Chinese government to sell sovereign bonds worth $340bn by year-end

Chinese government to sell sovereign bonds worth $340bn by year-end
The issuance of a total of 3.45 trillion yuan in local government special bonds for infrastructure has been completed by the end of June. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 September 2022

Chinese government to sell sovereign bonds worth $340bn by year-end

Chinese government to sell sovereign bonds worth $340bn by year-end

RIYADH: China will sell sovereign bonds totalling $340 billion in the final months of this year as the Asian giant taps the remaining annual quota and refinances maturing special bonds.

The government has issued 1.09 trillion yuan ($151 billion) of general bonds so far this year ⁠— less than 40 percent of the budgeted central deficit of 2.75 trillion yuan for 2022, Bloomberg reported based on its calculations.

According to the report, the government is expected to issue a total of 2.45 trillion yuan in sovereign bonds between October and December, which comprises 1.66 trillion yuan of new bonds and 786 billion yuan to refinance maturing special debts.

Meanwhile, Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, said that the treasury bond issuance plan was made during a meeting of the finance ministry on Wednesday.

According to the Reuters report, the ministry also urged local governments to complete issuing the roughly 500 billion yuan in special bonds by the end of October under carryover quotas from previous years, the sources said.

The issuance of a total of 3.45 trillion yuan in local government special bonds for infrastructure has been completed by the end of June.

Amid weak consumption recovery and softening export growth, authorities are doubling down on an infrastructure push, dusting off an old playbook by issuing debt to fund big public works projects to revive the economy.

China’s economy generally recovered and stabilized in the third quarter and the country will push ahead with its economic program in the fourth, state media quoted Li Keqiang, premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, as saying on Wednesday.

But with few signs China will significantly ease its zero-COVID policy soon, many analysts expect the economy to grow by just 3 percent this year, which would be the slowest since 1976, excluding the 2.2 percent expansion during the initial COVID hit in 2020.

(With input from Reuters)


Israeli forces kill several armed militants in raid — army statement

Israeli forces kill several armed militants in raid — army statement
Updated 10 min 58 sec ago

Israeli forces kill several armed militants in raid — army statement

Israeli forces kill several armed militants in raid — army statement
  • There was no immediate comment from Palestinian authorities

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces killed a number of armed fighters during a raid on a refugee camp near the city of Jericho on Monday aimed at capturing suspected Hamas militants, according to a statement from the Israeli military.
It said the targets of the raid were suspected of an attempted attack on a restaurant in the Israeli settlement of Vered Yeriho on Jan. 28.
There was no immediate comment from Palestinian authorities.


Kirk Cousins rallies NFC to 35-33 victory over AFC in Pro Bowl

Kirk Cousins rallies NFC to 35-33 victory over AFC in Pro Bowl
Updated 23 min 41 sec ago

Kirk Cousins rallies NFC to 35-33 victory over AFC in Pro Bowl

Kirk Cousins rallies NFC to 35-33 victory over AFC in Pro Bowl
  • Cousins completed 15 of 19 passes for 150 yards in the NFL’s reformatted all-star contest, which gave the NFC the victory

LAS VEGAS: For Kirk Cousins, it wasn’t quite the NFL-record 33-point comeback against the Indianapolis Colts to win the NFC North.

However, Cousins was the quarterback for the third and final flag football game at the Pro Bowl on Sunday for a reason.

NFC coach Eli Manning wanted Cousins in that spot to decide the overall winner, and the Minnesota Vikings QB responded by throwing three touchdown passes to rally the NFC to a 35-33 victory over the AFC in the Pro Bowl Games and end that conference’s five-game losing streak.

Cousins completed 15 of 19 passes for 150 yards in the NFL’s reformatted all-star contest, which gave the NFC the victory.

“It’s hard to wait around that long to play, but I appreciate Eli letting me be the third guy and fun to go in there and be the closer,” Cousins said.

Based on the earlier flag games and skills competitions, the AFC took a 21-15 lead into the final flag game.

The Pro Bowl changed its format this season, eliminating the traditional game and replacing it with three flag games played on a 50-yard field and a series of skills competitions.

Each of the first two flag games was worth six points and each skills event was three. The total points were accumulated to form the score entering the final flag game.

“I thought it was awesome,” San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey said. “Guys had fun. It got intense there at the end.”

