China investors catch option fever, prompting regulator warnings

China investors catch option fever, prompting regulator warnings

Tax and fees cuts, stabilisation of employment and more social services – these were some of the quick fixes pledged by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his annual work report, to address uncertainties in economic outlook and international relations. And in a rare move, not one delegate opposed the report when the National People’s Congress voted on it on Friday, Trend reports referring to South China Morning Post.

In the ballot on Li’s report, 2,945 delegates voted in favour and three abstained.

Although the NPC, China’s highest legislative body, is often described by observers as a rubber-stamp chamber and has never vetoed a work report, the number of opposing votes is often seen as an indicator of the level of endorsement and popularity for a government leader or a top government agency.

Even the number of abstentions is seen as a subtle indicator of disapproval by carefully selected delegates to the elite assembly.

For example, 378 delegates voted against Li’s first report as premier in 2014. Three years later, when he finished his first term as premier, 180 voted against his report. A small number of opposition votes was considered acceptable to the Communist Party.

The atmosphere at last year’s NPC was especially tense, as delegates cast their votes on whether to amend the constitution to remove the two-term limit for the president – allowing Xi Jinping to remain in the role, although as the party’s secretary general he would have been able to stay in power with or without the title.

On that occasion, careful consensus-building was carried out among delegates before they cast their votes on removing the term limit at the close of last year’s legislative meetings, or “two sessions”. Only two voted against, while three abstained – among the lowest such numbers in Communist Party history.

It is unknown whether any consensus-building was carried out regarding how delegates should vote this year. But the atmosphere this year was more relaxed and some delegates have taken the opportunity to voice mild dissent on government policies such as “Made in China 2025” (MIC2025) and the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

Unlike predecessors such as Zhu Rongji or even Wen Jiabao, Li is more an executor of Xi’s policies, and all of the limelight is usually given to Xi’s speeches and activities. Li himself as a leader does not have obvious support from the NPC delegates. His report represents overall government policies laid down by Xi.

When asked why there was not a single opposing vote on Li’s report, Hu Keming, deputy director of the NPC’s constitution and legal committee, smiled and said: “The reasons? You know well.”

Li did not mention MIC2025 in the report, which observers said was designed to avoid further provoking the West while China and the United States were negotiating a potential deal to end the trade war.

He placed special emphasis on measures to help the economy through difficult times ahead. Unveiling his report at the opening of the two sessions on March 5, Li had said the government was preparing for tough battles, foreseeing “graver and more complex” risks and challenges, both “predictable and unpredictable”.

Li’s most eye-catching pledge was to cut the value-added tax (VAT) rate for manufacturers by 3 percentage points to 13 per cent, a significant reduction.

The VAT rate for construction and transport companies was also cut, by 1 percentage point to 9 per cent, and reductions in various other fees were announced to ease the burden on the business sector.
The government set a lower economic growth target, in a range of 6.0 to 6.5 per cent, and a higher deficit-to-GDP ratio of 2.8 per cent for 2019, from 2.6 per cent in 2018.
Li also pledged to help private companies – addressing a key concern for businesspeople – and to stabilise jobs, improve social services, and step up environmental protection and rural development.

Also presented to the NPC on Friday were the work reports from the supreme court and the top prosecutor. In the ballots on those, 156 and 71 delegates respectively voted against, while 67 and 71 abstained.

Five to 10 years ago it was common for up to 600 of the nearly 3,000 NPC delegates to vote against the two reports to show their disapproval of China’s rampant corruption. Since then, the number of opposing votes has dropped, falling below 200 last year.

But there remained some unhappiness among delegates about the performance of the Supreme People’s Court.

Li Jie, an NPC delegate and chairman of Yichang Renfu Pharmaceutical Industry in Hubei, said some delegates were disappointed that the high-profile scandal in which the supreme court reportedly

lost court documents relating to a mining dispute in Shaanxi province, which provoked a national outcry, was not mentioned in the court’s annual report.

“Even though the supreme court has done a lot of work, it has not mentioned issues people are concerned about in the report,” he said. “For example, some court documents were lost – it disappoints people because it should be the symbol of justice and fairness.”

