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Australia’s Westpac to exit China, other Asia markets as focus swings to home

By Paulina Duran



a sign on the side of a building: An office building with Westpac logo is seen in Sydney


© Reuters/Loren Elliott
An office building with Westpac logo is seen in Sydney


SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp is exiting banking operations in China and some other Asian markets to focus on its core domestic and New Zealand businesses, as it grapples with capital constraints amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s second-largest lender, whose capital has been eroded by a record lawsuit settlement and a surge in bad-debt provisions due to the pandemic, said on Wednesday it will exit operations in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Jakarta, where it does business with institutional clients.

It will instead consolidate its international operations into branches in Singapore, London and New York.

Under pressure from regulators to increase their capital bases, and from investors to show higher returns from their investments, Australian banks have been selling non-core assets, including their offshore operations.

Following a failed big push

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Posted in home

China Exports Supercharged by Medical Equipment and Work-From-Home Gear

BEIJING—China’s exports and imports both posted strong gains in September, as a recovery in global and domestic demand provided another boost to the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s imports from global markets jumped 13.2% in September from a year earlier after falling 2.1% in August, according to data released Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs.

Exports topped market expectations for a sixth straight month, rising 9.9% from a year earlier in September—the quickest pace in more than a year—as China continued to benefit from coronavirus-fueled demand for medical equipment and work-from-home electronic products.

Taken together, the strong trade figures point to a robust recovery that most economists expect will show China regaining its pre-coronavirus growth trajectory of between 5% and 6% when it reports third-quarter gross domestic product figures on Monday—and through the end of the year.

“In coming months, we expect the export strength to persist and imports may

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Posted in home

Sick of staying home: China expects a Golden Week tourism rebound

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China expects a significant rebound in domestic travel over the upcoming Golden Week holiday after the sector was pummelled by the novel coronavirus for months, with some flights selling out and travel platforms reporting a surge in hotel bookings.

Passengers wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walk at the Beijing Daxing International Airport ahead of Chinese National Day holiday, in Beijing, China September 25, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The pent-up demand is fuelling optimism the Chinese travel industry has reached a turning point, with hopes the eight-day holiday from Oct. 1 will supercharge a tentative pickup seen in recent months, even as some trepidation over the virus lingers.

China’s resurgent travel industry offers a striking contrast to business in some other parts of Asia as well as in the United States and Europe, where the novel coronavirus is still circulating and gatherings are restricted.

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Posted in home remodeling

China home sales sustain growth in August

BEIJING–Home sales in China kept growing in August, as the property market recovered faster than expected from the coronavirus pandemic, propelling overall economic momentum.

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Home sales by volume in January-August rose 4.1% from a year earlier, following a 0.4% increase in the January-July period, according to data released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Property investment, including in commercial and residential real estate, rose 4.6% in the first eight months of the year, extending the 3.4% increase in the January-July period.

Construction starts fell 3.6% in the eight-month period, narrowing from a 4.5% decrease in the first seven months of the year.

China is mulling stricter controls over the debt ratios of developers amid worries over a possible property crash. Previously, authorities mainly curbed home buying and property prices, but it is now starting to regulate developers with debt risk in order to avoid an overheating market

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China Home Price Growth Accelerates as Credit Growth Jumps

(Bloomberg) — China home-price growth accelerated in August after a brief slowdown the previous month as credit growth rebounded and wider property curbs did little to damp buyer enthusiasm.

New home prices in 70 major cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, rose 0.56% last month, compared to a 0.47% gain in July, National Bureau of Statistics data released Monday showed. Values in the secondary market, which is largely free from government intervention, gained 0.34%, the fastest in more than a year.



a close up of a map: China home prices have rebounded steadily since the coronavirus outbreak


© Bloomberg
China home prices have rebounded steadily since the coronavirus outbreak

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Policy makers have in recent months stepped up regulatory caution against developers’ leverage and excessive home-price growth, after frenetic buying spread from the country’s biggest cities to some booming regional centers. In August, cities including Nanjing and Wuxi followed Shenzhen in tightening home-purchase rules.

“Local governments rolled out targeted

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