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams noticed the NFC took the game more seriously than expected, such as sending Cowboys safety KaVontae Turpin at the quarterback.

“Hopefully, next year the NFC will actually play some man and not sit back in Cover-2 the whole time and blitz one of the fastest men in the league,” Adams said. “Interesting technique by them, but it was still a good time.”

Brothers Eli and Peyton Manning each have two Super Bowl rings, but Eli has this Pro Bowl victory over his older sibling.

“I am the greatest coach of the Mannings,” Eli said tongue-in-cheek on the NFL’s Twitter account. “I am so much better at coaching than Peyton, it’s unbelievable.”

He wasn’t the only brother to earn bragging rights. Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs intercepted a pass off a trick play from Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

The Cleveland Browns, however, announced defensive end Myles Garrett dislocated a toe Sunday, but X-rays were negative.

Garrett played with a sprained shoulder this season from a car accident in September, but still had a team-record 16 sacks.

Injuries were something the NFL hoped to avoid by switching to this new format.

Though tackling wasn’t allowed, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey leveled Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill at the goal line.

Cousins said he hopes youngsters watching the Pro Bowl will want to participate in flag football and help that version of the sport grow.

The change to a flag game took some getting used to, but Cousins said that also made it more fun.

“You’re kind of drawing stuff up in the dirt,” he said. “It’s not as defined of a plan, so some of our guys were coming into the huddle saying, ‘Hey, I think if we did this.’ You try to listen to them and incorporate it. So it was fun, but also a little hectic.”

McCaffrey agreed.

“Learning the rules was a little tricky because this was so different,” McCaffrey said. “But I think everybody learned pretty quick and had fun.”

The Pro Bowl has received quite a bit of criticism in recent years, but the NFL keeps the event for a reason — fans pay attention.

The announced crowd of 58,331 was more than 2,000 more than last year, also played at Allegiant Stadium.

No site has been announced for next year’s Pro Bowl, but it’s unlikely the NFL will want that event to be played in the same venue just before the Super Bowl, which will be in Las Vegas.


Marseille lose 3-1 to Nice, Monaco triumph to keep pressure on

Marseille lose 3-1 to Nice, Monaco triumph to keep pressure on
Updated 06 February 2023

Marseille lose 3-1 to Nice, Monaco triumph to keep pressure on

Marseille lose 3-1 to Nice, Monaco triumph to keep pressure on
  • Strasbourg beat Montpellier 2-0 at home to go 17th as they try to move out of the relegation zone

PARIS: Second-place Marseille saw their unbeaten run end as they lost 3-1 at home to Nice on Sunday to slip eight points behind French league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Marseille’s first league defeat in 10 games means they were only ahead of third-place Lens on goal difference, with in-form Monaco now two points back in fourth spot. Third place secures a spot in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League next season.

Marseille fans got a first look at club-record signing Vitinha, a forward who joined from Portuguese side Braga for €32 million ($34.5 million). Terem Moffi made his debut for eighth-place Nice after joining from Lorient, where he scored 12 goals this season.

Neither made much of an impression in a first half where Nice’s superior pressing game troubled Marseille and prevented them from getting the ball regularly to playmaker Dimitri Payet.

Vitinha’s lack of familiarity with his teammates and the 35-year-old Payet’s tiring legs played into Nice’s high-octane game and the visitors scored twice at the end of the first half.

Striker Gaetan Laborde’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Pau Lopez but forward Sofiane Diop followed up to head in off the post in the 38th minute. Nice’s second goal in the 44th was similar as Lopez pushed away a shot from midfielder Khephren Thuram, and this time Laborde followed up.

Marseille coach Igor Tudor replaced Vitinha and Payet, with Ruslan Malinovskyi and Alexis Sanchez coming on for the second half. Malinovskyi pulled one back in the 60th with his first goal for the club, turning in a cross from left back Jonathan Clauss.

But Algeria forward Billal Brahimi scored his first goal for Nice in the 86th with a fine curling shot.

Meanwhile, Monaco extended their unbeaten run to seven matches with a 2-0 win at Clermont.

Early goals from central defender Guillermo Maripan and striker Breel Embolo allowed Monaco to control the game. Coach Philippe Clement’s side is in good form heading into next Saturday’s home game against PSG.

Maripan used his aerial ability to head in from Caio Henrique’s cross in the third minute. Ten minutes later Japan forward Takumi Minamino won the ball and fed Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, whose pinpoint cross was headed in by Embolo.

