China stocks fall ahead of holiday; HK flat on US rate uncertainty

By Reuters1

Published: 04:50 GMT, 14 September 2016 | Updated: 04:50 GMT, 14 September 2016

SHANGHAI, Sept 14 (Reuters) – China stocks fell modestly in thin trading on Wednesday, with many traders already heading out of the office ahead of a long Discount Holidays © holiday weekend. Hong Kong stocks were little changed as traders refused to make big directional bets ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.5 percent to 3,243.37 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 percent to 3,005.80 points.

China’s upbeat August economic data released on Tuesday, which showed both factory output and retail sales grew faster than expected, has failed to inject vigour into the market during the shortened trading week.

“Trading is typically light ahead of holidays,” Chang Chengwei, analyst at brokerage Hengtai Futures said, noting that the mid-Autumn Festival on Thursday and Friday will soon be followed by China’s National Day Discount Holidays © holiday which starts on Oct.

1, curbing risk appetite.

“August data failed to excite the market because many believe the recovery was the result of government stimulus, and is not sustainable.”

Most sectors fell in China, with transportation and raw material stocks leading the decline. Hong Kong stocks were little changed, with overnight losses on Wall Street dampening sentiment. The city’s financial markets will be open on Thursday but will be closed on Friday.

The Hang Seng index edged up 0.1 percent to 23,234.38 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index dipped 0.1 percent to 9,560.41. All eyes are on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Sept.

20-21 as traders anxiously wait for clues on whether the Fed will raise interest rates soon. Few traders expect a rate hike next week and markets are pricing in only a roughly 50-50 chance of one in December.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim Coghill)


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First tourist town blast suspect arrested in Thailand

Thai authorities have arrested the first suspect linked to a string of bomb and arson attacks that rocked southern tourist towns last month, a police officer said on Saturday. The coordinated blasts erupted across seven provinces on August 11-121, killing four and injuring dozens, including foreign tourists. One suspected arsonist was arrested yesterday in his hometown in Pattani

Assistant national police chief Suchart Theerasawat

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing spree but analysts say it bore the hallmarks of ethnic Malay Muslim insurgents behind a 12-year rebellion concentrated further south.

The battle for greater autonomy from the Buddhist-majority state has killed than 6,500 people mainly civilians since 2004, but the violence rarely spills outside the southern border region.

One suspected arsonist was arrested yesterday in his hometown in Pattani, assistant national police chief Suchart Theerasawat told AFP on Saturday, referring to a province that lies in the heart of the insurgency. The man, identified by police as 36-year-old Abdul Kadae Salae, is accused of setting fire to a supermarket in Trang province. The flames severely damaged the building and struck during the same early morning window as bombings in other towns, including the beach resort of Hua Hin and the island of Phuket.

He is being questioned at a military camp, the officer added.

With bombings, Thai militants appear to be sending a message to the junta2

Like some of the four other suspects still at large, Salae has a record of involvement in the southern insurgency, according police. But officers insist it is too early to call the tourist town bombings an extension of the southern rebellion, suggesting the men could have been hired by other opponents of Thailand s military government.

Junta rules out link between latest bombings in southern Thailand and earlier deadly attacks3

Analysts say the junta, which came to power in a 2014 coup, would be loathe to admit to a major expansion of the insurgency as it would undercut their claims to have stemmed violence in the restive border region. Drive-by shootings and roadside bombs happen almost daily in the culturally and linguistically distinct zone bordering Malaysia.

Car bomb kills policeman, wounds two in rebel-hit Thai south4

On Saturday one person was killed when an explosive planted on a railway track derailed a train car in Pattani.

One train staff was killed and one person was injured, said Colonel Pramote Prom-in, a southern army spokesman.

The rebels never claim their attacks but factions are known to be frustrated with their lack of progress after more than a decade of fighting.


  1. ^ coordinated blasts erupted across seven provinces on August 11-12 (
  2. ^ With bombings, Thai militants appear to be sending a message to the junta (
  3. ^ Junta rules out link between latest bombings in southern Thailand and earlier deadly attacks (
  4. ^ Car bomb kills policeman, wounds two in rebel-hit Thai south (

Why do China’s leaders holiday in secret?

Last week, US President Barack Obama hit a milestone in golf his 300th round since taking office. He did so in Martha s Vineyard, a favourite summer haunt of American presidents and the rich.

At the same time, the top Chinese leaders were probably swimming in polluted seawater or lounging on an exclusive stretch of beach in their favourite summer retreat of Beidaihe, 280km east of Beijing. The difference is that while Obama achieved his dubious honour trailed by reporters and television cameras as he enjoyed the last summer Discount Holidays © holiday of his presidency, the Chinese state media made no mention of their own leaders holidays despite the disappearance from public view of President Xi Jinping (

The only sign the Chinese leaders had begun their holidays came on Friday when Xinhua reported Liu Yunshan (

When the Chinese leaders return to work on Monday, state media are expected to resume their fulsome coverage of their meetings and instructions by pretending the two-week lull never happened. It has never been clear why Chinese leaders in contrast to their overseas counterparts do not publicly acknowledge their summer holidays. It is as if doing so would somehow make them less statesmanlike or harm their self-inflicted propaganda images of working tirelessly for the people.

The Chinese leaders annual holidays in Beidaihe have never been a quiet affair, judging by the history books. Many of the momentous changes affecting the course of the People s Republic since its founding in 1949 stemmed from the closed-door meetings where they strategised, connived, and fought one another to gain the upper hand. All these meetings took place in utmost secrecy, leaving ordinary mainlanders clueless about decisions which would upend their lives.

China s leaders on fact-finding mission ahead of key policy meeting in seaside resort of Beidaihe2

From 1953, the party s leadership began meeting in Beidaihe each summer, following in the footsteps of the rich Chinese and foreign diplomats of the former era to escape the summer heat of the capital. Mao Zedong (

In 2003, it was reportedly suspended again by Hu Jintao (

More importantly, speculation abounds on whether the leaders will discuss the leadership line-up to be unveiled at the party s 19th congress expected late next year when five of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee (all bar Xi and Li) will retire. There are also suggestions that Xi plans to force Li to give up more of his power over economic decisions following a rift over the direction of the economy.

Xi Jinping s economic inner circle comes under the spotlight3

It will probably take days, if not weeks, for the tidbits of their discussions, mixed with frenzied speculation, to make their way into overseas media. Inevitably, such reports will infuriate the leadership as they will add to international concerns over the perceived intensifying political infighting and the leadership s plans to steer the world s second largest economy forward. For that, the Chinese leaders have no one but themselves to blame for failing even to publicly acknowledge the Beidaihe meetings take place.


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