April 20, 2017

China

FT – Beijing’s migrants no longer welcome as city caps population – Lucy Hornby 4/19

  • “Beijing has announced plans to combat what it calls ‘urban diseases’ by capping its population and shrinking its footprint, wreaking havoc on the small businesses and migrants that throng its bustling streets.”
  • “The Chinese capital will cap its population at 23m ‘long-term residents’ by 2020 ‘and keep it at that level for the long term,’ a city government notice said.”
  • “The permanent population of Beijing’s central districts dropped by 353,000 last year, according to municipal data released last week. The capital’s official population is now close to 22m.”
  • “Within the capital, the campaign has translated into the destruction of small shops and businesses that make up 35% of the city’s economy but only 7.5% of its tax revenues, according to 2011 figures, the most recent available.”
  • “Officially, China still encourages the integration into cities of hundreds of millions of people still residing in the countryside.”
  • “But migrants with a rural hukou, or household registration, are expected to settle in provincial cities or county seats, where a multiyear property bubble has left rows of empty apartment blocks. They are not so welcome in cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, where hospitals and schools are much better and higher incomes allow the service industry to flourish.”
  • “In the past two years Beijing has torn down wholesale markets and made it harder for children to attend school in order to force out migrant families.”
  • “‘They needed us when Beijing was growing but now that it’s developed, they don’t want us anymore,’ said one woman who has lived in Beijing since she arrived as a 15-year-old nanny 23 years ago.”
  • “In 2016 the capital tore down 30m square meters of small shops, restaurants and fruit stands deemed ‘illegal construction.’ It is targeting the destruction of 40m sq meters this year, shrinking the land zoned for construction to 2,760 sq km by 2030 while expanding parks and gardens.”

FT – China seeks return of outspoken tycoon Guo Wengui – Gabriel Wildau and Lucy Hornby 4/19

NYT – Chinese Investment Scandal Highlights ‘Shadow Banking’ Risks – Sui-Lee-Wee and Owen Guo 4/19

  • In regard to the latest wealth management product scandal…”Investors, assured that the government will come to the rescue, do not worry about the potential risks and continue to pour money into the products. According to the state news media, Chinese investors have put $4.4 trillion into wealth management products, equivalent to about 40% of the country’s annual economic output.”
  • “China Minsheng, the bank at the heart of the latest scandal, had a good pitch.”
  • “The product, it told investors, would provide a return of 8% to 27%. To sweeten the deal, the bank offered free golf events and trips to South Africa and other overseas locales.”
  • “…Chinese news media reported that more than $400 million of investors’ money had disappeared.”
  • “Along with wealth management products from banks, online lenders are jumping into the game, adding to the risks. Last year, Chinese authorities said an online finance company had bilked investors out of more than $7.6 billion in what they said was a huge Ponzi scheme.”

South America

FT – Venezuelans take to the streets in ‘mother of all marches’ – Andres Schipani 4/19

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