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OCIC reveals the size of Koh Norea Satellite City

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By Kong Soriya
Phnom Penh: The Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) has officially unveiled the exact size of Koh Nora Satellite City, as the city is actively preparing infrastructure to meet the pace of development of the company and the government.
As the sound of machinery and ships carrying sand and stones echoes in the construction site of the satellite city of Koh Norea, a new city that will contribute to improving the beauty of the Chaktomuk River and help boosting the national economy.
Touch Samnang, OCIC deputy general director, said by telephone recently that the 125-hectare Koh Norea has now completed about 30 percent of its infrastructure, which will be completed by the end of 2023. However, he revealed that currently some parts such as Zone1, Zone2 have been completed and that buyers of land on this project can start developing their projects.
“The construction of the bridge connecting Koh Pich (Diamond Island) and Koh Norea is actively underway and is scheduled to be completed as planned,” he said. “It is a cable-stayed bridge in the Khmer style and the size of the bridge is bigger than a bridge connecting National Road 5 to the satellite city of Chroy Changvar,” he added.
The construction of the bridge between the two satellite cities is expected to cost about $40 million, and this bridge will help facilitate traffic from National Road 1 to connect to Phnom Penh.
“Koh Norea satellite city has a similar development plan concept than the current Koh Pich City,” he said.

China, New Zealand ink trade deal as Beijing calls for reduced global barriers

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WELLINGTON: China and New Zealand signed a deal that upgrades their existing free trade pact on Tuesday (Jan 26), giving exports from the Pacific nation greater access to the world’s second-largest economy.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the signing of an expanded trade deal with China, noting its significance amid the pandemic.
The agreement comes as Beijing seeks to establish itself as a strong advocate of multilateralism following a bruising trade war with the United States and as the coronavirus keeps international borders closed.
“China remains one of our most important trade partners … For this to take place during the global economic crisis bought about by COVID-19 makes it particularly important,” Ardern said at a news conference.
The agreement expands an existing trade deal with China and ensures it remains fit for purpose for another decade, New Zealand trade minister Damien O’Connor said in a statement.
Under the new deal, tariffs for many of New Zealand’s mostly commodities-based exports, which include dairy, timber and seafood, will be either removed or cut. Compliance costs will also be reduced.
Following years of pressure from the Trump administration over trade and, more recently, international scrutiny over the handling of the coronavirus, China has emerged as a surprising champion of globalisation and multilateralism.
In recent months, Beijing signed an investment pact with the European Union and joined the world’s largest free trade bloc in the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which also includes New Zealand. CNA
Source: Reuters/dv

South Korea posts worst growth in two decades

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SEOUL: South Korea recorded its worst growth in more than two decades in 2020, the central bank said on Tuesday (Jan 26), but it is expected to be among the best-performing OECD economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s gross domestic product contracted 1 per cent in 2020 from a year earlier, the Bank of Korea said, citing weak private spending and exports.
It marks the worst annual growth since 1998, when the South Korean economy shrank 5.1 per cent in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.
Still, South Korea is expected to be among the countries in the OECD group of developed economies least affected by the pandemic in 2020.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, the South’s economy – the world’s 12th-largest – grew 1.1 per cent from the previous quarter, data showed, marking a second consecutive quarter of growth amid the pandemic.
The central bank said exports expanded 5.2 per cent in the fourth quarter from three months earlier, offsetting a slump in private consumption due to toughened social distancing rules in recent weeks.
South Korea has shown signs of recovery from the virus downturn and the central bank in November forecast the economy to grow 3 per cent in 2021.
The South has largely contained its coronavirus outbreak – while the pandemic has killed more than 2 million people worldwide – with widespread testing and contact-tracing.
But authorities tightened social distancing rules late last year after case numbers began to rise. CNA
Source: AFP

Foreign companies are giving up on the United States and betting big on China, report says

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New York (CNN Business)Foreign companies are turning their backs on the United States, taking advantage of China’s booming economy and superior management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Direct investment in the US by foreign companies plummeted 49% to $134 billion last year, according to a report released Sunday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. By contrast, foreign direct investment in China grew by 4% to $163 billion in 2020.
2020 marked the first year in history that foreign direct investment in China overtook that of the US, according to the UN. China is now the world’s largest recipient of foreign companies’ investments.
Although Covid-19 was a large factor in foreign direct investment tumbling in the US — and most places around the world — the drop-off in foreign companies’ American investments began well before the pandemic.
After hitting a high of $440 billion in 2015, according to the US Commerce Department, foreign investment in the US has been on a sharp downward slide. Former President Donald Trump’s go-it-alone trade policies hurt foreign investment — particularly from China, which represented the sharpest drop in US investment over the past several years. Growing economic uncertainty around the globe also contributed to the decline.
Last year, decline in foreign direct investment into the US was most prominent in wholesale trade, financial services and manufacturing, the report said. International mergers and acquisitions, as well as sales of US assets to foreign investors, fell by 41%. Source: CNN

