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Data, Info and News of Life and Economy

Chart: Children Survey – What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

Source : Statista

Charts: China’s Rich People

Source : Caixin and Hurun

Chuckles of the Day








China Central Bank to Offer Cheap Loans to Support Developers’ Bonds

Julie Zhu and Engen Tham wrote . . . . . . . . .

China’s central bank will offer cheap loans to financial firms for buying bonds issued by property developers, four people with direct knowledge of the matter said, the strongest policy support yet for the crisis-hit sector.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) hopes the loans will boost market sentiment toward the heavily indebted property sector, which has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past year, and rescue a number of private developers, said the people, who asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

China has stepped up support in recent weeks for the property sector, a pillar accounting for a quarter of the world’s second-biggest economy. Many developers defaulted on their debt obligations and were forced to halt construction.

The country’s biggest banks this week pledged at least $162 billion in credit to developers.

The PBOC loans, through its relending facility, are expected to be at much lower than the benchmark interest rate and would be implemented in the coming weeks, giving financial institutions more incentive to invest in private developers’ onshore bonds, two sources said.

Terms such as the interest rate on the loans were not immediately known.

The PBOC is also drafting a “white list” of good-quality and systemically important developers that would receive wider support from Beijing to improve their balance sheets, two of the sources said.

The central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the planned measures.

At least three private developers – including Longfor Group Holdings Ltd, Midea Real Estate Holding Ltd and Seazen Holdings – received the green light this month to raise a total of 50 billion yuan ($7 billion) in debt.

If there were not enough demand from investors for such new bonds, the PBOC would likely step in to provide liquidity via the relending facility for the rest of the issuance, said one of the four people and another source.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index was up as much as 4.7% on Friday, adding 1 percentage point after Reuters reported the PBOC moves. China’s top developer by sales, Country Garden, was up 10%, CIFI Holdings was up more than 5% and Longfor nearly 4%.

FROM CRACKDOWN TO AGGRESSIVE SUPPORT

Relending is a targeted policy tool the PBOC typically uses to make low-cost loans to banks to support the slowing economy, as the central bank faces limited room to cut interest rates on concerns about capital flight.

The PBOC in recent months has used the relending facility to support sectors including transport, logistics and tech innovation that were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic or are favoured by long-term state policies.

Beijing’s aggressive support for the property sector marks a reversal from a crackdown begun in 2020 on speculators and indebted developers in a broad push to reduce financial risks.

As a result of the crackdown, though, property sales and prices fell, developers defaulted on bonds and suspended construction. The construction halts have angered homeowners who have threatened to stop mortgage payments.

The PBOC also plans to provide 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) in M&A financing facilities to state-owned asset managers mainly for their acquisitions of real estate projects from troubled developers, two sources said.

Chinese media reported on Monday the central bank planned to provide 200 billion yuan in interest-free relending loans to commercial banks through the end of March for housing completions.

Among other recent official support, China’s interbank bond market regulator said this month it would widen a programme to support about 250 billion yuan ($35 billion) of debt offerings by private firms.

Much of Beijing’s previous support targeted state-owned developers.

Yi Huiman, chairman of China’s securities regulator, said on Monday the country must implement plans to improve the balance sheets of “good quality” developers.

Fitch Ratings said on Thursday private Chinese developers face higher liquidity risk, in terms of debt structure with greater short-term maturity pressure, than state-owned peers as banks and other creditors are becoming reluctant to lend.


Source : Reuters

Infographic: A Global Look At Wealth and Happiness

See large image . . . . . .

Income Inequality and Happiness

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist

Hong Kong Emigres Seek Milk Tea in Craving for Taste of Home

Kanis Leung wrote . . . . . . . . .

In London, Wong Wai-yi misses the taste of home.

A year ago, the 31-year-old musician was in Hong Kong, earning a good living composing for TV and movies and teaching piano. Today, she makes about half as much in London working part-time as a server alongside her musical pursuits. She chose the job in part because staff meals allow her to save money on food.

It’s a difficult adjustment. And Wong, who left Hong Kong with her boyfriend in January, has turned to a beloved hometown staple to keep her grounded: milk tea. She brings the beverage to parties with Hong Kong friends and gives bottles to co-workers as gifts.

“It’s like reminding myself I am a Hong Konger. It will be fine as long as we are willing to endure the hardships and work hard,” said Wong, who left as part of an exodus that began after Beijing passed a law in 2020 that curtailed civil liberties.

As tens of thousands leave Hong Kong for new lives abroad, many are craving a flavor from childhood that’s become a symbol of the city’s culture: the sweet, heavy tea with evaporated milk that’s served both hot and cold at diner-like restaurants called cha chaan tengs. Workshops are popping up to teach professionals to brew tea like short-order cooks, and milk tea businesses are expanding beyond Chinatowns in Britain.

