ASB Securities Morning Brief for Thursday, 17 April 2014
Thursday, 17 April 2014

New Zealand Headlines

New Zealand Market Report: New Zealand stocks joined a global rally as US company earnings growth lifted sentiment for equity markets. Diligent Board Member Services led the benchmark index higher after reporting first-quarter sales growth. Pacific Edge and Skellerup Holdings paced gains. The NZX 50 Index rose 14.264 points, or about 0.3 percent, to 5090.549. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, nine fell and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $117.5 million... Read more

The New Zealand dollar dropped to a nine-day low after slower than expected inflation raised questions over the track of rising local interest rates. The kiwi fell as low as 85.79 cents, trading at 85.86 cents at 5pm in Wellington from 86.39 cents at 8am and 86.50 cents yesterday. The trade-weighted index dropped to 79.75 from 80.27 yesterday... Read more

Rate rise still on, economists say. Another rise in the official cash rate next week remains a done deal, economists say, despite weaker-than-expected inflation in the March quarter. The consumers price index rose 0.3 per cent, making 1.5 per cent for the year, when market consensus and Reserve Bank forecasts had been for a 0.5 per cent rise. The regular annual increase in tobacco excise contributed 0.27 percentage points to the CPI's rise and accounted for a fourth of the 1.1 per cent rise in non-tradables prices in the March quarter... Read more

NZ consumer prices rise 0.3 percent in 1Q on tobacco tax hike, more expensive housing... Read more

New Zealand's productivity is getting better but it still lags behind other OECD countries. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says New Zealand still has a large productivity gap (27 per cent) to other OECD countries because of a lack of investment in "knowledge-based capital" and international connections. It says New Zealand's policy settings should generate gross domestic product per capita 20 per cent above the OECD average, but we are actually more than 20 per cent below average. This affects New Zealanders' income and wellbeing and comes in spite of the economic upswing. The report, released today by the Productivity Commission, said it wasn't easy uncovering the root cause of our productivity gap... Read more

Following Monday night’s move higher in offshore yields, the NZ swap curve opened 1.5bps higher. The 2-year swap quickly moved up to trade at 4.06%. Through the day, however, some nervousness around the upcoming CPI data and dairy price auction saw these moves pared back... Read more

New Zealand Financial Planning, whose roots go right back to the start of financial planning in this country, is splitting with the bulk of the firm cutting its ties with AMP. NZ Financial Planning has between $260 million and $300 million of funds under management that sit on the former AXA-owned platform, Assure. That does not include funds under advisement - investments held directly by the client but upon which NZ Financial Planning advisers offer advice. The company has been tied into Assure for many years, however that agreement is coming to an end and a decision has been made to establish a new platform and exit Assure, which is now owned by AMP... Read more

Auckland rent prices have increased 4% over the past 12 months, Barfoot and Thompson says. The Auckland real estate agency said the average rent in force for a three-bedroom property on its books in Auckland in March was $464 a week. “We have seen a steady, moderate increase in rental prices across Auckland, which is good news for the tenants,” said director Kiri Barfoot. “It would be easy to make the assumption that higher property costs across Auckland would be passed on through the rental market, but this is not happening. Landlords have long recognised the value in retaining good long-term tenants."... Read more

Fonterra's record farmgate milk price forecast may have to come back slightly after international dairy prices fell again at last night's dairy auction, but the decline should not detract from what has been a stellar season for the sector, say economists.... Read more

Turners & Growers, the fruit marketer controlled by Germany’s BayWa, has agreed to buy Hawke’s Bay-based Apollo Apples for as much as $44.1 million as it looks to meet growing global demand. The Auckland-based company will pay $36.05 million up front for the apple grower, packer and exporter, and cool store operator, and will pay up to $8 million in the following four years if performance targets are met, T&G said. Apollo founders Bruce and Ross Beaton will stay with the business for at least the next four years. T&G also agreed to pay $1 million for a half-stake in Apollo Foods, a small processed apple foods business, with the Beatons keeping the other half... Read more

