China pledges to allow more foreign investment in financial sector by year-end

China has recently made plans to open its financial sector to more foreign investment by the end of this year. This comes as Beijing looks for ways to avoid growing criticism from the United States and other trading partners.
Governor Yi Gang of People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said the nation will allow foreign firms to compete on an equal footing with domestic companies in the financial sector by giving foreign banks more business scope in the country.
China promises to keep these plans that were publicly announced last year. The pledges include allowing foreign firms to invest in trust companies, financial leasing, auto finance and consumer finance.
The PBOC has confirmed that it aims to launch a planned trading link between its stock markets and London by the end of 2018.
“China will raise foreign ownership limits to 51 percent in securities, fund management, futures and life insurance companies over the next few months” said the PBOC.
The current ownership cap for securities, futures and fund management firms is 49% and the cap for insurance companies is 50%. China’s president, Xi Jinping also promised to open the economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars.
source: reuters

World Bank says SA could half poverty by 2030

The World Bank has declared that South Africa could more than half its number of underprivileged people to 4 million by 2030, but first the country must address corruption, get free higher education right and reduce policy uncertainty in its mining industry. These are said to be the short-term goals to improve the life conditions of the country.
“Solutions are needed to foster MTV because he inclusive growth, which in practice means improving the poor’s access to good jobs so they can fully participate in the economy,” the World Bank said.  
The bank has suggested long-term goals which in includes, reducing inequality levels by improving the quality of basic education delivered to students from poor backgrounds and reinforcing the spatial integration between economic hubs, where jobs are located and underserviced informal settlements. 
The World Bank mentioned that by 2030 inequality should be back down to its 1994 level, and South Africa should number 8.3 million poor people (at $1.90 a day), down from almost 10.5 million in 2017.
However, the bank noted that creating a new South Africa will take time and challenges are expected throughout the journey.  
“In this regard, continued efforts to effectively redistribute wealth to the poorest while protecting economic growth will need to complement the reforms discussed above to create skilled jobs for the poor.”
 
source:Fin24

Brazil central bank tackles cost of credit with new rules

Brazil’s central bank has announced a range of new banking rules that aims to bring down some of the world’s highest interest rate by increasing liquidity, reducing funding costs and fostering competition in the financial system.

The central bank said these changes will take effect between late April and early May. These would return reserve requirements on savings accounts to levels last seen before the 2008 global crisis.

Central Bank Director, Otávio Damaso, stated that the measures created conditions for banks to reduce interest rates on loans, without mentioning specific targets.

The central bank defined rules for banks to issue covered bonds, a kind of deposit that could boost mortgage lending by reducing funding costs.

Credit Suisse analysts estimated that the extra liquidity could increase earnings at Brazil’s largest banks by 0.7 percent to 2.4 percent. Analysts also mentioned that the additional liquidity should bring down some interest rates.

“Demand for credit is still weak, especially on the part of companies, and it would be tough to see a really big change even with an eventual drop in (interest) rates,” said Roberto Padovani, chief economist at Banco Votorantim.

Source :Reuters

Russia – SA celebrates 1 year of visa-free travelling

It’s been one year of visa-free travelling for South Africans and Russians.

On 1 April 2017, South African and Russian governments officially introduced visa-free travel for their citizens to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This of course, only applies to the visitor’s visa and not intent to study, work or live in the other country.

Seventy two days from now, Russia will be hosting the Fifa World Cup 2018, so visa-traveling has a made it easy and more cost-effective for South Africans to plan their trip it a lot easier for South Africans to plan a trip without the concerns of incurring visa costs as an added hassle.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently reiterated the importance of the South Africa’s relations with members of BRICS, and upon speaking to Russian President Vladmir Putin, shared his excitement over the upcoming BRICS Summit, to be hosted by SA in July this year.

A statement released by the Presidency reads:
“President Ramaphosa said Russia remained an important partner to South Africa and Africa at large, as evidenced by its support for countries of the South in multilateral fora and associations such as BRICS. President Putin reciprocated by congratulating President Ramaphosa on his assumption of the Presidency and said the Russian Federation stood ready to deepen bilateral relations, notably in the economic terrain.”

“President Ramaphosa looks forward to hosting President Putin at the BRICS Summit in July, which will signify the beginning of the second decade of cooperation among this group of emerging markets which have a range of developmental advances and challenges in common.”

China to lighten the tax burden on individuals and businesses

China has vowed to cut the value-added tax rate on various sectors as of May 2018. The sectors affected include manufacturing, transportation, construction, telecommunication and agricultural sectors.

The motivation behind this decision is to lighten the tax burden on individuals and businesses. The government is also looking to boost domestic demand in a year of economic growth that slowed down in 2017.

According to Reuters, China’s State Council said VAT cutd are expected to save 240 billion yuan ($38 billion) in taxes this year.

Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the tax cuts for the manufacturing and transportation. The tax rate cut for the manufacturing sector will lower to 16% from 17%, while the rate for other industries will be cut to 10% from 11%.

The findings from Goldman Sachs research indicated that the tax cut is a positive move. “However, the magnitude of the cut is relatively small and is already factored into the official fiscal budget.”

The research also stated that the coming weeks will reveal details of other tax cut measures.

Source: Reuters

Brazil hosts the 8th World Water Forum

The 8th World Water Forum got underway on Monday with Brazil President Michel Temer and other heads of state.

