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Archive for July, 2019

Chinese currency use accelerates

China has brought forward its timing to eliminate restrictions on trading its currency, as its use in other countries accelerates.

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People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan said this week Beijing will push for full convertibility in 2015, after last year saying it would happen in the next two to three years.

That means the renminbi will be able to be traded without restrictions on the amount exchanged, or central bank approval for the use of large amounts, HSBC Australia head of commercial banking James Hogan said.

It makes sense for restrictions on the renminbi to be lifted because more non-Chinese businesses are showing greater trust in the currency, he said.

“The renminbi is now the second most used currency, this time last year it was the fourth most used currency,” Mr Hogan said.

“People are more comfortable in dealing with renminbi now.”

The move to full convertibility is an important step towards the Chinese currency being fully floated like the Australian dollar, he said.

Mr Hogan expects the renminbi to be traded on the open market in two years.

It is currently only allowed to trade in a fairly narrow band set by China’s central bank.

In Australia, 13 per cent of companies use the renminbi for cross border business, up from the nine per cent reported in 2014, a survey commissioned by HSBC showed.

In 2013, the first year of the survey, that was just seven per cent.

Australian adoption of the Chinese currency is now close to Singapore and South Korea’s rate of 15 per cent, and is set to increase further in coming years.

According to the HSBC survey, 20 per cent of current non users are planning to settle international business in the renminbi in the next three years.

“Gone are the days where people saw the renminbi as a one-way bet, it would only depreciate,” Mr Hogan said.

“What you’re now seeing is there’s a greater level of maturity.”

The Greens want the Senate to hold an inquiry into allegations asylum seekers were sexually abused at an offshore processing centre on Nauru.

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It follows the public release of a independent review which uncovered claims of sexual harassment and abuse, including three allegations of rape, inside the Australian-funded centre.

The government has accepted all the recommendations former integrity commissioner Phillip Moss made in a report released late last week.

Greens leader Christine Milne says a Senate inquiry is needed to allow the allegations to be aired under parliamentary privilege.

The Nauru government, in its first public response to the Moss review, said it was disappointed at the actions of service providers at the centre.

“It is clear that there must be changes in the way these operations are managed,” it said in a statement, adding the government strongly condemned sexual assault, violence or any form of intimidation.

It warned refugees and advocacy groups not to use the review’s report to further what it said was a campaign of “lies and aggression”.

“Sadly some have abused our friendship and some groups in Australia continue to spread misinformation about refugees in Nauru,” the government said.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the inquiry would “shine a light in the dark places”.

“We know that the justice system in Nauru is a basket case, to put it politely,” she told reporters in Canberra.

She said the statement by the Nauru government sounded like “something that has been written by a spin doctor in order to protect a corrupt government”.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott conceded it was “appalling and reprehensible” that abuse appeared to have taken place at the detention centre.

But in response to a question from Greens MP Adam Bandt, he refused to say whether the government would apologise to aid group Save the Children.

The review found no conclusive evidence to support claims members of the group were encouraging asylum seekers to engage in self-harm and make false claims about abuse.

Mr Abbott said the government had been able to restart a decent humanitarian immigration intake program.

“Because those coming to Australia are now being chosen by us, and not by the people smugglers.”

Disregarding perhaps only the toss, Australia’s biggest decision this week is likely to be whether to include spinner Xavier Doherty in their side to face the world champions.

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Much, of course, will depend on the wicket, which on Tuesday afternoon was covered by a huge white blanket as rain tumbled down on the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

If, as coach Darren Lehmann expects, it is a similar track to that on which Australia beat Sri Lanka in the pool stage, Doherty’s contribution might be restricted to handing out water bottles.

If, however, it is more similar to the wicket on which spinners Imran Tahir and JP Duminy took seven wickets in South Africa’s quarter-final win over the Sri Lankans last week, Doherty might be set for his second start.

The trouble for Australia is that despite the SCG’s tradition for offering turn, it is not always that easy to tell in advance whether a track will or not.

“Last time we played here, it looked like the wicket would spin quite a bit but it didn’t, it played really true,” Australia opener Aaron Finch said on Tuesday.

“It’s still two days out from the game so it’s hard to tell, the wicket can change quite a bit here in Sydney in two days.”

Left-armer Doherty did play against Sri Lanka, going for sixty runs without adding to his less-than-stellar tally of 55 wickets in 60 one-day internationals.

Australia captain Michael Clarke is a big fan of including a spin bowler, especially at his home ground, but is no longer a selector.

The committee that meets to decide which players Clarke will lead on Thursday may decide that Australia’s part-time slow bowlers — Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, David Warner, even Clarke himself — have enough quality to carry the load.