Hot NZX debut forecast for Genesis. Fund managers believe shares in Genesis Energy could surge when it lists on the NZX this afternoon, as demand for the last of the Government's much-debated asset sales was surprisingly strong. Retail investors who applied for any more than $2500 of shares faced a scaling back of their investment, while no retail investor will get stakes of more than $5000. Although investors have been scaled back in all the initial public offerings of the three state-owned energy companies, investors in Meridian received at least 55 per cent of what they applied for, while Mighty River Power investors were capped at stakes of more than $40,000... Read more

Strong demand for shares in Genesis Energy saw the public pool heavily scaled back yesterday, raising the ire of investors who missed out on getting their desired levels of stock but also reflecting the offer's popularity. Brokers said the attractiveness of Genesis, combined with lesser concerns about the opposition Labour-Greens plan to do away with the wholesale electricity market, had captured the imagination of investors. Interest was such that Genesis, the smallest of the three power company offers, will have more than 68,000 shareholders — about 6,000 more than the biggest South Island hydro generator Meridian Energy.... Read more

Diligent Board Member Services stock rose as much as 12 percent after the governance app developer posted quarterly figures showing sales growth hasn't slowed as much as some investors had expected. The New York-based, New Zealand-listed company added a net 113 new client agreements in the three months ended March 31, taking its total number of customers to 2,563. That's up 28 percent from the same quarter of 2013, when it added 201 customers. Diligent shares rose 9.4 percent to $4.43 and earlier touched $4.55 after the figures were released... Read more

Chorus, the network operator spun out of Telecom in 2011, increased its broadband connections by 1.1 percent in the first quarter while its fixed-line connections edged up 0.2 percent. Broadband connections rose to 1.144 million at March 31, from 1.132 million at Dec. 31, the Wellington-based company said in a statement. The biggest gain was in enhanced unbundled bitstream access connections which increased by 20,000 to 767,000 over the quarter. The company's fixed-line connections edged up to 1.779 million from 1.776 million. The biggest gain was in fibre connections, which rose by 8,000 to 35,000. Chorus said some of the increase included trial lines not previously billed... Read more

Analysts are giving a mixed reaction to plans for a $234 million float of a group of private training establishments with some attracted to the growth in the sector and others still weighing up the risks. ASX-listed Arowana International confirmed late on Tuesday it would spin off its mainly New Zealand-based education business Intueri Education Group in a dual listing on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. Arowana, which needs shareholder approval for the deal, hopes to raise between $169 million to $234 million from the initial public offer which would reduce its ownership from 100 per cent to 15-25 per cent. Some of the money raised would be used to add Quantum Education to Intueri's stable of businesses while Arowana also wants to expand into Asia.... Read more

Imperial Tobacco New Zealand, the nation's second largest cigarette company, boosted annual sales after expanding its Wellington factory to supply the Australian market and taking on a 10 percent excise tax hike. Sales at the local arm of Imperial Tobacco, whose brands include Peter Jackson and Drum loose tobacco, rose 9.6 percent to $432 million in the year ended Sept. 30, according to the company's annual report. Profit fell 12 percent to $19.8 million... Read more

The Commerce Commission will allow an Australian-owned firm to buy New Zealand's only steel mills. The commission said this morning it would allow the mooted $120 million sale of Fletcher Building's Pacific Steel unit to a subsidiary of Australian-owned BlueScope Steel. The decision notes that although BlueScope's new business would be the only domestic producer of its type, imports from abroad meant the industry would not be made less competitive by the sale... Read more

Royal visit provides industry legacy. The royals have crossed the Ditch but those they visited in New Zealand are seeing signs of an economic legacy. Nigel Kerr, marketing manager for Queenstown's Shotover Jet, said there had been a noticeable upswing in bookings since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a spin on one of its boats on Sunday. However, some of that could be attributable to Australian school holidays... Read more

The New Zealand government and Christchurch City Council want to add a net 700 social housing units in the country's second-largest city in two-and-a-half years and a bigger supply of affordable houses as part of a formal housing accord. Housing Minister Nick Smith and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel today signed an agreement which will see central government invest $75 million and council $50 million to encourage private investment in developments. The accord, which needs ratification by the full council, is the second after the government last year introduced legislation to help alleviate housing supply shortages... Read more

Labour MP Shane Jones has lashed out at Countdown once again, this time accusing the supermarket giant of squeezing hundreds of thousands of dollars out of Lotto NZ. Mr Jones told Parliament that since he'd raised allegations that Countdown and its parent company Progressive Enterprises had bullied suppliers "an avalanche of information" had been sent to the Commerce Commission which was investigating... Read more

