China's exports stay strong, trade surplus hits $84 billion

China's exports stay strong, trade surplus hits $84 billion
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Updated 07 November 2021

China's exports stay strong, trade surplus hits $84 billion

China's exports stay strong, trade surplus hits $84 billion
  • Regulators are also cracking down on debt-laden real estate developers, slowing the housing market

China's exports remained strong in October, a positive sign for an economy trying to weather power shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks.


The country's customs agency said Sunday that exports totaled $300.2 billion, up 27.1 percent from a year ago. That was down from a 28.1 percent increase in September but still healthy. Imports came in at $215.7 billion, a 20.6 percent rise.


Exports and imports are much higher than a year ago, when much of the world was in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is widespread concern that economic headwinds are slowing growth.


China’s economy has been buffeted by the government's tough COVID-19-related restrictions, which have depressed domestic travel and consumer demand, and power shortages that have pushed down factory production.

Regulators are also cracking down on debt-laden real estate developers, slowing the housing market.


China's trade surplus in October was $84.5 billion, up from $66.8 billion the previous month.

The surplus with the U.S. was down slightly to $40.7 billion, compared to $42 billion in September. With the EU, it was $25.9 billion.


Saudi-based Yansab leads losses in early trading despite earnings beat

Saudi-based Yansab leads losses in early trading despite earnings beat
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi-based Yansab leads losses in early trading despite earnings beat

Saudi-based Yansab leads losses in early trading despite earnings beat

RIYADH: Shares of the Saudi petrochemical firm Yanbu National Petrochemical Co., or Yansab, fell on Thursday, despite reporting over twofold profit growth in 2021.

As of early trading, the stock led the losses on the Kingdom's main stock index TASI, falling almost 2 percent to reach SR70.7 ($18.9).

The company earlier reported profits of SR1.5 billion in 2021, compared to SR678 million a year earlier. Profit growth was driven by higher selling prices.

Revenues surged from SR5.03 billion to SR7.4 billion, representing a 47 percent leap.

This came despite lower production volumes, impacted by the shutdown of the company’s facilities for maintenance, as well as higher production costs, Yansab said in a bourse filing on Wednesday.


Saudis among biggest spenders in first half of Expo 2020

Saudis among biggest spenders in first half of Expo 2020
Updated 7 min 3 sec ago

Saudis among biggest spenders in first half of Expo 2020

Saudis among biggest spenders in first half of Expo 2020
  • The world expo has attracted nearly nine million visitors during its first three months, and 30 percent of which were from outside the UAE

Visitors from Saudi Arabia were among the biggest international spenders during the first three months of Expo 2020, payments firm Network International has revealed. 

Based on its transactions data, international spending accounted for 42 percent of total outlays across Expo 2020 in December, up from 34 percent when the event began in October. 

The world expo has attracted nearly nine million visitors during its first three months, and 30 percent of which were from outside the UAE. 

Visitors from the US and Russia were also among the biggest spenders in the event during the same period.

This expo spending spree has pushed the UAE’s overall international and domestic spending levels up to above pre-pandemic numbers — increasing 104 percent and 17 percent year-on-year respectively in December. 

The report from Network showed pavilions from Saudi Arabia, Belgium, France, Italy, and Japan recording the most spending in the first three months of the event, which ends in March. 

Majority of the spending was on food and beverage, with an average non-ticketing spend of 295 dirhams ($80.32) for international visitors.


Singapore lists first SPAC as Asia investors warm up to blank check firms

Singapore lists first SPAC as Asia investors warm up to blank check firms
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Updated 38 min 2 sec ago

Singapore lists first SPAC as Asia investors warm up to blank check firms

Singapore lists first SPAC as Asia investors warm up to blank check firms
  • The listing of Vertex Venture's SPAC also marks the first major debut of such vehicles in Asia

 A small blank-check firm backed by state investor Temasek made its Singapore debut on Thursday, marking the first such local listing as Singapore steps up a drive to emerge as a key venue for listings of this type.


This came four months after Singapore Exchange allowed special purpose acquisition companies or shell firms to list, easing proposed rules in response to market feedback.


The listing of Vertex Venture's SPAC also marks the first major debut of such vehicles in Asia since the frenzy seen in the United States in early 2021 prior to regulatory changes there.


"As the first SPAC in Singapore, we had to tread through difficult and unchartered waters," Chua Kee Lock, CEO of Vertex Venture, a Temasek subsidiary, told company executives, bankers and lawyers at a listing ceremony.


