Perhaps it’s all these Sherlock Holmes mysteries we’ve been reading, dear readers, but an investigatory mood has come over us. It’s almost as if everything in this great big economy we cover is–dare we say?–connected in some way. Naturally, we smell conspiracy, and this week saw a positive avalanche of clues.
Early on came news that natural gas distributor ENN was planning for growth despite a price hike. Nothing unusual there, of course. But then the we learned that the authorities were shutting down 66 mainland golf courses. Sixty-six. Two sixes there. Key number. Remember it.
No sooner had we set ourselves on the case than did we discover regulators had not only lowered the down payment floor for second houses, it had also expanded tax exemptions to sellers of homes owned for less than two years. And, startlingly, on the very same day, Beijing announced it would hold off on implementing controversial technology requirements for foreign banks. Is it coming into view now? No? Very well, let’s see if the next bit gives away the game.
So, where were we? Ah, yes. We were shaking down a source in an alley when the call came telling us that (get this) Kaisa had delayed its 2014 results announcements, foreign investors had sold $247 million mainland shares through the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect and, yes, China had finally announced a deposit insurance system to be launched this very May. Now, these events might not strike you as connected unless, as we do, your obsessive relationship with news about the Chinese economy had provided you with a storehouse of practically useless scraps of information, among which lay the secure knowledge that, not 24 hours prior, Geely’s Volvo had announced plans to spend $500 million on a plant in the US.
It hit us like a ton of bricks. Clearly… No? Still nothing? You’re not picking up on the glaring connective threads binding these events together in inescapable conspiracy?
Fine! We’ll keep going. But you’ve got to work with us here. Remember: Sixty-six. Payment floors. Stock linkup. Volvo.
Right, well, the final piece of the puzzle–which is frankly so obvious we feel a little embarrassed for even pointing it out–was news today that Pfizer was ceasing vaccine commercial operations on the mainland after regulators refused to renew its only import license.
…Seriously? What, do you want us to just say it? Well, tough luck. It’s right there staring you in the face, dear readers, and it would be a violation of our rigorous ethical standards and an affront to our moral fiber were we to deprive you of the intellectual elation that accompanies a mystery solved. Maybe have another read-through from the top, take some notes as you go. Really puzzle things out. We’ll still be here waiting when you’ve finished.