Saturday, 12 September 2009

Real and imagined attacks fan the flames of needle hysteria

Mysterious needle attacks have spread to new cities in Xinjiang, officials in the restive, far-western region confirmed yesterday, although once again the assaults appear to be a mix of the real and the imaginary.

Reaction to black talent star shows gulf in cultural sensitivities

Born to a Chinese mother and a black American father, the 20-year-old Shanghai Theatre Academy student was the major draw in successive appearances on a Shanghai TV talent show Let’s Go! Oriental Angel that began airing in June. But the audience was not as interested in her performances as her unusual complexion and mysterious life story.

Obama imposes tariffs on Chinese tires

President Barack Obama on Friday slapped punitive tariffs on all car and light truck tires entering the United States from China in a decision that could anger the strategically important Asian powerhouse but placate union supporters important to his health care push at home.

Mainland economy stays on recovery course

The mainland economy continued to recover last month as the expansion in industry and retail sales accelerated while capital investment maintained its strong momentum, official data released yesterday shows.

Flu likely to infect tens of millions during peak season

The Ministry of Health issued a stark warning on swine flu yesterday, saying fatalities were unavoidable and tens of millions would be affected during the peak flu season.

Anti-graft move expected at China’s key party meeting

A breakthrough in China’s long-drawn battle against corruption may emerge at a key meeting of the country’s political leaders next week.

Jailed for life, Chen and wife go down in history

A court yesterday sentenced Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian to life imprisonment after convicting him of corruption, marking a watershed in the island’s turbulent young democracy.

Ex-Taiwan leader Chen gets life term

Professor Chen Fang-ming, a Taiwan literature expert from the National Chengchi University, said that Chen’s worst crime was not graft but how he made the Taiwanese lose their faith in fairness and justice by his lack of contrition and denials of guilt.

‘All our values have been twisted and distorted,’ he said.

Couple’s appeal could take five years

Chen Shui-bian and his wife Wu Shu-chen could be expected to mount a vigorous fight against the life sentences handed down to them yesterday but any decision by Taiwan’s highest court was years away, top lawyers say.

‘Verdict a warning to politicians to keep their hands out of the cookie jar’

The trial of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian may have caused a rupture in the pro-independence “green camp”, but it heralds a new stage in the island’s democratic and judicial development, analysts say.

Taiwan media divided over ex-leader's life sentence

Media in Taiwan were divided on Saturday over former president Chen Shui-bian’s conviction on corruption charges, with some hailing it as a “milestone” while others said it was a “flawed” process.

Profitability of IRs in doubt: Citi analyst

Can the integrated resorts count on Singaporeans to gamble enough to make them profitable? Citi has doubts.

Du earned just HK$2m from deals, court told

Hong Kong’s biggest insider trader may have earned only HK$2 million profit from his HK$87 million in illegal dealings, the District Court heard yesterday.

Why Du Jun thought he could flout the law

Why did Du Jun leave the safety of Beijing and head for Hong Kong to collect a picture and an air purifier, knowing the local regulator was after him?

Jim Rogers: Wait and See Investment in A-shares, Big City Real Estate

Jim Rogers, an American investor and financial commentator based in Singapore who has been paying close attention to the Asian market, sees that in the past 10 months, A-shares values have doubled, but predicts that there will be a negative change in September-November. He adds he would neither buy nor sell shares at present, points out that in the next 20 years agriculture will be a very promising industry in China, and suggests that everybody play the role of “farmer.”

Cash Rich SOEs Pushing Real Estate Bubble Ever Higher

Since May, real estate enterprises with central enterprise background, and even non real estate firms, have begun to enclose lands, resulting in big changes in the land market. The increasing land prices are leading to skyrocketing housing prices and attracting official attention.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Car loan war around the corner

Hong Leong Finance first to cut interest rate, putting pressure on other lenders

Bubbles forming in commodities, stocks, property: Bank of China

It sees potential risk of liquidity going into asset market

Driven market with no brand loyalty

Nouveau riche Chinese are discovering ‘you are what you drive’ - but pricing is still the top concern for most buyers

Dying to earn: Japan’s foreign slave labourers

“The most serious problem we face are violations of the law,” Nakajima says. “But these are not just labour laws that are being broken; we see abuse of authority, sexual harassment and violence.

