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July 17 (LTIT) –China's overall tax intake decelerated in the first half of the year, with revenue from personal income taxes falling sharply, in the wake of cuts in taxes and administrative fees. Total tax revenue rose just 0.9 percent to CNY9.2 trillion (USD1.34 trillion) in the first six months from a year earlier, the finance ministry said at a press conference today, while fiscal revenue, the money collected from various sources to fund the public sector, climbed 3.4 percent to CNY10.8 trillion. Non-tax revenue surged 21.4 percent to CNY1.6 trillion, mainly from the raising of state-owned funds, said Liu Jinyun, director of the ministry's treasury centralized payment center. Income from value added tax jumped 5.9 percent, but was 10.7 percentage points slower than in the same period last year. Corporate income tax revenue rose 5.3 percent, down 7.5 points year-on-year, while the personal income tax take plunged 30.6 percent. Tax revenue in the second quarter dropped significantly from the first quarter, Liu said, adding that it grew 5.4 percent in the first quarter and fell 3.3 percent in the second. VAT revenue fell for two straight months since May and major industries, including manufacturing, benefited greatly. Local governments issued some CNY2.2 trillion of new bonds in the January-June period to ease the pressure on balance of payments caused by tax cuts, which was 70 percent of the annual credit quota of CNY3 trillion. A total of CNY717 billion of bonds were issued last month, accounting for one-third of first half's total. Local authorities have accelerated bond issuance this year, extended the maturity period greatly and cut interest rate costs. More than 60 percent of the funds are used for infrastructure investment, which effectively boosts private investment, according to Hao Lei, deputy director of the ministry's budget division.

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July 17 (LTIT) –Shanghai nickel prices surged for five consecutive trading days to near their highest in a year as of Tuesday July 16, driven by low inventories and limited availability of deliverable cargoes, SMM believes. Prices were also bolstered by speculative purchases on worries about potential supply shortage on Indonesia earthquakes and its planned 2022 export ban on nickel ore. SMM learned that the frequent earthquakes in Indonesia caused a limited impact on nickel pig iron (NPI) production, but temporarily suspended shipments of nickel ore from local mines. In the morning trading hours of Wednesday July 17, the most-liquid SHFE nickel contract held on to gains from overnight and hovered around 110,000 yuan/mt, after it climbed as much as 4%, ending at 109,460 yuan/mt on Tuesday July 16. Upbeat market sentiment is expected to keep nickel prices at highs in the short term, but the steady release of NPI new capacity will cap the upward room. SMM data showed that China’s production of NPI expanded 3.44% from May to stand at 49,500 mt in Ni content in June. The NPI market is in a tight balance currently as demand from stainless steel producers remains robust. An SMM survey showed that domestic production of stainless steel grew 23.73% on the year in June, standing at 2.34 million mt. Production could climb to 2.5 million mt in July, SMM estimated. Strong ferrous metals amid domestic production curbs also triggered the latest prices rise of nickel, which mainly used in the stainless steel industry. China will tighten supervision and checks over the phasing out of obsolete steel capacity in the third quarter, authorities said on Tuesday July 16. The top steelmaking hub of Tangshan will also stick to its commitment to strict production curbs as its Fengrun district released fresh smog-control plan for the second half of July. Official data showed that domestic production of crude steel expanded 10% from a year ago to stand at 87.53 million mt, with daily crude steel output rising to a record high, indicating brisk demand for raw materials. As of July 15, nickel inventories across LME-approved warehouses registered 150,324 mt, almost half from May 2018, LME data showed.

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