FirstFT: Bankers signal ‘very pro-China’ attitude

Published by Ann Thompson on

 

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Global bankers are all “very pro-China”, UBS chair Colm Kelleher said at a financial forum in Hong Kong, where Chinese officials sought to woo rattled international investors yesterday.

Hong Kong is seeking to boost its status as an international financial centre at the conference, after a clampdown on civil society and years of strict pandemic restrictions triggered an exodus and raised concerns the city was losing business to rival Asian hub Singapore.

Chinese officials used pre-recorded video interviews to reassure international investors of the country’s economic strength as it battles a property sector crisis and flagging growth induced by its strict zero-Covid policy.

“We’re not reading the American press, we actually buy the [China] story,” said Kelleher, chair of the world’s biggest wealth manager. “But it is a bit [of a matter of] waiting for zero-Covid to open up in China to see what will happen.”

His reference to the media was an apparent joke and a nod to earlier remarks made by Fang Xinghai, vice-chair of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, who told attendees: “I would advise international investors to find out what’s really going on in China and what’s the real intention of our government by themselves. Don’t read too much of the international media.”

Thank you to readers who took yesterday’s poll. Responses were mixed, with 44 per cent of respondents saying they did not agree with Xi Jinping’s move to ban celebrity endorsements. — Emily

1. Powell warns US rates will peak higher than expected Speaking after the central bank increased its main interest rate by 0.75 percentage points for the fourth time in a row, Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell warned the Fed had “some ways to go” in its quest to tame soaring prices and pointed to a string of economic reports suggesting it has yet to make a dent in inflation.

  • Market news: US stocks sank after Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell cautioned that it was still “very premature” to think about pausing interest rate rises as the central bank delivered its fourth supersized increase in a row.

 

2. Russia agrees to rejoin Ukraine grain exports deal Grain shipments from Ukraine resumed yesterday after Russia agreed to rejoin a UN-backed initiative to allow exports via the Black Sea, ending a stand-off that threatened to reignite a global food crisis.

3. Chinese stocks boosted by planned inhalable Covid vaccine Chinese pharmaceutical stocks and the broader market received a boost yesterday after local authorities approved CanSino Biologics’s inhalable vaccine to tackle coronavirus, amid rumours that Beijing was looking at relaxing its zero-Covid policy. Shares in CanSino Biologics rose as much as 70 per cent in Hong Kong.

4. South Korea responds with missile tests after North fires barrage South Korea has fired three air-to-surface missiles towards its maritime border with North Korea, hours after its communist neighbour launched 10 missiles in its biggest daily barrage.

5. US Republicans slam plan to pull F-15 force from Okinawa Republican lawmakers have criticised a plan by the Pentagon to replace F-15 fighter jets permanently based in Okinawa with a temporary rotating force, saying it would send the wrong signal to China about US deterrence.

The day ahead

German chancellor visits China Olaf Scholz will arrive in China today ahead of a high-stakes meeting with President Xi Jinping today. At home, Scholz is facing pressure to rethink Germany’s relationship with China. (Nikkei)

Bank of England rate decision The central bank is expected to raise rates by 75 basis points today to 3 per cent. Rates have severely hampered homeowners, with spillover into the rental market. Here are four things to watch ahead of the decision.

Earnings Companies reporting third-quarter earnings today include BNP Paribas, BT Group, ConocoPhillips, Enel, Hybe, ING, Kellogg, Moderna, Motorola Solutions, Orsted, PayPal, Petrobras, Solvay and Stellantis.

Netflix’s new streaming strategy Netflix’s advertisement-supported service will launch today without the full range of programmes found on its premium platform, as studios negotiate with the streaming service for higher revenues for the rights to their shows.

What else we’re reading

Increasingly cosmopolitan Singapore clings to conservative values As the ruling People’s Action party — in power since independence in 1965 — prepares for new leadership, it has redoubled efforts to protect the cultural status quo, according to experts. But its popularity is in decline and its stance ignores the views of a more liberal, younger generation of Singaporeans.

The robo-minister tasked with helping Japan go digital Since being entrusted with the job of weaning the nation off its analogue addiction in August, Taro Kono, 59, has looked like a man facing down a cavalry charge with sharpened segments of peach. But now that he has the weaponry he needs, he risks becoming a national bogeyman, writes Leo Lewis.

Shein copycats chase its explosive growth The ascent of China’s Shein, set to become the world’s largest fast-fashion specialist retailer, has spawned imitators looking to profit from Gen Z’s growing appetite for cheap clothing. Temu and If Yooou seek to ride coattails of Chinese fast-fashion giant.

How Arizona became ground zero for election deniers In 2020, conspiracists jumped on every detail of the US election process in an attempt to cast doubt on its legitimacy. Nowhere was this more pronounced than in Arizona. While the defences around election integrity held, in 2024 the system could be less secure.

Geopolitics is the biggest threat to globalisation How might globalisation end? Some seem to imagine a relatively peaceful “decoupling” of economies, writes Martin Wolf. But it is likely that the fracturing will be both consequence and cause of deepening global discord. If so, a more destructive end is likely.

 

Health and wellness

One dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in the psychedelic class A drug “magic mushrooms”, has a sustained and significant effect in treating cases of depression that are unresponsive to other drugs, a study has found.

 

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