Fourth Quarter 2015 Economic and Wood Product News Part 2

Asia-Economy-Bigstock-2015-jan-02-M

Wooden building materials receive more support in China -Fordaq

China’s Ministries of Industry and Housing have developed an action plan to promote the production and use of green building materials. The aim is to increase the proportion and quality of green building materials and will focus on energy consumption in manufacturing and the emission of toxic airborne substances.

According to the plan more wooden building will be developed in China in the near future. The use of wooden structures will be promoted in public building such as schools, kindergartens, nursing homes and in landscaping. In addition, wooden rural housing construction will be promoted in existing and new community developments.

In China, biomass building materials will play a prominent role in the implementation of the action plan and new technologies utilising biomass materials will be introduced.

Golden waterways

Golden waterway for trade – new Arctic shipping service-Fordaq

COSCO one of China’s state owned shipping companies has announced it will introduce regular shipping services via an Arctic route to Europe. The company has tested the feasibility for this new route by twice sailing a vessel through the north east passage.

This year a COSCO container vessel equipped for ice breaking took just under a month to cover the sailing from Taicang Port to Rotterdam via the Artic route.

This route results in a 30% saving on sailing time and a fuel saving as the route is 2,800 nautical miles less than the route through the Indian Ocean and Suez Canal.

China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese experts hailed the route as a “golden waterway” for trade.

Sino-Canada Eco-district project shows progress brad

By Brad Spencer

Deputy Managing Director

August 13, 2015

Posted in: China

MOU signing

Signing of MOU between BSD-TEDA and CW for CW technical support in Eco-district project

Canada Ambassador

Canadian Ambassador Saint-Jacques and BSD-TEDA senior officials at eco-district site

The Sino-Canada Eco-District project, which is located in the Tianjin Binhai Tourism area is making progress. The project area is 1.8 km2 with the first phase over a five year period of about 1 Km2.  The current investors/developers of the project are a joint venture (BSD-TEDA) between the TEDA Investment Holding Group and the Beijing Science Park Development Group. It is part of the larger Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Administrative region. The land use plan for the project has been developed and B+H, a leading Canadian design firm with extensive experience in China, has been selected to work with the local Design Institute to complete the Master Plan of the project and to reflect Canadian best practices for sustainable communities.

On June 25th, a significant milestone was reached with an event in Tianjin Binhai with the presence of Ambassador Saint-Jacques, senior officials from The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Administrative Committee, Natural Resources Canada, Ca

According to the guideline, Beijing holds its position as a political, cultural, innovative and diplomatic center while Tianjin works as an experimental research hub for R&D, global shipping, finance and economic reform.

ecocity

Canada Wood, Presidents of both BSD and TEDA and the project team leader from B+H. Over 30 KPIs were developed by The Canadian and Chinese sides for this project, including one that says that the proportion of buildings that use various wood building applications needs to be at least 60% of all structures. This is a tremendous opportunity for Canada in that it will be the first large-scale community-sized demonstration area for wood in construction.  It is an opportunity, with exemptions approval from MOHURD, to demonstrate new wood technologies and innovations that go beyond current Chinese codes. Canada Wood signed a MOU with BSD-TEDA offering its technical support services for this project. Construction of the first structure is anticipated to start in the first half of 2016.

 North American markets hit by stunning free fall that has seen Chinese stocks drop by 30 per cent in past month

By Joanne Lee-Young and Chuck Chiang, Vancouver Sun July 9, 2015

stock broker

A stock trader covers his eyes at a brokerage house in Fuyang in central China’s Anhui province

Wednesday, July 8, 2015. China announced a flurry of new moves Wednesday to halt a stock market slide.

On a day when China’s stock market rout hit the share prices of B.C.-based commodity producers and spilled panic into North American capital markets, Vancouver resident Wendy Wu was focused on the pain in her own trading portfolio.

“I’m annoyed to death. Annoyed to death,” said an exasperated Wu, who has been day trading Chinese stocks since before she moved to Vancouver’s west side from Luoyang in central China.

“It has never been like this,” Wu said Wednesday of China’s falling markets. She estimated that in the last week, she has lost $820,000 as shares on exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen have plummeted and more than half were suspended to halt the free fall.

Wu has held Shenzhen-listed Chinese property developer Hna Investment Group since 2008, but just sold after watching it drop from a high of 17 yuan ($3.49) a share to about 6 yuan ($1.23).

