Apr 19 Asian Marco Initial Thoughts Initial caution ahead of Japan Trade Data, SH Auto show starts


19 Apr

Asia
Australia Market futures indicate +35pts on the open following the +VE moves in the US Friday.  No data scheduled but we could get New Home Sales data.  Redbubble +VE to be added to the ASX200 replacing Coca-cola Amatil.  Petrochems weak as oil eases but Gold miners strong in news China to import more.
Japan Nikkei futures opened slightly lower now -15pts expect a cautious opened with the Trade Data due pre market.
S Korea Expect markets to open slightly higher following the positive moves in the US and hopes for more positive earnings this week.  But the recent escalation in covid cases may cap the upside.
Taiwan Market to open higher following US markets Friday and the positive joint statement from US and Japan seeking stability in the region.
China Market to open flat as investors assess the recent Chinese data and the continues deterioration in international relations.  Key though will be the actions of Team China.
HK ADR’s +91pts at  29,061 with HSBC, Petro names and some Chinese Financials +VE but weakness in the Ecommerce names.  I would expect cautious trading with concerns over international relations and the easing of China’s recovery.  Friday’s late rally looked to be Team China led; so key to Monday’s trading will be their presence.
US Futures Opened Dow -54pts, S&P -0.2% and NDX-0.3%; following the record close for the Dow and S&P on Friday.

Bitcoin suffered over the weekend being sold down in reaction to the banning by Turkey of the use of cryptocurrency and rumours that the US Treasury is looking to crack down on its use in money laundering.  Currently trading around US$56,508 level down from last weeks highs as it tested US$65,000
Autos likely to be in focus with the start of the Shanghai Motor Show.
Concerns over a re-surgence of covid in Asia over hanging the markets.
News that the US backs Japan’s release of treated radioactive water into the sea may annoy S Korea, China and activist but unlikely to have market impact. Nations are calling for Japan to be transparent over the process.
US and China agree to co-operate on climate control with urgency.

JAPAN 
Nikkei futures opened flat -3pts and have eased to -15pts.  Expect a cautious opened with the Trade Data due pre market.Yen closed 108.77
Data due 
Pre market 
Balance of Trade Mar (Feb was ¥217.4B; F/cast is +300b)
Exports (Feb was -4.5%; Consensus is +11.6%)
Imports (Feb was +11.8%; Consensus is +4.7%)
Later
Industrial Production Feb (Jan was +4.3% MoM (-5.2% YoY) F/cast is -2.1% (-2.6%))
Capacity Utilisation Feb (Jan was +4.7% F/cast is +2.1%)
Tokyo announced 543 new covid cases Sunday  (vs421 Saturday) and Osaka a record 1,220 cases -VE comes as the Government announced Sunday night Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike said Sunday she might ask the central government to issue another coronavirus state of emergency for the capital to deal with a recent spike in cases.  Also Osaka Prefecture  Gov Hirofumi Yoshimura is expected to decide possibly this week whether to ask the central government for a reissuance of a COVID-19 state of emergency for the prefecture.
Friday the Government announced that countermeasures imposed in parts of the country earlier this month will be expanded to Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama and Aichi prefectures. Effective Tuesday until May 11, restaurants and other dining establishments have been asked to close by 8 pm. With residents urged to stay indoors and avoid travel — in the cities of Yokohama, Kawasaki and Sagamihara in Kanagawa; Funabashi, Ichikawa, Matsudo, Kashiwa and Urayasu in Chiba; Saitama and Kawaguchi in Saitama; and Nagoya.  -VE
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has agreed to PM Suga’s request to supply additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine minister of Japan said on Sunday.
U.S. President Biden said he had a productive summit with Japanese PM Suga and the two countries were committed to working together to meet the challenge posed by China and issues including North Korea. The two leaders addressed an array of geopolitical issues, including Taiwan, with Suga saying they reaffirmed “the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” a slap at Beijing’s increased military pressure on the Chinese-claimed, self-ruled island. Biden said the two countries had agreed to work together on 5G, semi-conductor supply chains, artificial intelligence, genomics and quantum computing.
The head of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday was again forced to assure the world that the postponed Games will open in just over three months and not be canceled despite surging COVID-19 cases in Japan.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners will delay submitting a formal proposal to buy Toshiba Corp, following the appointment of a new chief executive officer by the Japanese industrial group, the Nikkei reported on Friday.  Weekend press expects a bidding war and the potential for more reform of its currently diverse business operations.
Renesas Electronics Corp. resumed production at a plant in Ibaraki Prefecture on Saturday, about a month after fire damaged the facility, sources close to the matter said. +VE
Honda Motor Co. unveiled to the press on Friday the GYRO e, an electric business scooter that was launched in March for corporate customers.  The three-wheeled electric scooter can run up to 72 kilometers on a single charge, and the replaceable battery can be recharged using a household power source.  The price for the scooter costs ¥550,000 including tax. The battery and charger, which are only leased, are sold separately. (An interesting possible new source of income from leasing?)
Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) is expected to show off a new "must-succeed" car and explain its green-car strategy for China at the Shanghai auto show. It’s the significantly redesigned X-Trail sport-utility vehicle (SUV). A similar SUV called the Rogue hit the U.S. market last year. The new X-Trail will be available in China later this year. +VE. BUT
Nissan Motor Co will slash production at several factories in Japan next month, three sources with direct knowledge of the plan said, in the latest hit to an automaker from a global shortage of semiconductors.  It will idle its factory in Kyushu for eight days between May 10 and 19, the sources said, declining to be identified because the plan is not public.
A senior Bank of Japan (BOJ) official played down the potential for China’s digital yuan to threaten the US dollar’s position as the world’s main reserve currency. “The [US] dollar’s status as the key global currency won’t change so easily,” said Kazushige Kamiyama, head of the BOJ’s payment systems department and the person in charge of looking into a virtual Japanese currency. “In fact, the [US] dollar’s advantage may strengthen further if the US goes with digitalization.”
The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Faced with falling sales as the prolonged coronavirus crisis nudges consumers further away from sake, Japanese brewers are looking to beautify their bottom lines by getting into the cosmetics business.

