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News from China
IMF raises China’s GDP growth outlook to 6.7%
15th June 2017

 THE International Monetary Fund yesterday raised its forecast for China’s 2017 economic growth to 6.7 percent, its third increase this year, citing “policy support, especially expansionary credit and public investment”.

 
In April, the IMF hiked its forecast for this year to 6.6 percent from January’s 6.5 percent, which was 0.3 percentage points above the previous projection.
 
China’s economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, well above the government’s target of around 6.5 percent for the full year.
 
The IMF said it now expects China’s growth to average 6.4 percent annually during 2018-2020. In April, the IMF said it expected 2018 growth to be 6.2 percent.
 
Along with a higher growth forecast, the IMF yesterday recommended China speed up reforms to transition its economy to more sustainable growth and adopt less accommodative monetary policy.
 
“The critically important recent focus on tackling financial sector risks should continue, even if it entails some financial tensions and slower growth,” IMF deputy managing director David Lipton said in Beijing.
 
China needs to ensure that “where credit is granted, it is backing economic activity that will be useful, that will be supportive of growth and will permit debts to be serviced without difficultly,” he said.
 
China should also resume progress toward a flexible exchange rate, Lipton said, while adding that the IMF assesses the yuan to be “broadly in line with fundamentals”.
 
The strengthening US economy, albeit with normalizing interest rates, is likely to be useful for the rest of the world, Lipton said.
 
The IMF official said President Xi Jinping’s speech at Davos in January was the start of China playing “a kind of leadership role at a time when there is a dialog going on around the world about the path of globalization.”
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 15, 2017
US to resume beef export to China after trade rules finalized
14th June 2017

 THE United States moved one step closer toward resuming its beef export to China after the US agricultural department said trade rules have been finalized.

 
The US Department of Agriculture said on Monday that the country has reached agreements with China on final details of a protocol to allow it to export beef to China.
 
As part of the US-China 100-day action plan to boost bilateral economic cooperation, the administration of President Donald Trump “has taken important steps toward commercial shipment of US beef and beef products to China for the first time since 2003,” the department said.
 
“Today is a great day for the United States and in particular for our cattle producers, who will be regaining access to an enormous market with an ever-expanding middle class,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.
 
“As we clear away long-standing issues like this one, focusing on near-term, verifiable deliverables, we are building a sound foundation for further discussions,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a separate statement.
 
China imposed a ban on US beef in December 2003 after mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was found in US cattle. Before the ban, the United States was China’s largest supplier of imported beef.
 
Beef destined for China must be sourced from cattle that were born, raised and slaughtered in the United States, or animals that were imported from Canada and Mexico before being slaughtered domestically, according to the agricultural department.
 
Cattle must be traceable either to their birth farm or, if initially imported into the US, to the first place of residence or port of entry, the department said on its website.
 
The US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also hailed the agreement on beef exports, a top priority for the association over the past decade.
 
“This would give us the opportunity to grow. All trade is important, but working with China will be a huge benefit to the US beef industry,” said Craig Uden, president of NCBA.
 
In recent years, China has become one of the largest import markets for beef, and these terms are a reflection of China’s trust in the safety and quality of US beef, Uden said.
 
“We hope that by getting our foot in the door we can develop a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with China,” he added.
 
During a meeting at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in April, President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed to establish a comprehensive economic dialog and initiate a 100-day plan to boost bilateral economic cooperation.
 
Also in April, during a telephone talk with Trump, Xi stressed that both sides should advance the implementation of the plan on economic cooperation through high-level dialog mechanisms.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 14, 2017
China’s trade beats market hopes on strong demand
9th June 2017

 CHINA’S foreign trade accelerated more than market expectations in May, supported by external and domestic demand.

 
Exports in yuan-denominated terms rose 15.5 percent year on year in May to 1.32 trillion yuan (US$194 billion), faster than April’s 14.3 percent, data with the General Administration of Customs showed yesterday.
 
Imports growth surged 22.1 percent from April’s 18.6 percent.
 
China’s monthly trade surplus widened from April’s 281.6 billion yuan but was 3.4 percent lower than May last year.
 
The picture was also rosy in US dollar-denominated terms, with exports growing 8.7 percent and imports accelerating 14.8 percent.
 
Both readings beat expectations for 7 percent and 8.5 percent according to a Reuters poll.
 
Analysts attributed the growth in trade to resilient global demand and solid domestic investment.
 
“The continued uptick in Chinese exports points to the resilience of global demand, especially that of developed economies, most importantly the EU,” Wang Tao, chief China economist of UBS, wrote in a note yesterday.
 
“The surprising strength of imports suggests that China’s domestic demand, especially investment, remains solid despite recent signs of that activity was peaking.”
 
But the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group pointed out that the trend of a stronger yuan and volatility in commodity prices may complicate China’s import outlook in the near term.
 
Still the growth of trade in May continued its recovery starting at the beginning of the year.
 
Customs data showed that in the first five months combined, exports added 14.8 percent from a year ago and imports jumped 26.5 percent.
 
The gains reversed a 1.8 percent year-on-year decline in exports and 3 percent fall in imports during the same period last year.
 
From January to May, trade with the European Union, China’s largest trading partner, jumped 16.1 percent from the same period last year to 1.6 trillion yuan, Customs said.
 
Trade with the United States, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asians and Japan surged 21.1 percent, 23.2 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.
 
Seven labor-intensive sectors, including textiles, furniture and plastics products, propelled China’s exports, rising 12.8 percent to contribute 20.8 percent of China’s total exports, Customs said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 9, 2017
Chinese household confidence declines
8th June 2017

 HINESE household confidence took a beating from China’s weak stock market and measures to curb the property market, a survey revealed yesterday.

 
The China Wealth Index, compiled every two months by the Bank of Communications and research firm Nielsen, fell to 135 in May from March’s 138, which was the second highest on record.
 
A reading above 100 reflects optimism among over 1,800 households interviewed.
 
A sub-index measuring people’s willingness to invest in wealth-management products, securities, insurance and precious metals, fell 5 points to 135.
 
Their willingness to invest in fixed assets also shed 2 points to 110.
 
The survey blamed the fall in investment intentions to the decline of the stock market in April and May, when nearly 2,000 shares fell to their lowest since January 2016.
 
The expansion in home purchase curbs and the government’s decision in May to mull a property tax hurt households’ interest in investing in fixed assets.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 8, 2017

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