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China’s Tsingshan spearheaded a charge into Indonesia for nickel, a silvery-white metal with wide applications in ternary lithium batteries, the power source of new-energy vehicles. Read more here about whether the firm and its Chinese peers in the EV materials industry have overcommitted.
Top News Items
China’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP decreased 3.8% in 2021
China unveiled energy data in its 2021 statistical communique published on Feb. 28. Its energy consumption per unit of GDP declined by 2.7% year-on-year, and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP decreased by 3.8%, both indicating an improvement in energy efficiency. In contrast, total energy consumption hit 5.24 billion tons of standard coal equivalent with a decade-high annual increase of 5.2%. Total consumption of coal rose by 4.6%; crude oil was up 4.1%; natural gas was up 12.5%; and power usage was up 10.3%. Coal’s share of total energy consumption declined 0.9 percentage point to 56%. That of clean energy sources such as natural gas, wind power, hydropower, nuclear, and photovoltaic, increased 1.2 percentage points to 25.5%.
BIS to launch Asia green bond fund for central banks
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announced it would launch its first Asia-focused green bond fund. The U.S. dollar-denominated, open-ended fund will channel global central banks reserves to green projects in Asia. The central banks of South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Cambodia are among the first investors. The fund plans to invest in bonds issued by sovereigns, international financial institutions and corporations that comply with high environmental standards, with target markets covering both advanced economies and emerging markets in Asia. According to a BIS official, the investible green bonds include sovereign green bonds issued by China Development Bank, large state-owned banks, and certain offshore U.S.-dollar denominated green bonds issued by Chinese financial institutions.
Shanghai aims to build 2.5 million EV charging piles within four years
The Shanghai government issued a guideline on further promoting the implementation of charging and battery swap infrastructure construction (本市进一步推动充换电基础设施建设的实施意见.) The guideline proposed building enough charging piles to serve at least 1.25 million electric vehicles by 2025, with the vehicle-pile ratio not higher than 2:1, so that there will be more than 2.5 million charging piles in Shanghai by 2025. As of the end of 2021, Shanghai had over 620,000 new energy vehicles, and 500,000 charging piles. Further construction of charging piles will be more difficult due to the age of many of the city’s neighborhoods. To address problems in the management of existing charging piles, the guideline also proposed to establish a governance system for underused, so-called “zombie charging piles.”
Leading banks disclose details of emission reduction loans
Several leading commercial banks and policy banks revealed the scale and rates of their emission reduction loans under the guidance of People’s Bank of China (PBOC). The Bank of China issued 27.1 billion yuan of emission reduction loans to 252 projects with a weighted average loan lending rate of 3.92%, and Postal Savings Bank of China issued 20.5 billion yuan of loans to 196 projects at 4.19%. China Development Bank also issued 24.3 billion yuan to 163 projects at 4.03%. These disclosures follow the rules of the emission reduction supporting tool launched by PBOC last November to promote financial support for companies engaged in clean energy, energy saving, and other low-carbon technologies. Banks providing loans to those companies can apply for funding from PBOC at an interest rate of 1.75% to cover up to 60% of the loans they provide. Accordingly, banks should disclose information of the supported projects every quarter. PBOC collectively provided 85.5 billion yuan through this tool by the end of 2021, said its Monetary Policy Report Q4.
EV-maker Nio to launch secondary listing in Hong Kong
Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) maker Nio Inc. has obtained pre-approval for its secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by way of introduction, which means the company will not sell any fresh shares this time. Stock trading is set to start on March 10. Through the new listing, the startup hopes to enhance its company profile in Hong Kong and attract more investors. Nio was the first Chinese EV startup listed in the U.S. In 2021, it delivered 91,429 units, ranking second among domestic EV startups. Another two leading Chinese EV manufacturers, Xpeng and Li Auto, both listed in Hong Kong last year.
China Development Forum (Hybrid)
Date: March 19 to 21 (GMT+8)
Organizer: Development Research Center of the State Council
7th annual Sustainability Week (Hybrid)
Date: March 21 to 24 (GMT)
Location: Virtual and London, U.K.
Organizer: The Economist Impact
The Costs, Risks, and Rewards of the Net-Zero Transition (Online)
Date: March 24, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (GMT)
Organizer: Institute of International Finance
Chart of the Week
China’s coal mining sector doubled its profits last year as the nation’s pandemic recovery ramped up demand for the pollution-emitting fuel source, walking a tight rope between economic aims and climate targets of this country. Coal mining companies posted 702.3 billion yuan in profit for 2021, a figure that soared 213% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The surging earnings also made it the third-most profitable sector, only next to electronics and communication-equipment makers and chemical products manufacturers.
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