House prices rise fast on record lending, confidence

It rose 2% in August from a year earlier, and double the gain in July, says report

The tide has turned for insider traders

Greed and opportunity ensure that so long as free markets exist, unscrupulous insiders will be tempted to find ways to profit at the expense of honest investors, whatever the risk. But if anyone has yet to get the message that Hong Kong now treats as criminals those who trade with the benefit of inside information, they no longer have any excuse. Yesterday’s conviction of former Morgan Stanley Asia managing director Du Jun should ram it home.

BlackBerry records provided prosecutors with their evidence

The BlackBerry may have become the executive’s best friend, but for those who do not play by the rules, it can also be their undoing.

Investors who suffer losses may get reparation

Investors who sold shares in Citic Resources Holdings to Du Jun, not realising he was acting on insider information, could receive compensation if the Securities and Futures Commission succeeds in a landmark legal action.

Du Jun walked into SFC trap

A trip back to Hong Kong to collect a framed picture and a small air purifier from his old office proved to be the downfall of Du Jun, the city’s biggest insider trader.

Insider trading net snares biggest fish yet

Ex-Morgan Stanley director convicted over HK$87m deals

Judge raps Morgan Stanley for failed check

Bank’s control system ‘not proper and effective’

New rules for online music in China

China has announced that all songs posted on music websites must receive prior approval and foreign lyrics must be translated into Chinese, in a new push to control online content.

Private bankers face heavy odds amid staff shortage

Singapore may be short of 900 private bankers; premium on experience now

Property prices climb 2pc in mainland cities

Property prices in 70 large and mid-sized cities on the mainland rose 2 per cent in August from a year earlier as sales and investment grew under government policy support.

Punters go dicing with Genting chips

Heavy trading sees Genting (S) share price fall; Malaysian parent holds its own

S-chips should focus on fundamentals

The recent slew of delisting and dual-listing news among S-chips isn’t a comforting sign, considering that interest in China companies listed in Singapore is just starting to show signs of a revival.

SGX, the Asian Gateway: Where does it go from here?

Looking back at the last 10 years Singapore Exchange (SGX) has been in existence, one cannot but conclude that it has done an incredible job.

SOEs May Sue Derivative Transaction Counterparties

Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) suffering huge losses from fuel hedging transactions are threatening to strike back at their counterparties by taking them to Court.

Top court to hear petitions on rulings

A chink of light this week greeted petitioners - the desperate thousands who defy police and party to reach administrative centres and ultimately Beijing to get perceived wrongs righted. The Supreme People’s Court announced it would hear petition cases concerning wrongful or unfair court judgments.

Better health, better sex

Studies show that those who exercise more tend to have better sex

Taiwan ex-president, Chen Shui-bian, jailed for life for graft

A Taiwan court imposed a life sentence on former President Chen Shui-bian after convicting him of corruption Friday, marking a watershed in the island’s turbulent political history.

Taiwan ex-leader says he is done with politics

Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian, who is awaiting a verdict in a corruption case against him, has vowed to quit politics if he is released, a report said Thursday.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

OCBC Sec moves to boost foreign trades

OCBC Securities Pte Ltd (OSPL) is expanding its direct market access (DMA) to seven more foreign stock exchanges in China, Indonesia, Thailand and the US by the end of this month, bringing the network to 11 stock exchanges.

Illegal flyers’ days numbered

The city this year stepped up its campaign against those who post illegal flyers and the initiative has met resounding success.

