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BEIJING, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - China's central bank said on Sunday it would cut the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves by 50 basis points (bps) to accelerate the pace of debt-for-equity swaps and stimulate lending to smaller businesses.

The reserve reduction, the third by the central bank this year, had been widely anticipated by investors amid concerns over market liquidity and a potential economic drag from trade disputes with the United States.

The targeted cut in some banks' reserve requirement ratios (RRRs) - currently 16 percent for large banks and 14 percent for smaller banks - will take effect on July 5, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in Sunday's online statement.

The central bank said targeted RRR cuts will release about 500 billion yuan ($77 billion) for the country's five large state banks and 12 national joint-stock commercial banks. Lenders are encouraged to use the money to conduct debt-for-equity swaps, it said.

China's policymakers have been pushing for debt-for-equity swaps since late 2016 to ease pressures from over-borrowing by struggling firms. The country's top banks have rushed to sign deals with state-owned enterprises to ease their debt burden and give them time to turn around their business and improve their creditworthiness.

RRR cuts will also release about 200 billion yuan in funding for mid-sized and small banks to increase lending to credit-strapped small businesses, the PBOC said.

The combined 700 billion yuan liquidity injection into the banking sector has exceeded the market anticipated 400 billion yuan, according to Huatai Securities.

"The intensity of the move exceeded market expectations," Wang Jun, Beijing-based chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank, said.

"This move will help support the real economy and stabilise financial markets. We've seen rising debt defaults and funding strains on small firms, as well as a sharp adjustment in the capital market."

But the latest reserve cut signalled a "policy fine-tuning," not a policy reversal, Wang said.

The central bank said it will maintain prudent and neutral monetary policy as it seeks to cultivate an appropriate monetary and financial environment for China's economic growth and supply-side structural reforms.

The authorities have also kept monetary policy in neutral gear as they continue to clamp down on high corporate debt levels and risky lending practices that might harm China´s financial system.

The latest reserve cut follows a surprise cut in bank reserve requirements in April even though China's economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.8 percent in the first quarter.

Chinese policymakers have since said that the country will use targeted RRR cuts to boost financing to struggling smaller firms, as well as other measures.

The latest RRR cut is set to take effect a day before the United States and China are expected to begin collecting increased tariffs on respective lists of goods.

Fears of a full-blown trade war with Washington have magnified concerns about the outlook for the world's second-largest economy, following weaker-than-expected growth data for May and as a regulatory crackdown in its third year starts to weigh on business activity.

Net exports overall were already a drag on growth in the first quarter after giving an added boost to the economy last year, highlighting the need for sustained strength in domestic demand if significant new U.S. tariffs are imposed.

However, on the domestic front, the government's multi-year risk clampdown has slowly pushed up borrowing costs and is restricting alternative, murkier funding sources for companies such as shadow banking.

BEIJING, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - China must lead the way in reforming global governance, the foreign ministry on Saturday cited President Xi Jinping as saying, as Beijing looks to increase its world influence.

China has sought a greater say in global organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and United Nations, in line with its growing economic and diplomatic clout.

Since taking office in late 2012, Xi has taken a more muscular approach, setting up China's own global bodies like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and launching his landmark Belt and Road project to build a new Silk Road.

Beijing has cast itself a responsible member of the international community, especially as President Donald Trump withdraws the United States from agreements on climate change and Iran, and as Europe wrestles with Brexit and other issues.

China must "uphold the protection of the country's sovereignty, security and development interests, proactively participate in and show the way in reform of the global governance system, creating an even better web of global partnership relationships", Xi said in comments reported at the end of a two-day high-level Communist Party meeting.

This would help create conditions for building a modern, strong socialist country, the ministry cited him as saying at the meeting attended by officials from the foreign and commerce ministries, the military, the propaganda department and the Chinese embassy in the United States.

While Xi did not provide details, the statement cited him as mentioning the importance of the Belt and Road, and other key diplomatic platforms like his "community of common destiny", a lofty concept meant to guide China's relations with the world.

This proposes a "new style" of international relations is proposed that is "win-win" and of "mutual benefit" for all, but many Western nations remain critical of China's behavior over issues such as the contested waters of the South China Sea.

