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( China Daily ) Updated: 2012-11-22 08:05:47

Baidu raises $1.5b in debut issue with bond sale

Baidu Inc, owner of China's most popular search engine, said the $1.5 billion raised in its debut bond issue will serve as a "war chest" for strategic uses including possible acquisitions. Raising US dollars inexpensively will allow the company to retire some existing debt and also provides flexibility to look at ways of expanding the business, Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman for Beijing-based Baidu, said on Wednesday. "Our operations outside of China, though very modest at present, are growing," he said.

Crude imports from Iran at highest since sanctions

China's imports of crude from Iran have risen to their highest level since the West increased sanctions on the Persian Gulf nation in July. China, the world's second-biggest crude consumer, purchased 1.94 million metric tons of oil from Iran last month, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs. That's equivalent to 458,000 barrels a day, the highest level since June and up 19 percent from September's 384,000 barrels a day, the data show. But shipments are down 23 percent compared to October 2011. The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions to pressure Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

ABC's acquisition of Jiahe Life approved

Agricultural Bank of China, one of the country's Big Four banks, has been given regulatory approval to buy a 51 percent stake in Jiahe Life Insurance Co Ltd, according to a statement released by the bank on Tuesday. It is the largest cooperation between banks and insurance companies by transaction value so far in China, National Business Daily reported on Wednesday. The two sides signed an equity acquisition agreement on Feb 11, 2011. Jiahe Life is selling 1.04 billion private placement shares to Agricultural Bank with a total capital value of 2.59 billion yuan ($470 million).

Copper imports by China drop to 15-month low

China's refined-copper imports fell to the lowest level in 15 months in October, hampered by a week long holiday and swelling local inventories, while exports gained for the second month. Arrivals were 230,695 metric tons last month, 22 percent lower than a month earlier, according to data from the General Administration of Customs on Wednesday. Exports rose to a four-month high of 12,764 tons. A drop in net imports will help control stockpiles in the world's largest user as domestic production continues to climb.

Chinese exports to grow 12% annually in 2013-15

China's exports are expected to grow by 12 percent annually from 2013 to 2015, mainly driven by expanding trade with emerging markets, HSBC said in a report. The report predicts India and Vietnam will be China's fastest-growing export markets in the next three years, with exports to India rising by 20 percent annually and those to Vietnam growing by 18 percent a year. Exports to the Middle East and North Africa, China's new export destinations, are expected to grow by 14 percent a year.

More foreign institutional investors approved as QFIIs

China's top securities regulator is speeding up the broadening of the financing channel for qualified foreign institutional investors, aiming to boost the domestic capital market. In November, seven more foreign investors were approved as QFIIs by the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, raising the total number to 199. The volume of their investment has reached $33.57 billion, according to the commission. An official from the commission said they are discussing whether to extend the quota to more than $1 billion for one institute.

China Daily - Agencies

(China Daily 11/22/2012 page14)

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