China state assets regulator says debt reduction, curbing risks still key

China’s Finance Minister Xiao Jie has tried to defuse concern over the country’s rising debt, saying government borrowing is below danger levels. (AP)
Updated 10 March 2018
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China state assets regulator says debt reduction, curbing risks still key

BEIJING: Reducing debt and curbing risks remain priorities for China’s state-owned firms, the head of the country’s state assets regulator said on Saturday, as Beijing continues its restructuring and deleveraging efforts.
State-owned firms would be pushed to improve their asset quality and boost their equity capital, Xiao Yaqing, chairman of the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, told reporters on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament.
The regulator also would seek to use debt-for-equity swaps to further reduce debt at state-owned companies, he added.
In 2015, Beijing introduced reforms to its state-owned industrial sector aimed at strengthening central government-owned enterprises, while introducing more professional management systems such as the adoption of boards of directors.
Xiao said those reforms would quicken.
The sector reported a rebound last year, with enterprises owned by China’s central government showing profit growth of 15.2 percent, to 1.4 trillion yuan ($221.2 billion), the fastest in five years.
Total profit from China’s central government-owned firms for the first two months of 2018 rose 22.6 percent from a year earlier to 266.7 billion yuan ($42.1 billion), Xiao said.


Gulf countries strengthen oil coordination amid tensions: Kuwait

Updated 20 May 2019
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Gulf countries strengthen oil coordination amid tensions: Kuwait

  • ‘It is normal amid this escalation that Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries take these steps’
  • Kuwait was in ‘constant contact’ with its ally, the US

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said countries in the Gulf have strengthened coordination to provide oil to global markets amid increased regional tensions.
“It is normal amid this escalation that Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries take these steps,” Khalid Al-Jarallah told reporters late Sunday on the sidelines of a Ramadan sit-down organized by the Iraqi embassy.
“There is cooperation and coordination between Kuwait and the Gulf countries to provide guarantees for oil tankers and continuous supply of energy to global markets.”
Jarallah’s comments come days after sabotage attacks against tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and the bombing of a Saudi pipeline — the latter claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels.
Both attacks targeted routes built as alternatives to the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for almost all Gulf exports.
The US Fifth Fleet headquartered in Bahrain said the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council began “enhanced security patrols” Saturday in international waters, in “tight coordination with the US navy.”
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strait in case of war with the United States, which earlier this month announced it was sending an aircraft carrier and strike group to the region.
Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said “tension was escalating quickly” but he remained hopeful.
He added Kuwait was in “constant contact” with its ally, the US.
On Saturday, OPEC giant Saudi Arabia called for urgent meetings of the GCC and the Arab League to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.
The two summits are scheduled to be held in Makkah on May 30.
Jarallah welcomed the kingdom’s invitation, saying Kuwait was keen to take part in discussions on issues “potentially dangerous” to the region.