Author Archives: Evelyn Cheng

BEIJING — Demand for luxury electric sedans is on the rise in China. In just over two months, orders for the “Han” line of electric cars from BYD — a Chinese automaker backed by billionaire Warren Buffett — have topped 40,000, the company disclosed at the Beijing auto show this past weekend.  The luxury sedan was announced on July 12 and will initially be sold in China. The vehicle maker said 4,000 vehicles were delivered in August. The new Han model has a single-charge range of 605 kilometers (375.93 miles) with prices ranging from 229,800 yuan to 279,500 yuan, or roughly $33,000 to about $40,000. BYD is also selling a plug-in hybrid version for slightly less, at 219,800 yuan. That price range is slightly lower than that of Tesla’s China-made Model 3 sedan. Elon Musk’s company does not break out China unit sales, although nearly one-fourth of its revenue in the second quarter…

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China’s five largest banks reported their biggest profit declines in at least a decade as they brace for further increases in bad loans in an economy weakened by the coronavirus pandemic. The five lenders — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and Bank of Communications — released their latest financial report cards last week. All five posted at least 10% year-on-year declines in profit for the first half of 2020 as they set aside more funds for potential loan losses in the coming months — much like many banks around the world. “The banks have been asked to …perform ‘national service.’ They’ve been asked to support the economy at the expense of their own operational strength,” said Jason Tan, research analyst at CreditSights, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday. Chinese banks, among the world’s largest by assets, have been placed at the front…

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Amazon.com (AMZN.O) is launching a new fleet of bigger, boxier trucks like those favored by rival package carriers United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N), as it fights to fix widespread pandemic-fueled delivery delays that sent customers into the arms of competitors like Walmart Inc (WMT.N). The world’s largest online retailer ordered more than 2,200 heavy-duty Utilimaster “walk-in” delivery trucks from Shyft Group SHYF.O, a Michigan-based specialty vehicle company, an Amazon spokeswoman told Reuters. The company declined to say how many of the vehicles have been sent to Amazon delivery contractors, or where they would be deployed. Amazon is under pressure to make good on one- and two-day deliveries promised to customers who subscribe to its $119 annual Prime service. Orders for food, computers, toys and exercise equipment surged after states issued stay-at-home orders to battle the pandemic, overwhelming Amazon’s network and adding days and even weeks to…

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Since the start of the pandemic, financial institutions including the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – along with UN entities, regional organizations and country groups such as the G20 – have been examining the tools available to stabilize markets, prevent job losses and preserve hard-fought development gains. At a joint high-level meeting of the IMF and the World Bank on Mobilizing with Africa on Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres commended the bodies’ swift actions to support member countries, while emphasizing that more work will be needed. “We know this virus will spread like wildfire and there are no firewalls,” he said.  “Alleviating crushing debt is absolutely crucial.” The UN chief noted that in Africa, households and businesses were suffering liquidity challenges even before the virus gained a toehold on the continent.  As countries work to prevent millions from plunging into poverty, already unacceptable levels of inequalities are…

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Stronger worker and environmental protections top the changes to a new version of the North American trade deal signed by top U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials on Tuesday that clears the way for a long-delayed vote in the U.S. Congress. The full text of revisions has not yet been made public, but the following are some of the key changes, based on documents provided by House Democrats, industry executives and U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials for a deal that will underpin $1.2 trillion in annual trade and replaces the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. LABOR Democrats prioritized the stronger enforcement of worker rights in Mexico, even after Mexico passed a labor reform aimed at ensuring union independence, worker freedoms and higher wages. Mexico has agreed to increase its budget for labor enforcement. The new deal establishes a labor-specific enforcement mechanism that provides for facility-based enforcement of labor obligations in…

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As trade talks between the U.S. and China increasingly center on Chinese treatment of foreign companies, Beijing says major American complaints about structural aspects of its economy are running up against “core interests.” The implication: Those matters are not up for negotiation. Previously, the vague “core interest” term was generally understood as referring to Beijing’s territorial claims, such as those on Taiwan. But a commentary piece published this weekend by state news agency Xinhua emphasized that China will not yield on its prerogative about how to manage its economy. The Chinese-language article published Saturday claimed there were five ways in which the U.S. is harming the growth of the global economy by launching a trade war with the Asian giant. “At the negotiating table, the U.S. government has made many arrogant requests, including restricting the development of state-owned enterprises,” the commentary said, according to a CNBC translation. “Obviously, this is beyond the field and…

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