Jim Delegat, founder of Delegat's Group, is stepping down from running the winemaker's daily operations to focus on the company's strategic direction. From next month Delegat will take on the role executive chairman, where he will provide strategic direction and monitor performance, the company said in a statement. Graeme Lord will take over as managing director and will be responsible for developing growth plans, building a high performing organisation and executing business plans.... Read more

MediaWorks has appointed Rachel Lorimer to the newly created role of Group Head of Corporate Communications. Lorimer will oversee external communications, corporate affairs and internal communications for the Group, which includes TV3 and FOUR, radio brands The Edge, The Rock, MORE FM, Kiwi FM, RadioLIVE, LiveSPORT, The Sound, The Breeze, George FM, and Mai FM, and a family of websites, and mobile and tablet apps... Read more

'As-is' home sales in Christchurch top $1m. Christchurch's as-is-where-is house market has reached seven figures, with a damaged home on TC3 land selling for more than $1 million.... Read more

ACC gives details of tens of thousands of people's injury claims every year to recruitment agencies and prospective employers. In the past year, 36,000 of these requests were processed, the Accident Compensation Corporation said. Employers use the information to help decide whether to hire a job applicant, but even asking a jobseeker for consent to obtain their ACC records can be unlawful under the Human Rights Act. The extent of the ACC's assistance in job recruitment has emerged after a judge found ACC acted unlawfully in suspending the entitlements of claimants who refused to sign a wide-ranging privacy waiver.... Read more

Garden centres snub Easter law. A rebellious New Zealand garden centre company is once again preparing to flout the Government's "archaic" Easter trading laws. Oderings, which owns stores nationwide, has broken the rules since the introduction of the Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act in 1990. Oderings director Darryn Odering said all 10 stores, including five in Christchurch, would open all weekend this Easter - as they had done since 1972. "The law is archaic and I think people should have a choice to do what they like," he said. The Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act specifies that most shops must close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and until 1pm on Anzac Day.... Read more

A now-disbarred lawyer who allegedly helped a property developer borrow millions of dollars from a finance company in "forbidden related-party loans" had no reason to do the things he's accused of, the defence said in its closing arguments. Former Central Hawkes Bay mayor and Waipukurau lawyer, Hugh Edward Staples Hamilton, is on trial in the High Court at Auckland for allegedly helping former property developer Raymond Schofield arrange the purchase of Belgrave Finance so that Schofield's identity and control of the company was hidden... Read more

Joe Karam has been awarded $535,000 in a defamation case against two men who launched an "all-out assault" on his reputation because of his support for David Bain.... Read more

Opinion - Pattrick Smellie: Shock news: Greens now in favour of privatisation... Read more

Opinion/Analysis - Fran O'Sullivan: Fonterra ramps up China strategy... Read more

Australian Headlines

Australian Market Report: The share market is extending its gains after some positive economic data from China boosted mining stocks. The All Ordinaries Index was up 27 points to 5,407 shortly before 1:00pm (AEST), and the ASX 200 was 28 points higher at 5,416... Read more

The Australian dollar has lifted in overnight trade as investors weighed the latest comments on US monetary policy from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and cheered yesterday's news of better-than-expected GDP numbers in China. At 345am (AEST), the local unit was trading at US93.77c, up from US93.64c on Tuesday. The currency has seen a high of US93.90c and a low of US93.31c over the past 24 hours.... Read more

Banks in no rush to issue corporate bonds, says RBA’s Debelle... Read more

Retirement age debate prompts super fears. As debate rages on the merits of raising Australia's retirement age to 70, another battle could be brewing – this time superannuation (video only)... Read more

More than 60 per cent of companies listed on the Australian share market are exposed to an escalating level of risk, says research house and funds manager Lincoln Indicators. Lincoln says its latest analysis of about 2,000 listed companies shows only 26 per cent are in strong or satisfactory financial health. Just over 10 per cent are in an "early warning" phase, and the rest are either "marginal" or "distressed". Lincoln used 12 accounting ratios to assess the financial health of the companies, based on their financial statements for the period ending December 31, 2013. Companies with a "strong" or "satisfactory" score were judged to have acceptable levels of investment risk, and companies with an "early warning", "marginal" or "distress" score had escalating degrees of risk... Read more

