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April survey points to further freight weakness

Chinese freight activity slowed MoM and remained weak YoY during the first three weeks of April, according to China Confidential’s latest survey of 200 logistics companies. The outlook for the coming month also moderated, providing further signs of sluggish economic activity.

22 April 2014

Latest metrics point to controlled renminbi depreciation

The latest official and market data monitored by China Confidential suggests that the depreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar seen so far this year has had a tangible impact on fund flows and market movements across a range of metrics, but remains broadly under the central bank’s control, with little sign of uncontrolled capital flight or investor panic. Weakening economic fundamentals and continued external uncertainty will continue to pose challenges in the coming months, however.

22 April 2014

Weak investment drags down 1Q14 GDP

Weak investment growth and tight credit conditions contributed to a slowdown in Chinese GDP growth to 7.4% YoY in 1Q14, down from 7.7% YoY in 4Q13, in line with our indications of an investment-led slowdown since the start of the year. Despite signs of short-term infrastructure support, we continue to expect tight credit conditions and property market weakness to weigh on growth rates in 2Q14, barring signs of genuine, large-scale stimulus, which we have yet to see.

16 April 2014

Shadow finance slowdown squeezes credit

Formal and shadow bank credit recorded a sharp sequential increase in March, but declined YoY, largely due to a scaling back of shadow financing. The sum of total social financing (TSF) – the widest official measure of financing in the economy – and underground lending totalled Rmb2.3tn in March, up 96.5% MoM but down 16.4% YoY. This brought overall credit growth in 1Q14 to Rmb6.3tn, 9% lower than credit growth recorded in 1Q13.

15 April 2014

FamilyMart heading to Beijing

DANWEI - Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart will soon open its first outlets in Beijing. Also this week, the latest episode in the rocky development of a transport hub in Beijing. In the Mai-Mai Index, we look at use of the term “PM2.5” in Chinese news and social media in Q1 2014.

11 April 2014

Chinese banks feel the squeeze

An analysis of listed banks’ 2013 results highlights the negative impact of the shadow finance squeeze on banks’ interest income, profits and non-performing loan ratios since the middle of last year.

10 April 2014

Selected financial charts

A selection of key financial data over the past fortnight.

10 April 2014

Alibaba – facing up to the challenge

Alibaba’s proactive response to the growing challenge from JD.com should enable its Taobao Marketplace and Tmall sites to remain the two dominant e-commerce sites in China for the forseeable future.

10 April 2014

Jingdong – Tencent alliance a potential game-changer

Jingdong’s alliance with internet giant Tencent should leave the online retailer in a much stronger position to challenge market leader Alibaba, but its continued reliance on direct sales and distribution will continue to weigh on profits.

10 April 2014

Vipshop – short-term advantages, long-term challenges

The Chinese online discount retailer should continue to outperform in the short term, but risks being squeezed by ambitious larger online retailers in the longer term.

10 April 2014
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