Pakistan attends Tibet tourism and culture expo

BEIJING (INP): Pakistan and a number of other regional countries attended the Third Tourism and Culture Expo held in Lhasa, capital of Tibet in southwest China. There were about 400 overseas guests, including ambassadors in China, diplomatic corps from Northeast Asia and South Asia, journalists and merchants from 15 countries and regions. Forums and exhibitions on Tibet's tourism, culture and the Tibetan medicine and mineral water industry, as well as investment and trade promotion, were organised during the expo, according to the organizing committee.  Losang Jamcan, Tibet's regional government Chairman, said in the opening ceremony that Tibet would seize the strategic opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative by transforming the region into an international travel destination, a sheltered area of special Chinese culture and a major passageway open to South Asia. 

Hong Kong stocks post biggest one-day drop in 7 months

HONG KONG (Reuters): Hong Kong's benchmark stock index fell more than 3 percent on Monday as a global selloff in financial markets intensified amid growing concerns that policymakers were reaching their policy limits in boosting weak growth. The Hang Seng index dropped 3.4 percent to 23,290.60 points, the worst performer in regional markets and its biggest single day fall since early Feb. 11, according to Thomson Reuters data. All of its 50 constituents were in the red with financials and information technology companies leading losses. As bond yields across markets hit multi-month highs for a second session on Monday, global investors were harshly reminded that central banks may be out of both ammunition and ideas to stimulate economies - eight years after the global financial crisis provoked an unprecedented flood of central bank liquidity to keep markets afloat.

While the Hong Kong market has broadly underperformed its developed market peers this year, a recent rally has pushed it ahead of its U.S. market counterpart on a year to date basis, according to Thomson Reuters data. (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Donny Kwok; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

China blue-chip index tumbles the most in 3 months on Fed anxiety

SHANGHAI (Reuters): China's blue chip stocks tumbled the most in three months on Monday, tracking a sharp retreat in global markets as investors were spooked by talk of a possible U.S. rate hike next week, sending bond yields up and pressuring the Chinese currency. The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 1.7 percent, to 3,262.60, posting its biggest percentage loss since June 13. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.8 percent to 3,021.98 points, booking the worst day since July 27. Investors were concerned that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates as early as next week, after Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said in a speech on Friday that gradual interest rate increases might be in order with the U.S. economy at full employment and that low interest rates were increasing the chance of an overheated economy. China's state-owned banks sold dollars to keep the currency stable in the morning trade after the Chinese central bank sharply weakened its official fixing, two traders told Reuters.

IMF weighs lifting freeze on Guinea-Bissau funding

ABIDJAN (Reuters): The International Monetary Fund could lift a suspension on payments aimed at helping Guinea-Bissau emerge from years of political turmoil following an evaluation mission this week, the institution's country representative said on Monday. The IMF agreed a programme with Guinea-Bissau last year after 2014 elections drew a line under a coup two years earlier - one of a succession that have spawned chronic instability and helped make the West African country a haven for South American cocaine traffickers. Disbursements were suspended in June, however, after the government took on 34 billion CFA francs ($58.3 million) in bad loans from two private banks. Donors followed suit and suspended budget support for 2016 equal to around 2.1 percent of GDP. IMF representative Oscar Melhado told Reuters by email that the Fund welcomed a government decision to cancel the bailouts, whose value amounted to around 5.5 percent of GDP.

"The only remaining obstacle is the refusal of the banks to accept the bad portfolio back into their books," he said.

The IMF had argued the bailouts benefited the wealthiest citizens and foreign investors. Authorities had said they were needed to shield the private sector from bankruptcy. Monday was a public holiday and the banks, Banco da Africa Ocidental and Banco da União, were not available for comment.

Melhado said the government should also commit to implementing prudent macroeconomic policies and key structural reforms during the visit due to begin on Tuesday, which constitutes the first and second reviews of the IMF programme. Disbursements worth 4.1 billion CFA could still be made this year if the reviews are approved by the IMF's board in December.

Total donor contributions, including direct budget support and financing for targeted sectors and projects, typically make up around 80 percent of Guinea-Bissau's budget. After the IMF freeze, Finance Minister Henrique Horta described the economic situation, including a budget deficit amounting to about 3.5 percent of GDP, as "catastrophic".

The government of Guinea, which is helping to mediate in its smaller Portuguese-speaking neighbour, said earlier this month that Guinea-Bissau would not be able to pay the salaries of civil servants and the security forces from October. "We hope that donors will resume support following the IMF. It would depend on each donor's policy," Melhado said.

The IMF visit comes days after an agreement to form a new government, ending a year-long political crisis that has paralysed state institutions.