Video – “The Australian market made six-year highs last week spurred on by strong demand for Australian bonds, equities and the Aussie Dollar.” George Lucas discusses why the rally was short-lived and markets were quickly sold off in response to declines in the US and Japan equities... Read more

Australia's economic growth later this year may not get much stronger, as consumer sentiment and employment expectations remain weak. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index edged up to -0.09 per cent in March from -0.15 per cent in February. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans says the index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity three to nine months into the future, has stayed below zero for the second month in a row, indicating that economic growth will be below trend... Read more

The number of foreign home buyers has risen significantly during the March quarter. Foreign buyers account for the purchase of about one in seven new properties and one in 10 established homes, the National Australia Bank (NAB) quarterly Australian residential property survey shows. It says foreign buyers made up 13.5 per cent of total demand for new housing in the quarter, compared with 11 per cent in the December 2013 quarter. NAB group chief economist Alan Oster said foreign buyers were especially active in Queensland.... Read more

One of Australia's biggest industry funds used to encourage input from its members about how to invest their savings until it realised just how lousy the majority of its members were at picking markets. As the worst of the GFC hit the sharemarket in 2009, members in their droves switched out of equities into what they thought were less-risky asset classes such as fixed interest. They were to miss the 60 per cent rebound in markets. These days the proportion of households that believe real estate is the wisest place to direct their savings is not far off levels seen in the early-2000s property boom, according to the latest Westpac Melbourne Institute survey... Read more

Fortescue Metals Group takes over ore processing at its Pilbara mines amid safety concerns... Read more

Fortescue Metals plans to boost production by 35 per cent over the next three months, a target boss Nev Power says is "absolutely realistic". The Pilbara iron ore miner plans to ship 41.6 million tonnes in the June quarter after notching up 30.8 million tonnes of shipments in the previous quarter, despite weather interruptions. Chief executive Nev Power says milder weather will help the company achieve its ambitious June quarter target after reaching full production in March. Fortescue shares were up five cents, or 0.9 per cent, at $5.38 at 1520 AEST.... Read more

Rio Tinto's chairman expects financial market volatility to continue this year, warning the global economy is likely to face more challenges in 2014. Addressing shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in London, Jan du Plessis outlined international issues likely to impact on the company's operations and results. "Tensions remain in Europe and the pace of reform and structural readjustments is slow," he said... Read more

BHP Billiton has lifted its full year guidance for iron ore output on a day bad Chinese economic news was good news for the mining giant. The release of weaker quarterly economic growth figures in China - including a five year low in industrial production growth - sparked predictions it would combat that with an infrastructure spending stimulus package. BHP shares gained 16 cents to $37.94.... Read more

Iluka Resources shares have fallen six per cent after the mineral sands miner recorded a drop in production and revenue. Total mineral sands production in the March quarter was 221.2 thousand tonnes, down 18.6 per cent, from 271.8 thousand tonnes a year earlier. Iluka shares were 63 cents, or 6.45 per cent, lower at $9.13 at 1142 AEST.... Read more

Landholders on Queensland's Darling Downs say they are being kept in the dark about the nature of serious environmental harm allegedly caused by an experimental coal gasification plant. Last week the Queensland Government filed four criminal charges of irreversible or "high impact" harm relating to the plant against resources company Linc Energy. It emerged the state's environment department began investigating suspected environmental breaches nine months ago, but landholders told the ABC that the first they had heard of it was last Friday... Read more

Troubled transport firm McAleese, which has been plagued by safety problems with its trucks, has warned that profit will come in $7 million below a forecast issued only two months ago. The company issued a statement to the market advising that trading had been more difficult than expected in the March quarter, with revenue expected to be down by $9 million compared to its February forecast. McAleese says reduced fleet availability in its Cootes Transport business affected earnings, as the trucks were tied up with state government vehicle safety inspections after numerous faults had been found. McAleese shares have slumped a further 15 per cent today to 44 cents, after having already fallen from $1.47 when the company floated on the share market late last year... Read more