Xi added that China must strengthen its relations with developing nations, who he described as natural allies, but also learn from all other nations.

He made no direct mention of issues like the trade dispute between China and the United States, North Korea, or self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as its own and considered China's most sensitive territorial and diplomatic issue.

BEIJING, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - China's trade with North Korea in the first five months of 2018 fell 56.8 percent from a year earlier to $887.4 million, customs data showed on Saturday.

Imports from North Korea fell 87 percent to $94.3 million in January-May.

China's May total trade with North Korea was $230.87 million, compared with $173.7 million in the previous month.

China's exports to North Korea were $217.2 mln million in May while imports from North Korea were $13.65 million, the data showed.

CAIRO, June 22, 2018 (MENA) - Thirteen Egyptian students of Ain Shams University will take part in innovation and entrepreneurship camp at China's Southwest University.

The participation of the Egyptian students comes within the framework of the university fulfillment of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's directives during Sharm El Sheikh youth conference.

According to Esraa el Sayed of Ain Shams Unversity, the participation of the students in the camp is a result of cooperation with the Chinese university.

SEOUL, June 21, 2018  (News Wires) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed measures to bolster “strategic and tactical” cooperation between the two countries in a second meeting on Wednesday, the North’s state media said on Thursday.
The meeting between Kim and Xi came on the North Korean leader’s second and last day of his latest visit to Beijing, where he briefed the Chinese president on his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.

They exchanged “serious views” on the present and “new” situation, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

On Tuesday, Kim and Xi were reported by North Korean media to have reached an understanding on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula after discussing the outcome of the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Kim visited an agricultural institute run by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences before meeting Xi on Wednesday, KCNA said, where he observed vegetables being grown inside.

The North Korean leader also visited a traffic control centre in Beijing before departing for Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon, KCNA said. The visits to the two locations were also reported by Chinese media.

Kim has pledged to make the economy in North Korea a priority after he announced the achievement of a long-held ambition to develop nuclear weapons. North Korean media has frequently stressed advancements made in its agricultural and industrial sectors in recent months.

The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday ties between the two countries have “radiated new vitality”, and that Kim’s visits to the agricultural and traffic control centres showed the economy was a priority for him.

“Kim’s latest talks with Xi will have reassured him that China stands behind the DPRK as it switches its focus to economic development,” the paper said, using North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In Singapore, Kim lauded the “clean, beautiful and advanced” nation and said he had learned much from the prosperous country.

SEOUL, June 20, 2018 (News Wires) - North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping came to an understanding on issues that were discussed at a summit between the two leaders, including denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the North’s state media said on Wednesday.

Kim and Xi assessed the historic meeting Kim had with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last week and exchanged opinions on ways to resolve the issue of denuclearisation, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The North Korean leader also promised during a meeting with Xi in Beijing to cooperate with Chinese officials to secure “true peace” in the process of “opening a new future” on the Korean peninsula, it said.

Kim’s two-day visit to Beijing will end later on Wednesday, according to state media from China and North Korea. It follows his Singapore summit, where Kim and Trump reaffirmed a commitment to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Trump surprised officials in South Korea and the United States after that meeting by saying he would end “provocative” joint US-South Korean military exercises.

The United States and South Korea said on Tuesday they had agreed to suspend a joint military exercise scheduled for August, although decisions regarding subsequent drills have not yet been made.

On Wednesday, South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-hwa said the decision to suspend the exercise could be reconsidered based on future developments with North Korea.

“I think we’ve made it clear this is a goodwill gesture to strengthen dialogue momentum,” Kang said.

“It’s not irreversible. They could come back if the dialogue loses speed, or if North Korea doesn’t live up to its denuclearisation commitment,” she said.

Kim is on his third visit to China this year. Xi offered high praise to the North Korean leader on Tuesday for the “positive outcome” of last week’s summit with Trump.

KCNA also reported that Xi said relations between China and North Korea had entered a new level of development since Kim’s first visit in March and that the agreements made between the two leaders were being carried out “one-by-one”.

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