SOUTH KOREA 
Expect markets to open slightly higher following the positive moves in the US and hopes for more positive earnings this week.  But the recent escalation in covid cases may cap the upside.
No data due
KDCA reported 672 new covid cases Sunday vs 658 Saturday but down from Friday's 698  and Thursday’s 73.  But concerns remain about a new wave -VE for sentiment.
President Moon Jae-in on Friday replaced the prime minister and six other cabinet members in a bid to revive his party, after devastating local election defeats, and his policy agenda.
U.S. President Biden will meet President Moon Jae-in in Washington next month, Moon's office and the White House said, in talks that will include how to push forward efforts to stem North Korea's nuclear programme.
Govt is moving to legislate its first special bill on the local semiconductor industry. If enacted, it would mark the first time that the country, home to world’s No. 1 and 2 memory chip producers Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, acts to provide practical support and benefits, including tax credits, to chipmakers and the local chip ecosystem. It also shows that Korea will not watch from the sidelines as the US and China try to realign global supply chains of key materials to their benefit. +VE
Posco Chemical bets future on battery materials. With aggressive expansion plans, South Korean firm aims for global No. 1 spot in cathodes.  It will supply cathodes containing 89-90 percent nickel to Ultium Cells, a US joint venture between LGES and General Motors, which is building a 35-gigawatt-hour factory in Ohio, set for commercial operation next year.   According to UBS, the global EV market would grow tenfold in the next decade, from 3 million unit sales last year to 35.5 million in 2030.
Government has decided to halt financing for Myanmar infrastructure projects until next year, a source told The Korea Herald on Friday.
General Motors Co (GM.N) and South Korean joint-venture partner LG Energy Solution on Friday said they will build a second U.S. battery cell manufacturing plant, revealing plans for a $2.3 billion factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
Huons Global Co Ltd (084110.KQ) will lead a consortium to produce 100 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine per month, as Moscow seeks to increase production  globally to meet rising demand.  Huons shares were +29.8% Friday on the news, to their highest level since Sept 2018.
South Korea’s top fiscal policymaker and conglomerate leaders met Friday to promote public-private cooperation amid the post-coronavirus economy and pending market challenges including the semiconductor supply shortage.
Hyundai Motor and Kia, are joining hands with SK Innovation to develop batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, the group said Friday. +VE
Hyundai Motor Co. said Friday it will again suspend the Sonata-producing plant in South Korea for two days next week due to an electronic parts shortage.
Posco C&C decided to end their business partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL), one of Myanmar’s two largest military holding companies, the company said Friday.  The steel product manufacturer owns a 70 percent of stake in the joint venture, and it will purchase the remaining 30 percent held by MEHL, in as early as the first half of this year.
Shares in Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. slumped Friday after its creditors signed a deal to sell the financially troubled shipbuilder.
South Korea said Sunday it will spend 42 billion won ($37.6 million) by 2025 to develop a response system against illegal drones amid growing security threats from the fast-developing technology.  A consortium of 23 companies and research institutes -- which includes the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and aerospace and defense firm LIG Nex1 Co. -- will develop a response system that spots and neutralizes the illegal unmanned aircraft, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