A month ago, she hopped into Shanghai-listed Zijin Mining Group, China’s largest gold producer — then cringed to see its share price cut almost in half. Zijin recently invested about $80 million in Pretium Resources, which is developing the Brucejack underground gold project in northwestern B.C.

While institutional investors are starting to mix Chinese stocks into their funds, more than 80 per cent of the trading in Shanghai and Shenzhen is still done by individuals. Most live in China and are estimated to represent about 15 per cent of the country’s total population.

Within these official state figures, however, is a subset of traders like Wu, who have Chinese passports and live abroad.

Some fall into the approximately 320,000 immigrants who, between the years 2004 and 2013, moved from mainland China to Canada. Many of them ended up in Metro Vancouver.

In addition, there are also some 80,000 mainland Chinese students and others in Vancouver who have no citizenship tie to mainland China, but have opened accounts as it has become easier to catch a bit of what had been, for a good stretch, a crazy ride up.

Indeed, Chinese stock markets have seen unpredictable fluctuations in recent months.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index hit a peak of 5,166.35 on June 12, rising 150 per cent in a year, but has since lost about 30 per cent. The sell-off since June has wiped away $3.8 trillion from Chinese equity markets. By comparison, Canada’s annual GDP is an estimated $2.3 trillion.

This has Beijing taking drastic and, some say, desperate moves, including stopping IPOs, capping short-selling and having brokers create funds for stock purchases backed by the central bank. To spur lending and trading activity, it also dropped the interest rate to a record low of 4.85 per cent.

It’s a heady mix when you consider the presence of short-term traders who tend to impulsively follow the market momentum regardless of its direction, according to Andreas Schotter, academic director at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, who has lived in China for more than a decade and is an expert in global business strategies.

“The situation in China cannot yet be compared to fully matured financial system like we have here in Canada or the U.S.,” Schotter said. “There are a lot of short-term traders that tend to cause more dramatic upward or downward swings. It’s the culture of the market.”

Chinese officials had been working toward letting the market play a larger role in the country’s economy, leaving some observers now concerned that Beijing’s heavy-handed return to the stock markets is a sign this won’t continue.

Schotter, however, isn’t concerned: “I do not see the measure taken by the Chinese government as a sign of reversing liberalization.”

It’s not clear what all this means for the B.C. businesses that trade with China and the desire of entrepreneurs with access to Chinese cash to continue making real estate and commercial investments here.

There are likely investors in several situations: company executives and large shareholders who cannot sell stocks because of new government restrictions; people who bought on margin and lost more than they invested; and, people who got out before the market tanked, according to Andrey Pavlov, who specializes in real estate finance at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

Those who had fortunate timing might now be even more highly motivated to take their money out of China. However, having been torched “by an over-extended market built on cheap credit,” these investors might also take extra care to diversify away from a Canadian market that is “highly exposed to China and the world’s commodity markets in general,” said Pavlov.

Shares of coal-and-copper focused B.C. miner Teck Resources dropped 77 cents, or 6.3 per cent, to $11.49 on the TSX Wednesday, while shares of copper producer First Quantum Minerals slid 29 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $14.73.

JLee-young@vancouversun.com

chchiang@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


 

The yuan joins the Special Drawing Rights (SDR)

Maiden voyage

yuan strong and stronger

Reserve-currency status might make for a weaker yuan

Dec 5th 2015 | From the print edition

PASSING through the Suez Canal became easier earlier this year, thanks to an expansion completed in August. Now it is about to become a little bit more complicated. Transit fees for the canal are denominated in Special Drawing Rights, a basket of currencies used by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its unit of account. This week the IMF decided to include the yuan in the basket from next year, joining the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen.

If lots of things were priced in SDRs, the IMF’s decision would have forced companies around the world to buy yuan-denominated assets as soon as possible, to hedge their exposure. That would have prompted China’s currency to strengthen dramatically. But few goods or services are priced in SDRs. Instead, admission to the currency club is significant mainly for its symbolism: the IMF is lending its imprimatur to the yuan as a reserve currency—a safe, liquid asset in which governments can park their wealth. Indeed, far from setting off a groundswell of demand for the yuan, the IMF’s decision may pave the way for its depreciation.

The reason is that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will now find itself under more pressure to manage the yuan as central banks in most rich economies do their currencies—by letting market forces determine their value. In bringing the yuan into the SDR, the IMF had to determine that it is “freely usable”. Before coming to this decision, the IMF asked China to make changes to its currency regime.