First ‘evidence’ of needle attacks

Authorities counter criticism of official version of events in Urumqi

Dirty reality behind solar power

Making panels to tap sun’s energy is polluting and wasteful

Chongqing crackdown expanding

The crackdown on organised crime in Chongqing is being expanded, with increasing numbers of police officers involved.

China Gaoxian to raise $83.2m through mainboard IPO

China Gaoxian Fibre Fabric Holdings Ltd has launched its initial public offering to raise $83.2 million in what is Singapore’s biggest IPO so far this year.

Chinese woman spends $600,000 on dog

A millionaire in northern China paid four million yuan (600,000 dollars) for a dog and ordered 30 luxury cars to come to the airport to greet her and the animal, local media reported.

US recession may be over, says Fed survey

The recession is ending and the US economy is finally growing again.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The US taxman comes knocking on Asian doors

Green Card holders and US citizens with undeclared offshore assets have until Sept 23 to come clean

MAS bans use of ‘capital protected’

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has published the first set of new rules that it plans to implement to change the way financial institutions here treat customers in response to the recent scandal over mis-selling in the industry.

Americans in Singapore seek tax advice as US deadline nears

Tax experts say they are getting queries from United States citizens and US green card holders in Singapore, wanting to come clean over income they have not declared - before an imminent deadline.

Banks go on a hiring spree in HK, mainland

Outlook for region spurs expansion

China relaxes rules for inbound investment

Individual QFII quota limit up, minimum lowered; overall quota to stay intact

Chinese firms post strong Q2 results

China’s mainland-listed companies look set to avoid an earnings decline this year after strong second-quarter results, spurring analysts to raise their forecasts to a flat performance from a 10 per cent drop.

Economic Recovery Adjustment

After experiencing such a rapid recovery, China’s economy has begun an adjustment.

How much more upside is possible?

Here’s an interesting question that punters must surely be asking: how much more upside can there be in stocks, either for the rest of the year or the next 12 months?

Letting staff go with graceful exit

Badly handled exits can make it harder for companies to later recruit and retain talent

Local IPO market stirring back to life

Seven new listings since end June, compared to three in first half of year

MediaRing returns to limelight

Plans to grow profits by new chairman BK Modi has been read positively by investors

New department to develop bigger role for the yuan

Agency a key part of strategy to internationalise the currency

Next generation builders shaping family legacies

Young players in property groups making their mark in family business

No. 2 police officer held in Chongqing crackdown

The No. 2 police officer in Chongqing has been detained and placed under investigation as part of a sweeping clampdown on triads that has brought down hundreds of officers in recent months, a Hong Kong newspaper reported.

Stress relief, China-style

Work-related woes prompt food orgies and mass pillow fights

Death, jail threats hang over Urumqi offenders

The troubled far-western city of Urumqi has spelt out potential punishments for spreading rumours after days of sometimes deadly unrest and panic about reported syringe attacks that have fanned ethnic tensions.

Greed Is Bad, Gekko. So Is a Meltdown.

Greed is good. Money never sleeps.

Beijing and foreign banks row over airlines’ fuel bets

The central government and foreign banks are threatening legal action against each other in an escalating row over ballooning losses racked up by state-owned airlines which ran into the red on derivatives contracts.

China Hongxing sticks to its guns

It insists it did not receive shareholding notifications from JF

Closely Watched Buffett Recalculating His Bets

Warren E. Buffett has two cardinal rules of investing. Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1.

Government Involves Itself in SOE Fuel Derivative Defaults

Last year’s commodity price plunge caught a number of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) flat-footed and they suffered huge losses in fuel hedging derivative trading with international investment banks. Both the SOEs and regulators are straining to explain the debacle, and there are even indications they are inclined to blame fraud and/or conspiracy by foreign investment banks.

Riots on rise as cadres at fault, magazine says

Outspoken article gives Beijing checklist to ease sweeping unrest

Surge in IPOs as Asian market recovery picks up speed

China, Hong Kong issues lead rush, with real estate, consumer-driven plays

Asia’s initial public offering market is booming as economies inch out of recession and equity markets improve, setting the scene for the region to emerge as the world’s top spot for firms rushing to raise money.

