China’s 19th Communist Party National Congress takes place next week, a meeting of around 2,300 delegates held every five years that will involve a leadership reshuffle which could see several members of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee replaced.
It’s a forgone conclusion, however, that congress will give President Xi Jinping a second five-year term, and could emerge with an even firmer grip on power. But as Bloomberg reports, despite Xi’s rhetoric about openness and promises of market reform, multinational businesses may not relish this prospect:
But Xi’s rhetoric doesn’t square with reality, multinationals say. In a January survey of 462 U.S. companies by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, 81 percent said they felt less welcome in China, while more than 60 percent have little or no confidence the country will further open its markets in the next three years. The sentiment is echoed by the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, Mats Harborn, who says his members are suffering from “promise fatigue.” Says Harborn: “As business and investment decisions can’t be based on promises, we now need to see encouraging words turned into concrete market-opening actions.”
The list of delegates attending the gathering will offer clues of the political direction for the world’s second largest economy. Cheng Li, of the Brookings Institute, told CNBC it is worth noting who attends from the military:
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s watch, the world’s largest military has undergone drastic reforms such as the introduction of a Western-style joint command system and high-profile purges of top generals. The dismissal of several military elites in recent months was conducted under the umbrella of Xi’s anti-corruption crackdown, but many see it as a means for the president, who is set to be confirmed for a second five-year term at the Congress, to strengthen control.
“The degree of military reshuffling offers a clue to broader leadership changes, particularly the likelihood of Mr. Xi further consolidating power,” said Li. The new military leadership will likely consist of Xi’s longtime friends General Zhang Youxia, General Li Zuocheng, and Admiral Miao Hua, who are known for their perceived loyalty to the president, Li explained.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin surged a record high on Thursday, bringing its gains for the year to 440%. The Wall Street Journal looks at the reasons why :
The digital currency was last trading at $5,195, up 7.6%, according to CoinDesk. It traded as high as $5,226, an all-time high. The prices of other digital assets also rose.
Michael Novogratz, a former manager at Fortress Investment Group, said during a CNBC interview late Tuesday that “it would not surprise me” if bitcoin traded as high as $10,000 in the next six to 10 months, citing the increasing interest in the sector from institutional money and Wall Street.
Goldman Sachs is considering a trading desk specifically for bitcoin and other digital currencies, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. Meanwhile, there has been a wave of new hedge funds cropping up specifically angled at this sector. On the other side, JPMorgan CEO James Dimon has been vocal about his disdain for it, calling it a “fraud.”
Meanwhile, some in the market were speculating that China is going to reverse a recent trading ban it implemented on bitcoin.
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