Broker blunder over McAleese float. Brokers who spruiked the dud float of McAleese Group were paid more than $5 million to underwrite the offering, according to the company’s prospectus. The underwriters, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Macquarie Group, all gave McAleese buy ratings after it floated in November last year. As of Wednesday, Macquarie and Credit Suisse had downgraded McAleese to neutral ratings but JP Morgan maintained its ‘‘overweight’’ call... Read more

With Barry O’Farrell barely out of office, “grangegate” is already trending on Twitter. So is Penfolds Grange the real winner? While the NSW Liberal Party finds itself mired in chaos over questions whether former premier O’Farrell misled the Independent Commission against Corruption or not, there are two words everyone is lapping up — Penfolds Grange... Read more

Australand Property Group expects to lift its 2014 dividend by 19 per cent to 25.5c per security, managing director Bob Johnston told shareholders at its annual meeting. The quality of the business, underlying projects and current strong conditions in key residential markets provide the group with confidence on its medium-term outlook, he said. Mr Johnston reaffirmed the property group’s target of growth in operating earnings per security of 17 per cent to 20 per cent in 2014. Australand also said it was preparing for a possible takeover from fellow developer Stockland... Read more

Australia's citrus growers welcome trade deals with Asia... Read more

No cuts to FTTP portion of the NBN: NBN Co... Read more

NBN Co boss Bill Morrow says competition from TPG Telecom will undermine its business model and may see Australians paying more for internet access. TPG plans to go head to head with the national broadband network by building its own high speed connections to 500,000 apartments across several capital cities. The plans, announced in March, will see TPG build a fibre-to-the-building network in high density areas around CBDs, taking advantage of the most profitable sites... Read more

The development of a new airport at Badgerys Creek in Sydney's west is unlikely to result in a dramatic shift in passengers from Kingsford-Smith if it follows the London experience, says Deutsche Bank analyst Cameron McDonald. Sydney Airport has the first right of refusal to develop the $2.5 billion second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek announced by the federal government on Tuesday. Mr McDonald has retained his "buy" recommendation on Sydney Airport with a 12-month price target of $4.30 on the basis that flight operations at the new airport won't start until after 2025.... Read more

Opinion - Ryan Newman: These 5 dividend plays should be in your portfolio... Read more

Opinion/Analysis - Supratim Adhikari: Turning up the heat on TPG... Read more

Opinion/Analysis - Callam Pickering: Pension cowardice puts Canberra in a pickle... Read more

Opinion - Malcolm Maiden: Malcolm Turnbull's high hopes for NBN chief Bill Morrow... Read more

Analysis - Harrison Polites: How Twitter obliterated the mining industry's latest lobbying campaign. The Minerals Council took to Twitter to give the 'silent majority' a voice. Instead it turned itself into the target of a very vocal majority... Read more

International Headlines

U.S. Market Report: Investors were doing a happy dance on Wednesday as earnings, economic data and Janet Yellen all brought good news. The Dow is up over 100 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also got a boost.... Read more

North/South Americas Market Report: North and South American markets are higher today with shares in Brazil leading the region. The Bovespa is up 0.92% while U.S.'s S&P 500 is up 0.80% and Mexico's IPC is up 0.48%... Read more

European Market Report: European markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 1.57% while France's CAC 40 is up 1.39% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.65%... Read more

Asian Market Report: Asian markets finished broadly higher today with shares in Japan leading the region. The Nikkei 225 is up 3.01% while China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.17% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng is up 0.11%... Read more

Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration, bankruptcy eyed. A Japanese court Wednesday placed failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration, with an order for bankruptcy expected to be issued soon, its administrator and chief executive said. The move marks the acceptance that there is no viable way to rescue the company, and heralds the apparent end of an exchange that at one time accounted for around 80 percent of global transactions in the virtual currency... Read more

Intel bucks tech stock slide. Intel is up nearly 3% so far this year, unlike its brethren on the Nasdaq. Looks like the chip maker's focus on tablets and cloud computing is starting to pay off. (video only)... Read more

BofA Slides After Posting Loss Tied to Mortgage Accords... Read more

Oklahoma bans local minimum wage hikes... Read more

Bank of America Corp has held talks with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve a civil fraud probe into Merrill Lynch's sale of flawed mortgage securities ahead of the financial crisis, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters. On Wednesday, the No. 2 U.S. bank reported it took a $6 billion charge to cover litigation expenses, a figure that far exceeded the legal settlements the bank has announced recently... Read more

