China's Belt and Road Initiative to boost maritime ports development: UAE official

The presence of Chinese companies in the free zone at the Khalifa Industrial City and Khalifa Port enhances the status of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in support of the Belt and Road Initiative, said Mohammed Juma Al-Shamsi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, in an interview with Xinhua. Asked about the possible role played by the ports of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to build and strengthen China's Belt and Road Initiative, Al-Shamsi said ports of Abu Dhabi have "the best developed infrastructure in the region" linking East and the West. In addition, Abu Dhabi's Khalifa port "is capable to receive different sizes of ships and the existence of equipment container transport gives confidence to investors and facilitates access to Africa, Asia and also Europe," he said. The Belt and Road Initiative aims to economically integrate Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. It consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Guangzhou sees new development opportunities

STV Sakai (Guangzhou) International Science and Technology, a subsidiary of the world's largest electronics contractor Foxconn Technology Group, has formally completed registration in China's southern Guangdong Province, according to local customs. STV Sakai, with a registered capital of 21 billion yuan ($3 billion), plans to invest 50 billion yuan to produce the 10.5 generation panel, substrate glass and related product lines. It is the biggest foreign investment project in four decades in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong. In 2016, 1,757 foreign-invested companies in Guangzhou were established, year-on-year growth of 23 percent. The actually used foreign investment amounted to 5.7 billion dollars, year-on-year growth of 5.3 percent.

All eyes on China's growth target as 'two sessions' near

With China's economic growth slowing for a sixth year in 2016 to a 26-year low, the world is watching as the government prepares to announce this year's growth target at the annual parliamentary session. China adopted a target range for GDP growth for the first time in more than two decades in 2016, and its 6.7-percent growth fell within that range of 6.5-7 percent. Although the pace still beat most major economies, the country's year-on-year growth has slowed for six years in a row, falling from a growth rate of more than 10 percent in 2010. As the current government enters the final year of its five-year term, all eyes are on this year's growth target, which will be released in early March at the annual sessions of China's top legislature and top political advisory body, known as the national "two sessions."

Shanxi mines cash in on coal price

Analyst says major producers expect to see steady stream of earnings Major listed coal companies in Shanxi province, the country's largest coal production base, expected to see profit growth in 2016-thanks to rising coal prices resulting from the nationwide capacity reduction campaign-according to previews of their annual reports. Shanxi Lu'an Environmental Energy Development Co Ltd said in a public filing that it expected to make a net profit between 680 million yuan ($99 million) and 950 million yuan last year, up from 103 million yuan in 2015. Lu'an said the earnings hike was due to sharply rising coal prices in the second half of last year.

China's social security fund sinks $260m in 12 companies

China's national social security fund is among the top 10 shareholders of 12 listed companies, buying up 1.78 billion yuan ($259.2 million) in shares, according to a Securities Daily analysis. The fund holds 24.5 million and 17.41 million shares in commercial real estate company Future Land Group and Super Shine respectively as of the fourth quarter of 2016. The fund also holds more than five million shares in each of HuangShan NOVEL, Huangshan Jinma, Jianmin Group, Porton Fine Chemical, Lier Chemical, Wuhan Sanzhen Industry Holding, Anhui Xinli Finance and Guanhao Biotech. Gosun Holding and Guangdong Dowstone Technology also listed the social security fund among their top investors in the fourth quarter. Four companies that were invested by the fund in the fourth quarter also have top shareholders including the State-owned China Securities Finance Corp and Central Huijin Investment. The stocks of Future Land, Dowstone Technology and Lier Chemical have subsequently risen by 23.6 percent, 6.8 percent and 4.75 percent respectively so far this year, while Porton Fine Chemical's stock has dropped 4.7 percent.