They all gathered in the country’s capital, Brasilia to discuss the sustainable use of water resources around the world.

The forum invited experts in water and sanitation to facilitate the efficient conversation, development, planning and use of water in all its dimensions.

During the opening ceremony, the Honorary President of the World Water Council, Loïc Fauchon, highlighted the need to protect water resources.

Said Fauchon: “Our responsibility is to ensure the availability of water everywhere.”

He added that the forum has become an indispensable medium for the international community to discuss the sustainability of water resources.

Basic sanitation is among other several factors concerning water.

The minister of the Secretariat for Human Rights of Brazil, Gustavo do Vale Roche spoke about the improvement of basic sanitation.

“Politicians should help to ratify the idea to improve basic sanitation. Is a fundamental right that should not be taken lightly while other rights are demanded. I hope that the next World Forum, we have evolved concerning those issues.”

According to Eric Tardieu, director-general of the International Office of Water, 2.1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, which corresponds to 30% of the world’s population. And 4.5 billion people have no basic sanitation, 60% of the population. One of the main factors that define these numbers is the low investment in infrastructure in the water sector.

 

source : www.worldwaterforum8.org 

SA ready to chair the BRICS Business Council after signing Kigali Declaration

The growing motion on the African Continental Free Trade Area saw about 44 countries sign the AfCFTA deal this week in Kigali, Rwanda.

Several other countries, including South Africa, signed the Kigali Declaration which is devoted to the establishment of the African economic community, that seeks free movement of persons and goods to facilitate trade.
Chairman of the SA chapter of the BRICS Business Council, Dr Iqbal Survé said this is the best thing to happen to Africa in a very long time.

The AfCFTA agreement is figured to have the potential to bring together 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of over US$2.5 trillion if successfully implemented.

Survé said the AfCFTA would allow the BRICS grouping to attract further investment into Africa to create skilled jobs.

“The global norm for intra trade is 30 percent but Africa has not been trading with itself. But Africa is now set for a decade of unbelievable growth and prosperity.” Survé said.

The BRICS nations make up more than 40 percent of the global population and according to Survé the formation of BRICS has proven to be hugely beneficial to Africa as a whole.

“BRICS countries are now Africa’s biggest trade partners.”
Survé also pointed to the deepening of inter-BRICS relations in areas such as financial services, skills development, manufacturing, and the easing of travel restrictions.

“For Africa, of course, it is important that there is continued infrastructure investment and deepening investment,” added Survé.

Survé will be leading around 50 senior business executives from various sectors to the mid-term meeting that would take place next week in Shanghai, China.

Source: African News Agency/ANA

China Names Yi Gang as Its First New Central Bank Chief in 15 Years

China has appointed Yi Gang as the new head of People’s Bank of China.

The position was run by Zhou Xiaochuan for more than a decade, who is now set to retire at the age of 70.

He steered the institution through global financial crisis during his 15-year term.

The new leadership is said to come at a time of heightened awareness of the risks facing the economy, from a broader trade-war with the U.S. to a long-feared financial blow-up.

The appointment of Gang falls part of the country’s new economic team as President Xi Jinping kicks off his second term.

Sources : www.cnbs.com

Lavrov: BRICS New Development Bank to prioritise Africa

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed on Thursday that Africa is a top priority on the (NDB) BRICS New Development Bank’s agenda for 2018.

He said: “The New Development Bank is just starting its operation but it will soon work in full swing. Projects discussed at the initial stage pertain only to the territory of five BRICS countries. Potential projects outside BRICS is the next stage. However, special attention will be clearly paid to the African continent because an office of the BRICS New Development Bank is situated in South Africa,” he said.

Talks on establishing the bank were discussed came in Fortaleza, Brazil on 15 July 2014. According to Tass.com, the NDB’s starting capital was set at $100 bln. With its headquarters in Shanghai, China, the bank was brought about as a means to finance BRICS and emerging market infrastructure projects and projects for sustainable development.

Source: Tass.com
Image: Sputniknews.com

Cause of Listeria outbreak identified

By Ntsiki Ntsibande

South Africa’s Listeria outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever outbreak of the bacterial disease listeriosis, claiming 180 lives to date.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday that the outbreak was traced to Enterprise’s Polokwane facility and Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State.

He also stated that further tests were needed as the sequence type was not yet known.
Motsoaledi had also confirmed that polony was a definite carrier of the disease, warning that products like Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats could also be affected due to the risk of cross contamination.
The disease was traced after several children presented with gastroenteritis in Soweto earlier in the week. It was found through test that they had listeriosis.

Latest stats from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) show that 948 cases detected and 180 deaths have been reported.

Listeriosis caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes can contaminate animal products and fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables. Pregnant women, neonates, elderly people and anyone with weakened systems are at risk.

Members of the public have been advised to get rid of any Enterprise ready-to-eat products. Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay indicated they are withdrawing all products linked to the source of the disease.

Tiger Brands confirmed that all Enterprise products, as identified, will be recalled.

“We are working very closely with the officials at present to conduct the process and will provide updates to the public on this matter,” said spokesperson Nevashnee Naicker in a statement.

Motsoaledi includes that the Enterprise facility in Germiston on the East Rand, and Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State has been singled out pending for more tests to determine the sequence type.

Additional reporting: News24