Certainly, in a perfect world, Australia would like to retain right-arm quick Josh Hazlewood to get stuck into India’s highly-regarded corps of batsmen along with the ‘Mitchs’, first choice left-armers Johnson and Starc.

Even though Doherty was given a long workout in the nets on Tuesday, Johnson thinks it is likely Hazlewood will stay and Australia will be unchanged for the first time in the World Cup.

“It’s looking that way, that we’ll have the same 11,” he told Fox Sports at the SCG.

“The bowling group’s been going really well. Joshy Hazlewood bowled really well in the last game. To have that stability is really important.”

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Star recruit James O’Connor feels ready to show his true wares and it’s likely to be in his favoured position as the embattled Queensland Reds welcome back a host of players.

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O’Connor has overcome a calf injury ahead of Friday night’s clash with the Lions at Suncorp Stadium and, while he wouldn’t confirm it, the return of playmaker Quade Cooper means he is likely to play on the wing for the first time this season.

O’Connor was hailed as one of the world’s best wingers by coach Richard Graham during pre-season, but the Reds’ injury crisis meant the 24-year-old turned out at five eighth and fullback in the two games he has played – failing to hit any great heights on either occasion.

Asked where he would be stationed against the Lions, O’Connor said with a wry grin: “Obviously not 10.”

“Quade’s back so that’s good.

“I’ll be in the outside backs.

“We looked pretty good yesterday – I don’t think we’ve announced the team so I can’t say exactly where just yet.

“But I think it’s the best position for me to be involved.

“It’s where I’m comfortable, it should work out pretty well.”

O’Connor said there was a new energy at Ballymore this week as the likes of Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Greg Holmes, Ben Daley, Lachie Turner and possibly Beau Robinson prepare to return from the casualty ward.

“As a whole it’s been pretty frustrating,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of injuries and that’s what affected the way we play as a group and what we could do as a group.”

O’Connor revealed he had not been 100 per cent fit during his short time with the Reds – but he is now, and he’s ready to prove a point or two.

“Both games I’ve played, we lost. That’s not a good stat to start,” he said.

“I don’t think I played anywhere near my best.

“I just haven’t quite been able to get into my stride… (but) this is the first of hopefully many weeks where I can stay on the field and keep my body in good shape.

“We had a really good training yesterday, I got my metres back up to where they had been at my top speed.”

Gold Coast are hoping rising star Kane Elgey can be the spark to deliver the club their first NRL win of 2015.

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The 21-year-old has been named to make his NRL debut at halfback in Saturday’s clash with Cronulla at Remondis Stadium after Daniel Mortimer was ruled out with injury.

Mortimer suffered a fracture to his left wrist against Newcastle last Sunday and will spend at least three weeks on the sidelines.

Henry admits Elgey’s promotion is probably ahead of what he had planned for last year’s Holden Cup player of the year but he is hopeful the local junior can deliver against fellow strugglers the Sharks.

“He’s been in pretty good form in the Queensland Cup … had a very good game in very wet conditions for a good win the other day,” Henry said.

“He’s ready for the challenge.

“He’s a left-footer, he’s got a bit of a sharp step there too. He can play at the line and play nice and square for us.

“We’re confident the guys around him will help him out … quite excited to get the nod.”

Elgey’s inclusion is the only change from the team which fell 20-18 to the Knights for their third loss from as many starts this season with Agnatius Paasi coming onto an extended bench.

Henry said he was happy to back the players who fell short against Newcastle and was expecting a tight affair against a Cronulla team which is also 0-3 and desperate for a win.

“(Luke) Lewis is back in the fold, had a bit of a run last week, the two Fafita boys have a bit of punch in the middle,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough game.”

A boost for the Titans is the omission of Sharks’ five-eighth Ben Barba, who has accepted a two-match suspension after being charged for two separate incidents by the match review committee.

Henry said despite Barba’s indifferent start to life at Cronulla, he’s glad the playmaker won’t be in the opposition’s line-up.

“I’m not sure what they’ll do there,” he said.

“Maybe Wade Graham, he’s played there before, as has Luke Lewis.

“You’re waiting for Barba to click a bit and I suppose he’s a danger guy. Probably happy he’s not there.”

Saturday’s game will be the Titans’ 200th NRL match as well as the 150th career game for long-serving back William Zillman.

Titans team: Josh Hoffman, Anthony Don, James Roberts, William Zillman, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Kane Elgey, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles (capt), Ryan James, Dave Taylor, Greg Bird. Interchange (one to be omitted): Eddy Pettybourne, Matt White, Ryan Simpkins, Kierran Moseley, Agnatius Paasi.