Petroleum prices to go up sharply

Based on presumed higher tax rate, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Monday worked out a substantial increase in the prices of all petroleum products with effect from March 1 (tomorrow) for the next 15 days. In a summary sent to the government, Ogra recommended an increase of 2.7 per cent in the price of high-speed diesel (HSD), 4.15pc in petrol, 41pc in kerosene and 25.2pc in light diesel oil (LDO). Interestingly, Ogra did not take into account the notified rate of general sales tax at 29.5pc on HSD and instead applied 31pc rate of GST to recommend higher HSD price to the desire of the finance ministry. This is the third time in a row that the regulator has followed finance ministry’s instruction to adopt 31pc GST to calculate HSD price, even though this rate was abolished on Dec 31, 2016.

Chinese investment triggers land rush around Gwadar port

Pakistani real estate giant Rafi Group made a ten-fold profit last year from its sale of hundreds of acres of land in the remote fishing town of Gwadar, acquired soon after the government announced plans for a deep-sea port there. The windfall came after 12 years of waiting patiently for the Gwadar port to emerge as the centrepiece of China's ambitious plans for a trade and energy corridor stretching from the Persian Gulf, across Pakistan, into western Xinjiang. "We had anticipated the Chinese would need a route to the Arabian Sea," Rafi Group Chief Executive Shehriar Rafi told Reuters. "And today, all routes lead back to Gwadar." Gwadar forms the southern Pakistan hub of a $57-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure and energy projects Beijing announced in 2014.

Imports from Afghanistan made easier

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has made imports from Afghanistan easier by reducing the involvement of banks and making the procedure simple. All imports into Pakistan must be made compulsorily through the electronic import form (EIF), a statement by the SBP said on Monday. The EIF was implemented with a view to curb illegal and duplicate payments of imports from Pakistan by unscrupulous elements. Due to the peculiar nature of trade with Afghanistan through land routes, especially via Torkham and Chaman borders, Pakistani importers were facing difficulties to carry out import transactions through the EIF. After recent terror attacks, the two routes have been closed down with the cross-border movement of goods coming to a halt. Afghanistan is a landlocked country and depends on Pakistan for its overseas imports. Pakistan allows Afghan transit trade, but the facility is grossly misused as tax-free goods are smuggled back into Pakistan.

Index dips 1pc as regulatory measures sap liquidity

The stock market started the first day of the week on a positive note with the index clawing up by 73 points in the early hours. But it came under pressure as selling erupted from all sides, resulting in the KSE-100 index dropping 487 points, or 0.99 per cent, to close at 48,521. Traders said the primary reason for the steep fall was the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) strict measures against in-house financing that have sapped liquidity from the market. “Moreo¬ver, as month end looms, the rush to clear out debit balances further magnified the selling pressure,” said a dealer at a major brokerage house. The problem was exacerbated by the uncertainty about the outcome of the Panama Papers case, heavy foreign selling and concerns over the law and order situation. Investors were not enthused by the end of a successful rollover of deliverable futures contract from February to March the previous week.

Pakistan races to tap virgin coal fields to meet energy crunch

A line of trucks weaves in and out of the open coal pit that has been dug in the Sindh's Thar Desert. Below the massive hole lies one of the world's largest coal reserves, untapped until now. For years, the country used Thar coal reserves as a bargaining chip in global climate negotiations. Since it was not mining the coal, Pakistan argued, it should receive easier access to international climate finance and to clean technology to help it grow in a cleaner and more sustainable way. But as part of its attempt to end the country's energy crisis which has caused frequent power cuts for years, the government is encouraging mining companies to the area.

Pakistan to sign agreement with Azerbaijan to facilitate oil, gas import

Pakistan and Azerbaijan will sign an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to facilitate import of oil and gas products from the former Soviet nation after arrival of President Ilham Eliyev on Tuesday, said Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. On Monday, Mr Abbasi said the IGA would empower oil and gas companies of the two countries to start talks on trade and investment cooperation including oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), setting up of terminals and storages. “Azerbaijan is one of the leading oil and gas exporters and has developed its expertise in these sectors,” he said. Asked about the possible routes for import of oil and gas products from a nation bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, the minister said trade was possible through ships. “We are not discussing pipeline routes,” he added.

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