Time to adapt to new accounting standards

Companies listed on Singapore Exchange are required to prepare their financial statements in accordance with the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or the local equivalent of IFRS, the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS).

Trade war looms between Chinese, Western solar firms

Fair competition or save the planet? That could ultimately be at play as China and the West, long at odds over trade in steel, textiles and car parts, risk being sucked into a row over protectionism in renewable energy equipment such as solar panels.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Yunnan tourist area swept by unrest after policeman killed

Hundreds of armed police were sent to Yunnan's Shangri-La tourist area after unrest triggered by the killing of a local police officer, a human rights watchdog said yesterday.

Beaten to death at Wal-Mart

A woman in eastern China was allegedly beaten to death by five employees of a Wal-Mart store who accused her of shoplifting, a police report and state media said on Tuesday.

Stone sorry for ‘karma’ comment

Hollywood star Sharon Stone has apologised for her “bad karma” comments on the Sichuan earthquake, 15 months after the incident upset Chinese communities around the world.

Beijing to back state firms acting against banks

Beijing has publicly put its weight behind some state-owned firms struggling with oil derivatives losses, saying it will back them in legal action against the foreign banks that sold the products.

Intel i5 Lynnfield

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Intel P55 Express Chipset

Monday, 7 September 2009

Hot Money Back on China’s Front Burner

Yet hot money’s shadowy nature makes it statistically difficult to document, raising questions about the phenomenon’s seriousness.

Monetary Policy Steers an A-Share Ride

Policy decisions and a lending spree lifted Chinese stocks to unwarranted heights before the ‘capital feast’ suddenly ended.

China Auditors Take Close Look at Bank Lending

China’s audit agency launched a probe into bank lending amid concerns that some of the lending ended up in stock and property markets.

Post-Lending Boom Blues for China’s Banks

Banks that issued a combined 7 trillion yuan in loans during the first half are now confronting earnings issues – and the future.

Rise of ‘2 world capitals’ in China

Beijing and Shanghai set to become top global centres: Forbes

No reason for mainland stock jitters

Just as mainland stocks often rise without fundamental support, they are now tanking even though companies just had a better-than-expected earnings season.

Ignore the doomsayers - home prices will keep rising

“Bubble” may be the word on everyone’s lips when talking about spiralling housing prices on the mainland, Hong Kong and Singapore, but contrarians believe these fears are overblown and prices have yet to peak.

High-Rise Bickering

Cases of disputes between neighbours have risen steadily in the past few years

Food safety standards improved after a crisis that tarnished the nation’s image

Could another health crisis like the melamine contamination case happen again? How was it allowed to happen in the first place?

Secrets of Alleged Oil Price Manipulation Exposed

Its superfast, supersecret oil trading software was called the Hammer.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sacked Urumqi party chief is just a scapegoat

Beijing fired official ‘to ease public anger in Xinjiang’

Sensitive touch needed to soothe ethnic tensions

The sacking of Urumqi’s Communist Party Secretary Li Zhi yesterday, a rare move in response to public protests, reflects the gravity of the situation facing the central government in Xinjiang. Five people have been killed and scores injured in mass rallies triggered by Han Chinese who are angered at a failure by provincial authorities to secure their safety amid a wave of terrifying attacks with syringes.

Syringe attack victims worried about long-term health risks

Jiang Ye was waiting for a friend at the train station in Urumqi when she felt a sharp stabbing pain in her left arm.

Five killed as protests continue to rock Urumqi

‘Separatists’ blamed by Beijing for syringe attacks

Dairy industry now safer, but farmers feeling the pinch

In the first of a two-part series looking back at the milk contamination crisis, Al Guo revisits the dairy farms in Inner Mongolia to see what has changed.