TAIWAN 
Expect market to open higher following US markets Friday and the positive joint statement from US and Japan seeking stability in the region.
No data due 
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-kwang on Friday met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Sandra Oudkirk in an online meeting promoting partnership among Pacific island nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday. It revolved around how the US and Taiwan can assist Pacific island countries in their sustainable development and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry said in a news release.
US delegation wraps up three-day visit to Taipei. During the meeting, members of the delegation asked about the KMT legislators’ interpretation of the so-called “1992 consensus,” sources said.  Chiang yesterday said that he responded by clarifying the “1992 consensus” from three aspects.  First, the “consensus” does not mean “one country, two systems,” a model that the KMT firmly opposes; second, it is a historical fact that has been the basis for cross-strait interaction; and third, there has been discussion within the KMT about whether it should replace the “consensus” with something that could garner more support.”  He also told the visitors that Taiwan needs more international space for development and hopefully the US would lend more support for Taiwan to join international organizations, especially the WHO.KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou who was also invited to the meeting, said yesterday that he did not attend because the American Institute in Taiwan did not clarify the meeting’s purpose in advance.  He said Chinese President Xi Jinping is to blame for Taiwan’s antipathy toward the “1992 consensus,” because he falsely connected the “consensus” with the concept of exploring a “Taiwan model” under the “one country, two systems” framework.
Chinese carrier drills and stepped-up incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the past few weeks are meant to send a message to Washington to stand down and back off, security sources in Taipei said.  One Western security source said that the almost daily flights by Chinese anti-submarine aircraft in the northernmost part of the South China Sea were probably a response to US missions there, including by submarines, or to show the Pentagon that China can hunt for US submarines.  “They are not chasing Taiwanese subs,” the source said, pointing to Taiwan’s own tiny fleet of four, two of which date from World War II.
New US Treasury report does put Taiwan on the watch list but was not designated as a currency manipulator.  Taiwan’s central bank yesterday urged the US to temporarily ease its monitoring of trading partners for currency manipulation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Taiwan’s machinery exports last month rose 30.7 percent from a year earlier to US$2.22 billion on the back of a strong recovery in global demand, despite a hike in raw material prices and tight supply in cargo shipping services, the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry reported last week. China was the largest buyer of Taiwanese machinery in the first quarter, purchasing US$2.47 billion, or 32.4 percent, of the total, followed by the US (US$1.62 billion) and Japan (US$491 million), the association said.South Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong were also important buyers of Taiwanese machinery, it added.
Citibank Taiwan Ltd yesterday said that credit card clients could continue using their cards as operations would continue normally until it sells its consumer banking business.  As of February, the bank had 2.86 million credit cards in circulation in Taiwan, of which 2.17 million had been used in the past six months, ranking it sixth among all banks, data from the Financial Supervisory Commission showed.
CSBC Corp, Taiwan Friday reported a pretax profit of NT$34 million (US$1.2 million) for last quarter, ending five consecutive quarters of losses. The turnaround could be attributed to cost improvements and lower foreign exchange volatility.  Although the shipbuilder’s revenue fell 17.65 percent annually to NT$4.52 billion in Q1 its costs dropped at an even faster rate, thanks to production improvements at its two plants in Keelung and Kaohsiung.
TSEC Corp has secured a NT$2.3 billion to NT$2.5 billion (US$81.15 million to US$88.21 million) major supply contract for two new ground-mount solar farms in Taiwan, boding well for the company’s hopes of making a turnaround.  The new orders would start to contribute to revenue from this month through February next year, TSEC said in a statement on Thursday. The new contract is the biggest deal it has landed in recent years.
CPC Corp, Taiwan  and Formosa Petrochemical Corp Sunday announced that they would raise gasoline prices by NT$0.4 per liter this week after they cut prices by NT$0.3 per liter last week.  However, the companies said that they would keep diesel prices unchanged, following a NT$0.1 increase last week.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) chairman Mark Liu  and chief executive officer C.C. Wei  each received about NT$422 million (US$14.89 million) in compensation last year, when the contract chipmaker’s net profit smashed records.  Liu’s and Wei’s pay rose NT$129 million, or 44 percent, from a year earlier, as the chipmaker reported a nearly 50 percent year-on-year increase in net income to NT$517.89 billion last year, TSMC said in its annual report. TSMC’s Earnings per share were NT$19.97, a significant increase from NT$13.32 a year earlier, as the company benefited from global demand for its high-end 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer process chips used in emerging technologies such as 5G applications, high-performance computing devices and the Internet of Things.

