India In-Focus — Indian shares slip; Infosys misses profit estimates

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China In-Focus — Stocks fall; BRI spending dips in H1; Central Bank assures privacy in using digital yuan

RIYADH: China stocks ended down for a third straight session on Monday on COVID-19 flare-ups and global recession concerns. 

The blue-chip CSI300 fell 0.6 percent to 4,212.64, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.6 percent to 3,250.39 points.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent to 20,562.94, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.4 percent to 7,077.09 points.

BRI spending dips in the first half 

China’s finance and investment spending in countries under the Belt and Road Initiative fell slightly in the first half of this year compared to a year earlier, with no new coal projects and investments in Russia, Egypt and Sri Lanka falling to zero, new research showed.

Saudi Arabia was the biggest recipient of Chinese investments over the period, with about $5.5 billion, according to the Shanghai-based Green Finance and Development Center, in research published on Sunday.

Total financing and investment stood at $28.4 billion over the period, down from $29.6 billion a year earlier, bringing total cumulative BRI spending to $932 billion since 2013, GFDC said.

President Xi Jinping launched the BRI in 2013 aiming to harness China’s strengths in financing and infrastructure construction to “build a broad community of shared interests” throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

China vows privacy, information protection in using digital yuan

China will fully respect privacy and protect personal information in using the digital yuan, state media quoted a senior central bank official as saying on Sunday, as Beijing encourages greater adoption of e-CNY.

Limited anonymity is a key feature of the digital yuan, Mu Changchun, director-general of the central bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute said, noting it ensures reasonable anonymous transactions.

“It also prevents and combats illegal activities including money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, maintaining the need for financial security,” the Securities Times quoted Mu as saying at a forum.

The People’s Bank of China is a front-runner in developing and issuing a central bank digital currency, which in the case of the e-CNY will be a traceable replacement for notes and coins.

Other central banks are looking at developing CBDCs to modernize their financial systems, ward off competition from cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments.

China’s efforts are among the most advanced globally, and the country has been running various trials and pilot schemes of different payment scenarios in recent years.

Mu also said the e-CNY, which is the digital version of fiat currency issued by the PBOC, can be used to purchase anything that can be bought with banknotes and coins.

“Banknotes and coins can buy gold and convert foreign currency, so does the e-CNY,” he said.

(With input from Reuters)

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