, currently under construction linking the Chinese Mainland with the two special administrative regions.
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HANOI - A Draft Decree detailing implementation of the Law on Social Insurance to apply to all foreign employees working in Vietnam from January 1, 2018 has been released by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) for public comment. The requirement will increase employment costs for companies doing business in Vietnam.
BEIJING - China will ease restrictions on foreign investment, including a further opening-up in sectors such as services, manufacturing and mining, according to a news release issued after a key Party meeting on Tuesday. A revised version of the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries was approved by the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform.
SINGAPORE - In a legal Opinion handed down on May 16, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared that the Free Trade Agreement signed between the EU and Singapore in June 2015 cannot be ratified without the approval of all 38 of the EU's national and regional parliaments.
HONG KONG - While markets continue to shrug off Moody’s downgrade of China credit ratings, the agency continues with its clean-up work, slowly but steadily. The latest casualty – Hong Kong – has seen its rating lowered by one notch to Aa2 from Aa1, following the downgrade of 26 State-owned enterprises.
In an analysis of the downgrades, global asset manager Natixis says Moody’s key reason for the action on Hong Kong is simply Hong Kong’s ties with the Mainland.
HONG KONG – Almost 15 months after placing China on negative outlook, Moody’s Investors Service today downgraded China’s sovereign rating to A1 from Aa3. Moody’s says the outlook is stable. Despite China posting better than expected GDP growth in Q1, Moody’s decision to downgrade stems from their expectation that China’s debt will continue to rise while potential growth slows, eroding the country’s credit metrics. Moody’s does not see the Government’s reforms as fully offsetting the rise in economic and financial risk.
NEW DELHI - USG Boral, a global leader in building products technology, has announced plans to build a new plasterboard plant in South India . The new plant will be operated by its India business unit, USG Boral Building Products India Pte Ltd. USG Boral is 50% ownedy Boral Ltd of Australia.
SEOUL – South Korea’s new President, Moon Jae-in, has nominated Kim Dong-yeon, currently President of Ajou University, as his new Finance Minister, Chang Ha-sung, currently a Korea University professor, as his new Chief of Staff for Policy, and the Director of the Institute for the Future of State (IFS) Kim Gwang-du, as the new Vice Chairman of the National Economic Advisory Council. www.korea.net (ATI).
SHANGHAI - Chinese smartphone brands took more than half of India’s market for the first time in this year’s first quarter, using their experience in relatively high-quality, low-end models to steal share from homegrown players.
KUALA UMPUR - Malaysia’s better-than-expected economic performance in Q1 – at 5.6% up from 4.5% in Q4 of 2016 - was largely driven by domestic demand, particularly private consumption and gross fixed capital formation, which printed much stronger than expected.
HO CHI MINH CITY - In parallel with its ongoing equitisation process of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), the Government of Vietnam is undertaking a programme of divestment of the State's interests in a number of blue-chip former SOEs in which it has retained a significant interest post-privatisation, such as the country's leading dairy company Vinamilk and largest breweries Habeco and Sabeco.
CANBERRA – Australia and Hong Kong are set to hold their first round of negotiations to secure a Free Trade Agreement in Canberra this month. Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, says an FTA with Hong Kong will create new export opportunities for local service providers.
BANGKOK - Growth in Thailand has accelerated to 3.3% y/y on the back of stronger goods exports and tourism activity. The strengthening of exports also favourably impacted household consumption. By contrast, investment activity remained subdued at 1.7%, mainly reflecting excess capacity in the manufacturing sector.
SINGAPORE – Standard and Poor’s today raised its long-term sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Indonesia to 'BBB-' from 'BB+', with the outlook stable. It takes Indonesia to investment grade, a move that had been anticipated by markets for some time.
SHANGHAI - China is preparing to impose regulatory oversight on trading of Bitcoin to fight use of the electronic currency for money-laundering, Caixin quotes a source close to the matter as saying. The new regulations would roll out next month.
SINGAPORE - Monthly trackers developed by ANZ Bank based on high frequency indicators to gauge the direction and magnitude of GDP growth in Asian economies point at a regional level towards a steady improvement in growth in exports. Exports have complemented or cushioned growth even in economies driven by domestic demand, like India and Indonesia, the trackers show.