CHINA 
Expect market to open flat as investors assess the recent Chinese data and the continues deterioration in international relations.  Key though will be the actions of Team China.
No data due. The only data this week will be the Loan Prime Rate due Tuesday
China said Friday it has expressed “serious concerns” to the United States and Japan over what it calls negative moves and collusion between the two countries against China.  Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing that Japan and the United States should “take China’s concerns and demands seriously, avoid words and actions that interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests.”  “China has no objection to the development of normal bilateral relations between Japan and the United States, but such relations should help enhance mutual understanding and trust among regional countries and contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and should not target or harm the interests of third parties," Zhao said. China would “make necessary responses as appropriate," he said.  The statement from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian came just before President Joe Biden welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to the White House on Friday in his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader.
China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng has  called U.S. policy on China “too negative,” saying it highlights confrontation over cooperation.  Le said Friday that cooperation could be critically important as U.S. President Biden’s administration focuses on the coronavirus disease pandemic and economic recovery.  Le told The Associated Press in an interview that the two countries could tide over many difficulties by working together. He said the emphasis on competition and confrontation lacks a forward-looking spirit.  But he added that cooperation needs to be on an equal basis and should not be “one side drawing up a laundry list or demands to the other side.”
China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine was 67% effective in preventing symptomatic infection, data from a huge real-world study in Chile has shown, a potential boost for the jab which has come under scrutiny over its level of protection against the virus.  The CoronaVac vaccine was 85% effective in preventing hospitalizations and 80% effective in preventing deaths, the Chilean government said in a report, adding that the data should prove a "game changer" from the vaccine more widely.
China is set to give green light to the first foreign coronavirus vaccine across the country before July, people familiar with the matter were quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal.  +VE
China is willing to strengthen cooperation with France and Germany to cope with climate change, President Xi Jinping told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese state media reported on Friday.
China says climate onus on US in John Kerry talks.  The US envoy and Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng held virtual talks during the former’s trip to Shanghai, signalling hopes that the two powers can work together on the global challenge
Hungary has blocked a European Union statement criticising China's new security law in Hong Kong, two diplomats said, in a move likely to undermine efforts to confront Beijing's curbing of freedoms in the former British colony. "Hungary's argument was that the EU already has too many issues with China," a senior EU diplomat told Reuters. A second senior diplomat confirmed the blockage and Hungary's position. Budapest reluctantly supported the EU sanctions last month, calling them "pointless", and hosted China's defence minister for an official visit days after the EU sanctions decision.  Hungary is a large recipient of Chinese investment. In the past both Hungary and Greece, where China's COSCO Shipping has a majority stake in Greece's largest port, have blocked EU statements on China.
Chinese market watchdogs asked banks not to withhold loans to CHINA HUARONG (02799.HK), Reuters learnt from inside sources, whereas some state-owned banks were notified to get prepared to support the embattled asset management firm.
China is set to grant permission to import large amounts of gold into the country, involving roughly 150 tonnes worth circa US$8.5 billion, Reuters learnt from sources familiar with the matter.  The gold will be imported this month, said the insiders.  China has given domestic and international banks permission to import large amounts of gold into the country, The People's Bank of China (PBOC), controls how much gold enters China through a system of quotas given to commercial banks. It usually allows enough metal in to satisfy local demand but sometimes restricts the flow.
China facing economic crisis as population peak nears, PBOC adviser says.  Comes after the PBOC released a paper suggesting that China promotes more children.  This time saying consumption set to slump after population tops out in 2025, says Cai Fang, a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee.  Beijing must ‘increase labour participation and social security benefits’ for the elderly to shore up consumer demand, he says.   Notable that the PBOC has become more vocal since taking Jack Ma out.
FT Report on Hainan ‘on fire’ as luxury’s centre of gravity tilts to ChinaWestern brands bet on Chinese shoppers staying at home beyond the Covid-19 pandemic +VE for luxury brands.
SCMP weekend reported China’s millennials, Gen Z turn to Louis Vuitton handbags, art toys and Japanese whisky as collector’s items.  The tastes of wealthy Millennials and Generation Z members differ considerably from older generations, with a focus on items that reflect their modern culture.  Chinese auction houses are changing their auction catalogues, adding art toys and whisky and dropping items like rare tea preferred by older  generations.
Ant Group Co denied a report that the Chinese finance-technology company is exploring ways for founder Jack Ma to sell his stake and give up control as a means to ease pressure from the country’s regulators.   Reuters on Saturday reported that officials from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission held talks with Ma and Ant separately between January and last month, where the possibility of Ma’s exit was discussed. The report cited people familiar with the matter.
A policy shift by China’s government is ratcheting up pressure on automakers to hasten development of green vehicles or pay rivals such as Tesla Inc and Chinese startups for green credits.  Regulators are putting more teeth on a system of tradable green car credits to wean the industry off a decade-long policy of subsidies which has helped create some of the biggest companies in the industry. The system gives automakers credits for selling electric or fuel-efficient vehicles that can offset penalties on their more carbon-intensive models.
CNH Industrial NV ended talks to sell its Iveco truck and bus business to China FAW Group Co, a move that was welcomed by the Italian and French governments.