In Hong Kong, milk tea is an unassuming beverage, something you use to wash down sweet French toast off a plastic plate. It’s so beloved that members of Hong Kong’s protest movement have called themselves part of a “Milk Tea Alliance” with activists from Taiwan, Thailand, and Myanmar, who drink similar beverages.

Following a law that silenced or jailed most political opposition, over 133,000 residents have secured a special visa that allows them to live and work in the U.K. and apply for British citizenship after six years. Official figures have not been released on how many have gone but most recipients are expected to do so, given the visa’s cost.

The pathway was introduced last year in response to China’s 2020 enactment of the National Security Law, which the U.K. called “a clear breach” of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The declaration included a promise to retain the former British colony’s rights and freedoms for 50 years after it was returned to China’s rule in 1997.

Exiled activist Lee Ka-wai said that immersing himself at a Hong Kong-style cafe in London with a cup of milk tea was a “luxury.”

The 26-year-old fled Hong Kong in March last year out of fear of being arrested. He is wanted by the city’s anti-graft body for allegedly inciting others to boycott the legislative election in December 2021. As an asylum seeker in Britain, he is not allowed to work and is living on savings.

Even if the taste is right, he said, the feel of a cha chaan teng and the sounds of customers chatting in Cantonese cannot be replicated.

“It’s strange because I can feel a sense of home overseas. But it also has another meaning — there’s something that cannot be replaced,” he said. “What we long for most is to go home and see a better Hong Kong. But we can’t.”

Some emigrants, like Eric Tam, a 41-year-old manager at an insurance company, enroll in milk tea lessons before leaving. Visiting Hong Kong this month, he stocked up on a milk tea blend, a recipe that evolved from British teas in the colonial era.

While tea is easy to find in England, he said, the taste isn’t the same: “British milk tea is just watery milk,” said Tam.

Before moving to Liverpool with his wife and two younger daughters in June, Tam signed up for lessons at the Institution of Hong Kong Milk Tea. The two-year-old organization teaches students skills like pouring tea back and forth between a kettle and a plastic container to enhance its flavor before mixing it with evaporated milk.

Yan Chan, the school’s founder, estimated that about 40% of the 2,000 people who have studied with her were planning to emigrate.

Milk tea only began to emerge as a symbol of the Hong Kong identity over the last 15 years, said Veronica Mak, associate professor at the sociology department of Hong Kong Shue Yan University.

Mak said that many young people began to think about Hong Kong identity after the government removed Queen’s Pier, a landmark from the city’s colonial past, in 2007. Childhood memories, marketing and a fashion for localism came together to make milk tea a totem of Hong Kong culture.

“When you ask young people what kind of milk tea they like to drink, they will tell you it’s the bubble milk tea,” she said, referring to a drink from Taiwan. “But when you come to the identity part … they will not say the bubble tea but the local style milk tea.”

Most milk tea lovers interviewed told the Associated Press that milk tea isn’t political. But Tam said it’s a form of silent resistance.

“We can choose to preserve the culture that we want to keep. It cannot be destroyed even if other people try,” he said.

Contemporary Asian tea culture is catching on globally. Outside Chinatowns, at least five Hong Kong-style milk tea brands have emerged over the past two years in Britain. One set up a pop-up cafe in the trendy London neighborhood of Shoreditch in September, attracting Londoners and tourists as well as Hong Kong emigres.

Eric Wong, a tea wholesaler, began selling bottled milk tea in 2021 after moving to the UK, and offers milk tea workshops. He said he’s making 500 to 1,000 bottles of milk tea a week, and his south London business broke even after about six months. His Trini Hong Kong Style Milk Tea products are available online and at major Asian supermarkets.

The taste of home can provoke strong emotions. A young woman from Hong Kong once shed tears after tasting his tea, Wong said.

Between people planning to leave and growing interest in local culture, Chan is busy. On Nov. 3, nine people attended her class, none of whom had plans to emigrate.

Cooking enthusiast Dennis Cheng had a class with her in late September and practiced the signature pouring while preparing to leave Hong Kong with his wife and children.

He said the taste will help remind him of Hong Kong and friends back home.

“This may help me feel emigrating overseas isn’t really that sad,” he said. “It’s just that I need more time to adapt to it.”


Source : AP

Chart: Where the 1 Percent Dominate Wealth Creation

Source : Statista

Charts: China Buys Fewer Chip-Making Machines as US Restrictions Start

Source : Bloomberg

Chart: China New COVID-19 Daily Cases Surpass Peak Hit in April 2022

Source : Nikkei Asia and The Economist

Chart: China Buying More Australian Wheat Despite Trade Row

Source : Bloomberg