Nonfinancial ODI in BRI nations up 18.3%

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China’s nonfinancial outbound direct investment in 58 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative rose 18.3 percent to $17.79 billion in 2020 despite the 0.4 percent fall in the overall nonfinancial ODI to $110.15 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Nonfinancial ODI into the BRI-involved economies accounted for 16.2 percent of the total nonfinancial ODI in 2020, up 2.6 percentage points from a year earlier, said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry.
Contracts for new projects in the BRI-related economies amounted to $141.46 billion, accounting for 55.4 percent of the total amount last year.
Though the overall ODI reached $132.94 billion last year, up by 3.3 percent on a yearly basis, the ODI into some sectors saw a faster growth than others. These sectors included leasing and commercial services, wholesale and retail, scientific research and technical services, and power production and supply.
In 2020, ODI in the leasing and business services industry rose by 17.5 percent on a yearly basis to $41.79 billion. ODI in the wholesale and retail sector was $16.07 billion, a year-on-year increase of 27.8 percent.
Investment into power production and supply, and scientific research and technical services increased 10.3 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively, in the same period.
Nonfinancial ODI from local enterprises rose 16.4 percent on a yearly basis to $80.75 billion last year.
Looking at the data for last year, it is obvious that Chinese enterprises continued to repose immense faith in globalization and played a significant role in the recipient countries’ development and global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.
“Companies from China are now more confident and willing to invest abroad, thanks to the country’s proactive globalization strides,” said Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.
Despite the rising protectionism and anti-globalization disruptions in recent years, Chinese enterprises are still committed to overseas investment and international economic and trade cooperation, because they have witnessed the protection and enhancement of global economic and trade order due to globalization, Zhou said.
Through overseas investment and participation in international competitions and resource allocation, Chinese enterprises have optimized their business operations and presence globally to boost their performance and capabilities, he said, adding that the free trade agreements inked by the Chinese government have played a key role in spurring the go-global efforts of Chinese companies.
Besides, the pandemic has severely impacted international industrial and supply chains. Thanks to the country’s effective control measures, Chinese enterprises have resumed business activities and recovered from the COVID-19 effect rather quickly and are able to meet the demand from other regions in the world as planned.
Through new investment, Chinese enterprises furthered employment, tax and exports overseas and also provided the impetus for local economic recovery and development, he said.
Bai Ming, deputy director of the Institute of International Market Research at the CAITEC, said the higher investment in BRI-related countries demonstrates the deepening economic and trade cooperation between China and those countries, which will also contribute to global economic recovery. Source: China Daily

New three condo projects added to the market

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Phnom Penh: Q4 2020 saw 2 completions adding 937 units, split across the mid-range and affordable segments, equating to a 3.75% growth to total condominium supply q-o-q, according to CBRE Cambodia’s latest report.
The sector also witnessed 3 new launches. Green Leaf Residence located in Sen Sok is to add 162 affordable units, Real Hope Condominium located in Chamkarmon is to add 231 mid-range units and City Light Condominium in Chamkarmon is to add a further 105 mid-range units.
Over the year, the sector’s supply increased by 17.6%, with 3,778 units added to the total supply. However, this increase is likely to be dwarfed by the forecast completions in 2021 when the sector is expected to add almost 11,000 units.
Over the course of Q4 2020, the market witnessed a further downward correction of sales prices across all segments. Average mid-range sales prices weakened the farthest, experiencing its largest decrease q-o-q for the year with a fall of 5.9%, while the high-end sector adjusted downward slightly by 1.6%.
The affordable sector remained the most stable, shrinking by only 1.2%, and dipping under US$1,500/sqm for the first time since Q1 2019.
Sales price trends reflected both the increase in supply and launches over the year, as well as the reduction in prevalence of foreign buyers, as a result of travel restrictions and the global economic slump.
During Q4 2020, rental values across both mid-range and high-end sectors came under pressure, leading to negative adjustments of 6.7% and 0.1%, respectively. Rents averaged US$10.20/sqm/month in the mid-range and US$12.69/sqm/month in the highend segments.