HONG KONG  
ADR’s +91pts at  29,061 with HSBC, Petro names and some Chinese Financials +VE but weakness in the Ecommerce names.  I would expect cautious trading with concerns over international relations and the easing of China’s recovery.  Friday’s late rally looked to be Team China led; so key to Monday’s trading will be their presence.
No data due
IPO 
TRIP.COM-S (09961.HK) debut Monday. On Friday it opened at $271 in gray market, up 1.1% against the offer price. of $268. It closed at $278 in gray market, up 3.7% or $10 against the offer price of $268, on volume of 294,000 shares and turnover of over $81.1 million, PhillipMart data showed

Short Selling Friday 13.4%  vs 17.7% Thursday
Top Shorts
  Bud Apac (1876) 40%, Ali Health (241) 35%, BankComm (3328) 34%, Bank Of China (3988) 29%, Henderson Land (12) 29%, Sino BioPharm (1177) 29%, Sands China (1928) 27%, Longfor (960) 25%

COVID
Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, expressed high concerns to the first confirmed COVID variant case in Hong Kong.  Along with variant cases reported in Britain, South Africa and such other countries, Hong Kong Government will think about such factors when discussing customs clearance resumption with foreign governments, said Yau.Health officials have ordered 21-day quarantine for 81 residents of a building in Jordan that is home to a probable mutant Covid-19 case.
On Sunday saw 30 new covid cases vs 20 on Saturday

BUYBACKS
XIAOMI-W (01810.HK) disclosed that on 16 April, it had repurchased at the Stock Exchange 6.374 million shares, involving roughly $165 million.
RAZER (01337.HK) announced that it repurchased 1.56 million shares through the Stock Exchange on 16 April, involving approximately $4.35 million.

