If you have wings (or solar panels), you’re probably having a bad day today in China. Fears of avian flu have led China to re-impose a ban on Thai poultry, which is a helpful reminder that it’s not just the government that’s in trouble there. Meanwhile, a Chinese satellite sold to Venezuela is proving something of a turkey, and private carrier Okay Airways has announced it will suspend flights for a month starting December 15, apparently over a dispute with controlling shareholders.
An industry watcher told us a few months back that the best time for China to raise retail fuel prices is when oil prices are low. Someone at the NDRC was listening: Vice Minister Zhang Xiaoqiang announced that fuel taxes and pricing reforms could be introduced on January 1, now that oil has come down from its earlier nosebleed highs. Pricey oil didn’t hurt sales at beleaguered auto giant GM – in China, at least. The company says year-to-date auto sales in China are up 8% this year over the same period last year. Less positive news comes from miner Rio Tinto, which is now saying that it may exit its joint venture with Qingtongxia Aluminium to raise cash. An earlier acquisition left Rio a cool US$40 billion in debt.
As Rio Tinto looks for an exit, the former manager of investment firm Starr International has found a new entrance. Collin Lau is expected to head sovereign wealth fund CIC’s real estate investment fund starting in December or January, reporting to the recently appointed head of alternative investments, Zhou Yuan.