China’s State Council on Wednesday approved 380 billion yuan ($55.1 billion) in tax relief that will mainly favor farmers and small businesses in a move that is seen as both economic and political.
The second large-scale tax cut to follow last year’s comes as China’s economy is forecast to slow down in the latter half of 2017, during which the Communist Party will convene its 19th National Congress and reshuffle top leadership.
China will modify its value-added tax this July by removing the 13% bracket while retaining the 6%, 11% and 17% tiers. The 13% rate currently applies to farm products and natural gas, but they will move to the 11% category. Farmers as well as households that purchase rice and vegetables will likely benefit from this change.
For smaller companies, those that pay 300,000 yuan or less in annual taxable revenue qualify for preferential tax treatment. The ceiling will be lifted to 500,000 yuan. Furthermore, small businesses and startups will be allowed to deduct 75% of research and development costs, up from 50%. These tax breaks will remain in effect until the end of 2019.
The Chinese government enacted about 500 billion yuan worth of corporate tax cuts in 2016. Helped also by a surge in infrastructure spending, the real economy grew 6.9% during the January-March period this year, marking the second quarter of economic acceleration. However, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has been gradually raising market interest rates in order to rein in the real estate bubble.
Five months have passed since the demonetisation drive, but the people of India continue to face a shortage of cash in banks and ATMs. The Times of India reports that more than 90% of the ATMs in the northern region do not have cash, and in the southern states as many as 65% of ATMs have run dry.
Speaking to TOI, State Bank of India (SBI) deputy general manager Ajoy Kumar Pandit said the customers are losing confidence in them due to the crisis. “Nearly 70 per cent of our 648 ATMs in the three districts are out of cash. The rest will also become dry in the next few days as we do not have cash to refill the machines. We are helpless from our side,” he said.
China’s top securities regulator urged listed companies to reward investors with cash dividends, vowing to punish stingy “iron roosters.”
Liu Shiyu, Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) also warned listed firms against raising money for blind investments, or designing complicated share structures that facilitate insider trading and other malpractices.
“Paying cash dividends is a basic way to reward investors … and the ultimate source of a stock’s intrinsic value,” Liu said in a recent speech, a transcript of which was posted on CSRC’s website on Saturday.
CSRC will take “tough measures” against those “iron roosters” who haven’t plucked a single feature for many years, even though they have the ability to pay dividends, Liu said.
Liu, installed as head of China’s securities watchdog following the 2015 stock market crash, has made investor protection his priority, having stepped up a crackdown on market manipulation and tightened disclosure rules.
Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service plans to enter digital payments in India, where it will take on Alibaba Group Holding-backed digital wallet company Paytm that has added millions of customers following a government push to promote electronic payments.
Digital payments in India received a fillip after Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year recalled high-value notes of 500 rupees and 1,000 rupees that accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation. The move, aimed at curbing unaccounted wealth, triggered a cash shortage in Asia’s third-largest economy, prompting people to explore new digital cash options.
Paytm, backed by China’s Alibaba Group, is consolidating its leadership in India with more than 200 million users. In 2015, Alibaba and its financial-services affiliate Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, invested over $500 million for a 40% stake in One97 Communications, the parent of Paytm. Zhejiang Ant is the parent of Alipay, China’s biggest mobile-payment service.
Paytm had signed up over five million new users within days after the currency ban in November.
Two Japanese retailing groups soon will accept bitcoin payments, a move that is likely to promote wider use of the virtual currency among domestic consumers.
Electronics chain Bic Camera is teaming up with Tokyo-based bitFlyer, which runs the largest Japanese bitcoin exchange. This Friday, they will begin a trial run of bitFlyer’s bitcoin payment system at Bic Camera’s flagship shop in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district and at Bicqlo Bic Camera, the hybrid outlet with Uniqlo located in Shinjuku.
Customers are allowed to pay up to 100,000 yen ($904) using the cryptocurrency, and they will also get reward points at the same rate as for cash payments. Bic Camera may introduce the payment system at other locations based on usage trends at the two Tokyo stores.
Recruit Lifestyle, the retail support arm of human resources conglomerate Recruit Holdings, is partnering with another Tokyo bitcoin exchange operator, Coincheck. The virtual currency will become a payment option at shops that have adopted AirRegi, the point-of-sale app developed by Recruit Lifestyle, by this summer.
By using tablets or other devices provided by the store and one’s own smartphone, the customer can deduct the amount on the bill from the designated bitcoin account. Coincheck will convert the bitcoins into yen and transfer the funds to the store.
– New pound coin ‘most secure coin in world’ ? – New British £1 coins much harder to counterfeit – Pound coin uses “secret” cutting edge technology – Coins uses ‘iSIS’ technology which may involve RFID tags – Central banks, governments may be able to track coins – Libertarians and privacy advocates will have concerns – “Secure coin” yes but real risk is that savings not secure due to currency debasement – Now new risk to bank deposits as all digital wealth exposed to hacking and cyber fraud – Sound as a pound? Safer to stick with true “coin of the realm” – Gold and silver Sovereigns and Britannias (VAT and CGT free) are only truly secure coins
Ghana’s central bank has cut its main policy rate by 200 basis points this month after the west African economy saw a drop in inflation at the start of the year.
The move to lower rates to 23.5 per cent marks only the second rate cut since 2011 after interest rates were trimmed back in November. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had forecast no change this month.
Inflation has now fallen for five consecutive months allowing policymakers to cut rates to their lowest since August 2015. Still, at 13.2 per cent the annual pace of price growth remains above the Ghanaian central bank’s 8 per cent target rate.