(Transcript from World News Radio)

China says support is growing for the new bank it’s been promoting to provide project loans to developing countries.

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And as Darren Mara reports, the proposed bank has received important backing from some key international institutions.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

Countries including China, India and Singapore, signed an agreement in Beijing in October last year to build the the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB.

The $50 billion fund will provide loans for poorer countries in Asia, to help build energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure, and for urban and rural development projects.

The United States, worried about China’s growing diplomatic clout, has been urging countries to think twice about joining.

China says this hasn’t stopped 27 countries now signing up to participate – including key U-S allies like Germany, Britain, France and Italy.

Critics say the AIIB could undermine the work of other international financial institutions.

But the President of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank Takehiko Nakao says he’s told the Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei the two banks can work together to benefit the region.

“ADB is happy to welcome the AIIB to finance those financing needs of the region. And Minister Lou Jiwei have discussed that it is to complement, work together with ADB, not to compete with ADB. So I really believe that idea and we can work together to do better things for the region.”

And the managing director of the International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde says she believes there’s “massive” room for co-operation on infrastructure financing.

“We really welcome this initiative, which we regard as a perfectly justified and a good attribute of co-operation among international institutions. I wish the IMF could be business of financing infrastructure projects. This is not at all our business. So they cannot be any competition between the AIIB and us. But they will certainly be co-operation and who would be delighted to co-operate with the institution.”

The Abbott government is yet to announce whether Australia will join the bank.

However, Cabinet’s national security committee has reportedly given the green light for Australia to sign up, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he supports the idea.

“This is a government which takes infrastructure seriously. And we appreciate that other countries take infrastructure seriously and we want to be a good international citizen when it comes to helping not just our country to be prosperous but helping the world to be prosperous.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says China has already agreed to address Australia’s concerns over governance and accountability policies for the new bank.

“We want to ensure that anything that we invest in meets the very high standards of the kind of multilateral institutions that Australia has supported in the past and so these are matters that we are continuing to discuss with China. A number of our close friends in New Zealand and the United Kingdom have signed up to negotiate with China on this and obviously the more countries that are involved and they’re having their concerns addressed then the easier it will be for Australia to have our concerns addressed.”

Director of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, C. Fred Bergsten, told CCTV it’s unfortunate that the US has opposed the formation of the new bank.

“It really implied that the US was unwilling to accept a leadership role for China in the world economy. That’s very inconsistent with previous US policy. The United States, for a number of years, has been urging China to take a greater leadership role in the world economy consistent with its greater economic capability.”

Despite its initial position, Mr Bergsten believes the United States will eventually join the AIIB.

“It would be very unusual in US history not to participate in a major multilateral institution of this type. It may take a year or two for the United States to find a face-saving way to reverse its position to join the bank. It may even have to wait for our next administration in a couple of years, but I think it will happen.”

 

China says the new bank is set to begin providing loans at the end of the year.

 

 

Treasurer Joe Hockey has attempted to calm the nerves of edgy coalition backbenchers while soothing concerns of business over his budget strategy.

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In a slideshow presentation to a meeting of government MPs on Tuesday, Mr Hockey promised any new spending will be offset by “responsible and fair” savings.

He also vowed to improve the budget bottom line each year.

“We will get the budget back to surplus as soon as possible,” he said without nominating a more specific timetable for getting back into the black.

The presentation comes after Prime Minister Tony Abbott clouded expectations by predicting a dull budget, which business took to mean the government is going soft on reform.

But Mr Abbott used a tribute to the late Singaporean leader Lee Kwan Yew in parliament to indicate his government’s reform ambitions are not complete.

He recalled Mr Lee’s warning 30 years ago that Australia risked becoming “the poor white trash of Asia” which struck a chord in Canberra and prompted a quarter century of reform under the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments.

“But if we are to avoid his prophecy, the challenge for this generation is to ensure that the age of reform in this country has been merely interrupted not ended,” Mr Abbott said.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the government can’t keep to one position on its budget strategy for a week.

“This is a government that brought down the wrong plan in its first unfair budget … and it currently has no plan apart from more of the same,” he said in a statement.

Even so, cabinet minister Barnaby Joyce reckons most Australians will appreciate a dull and boring budget because that’s what they want from their accountant.

“When do you decide to go to an accountant that is manic and crazy?” said Mr Joyce, who was an accountant before entering politics.

The boring strategy could be working, with the government enjoying a surprise improvement in the latest Newspoll and consumer confidence rising for a second week in a row.