WATCH
GUANGDONG INV (00270.HK) has issued a positive profit alert that the unaudited consolidated profit attributable to owners of the Company for the three months ended 31 March 2021 is expected to increase by not less than 35% as compared with that of the three months ended 31 March 2020.
ZIJIN MINING (02899.HK) announced that for the three months ended 31 March 2021, net profit was RMB2.511 billion, up 141.4% yearly.  EPS. equaled 9.9 fen.
GD LAND (00124.HK) issued a positive profit alert, expecting that the Group will record an unaudited profit attributable to owners of the Company of not less than HK$180 million for the three months ended 31 March 2021, while the unaudited loss attributable to owners of the Company for the same period in 2020 was approximately HK$4 million.
Property Secondary Transactions -21% WoW to 15 at 10 10 blue-chip housing estates over the weekend reported Centaline
Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016) released 42 flats in the second price list of Regency Bay phase two in Tuen Mun at an average price of HK$18,730 per sq ft after discounts, 1.68 percent higher than the first price list. The cheapest flat, measuring 299 sq ft, is offered at  HK$5.67 million after discounts. As of 7.30 pm Sunday, SHKP had received about 700 checks for the 130 units in the first two price lists of the project, making them 4.4 times oversubscribed.
Poly Property (0119) sold a 4,216-sq-ft house and a 4,153-sq-ft house at Villa La Plage in Tuen Mun for about HK$245 million in total.
Sino Land (0083) sold a 3,460-sq-ft house at 133 Portofino in Sai Kung for HK$98 million, or HK$28,324 per sq ft. The developer has raked in about HK$560 million after selling two houses and 14 flats at the project.
YITAI COAL (03948.HK)  announced that a coal output of 9.6174 million tonnes, -6.82% YoY, and coal sales of 17.2308 million tonnes, +12.5% YoY, were achieved in the first quarter for the year of 2021.
SHENZHOU INTL (02313.HK) announced that in view of the recent developments in respect of the Epidemic in Cambodia, the Cambodian government has declared a lockdown in Phnom Penh from April 15, 2021 to April 28, 2021. To cooperate with the containment measures imposed by the Cambodian government, operations at the Group’s production bases in Cambodia will be suspended.
Phoenix Media Investment chairman Liu Changle has agreed to sell nearly all of his stake in the partially state-owned TV network operator for a 21.79 percent discount from Friday's price. Liu will sell a total of 1.89 billion shares - or 37.93 percent interest - in loss-making Phoenix Media Investment to property and passenger transport conglomerate Shun Tak and state-backed publisher Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) for HK$1.15 billion.  Liu holds 1.9 billion shares - a 38.08 percent stake - in Phoenix Media Investment.
Fitch Ratings affirmed XIAOMI-W (01810.HK)'s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) rating at BBB with a Stable Outlook.   The rating was based on the agency's expectation that the company will expand its shares in the smartphone market, extend its presence in premium smartphone segments, and revive revenue growth in its internet of things (IoT), lifestyle products and internet services businesses in the coming years.
Li Ka Shing Foundation uploaded on its Facebook page a picture of Li Ka Shing being vaccinated, although no disclosure was made on which jab Li chose to receive.
BABA-SW (09988.HK)'s community group buying business Freshippo Market is now available at TENCENT (00700.HK)'s WeChat Mini Program, which supports WeChat payment.  The Freshippo Market provides fresh food and lifestyle goods sales services.
MTR CORPORATION (00066.HK) announced that the tender for THE SOUTHSIDE Package Six Property Development has been awarded to Modern Expert Limited, a subsidiary of Wheelock Properties.  Wheelock Properties is a well-established and reputable property developer in Hong Kong and has been working with the Corporation over the years on various development projects. The Corporation looks forward to working with Wheelock Properties to make the Development a success. Slight +VE but developers are cautious ahead of the expected govt review of policy which seems to the directive from Beijing
MGTO Deputy Director Ricky Hoi told Radio Macau that May 1 Golden Week's hotel booking rate approximates 40-50% at this moment. The visitor traffic of the gambling hub surmounted 190,000 in the latest week, disclosed Hoi.
CHINA MERCHANT LAND (00978.HK) announced that for the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021, the Group had achieved aggregate contracted sales of approximately RMB14.208 billion (representing a year-on-year increase of 1.99 times).
CHINA TAIPING (00966.HK) announced that the gross premium income of Taiping Life Insurance for the period from January 2021 to March 2021 was RMB58 billion, up 3.2% yearly.
China's real estate loan growth declined to 12% YoY at the end of the first quarter of 2021, hitting the trough in eight years, announced China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC). -VE
In 1Q21, China's banking industry tracked a net profit growth of 1.5% yearly, laying a solid foundation for maintaining reasonable capital replenishment and risk resistance, said Liu Zhiqing, Deputy Director of China Banking and Insurance Regulatory
CCL last printed at 179.95, down 0.75% weekly.
CCL edged up 1.57% during the six weeks after the Spring Festival holiday, said the research department of Centaline Property. Luxury homes saw more outstanding
rally among the top four indices.
CCL (large units) +3.12% WoW
CCL (small-to-medium flats) +1.28% WoW
CCL Mass +0.97% WoW
The number of bankruptcy petitions filed increased by 44 percent on March month-on-month, data from Official Receiver's Office showed.  From the same month, the year before, petitions fell by 5.3 percent to 779 last month.  In the first three months, petitions increased by nearly 30 percent to 1,986.  The number of compulsory winding-up petitions last month jumped by 26 percent year-on-year and 16 percent month-on-month to 44.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today the progress made in its handling of banking complaints received as at end-March 2021. Banking complaints include cases concerning general banking services and conduct-related issues.
In March 2021, 290 cases were received and the handling of 270 cases was completed. As at end-March, the handling of 653 cases was in progress.
PROTEST TRIALs
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Hong Kong’s “politically-motivated” decision to sentence publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and multiple opposition lawmakers to prison for their roles in the 2019 mass protests that rocked the city for a year.  “Beijing and Hong Kong authorities are targeting Hong Kongers for doing nothing more than exercising protected rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech,” Blinken said in a statement on Friday.  “Today’s sentences are yet another example of how the PRC and Hong Kong authorities undermine protected rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration in an effort to eliminate all forms of dissent,” he said.
NEXT DIGITAL (00282.HK) Founder Jimmy Lai was sentenced to a eight-month imprisonment after pleading guilty of unauthorized assembly on Hong Kong Island dated 31 August 2019. Among which, two months of the imprisonment will be enforced separately from the "8.18" case in 2019. Therefore, Lai is subject to a total of 14-month jail.
Seven pro-democracy activists were found guilty of organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly on 18 August 2019. Earlier this week, the tabloid published a hand-written letter Lai sent to his colleagues from prison, saying: "It is our responsibility as journalists to seek justice. As long as we ... do not let evil get its way through us, we are fulfilling our responsibility.” It is "time for us to stand tall," he wrote.
Senior barrister Martin Lee, who helped launch the city's largest opposition Democratic Party in the 1990s and is often called the former British colony's "father of democracy," was given an 11-month suspended sentence.
"The wrongful prosecution, conviction and sentencing of these activists underlines the ... government’s intention to eliminate all political opposition," Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Yamini Mishra said.
In prominent barrister Margaret Ng's mitigation speech, she said the law must not only be defended in courts or the legislature, but also in the streets. "When the people, in the last resort, had to give collective expression to their anguish and urge the government to respond, protected only by their expectation that the government will respect their rights, I must be prepared to stand with them, stand by them and stand up for them," she said. She was given a 12-month jail term, and be on probation for two years. A sad day for Hong Kong’s justice system in my view.

