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China's trust firms halt property loans -sources

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NEWS - China Real Estate

Tuesday, 23 November 2010 16:16

(Reuters) - Some of China's top trust companies have halted property-related lending and investment following a regulatory order, four sources told Reuters on Monday.

Seeing risks in rapid credit expansion to real estate projects, the China Banking Regulatory Commission last week instructed trust firms to assess the risks posed by their portfolios in a fresh move to rein in the red-hot property market.

"The CBRC ordered a self-examination last Friday in a document, and our application to invest in a property project was turned down by our company on the same day. I don't know whether it's a regulatory requirement or a decision by the company," a source at Ping An Trust told Reuters on Monday.

Two sources close to Zhongrong International Trust cited a company document as saying that it had halted all new plans to invest in the property sector, except affordable housing -- a niche strongly supported by the government.

One of the sources added that China might order a complete halt to all property-related businesses by trust firms.

A source at China Credit Trust Co Ltd said that his company had adopted a more prudent approach following the CBRC's order but had not yet halted property business.

Funds from trust companies have been an important alternative channel for Chinese developers to raise capital as the country has tightened controls on bank lending.

Trust companies are hybrid institutions combining features of commercial bank lending, private equity and asset management. Until recently they had been loosely regulated and had expanded rapidly.

By repackaging loans into equity- or fixed-income-linked products, trusts have been able to offer bank clients, typically rich individuals, much more attractive yields than are available on certificates of deposit.

The CBRC in July ordered trust companies to halt the launch of wealth-management products via banks.

Property-related trust investment totalled 150 billion yuan ($22.6 billion) in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 40 billion yuan in the whole of 2009, according to Use Trust Studio, a private data provider.


Beijing’s new airport expects inaugural flight in 2017

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NEWS - China Transportation

Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:13

Beijing has drafted the timetable for the construction of its new airport and it is expected the inaugural flight will take off in October 2017, the Beijing Business Today reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed insider.
According to this insider, a new airport is urgently needed in Beijing as the Capital International Airport can not absorb more passengers. The new airport plans to include nine runways, eight of which will be for civil aviation while the remaining one will be for military purposes.

The location of this new airport will be at the Yufa and Lixian township, Daxing district, in the far south of Beijing, according to previous reports.

The first phase of the project will occupy an area of 55 square kilometers and have a carrying capacity of 400 million travelers per year. In addition the passengers will be able to reach downtown Beijing by express rail within half a hour, the newspaper reported.

An aviation industry analyst said the new airport will attract investment, and promote industrial development and infrastructure building in southern Beijing. The huge passenger carrying and cargo loading capacities of the airport will have a significant effect on the economic growth and accelerate the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.

The division of the functions between this new airport and the Capital International Airport has been under hot discussion. Rumors have it that one airport will target domestic flight services while the other will focus on international flights.

But Wang Jian, secretary-general of China Civil Airport Association, told reporters that it is more feasible to divided airline companies by airline alliances and assigned them to one of the two airports. .


Tianjin-Taiwan Financial Cooperation Talks Promote Win-Win

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NEWS - Tianjin Trade

Thursday, 31 March 2011 14:40

Tianjin-Taipei financial cooperation talks were luanched in Tianjin on March 29. The Municipal Standing Committee and the Deputy Mayor Cui attended the meeting and welcomed financiers from Taiwan.

Cui addressed the meeting, hoping to take advantage of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and promote financial cooperation between Tianjin and Taipei on the areas of banking, securities, insurance, funds, renting and stock exchange.

As Binhai New Area integrates into the nation’s overall development strategy, Tianjin is a huge potential market, with preferential policies which attract business from Taiwan.

The talks this year are co-sponsored by financial groups from both sides of the Taiwan straits, with more than fifty financial professionals and university experts in attendance.


2 rail projects halted over environmental concerns

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NEWS - Tianjin Transportation

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 14:22

China's environmental watchdog recently ordered the suspension of a high-speed railway and halted the construction of another line due to violations of environmental laws, a move hailed as an indication of a push to develop in a scientific manner.

In a statement posted online Wednesday, the Ministry of Environmental Protection ordered a halt to the construction of a railway linking northern cities of Tianjin and Qinhuangdao because the route had been changed without approval.

Earlier, the ministry asked a passenger line connecting Qingdao and Jinan in eastern Shandong province to stop running because it had not passed an environmental impact evaluation, according to an online notice dated April 25.

In recent years, China has witnessed the substantial development of high-speed rail that has significantly improved public transport and advanced the country's social and economic growth.

As China continues to progress, further development of the rail system should be coupled with greater attention to the transportation system's overall design in order to achieve a balance between development speed and economic efficiency as well as harmony between projects and the environment.

