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Chinese splash out on tech goods, camping gear in shopping fest

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person rides a scooter past a JD.com advertisement for the “618” shopping festival in a shopping district in Beijing, China June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

By Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh

BEIJING (Reuters) – High-end home appliances and camping gear were among Chinese shoppers’ most sought after buys during the “618” shopping festival, according to e-commerce platforms, in a sign of how China’s COVID-19 curbs are driving lifestyle changes.

The event was the first major shopping festival to take place since several Chinese cities, including Shanghai, were hit by a series of lockdowns to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Consumption in China remains weak as shoppers were confined to their homes in Shanghai and other cities. Retail sales slipped another 6.7% in May from a year earlier, on top of a 11.1% contraction the previous month.

Sales for e-commerce giant JD (NASDAQ:JD).com, which first created the event in 2004, grew at their slowest pace ever to hit 379.3 billion yuan ($56.74 billion) in a sign of how recent lockdowns and slowing economic conditions have hurt spending.

Consumption in China remains weak with retail sales in May slipping 6.7% from a year earlier, on top of an 11.1% contraction the previous month.

Still, JD.com said its sales of gaming projectors and 4K high-definition projectors increased 10 times during the event, while air fryers jumped five times. Slim fridges – favoured by shoppers with small homes – saw sales triple from the previous year.

“Due to the epidemic, some consumers saw their living space become smaller and this led them to spend some thought on adding some ‘sparks’ to their lives,” said JD.com, in a post on its WeChat account on Sunday.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) Group said that Italian luxury coffee machine brand La Marzocco saw a six-fold increase in sales on the first day of its Tmall marketplace’s 618 event compared with the previous year.

The platforms also reported a surge in sales for camping gear and outdoor equipment, fuelled by the growing popularity of outdoor activities especially among city-dwellers who have had to endure two years of restrictive pandemic curbs.

Camping-related products more than tripled in terms of sales on Tmall during its first round of 618 sales from the evening of May 31 to June 3, Alibaba said, with a new 2022 series of fishing reel by Japanese high-end fishing gear brand Daiwa, priced at more than 5,000 yuan, selling out within seconds.

In addition, rising health awareness during the pandemic also pushed people to stockpile health products, JD.com said, citing surging sales of organic milk, high-end teas and fitness drinks.

($1 = 6.6871 Chinese yuan)

Stock Markets

Asian Stocks Down as Oil Rises on Tight Supply Concerns

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© Reuters

By Zhang Mengying

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly down on Tuesday morning after Wall Street fell and oil prices rose on tight supply concerns.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.16% by 10:31 PM ET (2:31 AM GMT).

South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.30%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.23%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.01%

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.49% while the Shenzhen Component was down 0.38%. To boost the recovery from COVID-19 disruption, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang vowed to maintain the supportive monetary policy.

The SS&P 500 fell 0.30%, tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.81%. U.S. Treasuries yield hovered around 3.19%.

Crude rose past $110 per barrel as supply remained tight over lost Russian supply amid sanctions on Russian oil exports. Adding to the supply concerns, Libya and Ecuador flagged potential output cuts on political unrest.

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders are set to discuss the means to tackle rising energy prices. They are considering a possible price cap on Russian crude and oil product exports at the same time while reducing the damage to economies.

“A seam of tight supply news bolstered the (oil) market,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) analysts said in a research note.

“Political unrest might curtail supply from a couple of second-tier producers, Ecuador and Libya. And then there’s the G7’s proposed price cap on Russian oil.”

Earnings revisions are a risk with the US economy set to slow next year, though China emerging from COVID strictures could act as a buffer for the world economy, according to Bloomberg, quoting Lorraine Tan, Morningstar director of equity research.

“You got a US slowdown in 2023 in terms of growth, but you have China hopefully coming out of its lockdowns,” Tan told Bloomberg.

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester due to speak at the ECB event this Wednesday.

In Asia-Pacific, China’s purchasing managers index is due on Thursday.

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China Evergrande faces winding-up lawsuit for $110 million deal obligation

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© Reuters. The Evergrande Center of China Evergrande Group is seen amid other buildings in Shanghai, China, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) – China Evergrande Group said on Tuesday a winding-up petition was filed against it by investment holding firm Top Shine Global Ltd in Hong Kong for not fulfilling a financial obligation of HK$862.5 million ($109.91 million).

On Monday, Reuters reported that Top Shine Global, an investor in Evergrande’s unit Fangchebao (FCB), had filed the petition saying the embattled property developer had not obliged to a deal to repurchase shares it bought in FCB.

Top Shine in March last year bought 0.46% of FCB, a Chinese online real estate and automobile marketplace, for HK$750 million.

Evergrande in an exchange filing said it will oppose the petition, adding, it would not impact its offshore debt restructuring plan in works that is slated to be announced before the end of next month.

Filed by Top Shine Global of Intershore Consult (Samoa) Ltd on Friday, it is the first known winding-up petition to have been lodged against the Chinese property developer, which has more than $300 billion in liabilities.

($1 = 7.8472 Hong Kong dollars)

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Heineken to expand Mexico operations with $90 million plant

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Heineken beer bottles are seen at a bar in Monterrey, Mexico June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Heineken (OTC:HEINY) will build a 1.8 billion peso, or $90 million, can manufacturing plant in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua near its brewery in the town of Mequoi, the company said on Monday.

The plant, Heineken’s seventh in the country, will bring around 120 direct jobs after opening and around 150 during the construction phase, it said in a press release.

The beermaker said it had seen increased demand for cans in the country, as other national alcoholic drink producers like Becle, Jose Cuervo’s parent company, say they are struggling to obtain glass to bottle their spirits.

Around 40% of beer in Mexico is currently made in cans, while the rest is made in glass bottles, according to the National Chamber of Beer and Malted Drinks.

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