Demand of Azerbaijani banks at Central Bank's currency auction fully met
Demand of Azerbaijani banks at Central Bank's currency auction fully met
Turkish president receives Azerbaijani Foreign, Defense Ministers
Turkish president receives Azerbaijani Foreign, Defense Ministers
Azerbaijan confirms 214 more COVID-19 recoveries
Azerbaijan confirms 214 more COVID-19 recoveries
Loading Bars
Latest
Price for cars may decline in Iran
General Motors' Dhivya Suryadevara steps down as CFO
Kazakhstan increases oil export, petroleum goods production
Volume of wheat purchased in Iran announced
Return of blocked deposits in closed banks in Azerbaijan to begin in few days
Azerbaijan's Constitutional Court decides in favor of citizens on deposits in closed banks
Sale of Iran's oil bonds to bring profit to buyers
Afghanistan’s activity at Turkmen State Commodity Exchange in July 2020
Кazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company to buy construction materials via tender
Demand of Azerbaijani banks at Central Bank's currency auction fully met
Iran to review possible withdrawal from nuclear deal before US elections
Kazakhstan’s freight transportation operator opens tender for equipment maintenance
Iran's oil bonds not profitable during foreign currency crisis
Iran uses domestic nanotechnology to paint coating of airplanes
Insurance sector’s premiums up in Georgia
New inflow of natural gas received at Turkmenistan's Tajibay field
Uzbekistan aims to boost production of cement, construction materials
Iranian economist: Selling oil bonds - win-win deal
Turkish president receives Azerbaijani Foreign, Defense Ministers
Azerbaijan confirms 214 more COVID-19 recoveries
Uzbekistan establishes joint Uzbek-German asphalt production enterprise
Turkmenistan exports large volume of vegetables, fruits to EAEU countries
Iran's Shazand Oil Refining Company reveals amount of fuel produced for ships
Kazakhstan's foreign exchange reserves up month-on-month
Georgian Products Renaissance company expands export of its products
Saudi arabian company to build gas turbine power station in Uzbekistan
Prices of precious metals change in Azerbaijan
Turkmenistan increases tomato exports to EAEU
Georgian citizens arriving in Finland not to undergo compulsory quarantine
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy industrial vacuum cleaners via tender
Kazakhstan's import of Austrian-made goods plummets during COVID-19
Turkey unveils 1H2020 volume of gasoil movement through its ports
Mevlut Cavusoglu: Turkey always next to fraternal Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's PM holds phone talk with CEO of BP Group
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise
Iran talks about details of dairy products export
Volume of gas injected into storages in Azerbaijan disclosed
Turkish Anadolu news agency publishes interview with Azerbaijani MP Sevil Mikayilova on Azerbaijani-Turkish relations
Russia is first to register COVID-19 vaccine worldwide
French privacy watchdog opens preliminary investigation into TikTok
Azerbaijani currency rates for August 11
Demand for coal in Uzbekistan increases
Georgian Partnership Fund to sell its shares in Telasi energy distributor company
Design of upper block for Azerbaijan's Karabakh field being developed
Home purchases in Israel at 10-year peak in June
Iran's Tehran Oil Refining Company to boost its production
South Korean company to build cement plant in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani FM: Azerbaijani-Turkish relations successfully developing in all areas
Azerbaijani president: Interest of foreign investors in oil and gas industry, in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas potential showing no sign of abating
Azerbaijani president: Just as we are returning to once abandoned Garabagh field today, we will return to our native Karabakh land in same manner
Iran to save foreign currency via domestic production
Turkmenistan’s Balkan region to increase volume of agricultural production
Amount of MOL Group’s provisions at Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli disclosed
Uzbekistan, Russia expanding bilateral cooperation in agro-industrial sector
Jackets for Azerbaijani Absheron field ready - BOS Shelf
Azerbaijani president: Garabagh field jacket demonstrates our strength again
FM: 29 agreements to be signed between Azerbaijan, Turkey
President Ilham Aliyev: First gas and oil at Garabagh field should be produced in two years – at the end of 2022
Azerbaijani FM to meet with Turkish president
Bos Shelf: Sail away of jacket for Azerbaijani ACE project expected in late 2021
President Ilham Aliyev: All projects are being implemented successfully
President Ilham Aliyev: By doing all this work, we are redrawing an energy map of Eurasia
Azerbaijani president: Southern Gas Corridor is our historic achievement
Iran exports major part of non-oil products to neighboring countries
Azerbaijani president: Then leadership of Azerbaijan – the PFPA-Musavat tandem – allowed for occupation of our lands
Georgian Healthcare Group removed from London Stock Exchange
Iran building new solar panel station
Iran reports its COVID-19 data for August 11
MOL Group reveals capex in Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli
Uzbekistan discovers new gas field in country's Bukhara region
MOL Group increases filling stations in Europe
European Gymnastics President: 38th edition of FIG Congress to be held in Antalya
Azerbaijani oil grows in price
BOS Shelf completes construction of largest offshore jacket in Caspian Sea
New wells put into operation at Iran's South Pars gas field
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs holding meeting in Ankara (PHOTO)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan launches IFC-funded digital financial service project
Georgia's Herbia company plans to expand its operations
Turkmen livestock complex boosts milk production
Deputy PM: Serbia supports territorial integrity of Azerbaijan
Iran reveals value of subsidies in energy sector
Equinor to retain leading role among oil majors in energy transition
Deputy PM: Serbia, Azerbaijan have strong friendly relations
Deputy PM: Serbia successfully cooperates with Azerbaijani companies
SOCAR, Equinor establishing new joint venture in Azerbaijan
Russia's coronavirus case tally nears 900,000
Turkmenistan's president sets tasks for agro sector of country's Akhal region
EBRD talks details of its support package to Kazakhstan's Big Almaty Ring Road project
Gas demand decline to be significantly softer than for oil demand
Azerbaijani state budget revenues on VAT slightly down
Georgia exports peaches, nectarines to EU countries for first time
Kazakhstan's entrepreneurship dev't fund places green bonds in co-op with UNDP
Much of demand loss for refined fuels due to COVID-19 to be temporary
Key foreign policy priorities of renewed Uzbekistan
UK says wants greater flexibility to return illegal migrants back to France
Azerbaijani high-rank officials hold meeting with Serbian Deputy PM (PHOTO)
Short-time work hits German wages in second quarter
UK suffers biggest job losses since 2009 as COVID hits
Turkmenistan, Qatar to strengthen co-op in number of sectors
UK's Heathrow Airport passenger numbers down 88% amid ongoing travel restrictions
All news