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China cut its benchmark reference rate for mortgages by an unexpectedly wide margin on Friday, its second reduction this year as Beijing seeks to revive the ailing housing sector to prop up the economy, Reuters reported. Senior officials have pledged further measures to fight a slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy, hit by COVID-19 outbreaks that prompted stringent measures and mobility restrictions and causing huge disruptions to activity.
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China is quietly ramping up purchases of oil from Russia at bargain prices, according to shipping data and oil traders who spoke to Reuters, filling the vacuum left by Western buyers backing away from business with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in February. The move by the world's biggest oil importer comes a month after it initially cut back on Russian supplies, for fear of appearing to openly support Moscow and potentially expose its state oil giants to sanctions.
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Three banks in China's central Henan province have frozen at least $178 million of deposits, offering scant information on why or for how long, leaving firms unable to pay workers and individuals locked out of savings, depositors told Reuters. Yu Zhou Xin Min Sheng Village Bank, Shangcai Huimin Country Bank and Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank froze all deposits on April 18, with all three telling customers they were upgrading internal systems. The banks have not issued any communication on the matter since, depositors said.
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European businesses in China are awaiting the next wave of disruption from COVID-19 outbreaks and see little chance of improvement until the country increases vaccination rates, the European Chamber of Commerce in China said on Monday, Reuters reported. Shanghai has set out plans to end its COVID lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks, hitting China's economy, where industrial output and retail sales fell in April at the fastest in more than two years, missing expectations.
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Before Bill Hwang sent a slate of stocks on a manic climb last year, he had already started bleeding billions of dollars on a bearish bet after seeking Morgan Stanley’s help, Bloomberg News reported. It’s an untold chapter that played out just before Hwang’s famously bullish trades came tumbling down in early 2021, wiping out his Archegos Capital Management and leading to criminal charges.
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China’s economy is paying the price for the nation’s Covid Zero policy, with industrial output and consumer spending sliding to the worst levels since the pandemic began and analysts warning of no quick recovery, Bloomberg News reported. Industrial output unexpectedly fell 2.9% in April from a year ago, while retail sales contracted 11.1% in the period, weaker than a projected 6.6% drop. The unemployment rate climbed to 6.1% and the youth jobless rate hit a record. Investors responded by selling everything from Chinese shares to US index futures and oil.
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Chinese financial authorities on Sunday allowed a further cut in mortgage loan interest rates for some home buyers, in another push to prop up its property market and revive a flagging engine of the world's second-largest economy, Reuters reported. For purchases of first homes, commercial banks can reduce the lower limit of interest rates on home loans by 20 basis points, based on the corresponding tenor of benchmark Loan Prime Rates (LPRs), the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said in a statement.
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Exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui has said that he will drop his personal bankruptcy case because he says he does not have the money to cover the associated legal costs, Reuters reported. Guo, the former real estate magnate who fled China for the U.S. in 2014 ahead of corruption charges, said in court papers filed on Wednesday that he would not contest a call for his chapter 11 case to be thrown out by a fund that loaned money to Guo's companies.
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Sunac China, once one of the country’s best-performing developers, failed to make an overdue interest payment on a U.S. dollar bond, marking a comedown for founder Sun Hongbin, who had tried for months to prevent his property giant from spiraling into default, the Wall Street Journal reported. Tianjin-based Sunac on Thursday said it couldn’t cobble together enough money to make a $29.5 million bond-coupon payment by the end of a 30-day grace period.
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For decades, the world has depended on China as a massive factory floor and market. As the country’s economic growth crumbles, the pain is spreading globally, the Wall Street Journal reported. Lockdowns aimed at stamping out Covid-19 are throttling activity in the world’s second-largest economy. Overseas demand for China’s exports is fading as economies wrestle with surging prices and rising interest rates. The effects of China’s slowdown are showing up everywhere from German factories to Australian tourist spots.
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