With an eye on sectors such as cyber security and fintech, Vertex Technology Acquisition Corp raised S$200 million ($148 million), with 13 cornerstone investors such as Temasek-linked entities and a fund operated by Dymon Asia, contributing 55 percent.


The SPAC last traded little changed from its offer price of S$5 per unit after being heavily oversubscribed.


Vertex Venture, the sponsor, which manages $5.1 billion of assets with a portfolio of 200-plus companies, has up to two years to find a target.


"The point is to attract high-growth technology companies which conventionally would not have considered this market and now they have sponsors who can take over the risk also," Chua told Reuters this week.


SPACs raise money in public offerings, put it in a trust and then aim to merge with a private company and take it public, typically offering shorter listing timeframes and strong valuations.


Another SPAC, Pegasus Asia, backed by European asset manager Tikehau Capital and a holding firm of LVMH's chairman, among others, raised S$150 million and plans to invest in tech-enabled sectors. It lists on Friday.


A S$150 million SPAC sponsored by Southeast Asian industrial and technology buyout fund Novo Tellus Capital Partners, got investment from a Temasek unit and others. It lists next week.


Southeast Asia is seeing a boom in start-up funding as investors bet on post-pandemic technology plays.


SGX is offering a regulatory framework similar to that in the United States, including allowing participation of retail investors but also requires sponsors to invest in SPACs.


Analysts say risks include SPACs overvaluing companies and not finding ideal targets.


'HERE TO STAY'
"While there will always be gyrations in the market, we believe the SPAC framework is here to stay and complements the traditional IPO route," Mohamed Nasser Ismail, SGX's head of equity capital markets, told Reuters.


By focusing on sponsors' track records and ensuring their compulsory investment in SPACs, SGX is optimistic about SPAC listings.


While considered one of Asia's leading financial and business hubs, Singapore has not captured big IPOs. Last year, fundraising on SGX halved to $565 million, a six-year low, with just eight listings, Refinitiv data shows.


Hong Kong, home to large Chinese listings, is also allowing SPAC listings from this year but bars participation from retail investors.

Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, DBS' head of capital markets, said SPACs are being accepted by many investors as an alternative to gain access to start-ups which typically tap private equity markets.


"Several Singaporean and regional companies in high-growth, high-tech sectors will be mature for listing on public markets in the coming years," she said, adding that these would emerge as business combination targets for SPACs listed on SGX.


Credit Suisse and DBS are the joint issue managers on the Vertex SPAC, and joint global coordinators, with Morgan Stanley. 


Evergrande's offshore shareholders say to seriously consider enforcement actions

Evergrande's offshore shareholders say to seriously consider enforcement actions
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Updated 45 min 19 sec ago

Evergrande's offshore shareholders say to seriously consider enforcement actions

Evergrande's offshore shareholders say to seriously consider enforcement actions

An ad hoc offshore shareholder group of China Evergrande said on Thursday it has seen no substantive engagement from the firm with offshore creditors to formulate a viable restructuring plan, despite the firm's repeated assurances.


The group, represented by law firm Kirkland & Ellis and investment bank Moelis & Company, said in a statement it has no option but to seriously consider enforcement actions and it is prepared to take all necessary actions to defend its legal rights. 

 


Saudi stocks edge lower as earnings season kicks off: Opening bell

Saudi stocks edge lower as earnings season kicks off: Opening bell
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 49 min 5 sec ago

Saudi stocks edge lower as earnings season kicks off: Opening bell

Saudi stocks edge lower as earnings season kicks off: Opening bell
  • The Gulf’s largest miner, Saudi-listed Ma’aden hit its highest value since listing

RIYADH: Saudi stocks opened fractionally lower as investors brace themselves for earnings announcements.

As of 10:19 a.m. Saudi time, TASI edged down 0.2 percent to 12,238 points and the parallel Nomu market was flat at 26,155 points.

Shares in Yanbu National Petrochemical Co., known as Yansab, led the losses in early trading as it fell almost 2 percent despite posting a 126 percent jump in net profit in the fiscal year 2021.

The market was also weighed down by falls in some of the Kingdom’s major players, including oil giant Saudi Aramco, Al Rajhi Bank, and its largest lender Saudi National Bank all down in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 percent.

The Gulf’s largest miner, Saudi-listed Ma’aden hit its highest value since listing of SR95.5 ($25.5).

Al Moammar Information Systems Co., MIS, saw a 1.4 percent increase in its share price.

Earlier, MIS announced the launch of a system to provide cloud management solutions in Saudi Arabia, following a deal with BMC Software.

In energy trading, Brent crude reached $88.1 per barrel, and US WTI crude oil neared $87 per barrel as of 10:30 a.m. Saudi time.