Lens managed only a 1-1 draw at Brest. Defender Jonathan Gradit equalized from close range in the 83rd for Lens after Brest goalkeeper Marco Bizot miskicked the ball following a corner. Striker Jeremy Le Douaron put Brest ahead in the 54th when he slid to meet Pierre Lees-Melou’s low cross to the back post.

Strasbourg beat Montpellier 2-0 at home to go 17th as they try to move out of the relegation zone, with striker Habib Diallo scoring both goals. Diallo netted after just 13 seconds from Dimitri Lienard’s cross and grabbed his second on the stroke of halftime, with the home side down to 10 men after Jean-Eudes Aholou’s red card in the 33rd.

Nantes won 2-0 at Corsican side Ajaccio with second-half goals from forward Evann Guessand and midfielder Ludovic Blas.

Rock-bottom Angers finally snapped their 13-game losing streak — a French league record — but could only draw 0-0 at Lorient.

English striker Folarin Balogun failed to add to his league-leading 14 goals but Reims extended its unbeaten run to 14 games with a 0-0 draw at 19th-place Auxerre, who had lost their seven previous games and kept a rare clean sheet.

On Saturday, Lionel Messi’s second-half strike helped a lackluster PSG beat Toulouse 2-1.


Bayern down Wolfsburg 4-2 to reclaim Bundesliga lead

Bayern down Wolfsburg 4-2 to reclaim Bundesliga lead
Updated 06 February 2023

Bayern down Wolfsburg 4-2 to reclaim Bundesliga lead

Bayern down Wolfsburg 4-2 to reclaim Bundesliga lead
  • Wolfsburg pressured from the start but Bayern struck first in the ninth minute when Coman’s cross for Muller evaded everyone and crept inside the far post
  • Second-half goals from Jens Stage and Marvin Ducksch earned Werder Bremen a 2-0 win at Stuttgart

BERLIN: Bayern Munich held on despite Joshua Kimmich’s sending off to beat Wolfsburg 4-2 and return to the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Kimmich was sent off with his second yellow card in the 54th but Wolfsburg was unable to make its dominance count as the visitors delivered a lesson in efficiency.

Kingsley Coman scored twice and Thomas Muller and Jamal Musiala added two more while Bayern also needed goalkeeper Yann Sommer at his best to secure the team’s first Bundesliga win of the year.

“The result was important, the victory matters above all else,” Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said. “We were too careless after the third goal, not concentrated enough and we allowed a bit too much. But we can be positive looking ahead with these three points.”

It was enough for Bayern to move back to one point clear of Union Berlin.

Wolfsburg had 22 shots at goal compared to the 10-time defending champions’ nine.

Wolfsburg pressured from the start but Bayern struck first in the ninth minute when Coman’s cross for Muller evaded everyone and crept inside the far post.

Coman wasn’t finished. The France winger met João Cancelo’s cross with a volley for 2-0 five minutes later, right after Wolfsburg missed a great opportunity to level.

Muller, making his 427th appearance for Bayern to equal Gerd Muller’s record, celebrated by heading in Kimmich’s free kick for Bayern’s third in only the 19th.

Despite the goals, Wolfsburg remained competitive and deservedly pulled one back through Jakub Kaminski before the break.

The home team pushed for more in the scond half, missing two good chances before Kimmich was sent off with his second yellow card for a foul on Maximilian Arnold.

Wolfsburg enjoyed more possession but failed to make it count before Musiala snatched Bayern’s fourth with a fine individual effort in the 73rd.

Mattias Svanberg pulled another back for Wolfsburg in the 81st and Yannick Gerhardt thought he’d made it 4-3 three minutes later, only to see the goal ruled out through VAR for an apparent foul in the buildup.

Earlier, second-half goals from Jens Stage and Marvin Ducksch earned Werder Bremen a 2-0 win at Stuttgart for the visitors’ second consecutive victory.

It lifted promoted Bremen to eighth while Stuttgart dropped back into the relegation zone. Stuttgart haven’t won a game since mid-November.