Wall Street closes at record highs as Netflix jumps, Biden inaugurated

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(Reuters) – U.S. stocks closed at record highs on Wednesday as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president, while solid results from Netflix sparked a rally in shares of “stay-at-home” beneficiaries.
Shares of the world’s largest streaming service Netflix surged 16.85% after the company said it would no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its TV shows and movies.
The rest of the FAANG group, due to report results in the coming weeks, jumped with Google parent Alphabet Inc rising 5.36%. The NYSE FANG+TM index gained 4.77%.
“It’s a tech outperformance day which is pretty rare over the past two or three months as the cyclical rotation has kind of gotten underway,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He added a lot of the move can be traced to Netflix.
“(Today was) just a reminder that the tech run had gotten extended… the FAANG names and some of the other S&P 500 tech names are still incredible operators and are going to be putting out incredible earnings quarters for the foreseeable future,” Mayfield said.
Biden will waste little time turning the page on the Trump era, aides said, signing 15 executive actions in the afternoon on issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the economy to climate change.

Source: Reuters

SCB unveils wholly-owned subsidiary in Myanmar

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Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) Myanmar has been officially inaugurated, the only Thai bank allowed to operate a wholly-owned subsidiary in Myanmar.
SCB entered Myanmar in 2012 by setting up a representative office.
SCB Myanmar plans to leverage its digital banking expertise to elevate financial products, services and payment systems in Myanmar to fulfil business requirements in Southeast Asia.
The move opens up new capabilities and allows SCB Myanmar to meet the needs of every customer group there, including large corporates, small and medium-sized enterprises, and retail customers, said the bank.
SCB Myanmar wants to capitalise on the bank’s branch network by bridging regional trade and investment relations among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, China and Singapore.
“Myanmar has strong growth potential. Despite an imbalance of commercial loans making up 87% or US$18 billion of the total, and retail loans a mere 10%, the Central Bank of Myanmar expects retail lending growth will be exponential,” said SCB president Sarut Ruttanaporn. “In addition, digital lending will play an important role, with smartphone usage increasing from 80% to 90% of the total population between 2018-2020.”
Source: Bangkok Post

Cambodia’s real estate sector will recover around 60% this year, CVEA President says

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By: Bee
Phnom Penh: Experts claim that the real estate sector in Cambodia will recover around 60 to 70 percent in 2021 compared to 2019 because the Covid-19 vaccine is not yet clear for use.
Mr. Chrek Soknim, President of Cambodia Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), told Propertyarea.asia that the transaction in the real estate sector is still out there, which does not hurt the sector much, but the momentum of the transaction is not the same as in 2019.
“Cambodia’s real estate sector will recover from 60 to 70 percent in 2021 compared to 2019, as the Covid-19 vaccine is uncertain for use and it may take another five to six months to recover,” he said
When the Covid-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective, it will give more confidence to both local and foreign investors to start increasing their investment and the real estate sector in Cambodia will have the same recovery as in 2019, he added.
“Related to the real estate sector, we see that the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has been alleviated, property buyers and sellers start resuming trading in early 2021, and most of the investors are local investors and the number of investors Foreigners is still few in number,” he said.
“I see that what motivates local investors to start doing property business is that the Covid-19 issue is alleviated because the government controls it very well and the government has also pushed for the construction of infrastructure in Sihanoukville and Siem Reap and as well as in throughout the country,” he said.
Most transactions take place in Phnom Penh and potential provinces with new development projects.

China debuts train prototype that can hit speeds of 620 kilometers per hour

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(CNN) — China has revealed a prototype for a new high-speed Maglev train that is capable of reaching speeds of 620 kilometers (385 miles) per hour.
The train runs on high-temperature superconducting (HTS) power that makes it look as if the train is floating along the magnetized tracks.
The sleek 21-meter-long (69 feet) prototype was unveiled to media in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, on January 13. In addition, university researchers constructed 165 meters (541 feet) of track to demonstrate how the train would look and feel in transit, according to state-run Xinhua News.
Professor He Chuan (vice president of Southwest Jiaotong University, which worked on the prototype) told reporters that the train could be “operational” within 3-10 years.
He added: “Sichuan has rich rare earth resources, which is very beneficial to our construction of permanent magnet tracks, thus promoting the faster development of experiments.”
China is home to the world’s largest high-speed rail network, which stretches over 37,000 kilometers, and the fastest commercially operating train — the Shanghai maglev.
The country’s first high-speed Maglev train, it began operating in 2003. Running at a top speed of 431 kph, the train links Shanghai Pudong Airport and Longyang Road in the eastern side of Shanghai.

China has been eager to make further infrastructure improvements ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will take place in Beijing.
This time last year, China unveiled a new 174-kilometer high-speed railway line connecting Beijing with 2022 Winter Olympics host city Zhangjiakou, cutting the travel time between the two from three hours to 47 minutes.
Earlier this month, the country debuted a bullet train specifically designed to withstand freezing temperatures. The CR400AF-G train can travel up to 350 kilometers per hour in weather as cold as -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit).
It will run on routes between Beijing, Shenyang and Harbin — the latter of which is so cold that it hosts an annual snow and ice festival. CNN