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     TOP NEWS: China had no information to share yet on the detainment of former
Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in China this week, foreign ministry spokesman
Lu Kang said when pressed by reporters Wednesday. "I have nothing to provide on
the media reports," Lu said when asked. Several media reports said that the
Internation Crisis Group's North East Asia Senior Adviser Kovrig was detained on
Monday. Lu told the press the ICG, an NGO that is Kovrig's current employer,
isn't registered in China as in accordance with law. The group's operations in
China can therefore be deemed as against Chinese laws and regulations, he said. 
     POLICY: The People's Bank of China (PBOC) should cut benchmark interest
rates as early as this month to prevent a sharper economic slowdown, a scholar
told MNI, arguing that monetary easing could actually help reduce the economy's
debt ratios. In addition to making its first rates cut since October 2015, the
PBOC should also lower banks' reserve requirement ratios and pump in liquidity
through open market operations to reduce the costs of business financing and
mortgages as soon as possible, Professor Zhou Hao, associate dean at the PBC
School of Finance, Tsinghua University, said in an interview.
     LIQUIDITY: The PBOC skipped open market operations (OMOs) for a 34th
straight trading day Wednesday, leaving liquidity unchanged. No reverse repos
mature today, according to Wind Information. The central bank said the level of
liquidity in the banking system is at a reasonable and ample level.
     RATE: The 7-day weighted average interbank repo average rate for depository
institutions (DR007) decreased to 2.5471% from Tuesday's close of 2.5826%, Wind
Information showed. The overnight repo average decreased to 2.4070% from
Tuesday's 2.4485%.
     YUAN: The yuan appreciated to 6.8893 against the U.S. dollar from Tuesday's
close of 6.8990. The PBOC set the dollar/yuan central parity rate at 6.9064
Wednesday, higher than Tuesday's 6.8996.
     BONDS: The yield on the benchmark 10-year China Government Bond was last at
3.2750%, down from the closing price of 3.2800% on Tuesday, according to Wind
     STOCKS: The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.31% higher at
2,602.15. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index increased 1.61% to 26,186.71.
     FROM THE PRESS: The upcoming Central Economic Work Conference is expected
to set the tone for next year's economic planning between "stabilizing growth,
structural reform and risk prevention", China Business News reported Wednesday,
citing Huang Jianhui, director of the research institute of China Minsheng Bank.
The government will adopt a more proactive fiscal policy, continuing to
stimulate demand to prop up growth while deepening the supply-side reform, Huang
said. Huang thinks industrial activity will slow, while the service sector will
rebound and grow at around 7.8% y/y in 2019. M2 is likely to rise to about 8.5%,
as money supply could be further eased to support growth, Huang said, the paper
     There is no need for the PBOC to cut benchmark deposit rates as it is not
the most effective way to direct funds into the real economy, the Securities
Daily reported, citing Xu Gao, chief economist at Everbright Securities.
According to Xu, its not the cost of finance that is making it hard for
businesses to find funding, but policy constraints. To boost further growth in
credit and social financing, an RRR cut is needed, with open market operation
(OMO) rates lowered appropriately, the report added.
     Improving the financing environment is the top priority for policymakers,
the China Securities Journal said. Banks' lending capacities are constrained by
relatively small capital adequacy ratio, low appetite for risks, as well
industry regulations, the newspaper said. Meanwhile, as downward pressure on the
economy increases, demand for funding is declining from previous levels, the
newspaper said.
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email:
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 10 8532 5998; email:
[TOPICS: M$A$$$,M$Q$$$,MBQ$$$]
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