Sales Share Slips for Chinese Auto Brands, Japanese Cars Also Cede Ground

Chinese-branded automobiles accounted for 38.3% of local passenger vehicle sales in 2014, down from 40.3% in 2013, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). These results mark the continuation of multi-year trend that has seen local carmakers edged aside in China's increasingly crowded market. Indeed, Chinese marques claimed 45.6% of sales back in 2010, CAAM figures show. Japanese OEMs have also found themselves in the slow-lane, accounting for some 15.8% of sales last year; compared with 16.3% in 2013 and 19.5% in 2010. Meanwhile, German brands have expanded the market footprint, with sales-share hitting 20% in 2014; up from 18.8% in 2013 and 14.4% in 2010.

China Real Estate Data: First-Tier Sales Volumes from Jan 19-25

Primary market property sales in Beijing hit 2,286 units during the week ending January 25, 2015, up 17% week-on-week and 122% over the on-year period, according to figures from Chinese industry portal Soufun. Over the same period, sales in Shanghai totaled 5,010 units, up 26% week-on-week and 76% year-on-year. Sales in Guangzhou reached 1,660 units, up 16% week-on-week and 27% year-on-year. Shenzhen sales totaled 1,841 units, down 8% week-on-week and up 546% year-on-year. On an annual basis, year-to-date sales volumes in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen were up 72%, 50%, 18% and 236% respectively as of Sunday.

CRC Exceeds Budget, Adds Record Amount of Track in 2014

On January 29, China Railway Corporation (CRC) held its 2015 annual work meeting, an event which highlighted key results from the company's 2014 financial year and set new targets for the year ahead. According to local media, CRC recorded total railway investment of 809 billion yuan last year, compared with a budget of 800 billion yuan. CRC started 2014 with a budget of just 630 billion yuan, a figure which was revised higher mid-year as Beijing sought to bolster investment in sectors/regions seen as underdeveloped. Meanwhile, CRC claimed to have put 8,427 kilometers of new rail length into service last year, a record high for a single year. This figure raised total rail length by year-end to 112,000 kilometers.

For its current financial year, CRC has again set its annual budget at 800 billion yuan. However, officials cited by Caixin say investment could exceed this figure, possibly even surpassing the 843 billion yuan record set in 2010.

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Sounds Alarm on Profits

Citing a downturn in demand, thinning margins and fourth-quarter losses, Shanghai Petrochemical, a subsidiary of mainland oil giant Sinopec, has warned of 650-750 million yuan in expected losses during its 2014 financial year. Optimistic observers had previously anticipated losses in the neighborhood of 380 million yuan. Based on company records, Shanghai Petrochemical's forecast implies a fourth-quarter loss of at least 600 million yuan. Such results would give the company its worst quarterly performance in two-and-a-half years.

Oil Price Tumble Weighs on CR Gas Sales

China Resources Gas, a subsidiary of China Resources Holdings, reported natural gas sales volume rising 7-8% during the first 11 months of 2014. This compares with growth of 9% during the first 6 months of last year. The slowdown coincides with a roughly 30% drop in oil product prices in China since September, a downturn which has weakened the competitiveness of natural gas.

Beijing Gives Nod to Nuclear Sector Merger

Chinese authorities have approved a merger deal between China Power Investment Corp (CPIC) and State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC), according to local media. CPIC is one of only three licensed nuclear power producers in China. With only 2.23 GW of installed nuclear capacity, it also has the distinction of being the country's smallest nuclear operator. By contrast, larger peers CGN Group and CNNC have 11.62 GW and 6.5 GW of capacity respectively. CPIC's merger partner SNPTC is not a licensed nuclear power producer, yet it does possess nuclear power technologies and is a leading figure in nuclear research, engineering and project management.

Nuclear development is seen as a key component in Beijing's strategy to curb air pollution and ween China off its dependence on coal-fired power. According to industry estimates, nuclear power could account for as much as 5% of local power output by 2020, up from 2% in 2010.

NDRC Sets Wastewater Tariff Floor

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning body, has unveiled the country's first ever minimum tariffs on wastewater treatment. For urban residential users, minimum treatment tariffs were placed at 0.95 yuan per ton. Meanwhile, the floor for non-residential urban users was set at 1.4 yuan per ton. Currently, residential and industrial users pay tariffs averaging 0.83 yuan and 1.12 yuan per ton respectively. The new pricing measures are set to take effect by the end of 2016.

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