Former Madoff aides seek to have convictions tossed... Read more

Mexican mobile phone operator Iusacell SA de CV sued IBM Corp on Wednesday, accusing the U.S. technology giant of making fraudulent representations that caused it to lose $2.5 billion in profits. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in New York, centered on a contract that Iusacell said IBM induced it to enter into in Mexico. "Events subsequent to the execution of the agreement have revealed that IBM both knowingly misrepresented and wrongfully concealed from Iusacell material facts both before and during the parties' relationship," Iusacell said in the complaint... Read more

Starbucks to move European HQ to UK... Read more

UK Wage growth has finally started to outpace inflation after years of falling real earnings, and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in five years, figures released on Wednesday show. In a boost to British households, pay including bonuses rose by 1.7% over the three months to February, just ahead of the March inflation rate of 1.6%, published by the ONS on Tuesday. The improvement was driven by pay rises in the private sector, where wages were 2% higher than in the same quarter of 2012-13 – but that was more than double the 0.9% growth for those working in the public sector... Read more

Russian banks ready to inform U.S. about American depositors. The second largest state bank in Russia, VTB, has applied to link into the FATCA system, which records information about American depositors. This is currently illegal under Russian law, but new U.S. laws will penalize foreign banks that fail to do this... Read more

Foreign payment processing systems are convenient but vulnerable - Medvedev. Foreign payment processing systems are convenient but vulnerable in terms of different risks, including political ones, while the national system being created in Russia should protect Russian citizens, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.... Read more

Anglo Irish trial: Sean FitzPatrick not guilty of illegal share scheme... Read more

Maserati will probably increase production and add the Alfieri sports car to its lineup after advance sales at the upscale Italian brand have almost tripled over 2013’s deliveries, people familiar with the matter said. The maker of Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans is getting 3,500 orders monthly, Harald Wester, who runs the brand, said in an interview. That would amount to 42,000 cars in 2014, compared with the 15,400 sold last year... Read more

China's economy grows 7.4% in 2014 Q1, better than forecast... Read more

Chinese companies that have lent money to other companies are facing a potential wave of defaults, with several listed firms already reporting missed loan repayments. Shipbuilder Sainty Marine on Tuesday became the latest listed firm to report that it had failed to receive principal and interest repayments on a 900 million yuan ($154.5 million) loan to a property developer. The same day, Qiaqia Food announced that it would launch a lawsuit against another food producer for failing to pay interest on a 40 million yuan ($6.8 million) loan. Chinese companies granted a net 2.55 trillion yuan ($439 billion) in so-called entrusted loans in 2013, nearly double the 1.28 trillion yuan total in 2012, making them the second- biggest source of domestic credit behind bank loans, according to Reuters' calculations based on published central bank data... Read more

Citic Pacific said it will buy the assets of its state-owned parent, Citic Group, in a cash-and-stock deal worth about 227 billion yuan ($40bn) -- leading to the parent's being listed for the first time. Hong Kong-listed Citic Pacific said earlier this month it planned to buy out Beijing-based Citic Group and so give investors access to one of China's oldest financial conglomerates. While China has listed many of its state-owned companies in Hong Kong, only in a handful of cases -- namely those of the country's four biggest banks -- has the listing been of the holding company rather than just an offshore unit... Read more

Weibo IPO leads a Chinese stock invasion... Read more

China on Wednesday defended the valuation of its currency and pushed back against a US Treasury report expressing concerns over the yuan's sharp slide since January. The statement by Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying came a day after the Treasury issued its twice-yearly report, in which it declined to brand China a currency manipulator but said that the yuan, or renminbi (RMB), "remains significantly undervalued". "China's position is that China will keep forward with the reform of RMB exchange rate mechanism," Hua told reporters at a regular briefing. "This will not change." "We hope the American side can make concerted efforts with China to improve trade and investment relations with China," she added.... Read more

Will Diageo’s Second Attempt to Buy United Spirits Work?... Read more

Opinion - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: US financial showdown with Russia is more dangerous than it looks, for both sides... Read more

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