From Friday
Opened higher on good Housing Starts day (although Permits missed) and then traded sideways/lower for most of the day before working better in the late afternoon.
Michigan consumer data was mixed.
Fed’s Waller said 'the U.S. economy is set to take off, but there’s still no reason to start tightening policy.’
The White House announced US$1.7-billion investment to help CDC monitor, track, and defeat emerging coronavirus variants that are currently threatening pockets of the country. +VE
In the semi-annual foreign exchange report, U.S. Department of the Treasury did not list China as a currency manipulator. Nevertheless, Washington urged Beijing to improve transparency in terms of foreign exchange intervention activities, her exchange rate management regime, and activities in the offshore RMB market.
Morgan Stanley -2.8% despite a beating estimates driven by strong trading and investment banking. It announced US$644-million credit losses, together with US$267 million in related trading costs, from the Archegos fund meltdown.
PNC Financial +2.3% as earnings beat top and bottom line.Space X has been awarded a US$2.9-billion contract from NASA to use Starship to send astronauts from lunar orbit to the moon.
Banks JPMorgan Chase +0.7%, Citigroup -0.1%, Wells Fargo +3.8%, Amex +1% PayPal -1.5%
Work from home names: Facebook -0.5%, Apple -0.3%, Amazon +0.6%, Netflix +0.5%,  Disney +0.7%, Zoom Video -0.7%, Alphabet -0.1% and Microsoft +0.5%,
Tech NXP Semi -1.2%, Nvidia +1.4%, Micron +0.4%, AMD -1%, Skyworks -0.5%
Re-opening stocks  Boeing -1.2%, Caterpillar +0.4%, Simon Property +2.2%, Kohl’s +0.2%, Nordstrom -0.3%, Gap -0.9%, United Airlines -0.5%, Carnival -1.1%, Wynn Resorts -0.5%, Chevron -0.4%, Exxon Mobil -0.6%,  
Lock down names Campbell Soup +1.2% General Mills +1.3%, JM Smucker +0.7%
DATA
Housing Starts Mar +19.4% vs -11.3% Feb revised (F/cast was +11.2%)
Building Permits Mar +2.7% vs -8.8%Feb (F/cast was +2.9%)
Michigan Consumer Prelim data
Inflation Expectations Apr +3.7% vs +3.1% Mar (F/cast was +3.1%)
Consumer Sentiment Apr 86.5 vs 84.9 Mar (F/cast was 89.1)
5yr Inflation Expectations Apr +2.7% vs +2.8% Mar (F/cast was +2.8%)
Consumer Expectations Apr 79.7 vs 79.7Mar (F/cast was 83.7)
Current Conditions Apr 97.2 vs 93 Mar (F/cast was 95)
Baker Hughes Oil Rig Count 344 vs 337 prior
Baker Hughes Total Rig Count 439 vs 432 prior
USD was weaker vs Yen & Euro. Bitcoin -1.6% @ 62,331.10 , VIX -1.9% @ 16.25,
US T10 @ 1.59% a small rebound from Thursday but muted there were no auctions Friday.
OIL Brent -0.24%, WTI -0.5% slight weakness but improving sentiment and the US sanctions on Russia could indirectly help support prices.
Gold +0.59%, Silver +0.29%, Copper -1.28% Platinum +0.48%, Palladium +1.34%.
AHEAD No data due