Powerful quake topples homes in Turkiye, Syria; death toll rises

Powerful quake topples homes in Turkiye, Syria; death toll rises
Updated 27 min 22 sec ago

Powerful quake topples homes in Turkiye, Syria; death toll rises

Powerful quake topples homes in Turkiye, Syria; death toll rises
  • At least 76 people in seven Turkish provinces died while 440 people were injured
  • In Syria the death toll climbed to 99 and 334 injured

RIYADH/ANKARA: Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency says the 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed at least 76 people in seven Turkish provinces. The agency said 440 people were injured.
Meanwhile, the death toll in government-held areas of Syria from Monday's quake climbed to 99, according to Syrian state media citing the Health Ministry. In addition, at least 334 people were injured in Syria. Earlier, 20 people were reported killed in rebel-held areas of Syria.
This raises the overall death toll to 195 in Turkey and Syria.
Rescue workers and residents frantically searched for survivors under the rubble of crushed buildings in multiple cities on both sides of the border. In one quake-struck Turkish city, dozens pulled away chunks of concrete and twisted metal. People on the street shouted up to others inside a partially toppled apartment building, leaning dangerously.
The quake, felt as far away as Cairo, was centered north of the city of Gaziantep in an area about 90 kilometers from the Syrian border.
On the Syrian side of the border, the quake smashed opposition-held regions that are packed with some 4 million Syrians displaced from other parts of the country by the long civil war. Many of them live in decrepit conditions with little health care. At least 11 were killed in one town, Atmeh, and many more were buried in the rubble, a doctor in the town, Muheeb Qaddour, said.

“We fear that the deaths are in the hundreds,” Qaddour said, referring to the rebel-held northwest. “We are under extreme pressure.”
On the Turkish side, the area has several large cities and is home to millions of Syrian refugees.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to the areas hit by the quake.
“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,” he wrote.


There were at least 6 aftershocks, and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu urged people not to enter damaged buildings due to the risks. “Our priority is to bring out people trapped under ruined buildings and to transfer them to hospitals,” he said.
Tallies from various officials put the toll at at least 38 dead in Turkiye and 62 in Syria.
At least 130 buildings tumbled down in Turkiye’s Malatya province, neighboring the epicenter, Gov. Hulusi Sahin said. In the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, at least 15 buildings collapsed. Rescue teams called for silence as they listed for survivors in a toppled 11-story building.
In northwest Syria, the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense described the situation in the rebel-held region as “disastrous” adding that entire buildings have collapsed and people are trapped under the rubble. The civil defense urged people to evacuate buildings to gather in open areas. Emergency rooms were full of injured, said Amjad Rass, president of the Syrian American Medical Society.

U.S. President Biden directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess response options to the most affected areas in the Turkiye and Syria earthquake, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday.
The United States is profoundly concerned by the reports of the destructive earthquake, he said.
The US Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 33 kilometers from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital. It was centered 18 kilometers deep, and a strong 6.7 aftershock rumbled about 10 minutes later.
Syria’s state media reported that some buildings collapsed in the northern city of Aleppo and the central city of Hama.
In Damascus, buildings shook and many people went down to the streets in fear.

The quake jolted residents in Lebanon from beds, shaking buildings for about 40 seconds. Many residents of Beirut left their homes and took to the streets or drove in their cars away from buildings.
The earthquake came as the Middle East is experiencing a snowstorm that is expected to continue until Thursday.
Turkiye sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes.
Some 18,000 were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkiye in 1999.

The earthquake came as the Middle East is experiencing a snowstorm that is expected to continue until Thursday.

Cetizens from as far as Jerusalem and Beirut talked of being awakened by the strong shaking. "I live in Gaziantep, Türkiye.  Was sleeping when it started. Absolutely terrifying," Nasip (@iam_nasib) commented on a video posted on Twitter.

"Felt it in Jerusalem," said Amy di Nardò (@amybellabella).

Sagittarius (@JRsagittarius) said he was in Beirut and the experienced "was terrifying."

Karolingston (@karolingston) of Cyprus said he was awakened because "My bed was shaking."

"Felt it in Lebanon. It was a hell of a feeling!" chimed in CharbelRahmé (@charbelrahm_e)

Turkiye is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones.

Duzce was one of the regions hit by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999 — the worst to hit Turkiye in decades.

That quake killed more than 17,000 people, including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.

A magnitude-6.8 quake hit Elazig in January 2020, killing more than 40 people.

And in October that year, a magnitude-7.0 quake hit the Aegean Sea, killing 114 people and wounding more than 1,000.

(With agencies)