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News from China
China economy stable as reform sustains growth
15th June 2018

 China’s economy enjoyed steady growth in May, largely due to solid industrial output and investment in the manufacturing sector.

 
The industrial output rose 6.8 percent year on year last month, 0.3 percentage points faster than the growth a year ago but 0.2 percentage points slower than a month earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed yesterday.
 
For the January-May period, industrial output grew 6.9 percent, flat from that in the first four months of the year.
 
The fundamentals of industrial production continued to improve and emerging industries were developing rapidly, said Jiang Yuan, industrial statistician at the bureau.
 
In terms of sectors, 36 of the 41 major sectors in industry maintained the growth momentum. Among them, electronics, pharmaceuticals, special equipment, computers, tobacco and fuel gas all posted double-digit growth.
 
Output of the equipment manufacturing industry and the high-technology industry advanced 9.4 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, last month. The two sectors also grew 9.3 percent and 12 percent, respectively, for the January-May period. 
 
“The robust growth in emerging industries indicates the accelerated transferring of economic momentum with the deepening of the supply-side structural reforms,” said Mao Shengyong, spokesman for the statistics bureau. 
 
“In services industries, the modern service sector posted stronger development,” Mao added.
 
Mao also stressed that consumer demand continued to escalate, with investment in manufacturing growing at a faster pace.
 
The total retail sales of social consumer goods rose 8.5 percent year on year to 3.04 trillion yuan (US$475 billion) in May, 0.9 percentage points slower than April. 
 
But among them, goods related to consumer upgrading sustained rapid growth. Retail sales of communication equipment, cosmetics and petroleum rose 12.2 percent, 10.3 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
 
The country’s fixed-asset investment expanded 6.1 percent year on year in the first five months, down from 7 percent for the January-April period.
 
“The biggest drag on FAI here is infrastructure investment,” said Betty Wang, senior China economist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
 
But Wang sees it as a relatively easy sector for the government to inject stimulus.
 
“Local governments are more restrained by the crackdown on debt, but if there is a very large downside risk to the economy, the government is fully capable of propping it up again,” she said.
 
In May, the job market remained steady, with the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas at 4.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage points from April and 0.1 percentage points lower than a year earlier. The urban surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities was 4.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 15, 2018
China retail sales up 8.5% in May
14th June 2018

 China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 8.5 percent year on year to reach 3 trillion yuan (US$475 billion) in May, official data showed on Thursday.

 
The expansion slowed slightly from the 9.4-percent rise seen in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
 
In the first five months, China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 9.5 percent year on year, down 0.2 percentage points from the January-April period.
 
Sales in rural areas gained 9.6 percent in May, outpacing the growth of 8.3 percent in urban areas.
 
In breakdown, the catering sector reported a 8.8-percent year-on-year rise in revenues, while sales of other consumer products increased 8.4 percent.
 
Online spending continued to be robust, with sales surging 30.7 percent to reach 3.27 trillion yuan in the January-May period.
 
Consumption has been a key economic driver for China and contributed to 77.8 percent of economic growth in the first quarter, up from 58.8 percent in 2017.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 14, 2018
China to establish central adjustment system for pension funds
13th June 2018

 China will establish a central adjustment system for basic pension funds of enterprise employees to balance payment burdens of local governments, according to an official document.

 
Based on the current pension system, a central adjustment fund will be set up to regulate pension funds in various provincial regions, a move that will help guarantee timely and complete payments to retirees, the State Council said in a statement on Wednesday.
 
The new policy will be the first step towards nationwide coordination, which will facilitate a sustainable basic pension scheme, the statement said.
 
Effective since July, the adjustment fund draws a certain portion from the provincial capital pool, which will enable the central government to redistribute it later.
 
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said earlier this week that coordinated efforts should be made to ensure the raising, allocation, and management of funds under the central adjustment system.
 
China has been striving to build a fair and inclusive social security network, with its basic pension insurance covering 915 million residents at the end of last year.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 13, 2018
China's PPI up 4.1% in May
9th June 2018

 

 
China's producer price index, which measures costs for industrial goods at the factory gate, rose 4.1 percent year on year in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.
 
The growth was 0.7 percentage points higher than that in April, as the factory prices of production materials and consumer goods both grew faster year on year.
 
Oil and gas extraction, fuel processing industries, the smelting, rolling and processing of black metal and nonferrous metals, chemical materials and products pushed up the PPI growth by 0.67 percentage points.
 
The sectors of nonmetal mineral product manufacturing as well as coal mining and dressing posted slower growths in factory prices.
 
NBS Statistician Sheng Guoqing said that the carry-over effects resulted in a rise of 3.9 percentage points in the PPI growth, with the remaining expansion of 0.2 percentage points generated by new price-rising factors.
 
Sheng also noted that the PPI index posted a month-on-month rise of 0.4 percent in May, reversing the decline trend since February, as the factory prices of production materials no longer declined.
 
In May, the factory prices of production materials edged up by 0.5 percent month on month, compared to a decline of 0.2 percent in April. In February and March, the declines were 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.
 
Sheng said that of the 40 industrial sectors polled, 25 sectors posted higher prices in May, 13 more than in April.
 
Oil and gas extraction as well as fuel processing have both seen their factory prices grow faster as a result of the price hikes in the international crude oil market.
 
The strong demand for steel also lifted up the factory prices of the products of the black metal smelting, rolling and processing sector.
 
The three sectors contributed a rise of 0.3 percentage points to the PPI growth, accounting for 75 percent of the index's chain growth, Sheng said .
 
NBS data also showed that China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.8 percent year on year in May and declined 0.2 percent month on month.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 9, 2018

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