Authorities and the public have become increasingly alert to environmental concerns, and the ministry has been vigilant in its duties by issuing punishment orders to firms that violate laws. Both its recent orders were in accordance with the law and demonstrated that the ministry is performing its legitimate duties to protect the environment.

Its latest action came Friday when it fined an environment technology firm in eastern Jiangsu province 30,000 yuan ($4,616) for its role in fabricating an environmental impact assessment report for a battery company.

These punishments reflect the government's resolution to protect the environment and push for development in a scientific manner despite the difficulty of the task. It also shows the government is unwavering in its vow to transform the economic growth mode during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015).

Toward that end, China has set an annual average growth target of seven percent for its economy during the coming five years, much lower than in the period from 2006-2010, when the economy grew at an average annual rate of 11 percent. Undoubtedly, common efforts from every sector are needed to achieve the goal.


China September Property Prices Rise, Defying Curbs

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NEWS - China Real Estate

Friday, 15 October 2010 14:49

China’s property prices rose and transactions jumped in September from the previous month, underscoring the need for further government curbs to discourage speculation and prevent asset bubbles in the fastest-growing major economy.

Prices in 70 cities climbed 0.5 percent from August and the value of property sales soared 56 percent, according to data from the statistics bureau today. Prices rebounded for the first time since May on a monthly basis after staying unchanged in the previous two months and declining in June.

The data adds to challenges faced by Premier Wen Jiabao and policymakers who this year tightened down-payment requirements, suspended loans for third-home purchases, and pledged to speed trials of a property tax that may be rolled out nationwide. Nomura Holdings Inc. predicts average residential prices may fall as much as 10 percent by the end of next year as cities including Shanghai follow up with their own curbs.

"The government’s true intention is to keep housing prices stable, rather than a substantial decline, which explains why they only use ad hoc and piecemeal tightening measures,” said Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist at Mizuho Securities Co. “Given the absence of a property tax and interest rates, the government still appears reluctant to use really biting measures that will be the most effective in cooling the property markets.”

A property index, which tracks 34 Shanghai-listed property companies, has tumbled 20 percent this year, compared with a 12 percent decline in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index.

Property Sales

Property sales volume rose 52 percent last month from August, the data show. Property prices gained 9.1 percent from a year earlier, slowing from 9.3 percent in August and beating the median 8.8 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of six economists. The year-on-year price gain has slowed from April’s 12.8 percent, a record for the data series, which began in 2005.

"The authorities may not see the property curbs as successful until prices fall by double-digits from a year earlier, so the current restrictions may last into next year,” said Zhang Zhiwei, a Hong Kong-based economist at investment bank China International Capital Corp., before today’s release. “Cash-rich developers may be able to resist cutting prices for a while.”

Beijing, Shenzhen

Property prices rose 0.2 percent in September in Beijing, 1 percent in Shenzhen and 1.9 percent in Lanzhou, in northwest China, from August. Haikou, the capital city of the tropical island province of Hainan, was the only city among the 70 major cities monitored that had a drop in property prices.

"The government may not seek blanket cooling measures against the real estate market again, though it is possible that it will draft some selective policies if prices resume rising rapidly in some places in the coming months,” said Lian Ping, chief economist at Bank of Communications Co. Ltd.

Prices will stabilize in the coming months and may drop if policies such as a property tax are introduced, Lian said. They are unlikely to decline significantly due to robust demand and the urbanization drive underway, he added in a telephone interview.

Property sales by volume rose 8.2 percent in the first nine months of the year to 632 million square meters (6.8 billion square feet), today’s data showed. The value of sales jumped 15.9 percent to 3.19 trillion yuan ($480 billion). Property sales by volume jumped 16.6 percent in September from a year earlier while sales by value rose 35 percent in the month.

Sales Strength

Today’s numbers came in line with private data indicating strength in sales in September. In Shanghai, home transactions rose 82 percent by floor area from August, according to UWin Real Estate Information Services Co.

Shimao Property Holdings Ltd., a developer based in the city, reported a 30 percent increase in sales value from the previous month. Beijing-based developer Soho China Ltd. reported last month that it had already met a full-year sales target.

"Transactions may cool as clearer expectations of a property tax encourage home buyers to hold off on purchases,” said CICC’s Zhang. “On the other hand, abundant cash flows may enable developers to continue investment, especially in welfare homes, so that the impact of the property curbs on the overall economy remains limited.”

Investment in real-estate development rose 35 percent to 515.6 billion yuan in September from a year earlier. That compares with a gain of 34.1 percent in August. For the first nine months, investment jumped 36.4 percent from the same period in 2009.


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