Most importantly, China has now tied the yuan’s exchange rate at the start of daily trading to the previous day’s close; in the past the starting quote was in effect set at the whim of the PBOC, often creating a big gap with the value at which it last traded. It was the elimination of this gap that lay behind the yuan’s 2% devaluation in August, a move that rattled global markets. Though the yuan is still far from being a free-floating currency—the central bank has intervened since August to prop it up—the cost of such intervention is now higher. The PBOC must spend real money during the trading day to guide the yuan to its desired level.

Inclusion in the SDR will only deepen the expectations that China will let market forces decide the yuan’s exchange rate. The point of the SDR is to weave disparate currencies together into a single, diversified unit; some have suggested, for example, that commodities be quoted in SDRs to reduce the volatility of pricing them in dollars. But if China maintains its de facto peg to the dollar, the result of adding the yuan to the SDR will be to boost the dollar’s weight in the basket, defeating the point.

What would happen if China really did give the market the last word on the yuan? For some time it has been under downward pressure. The simplest yardstick is the decline in China’s foreign-exchange reserves, from a peak of nearly $4 trillion last year to just over $3.5 trillion now—a reflection, in part, of the PBOC’s selling of dollars to support the yuan. Were it not for tighter capital controls since the summer, outflows might have been even bigger.

And the yuan does look overvalued. Despite China’s slowing economy, its continued link to the surging dollar has put it near an all-time high in trade-weighted terms, up by more than 13% in the past 18 months (see chart). With the Federal Reserve gearing up to start raising interest rates at the same time as China is loosening its monetary policy, the yuan looks likely to come under more downward pressure, at least against the dollar.

It would be foolhardy to predict that China will suddenly give the market free rein. That would go against its deep-seated preference for gradual reform. But while basking in the glow of its SDR status, China must also be aware of the responsibility to minimise intervention that comes with it. A weaker yuan may well be the result.

From the print edition: Finance and economics

 

New Chinese sawmill in Russia

avic forestry

In 2016, the Chinese AVIC Forestry will launch a new sawmill – the third out of ten enterprises whose construction is planned within the framework of the Asino industrial park –  in Tomsk Region, Russia. In 2008-2015 there was invested 18 billion rubles (EUR 241,19 million as of Dec 12, 2015) in this project, reports TASS with the reference to Boris Kaznacheev, deputy CEO of AVIC Forestry’s subsidiary Roskitinvest.

“Next year we are planning to launch a sawmill whose capacity will come up to 200,000 m3 of edged boards per year. As expected, China will be the main export market,” commented Kaznacheev.

He underlined that it is rather difficult to assess the exact investment amount, since investors allocate money to several projects at the same time: while paying to construct one mill, they may also be involved in creating infrastructure for others. “As of today, investments have come up to 18 billion rubles,” he said, noting that the complex contruction started back in 2008, but the active stage began in 2012.

All in all, says TASS, it is planned to construct and launch 10 woodworking plants as a part of Asino industrial complex. In February 2015, the first one was launched. It is a veneer plant with the annual capacity of 100,000 m3. The 2nd plant – the MDF plnat (200,000 m3 per year) and a power plant are planned to be launched in 2016. These two enterprises will be followed by a plywood plant and a laminated flooring plant (each producing 80,000 m3 of the end product per year), a furniture factory (200,000 units) and so on.

By 2020 the total investment amount will have come up to 30 billion rubles (about EUR 402 million as of Dec 12, 2015). The industrial complex in question is expected to provide 5,500 new jobs. 2,000 jobs have already been created.

China: Less interest in imported furniture

children-bedroom-furniture-china-1050

December 09, 2015

Source:

Fordaq/ITTO

In order to boost domestic sales imported furniture traders have recently reduced prices by as much as 30%. However, even with such big discounts domestic sales did not pick up. Analysts report that the enthusiasm of Chinese consumers for imported furniture has fallen and efforts at promotion are not delivering results.

It now seems consumers in China are more price conscious and are returning to purchasing domestically manufactured furniture which is cheaper than imports even with the heavy price discounts offered on imported products.

China enters custom furniture age

The sales of imported furniture fell this year and local analysts put this down to changing life styles rather than the economic slowdown.

There are many more home owners now in China and most houses and apartments tend to be small or medium sized and are owned by those born in the 1980s and 1990s.

These young home-owners demand functionality as well as artistic and personalised furniture. Because of this there is a growing trend to custom tailored furniture and innovative furniture makers now offer whole house furniture customisation.

 

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