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Updated: 2013-03-20 07:30

(China Daily)

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Volvo Cars 'win approval to produce autos in China'

Volvo Cars, the Swedish carmaker owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, has won the approval of China's top economic planning agency to begin making vehicles in the country, three people familiar with the matter said. The National Development and Reform Commission recently authorized Volvo's production plan, the people said, asking not to be named because the process is confidential. The State Council, has to give final approval, though the chances of rejection are negligible, said one of the people.

Ex-finance minister to chair Social Security Fund

Former finance minister Xie Xuren was appointed chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund at a meeting on Tuesday, and Dai Xianglong remains the Party secretary of the council. The Social Security Fund is at ministerial level, and the chairman is usually a retired financial official. Xie, who has worked in China's financial system for many years, was formerly president of Agricultural Development Bank, and director of the State Administration of Taxation.

Suntech defaults on payments to bondholders

Suntech, one of the world's biggest solar panel manufacturers, said on Monday it has defaulted on $541 million in payments to bondholders, making risk of bankcruptcy even bigger. The company said the default has triggered cross-defaults under Suntech's other outstanding debt, including its loans from International Finance Corporation and Chinese domestic lenders. Industry insiders said the Wuxi government, where Suntech is based, may step in to bail out and save part of Suntech's core business.

Biggest pork processor gains as scandal hits small farms

Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co, China's biggest pork processor, plans to boost output more than 50 percent this year as consumers look beyond a safety scare linked to small farmers and demand for meat surges as incomes rise. As Shanghai cracks down on distributors following the discovery of thousands of dead pigs floating in the city's main waterway, Henan Shuanghui is preparing to spend 5 billion yuan ($805 million) on expansion this year, said Zhang Taixi, president of the company, based in Luohe, Henan province.

Tallest tower builder assures quality amid sand scandal

China State Construction Engineering Corp, which is building the country's tallest tower, said materials used in all of its projects meet quality standards, as the southern city of Shenzhen conducted inspections of builders. Samples from buildings, including the 660-meter Ping An Finance Center due to be completed in 2015, were tested, according to Shenzhen's Housing and Construction Bureau.

BMS to launch new diabetes medicines in China

International biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is to launch at least four new medicines for diabetes treatment in China by 2015, a company executive said on Tuesday. "Diabetes is one of BMS China's most significant businesses. We will launch four or more new drugs in China in the next two to three years," said Jean-Christophe Pointeau, president of BMS China. The company is to cash in on the market's huge demand, as China has the world's largest population of diabetes patients - 92.4 million and forecast to be 130 million by 2030.

Credit trends of corporates to stabilize, says Moody's

Credit trends for Chinese corporates are likely to stabilize in 2013 because of the improvement in the domestic economy and the continuation of a benign liquidity environment, Moody's Investors Service said in a report on Tuesday. "We expect to take fewer negative rating actions on Chinese companies in 2013 than in 2012, as the revenues and earnings of most firms will recover. This view is based on expectations for gradual improvements in the fundamentals of some industry sectors, against the backdrop of our central macroeconomic scenario," said Kai Hu, a Moody's vice-president and senior analyst.

China Merchants Property sees 28% profit rise

China Merchants Property Development Co Ltd, one of the country's four major property developers, posted a 28.03 percent increase in its 2012 net profit to 3.318 billion yuan ($527 million), it said in a financial statement on Monday. The company's annual turnover reached 25.3 billion yuan, up 67.4 percent year-on-year. Its earnings per share were at 1.93 yuan. Meanwhile, it almost doubled its sales target for 2013 to 40 billion yuan, up from last year's 21 billion yuan, showing the developer's confidence in the market.

Bank to buy 40% stake in China New Town

China Development Bank's private-equity arm agreed to buy 40 percent of China New Town Development Co, a Singapore and Hong Kong-listed developer focused on urban development on the Chinese mainland. The unit of the world's largest policy lender signed a non-binding agreement to subscribe for 3 billion shares in the company at 24.6 Hong Kong cents (3.2 US cents) each, China New Town said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday.

Yuan weakens as PBOC lowers reference rate

The yuan fell for a second day after the central bank lowered its reference rate as President Xi Jinping met US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Beijing for talks. The People's Bank of China set the yuan reference rate at a one-week low of 6.2758 per dollar on Tuesday amid renewed turmoil in Europe after Cyprus proposed a levy on bank deposits. PBOC adviser Song Guoqing said China doesn't need to tighten its policy as yet and there is a low chance of an interest-rate rise in the first half of this year.

China Daily - Agencies

(China Daily 03/20/2013 page14)