China to Make First Step in Financial Reforms
Private lenders in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province known for entrepreneurship and active underground lending, would be officially allowed to lend to small and midsized businesses, and local residents would be allowed to invest in foreign capital markets, said Su Xiangqing, head of the Wenzhou Bureau of Commerce. The reforms come as China moves to overhaul its rigid and inefficient financial system, in which smaller firms always have difficulty borrowing from banks that tend to court rich state-owned companies. A total quota of $200 million would be given to Wenzhou residents to establish, acquire, invest, and plow back proceeds in nonfinancial companies in foreign markets. The policies are subject to change.
US Exports to China Exceed $100b
The US exported $103.9 billion worth of goods to China in 2011, according to the US-China Business Council. This was the first time the value cracked the $100 billion mark. Produce, electronics, chemicals, aircraft and transport equipment were the major items China imported from the US. China was the US's third largest export market.
Steelmakers Continue to Lose Money
China's 77 major steel mills reported a combined ¥548 million loss in February against lingering crimped demand and surging raw material costs, the China Iron & Steel Association said. In the first two months of this year the losses have accumulated to ¥2.8 billion.
Cement Output to Rise 6%-8%
China's cement output will grow 6% to 8% this year, the China Cement Association said. The nation produced 2.09 billion tons of cement and consumed 2.07 billion tons in 2011, up 11% and 11.2% respectively from the year before. The cement industry reported a ¥102 billion gross profit, up 67% from 2010.
$1 = ¥6.3