Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii said on Tuesday the number of foreign visitors to Japan rose around 20% last year to 24.039 million, marking a record figure and a five-year growth streak. Visitors from Southeast Asia notably increased.
Ishii stressed the record number “is a result of measures such as relaxation of visa requirements and improvements of consumption tax exemptions” as Japan considers the tourism industry a pillar of its growth strategy.
Plenty of travelers last year came from China and South Korea, but growth was slow compared with 2015, when visitors skyrocketed 50% on a weak yen and loosened visa requirements. The yen’s temporary surge and earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture hampered growth in 2016, as did the Chinese economic slowdown.
Visitors, however, rose significantly from Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Tourism campaigns in those countries helped attract more travelers, as did added airplane routes.
As noted yesterday, for the first time in three years, and only the second time in history, bitcoin rose above $1,000 in Yuan-denominated Chinese trading, however it was limited to the lower side of this “round number” psychological barrier in US trading, as BTC flirted with $999.99 for most of the day on the popular Coinbase exchange, without crossing it.
Overnight, however, Chinese demand proved too great and US markets had no choice but to arb the difference. So with Bitcoin trading in China at an implied price of over $1,050 at this moment, bitcoin finally soared above $1,000 in the US as well, trading just around $1,024 on Coinbase as of this moment.
China’s military said on Saturday that its first aircraft carrier group conducted a series of previously unannounced fighter launch, recovery and air combat exercises in the Yellow Sea ahead of a scheduled voyage farther afield. China Radio Intl, citing military sources, said that a naval formation consisting of China’s first, and so far only, aircraft carrier Liaoning, several destroyers and frigates was on training and testing missions last week. The activities also involved several J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets and helicopters.
A J-15 carrier-borne fighter jet is landing on aircraft carrier Liaoning during a training mission in the Yellow Sea on December 23, 2016. [Photo: Navy.81.cn]
The premium that mainland Chinese investors are willing to pay for physical gold has surged to over $40 as the Chinese government seeks to curb illegal capital outflows. Following slowing in Tier 1 home price growth, and a collapse in the China bond market, it appears gold panic-buying is accelerating…
This premium is higher than during the Lehman crisis and as bad as the peak of the Chinese banking system liquidity crisis in 2013 as onshore investors appear to prefer the precious metal to hedge against ongoing Yuan devaluation…
But it’s not just precious metals that are bid as alternatives to their paper money, Bitcoin is bid to its highest since Jan 2014…
Sharp differences have emerged within the government over imposing an anti-dumping duty on met coke imports from China and Australia, with the commerce ministry pushing for the move and the steel ministry opposing it.
The directorate general of anti-dumping (DGAD), which is part of the commerce and industry ministry, has recommended a duty of $25 per tonne on imports from China and $16 per tonne on shipments from Australia.
Officials said a decision could be expected next week. India had last year raised the import duty on Chinese met coke to 5 per cent from 2.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, the steel ministry is lobbying for an anti-dumping duty on alloy and non-alloy flat steel products from China and the European Union. Imports of these products have increased four-fold over three years.
The DGAD had initiated an anti-dumping investigation in January following a complaint filed by the Indian Metallurgical Coke Manufacturers Association on behalf of producers such as Saurashtra Fuels, Gujarat NRE Coke, Carbon Edge Industries, Bhatia Coke and Energy and Basudha Udyog.
The companies claimed Australian and Chinese companies were dumping low ash metallurgical coke, and only a levy could save an “otherwise dying domestic industry”.
There is one simple reason why when the Chinese Q3 GDP print is revealed shortly, it will be an utterly meaningless indicator – the number, as not only traders but the general public know, is a goalseeked, arbitrary political construct meant to convey not information about the economy, but – at best – about Beijing’s intentions what it may or may not do in the future regarding future monetary or fiscal (which as we showed just hit an all time high) stimulus.
In fact, as Evercore ISI said in the company’s latest look at China, “China’s Real GDP data is opaque; Nearly invariant at 7 – 7.5%; No real, nominal, deflator detail; no income-expenditure cross check, etc. No data pros will answer questions.” In short: it is useless. An alternative, and much more informative index created by ISI, is shown by the red line in the chart below – unlike the blue line, or China’s official GDP data, it reflect the real twists and turns in China’s economy.
China’s yuan fell to its lowest level in six years early Monday, breaching a key psychological threshold, before erasing the losses on the first day of trading after a week-long holiday.
Traders said the weakening of the yuan reflected strength in the dollar last week, and they did not see any signs of intervention by state banks to support the yuan after it fell.
In mid-July, when the yuan last breached the 6.7 mark, state banks intervened heavily.
Some China watchers have wondered if any signs of yuan weakness following the holiday would signal that Beijing was putting the currency back on a slow depreciation path after holding it steady through September.
The currency fell after the People’s Bank of China set the midpoint at 6.7008 yuan per dollar, its weakest fix since September 2010 and about 0.3 percent weaker than the setting on Sept. 30, before a one-week National Day holiday.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin warns of economic weakness
Chinese mogul Wang Jianlin warned that China’s economy will struggle for another two years and that China’s real estate market is the “biggest bubble in history.” He also said the economy hasn’t bottomed out yet.
Wang is ranked by Forbes as China’s richest man. His company has developed malls and office space across the company but has been cutting back on real estate.
More broadly, he said the US is his favorite place to invest.