DAX +1.34%, CAC +0.85%, FTSE +0.52% 
Opened slightly higher following the good US data but with some caution on the mixed data out of China and ahead of the Eurozone data; which showed a ramp up in consumer prices driven by services and energy. DAX and CAC slowly working better whilst the FTSE traded sideways but closed above 7,000 a 12 month high.
Auto sector +2.1% after good results from Daimler but Household goods weak.
Daimler +2.7% Q1 EBIT to 5 billion euros ($6 billion) vs 719 million euros Q1 2020.
Finnish retail conglomerate Kesko +4.2% but off early high after reporting 16.9% sales growth YoYin March.
German meal-kit delivery firm Hellofresh +3.3% after a strong first-quarter earnings report.
WH Smith +1.5 after RBC upgraded the stock to “outperform” and raised its target price.Ambu +6% after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the stock with an “overweight” rating.
Data 
EUROZONE
New Car Registrations Mar +87.3% YoY vs -19.3% Feb (F/cast was +150%)
Balance of Trade Feb €+17.7B vs +11b Jan Revised (F/cast was +24b)
Core Inflation Final Mar +0.9% YoY vs +1.1% Feb (F/cast was +0.9%)
Inflation Final Mar +1.3% YoY vs +0.9% Feb (F/cast was +1.3%)
Inflation Final Mar +0.9% MoM vs +0.2% Feb (F/cast was +0.9%)
AHEAD
EUROZONE Current Account and Construction Output
GERMANY Bundesbank Monthly Report
FRANCE No data due
UK No data due

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