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News from China
China's central SOEs report steady profit growth in Q1
16th April 2019

 China's centrally administered state-owned enterprises reported steady profit growth in the first quarter of 2019, official data showed Tuesday.

The combined profits of China's central SOEs saw a year-on-year increase of 13.1 percent to 426.5 billion yuan (US$63.6 billion) in the first three months, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
In March alone, the profits of central SOEs stood at 188.28 billion yuan, up 10.8 percent from the same period last year.
SOEs in sectors such as mining and construction outperformed the others during Q1, according to the state asset regulator.
For the January-March period, central SOEs reported combined revenue of 6.8 trillion yuan, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier.
Central SOEs have made 384.02 billion yuan of fixed asset investment in Q1, up 9.7 percent from a year earlier, 8.8 percentage points higher than that of the same period of 2018, the regulator said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, APril 16, 2019
Beijing tries to tackle poplar and willow woes
15th April 2019

 Beijing's spring season comes again with unruly companions of airbone cotton known as catkins, from willow and poplar trees, and the gardening authority is trying to tackle them.

The Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau said it had stepped up efforts to curb the cotton-like seed clusters in key areas such as hospitals, kindergartens, schools, city parks and large residential areas.
Beijing has 284,000 female willow and poplar trees, the main source of the flying catkins. About 37 percent of the trees are in Chaoyang District.
With high survival rates, fast growth and low maintenance costs, poplars and willows were used as landscaping trees in Beijing, but flying catkins are a nuisance for the city and a fire hazard.
Workers use high-pressure water guns to wash the cotton balls, and clip branches off high trees to prevent them from producing catkins.
This year, they will not be using catkin inhibitors, because they do not work well, the bureau said.
Grasslands are added to keep the flying cotton balls on the ground. Beijing will ban the plantation of female poplars and willows in the future and increase the diversity of landscaping trees.
Zhang Jianguo, a researcher with Chinese Academy of Forestry, warned that though the trees produce annoying seeds, they can not be felled.
Beijing's female poplars and willows were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, when there were few tree options for landscaping. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 15, 2019
March CPI surges to 5-month high
12th April 2019

 China’s consumer inflation quickened last month, coming in at a five-month high, while factory-gate inflation picked up for the first time in nine months. 

The Consumer Price index, a main gauge of inflation, grew 2.3 percent in March from a year earlier, 0.8 percentage points faster than the previous month, the national Bureau of statistics said yesterday. 
The March figure was the highest since October and rebounded beyond 2 percent for the first time since December. Pork prices rose in March for the first time after falling for 25 consecutive months, leading to higher food prices and boosting the CPI growth. 
Pork prices jumped 5.1 percent year on year, reversing the 4.8 percent decline in February. it led to a 0.12-percentage-point increase in overall CPI growth. 
On a month-on-month basis, the pork price moderately went up 1.2 percent nationwide as outbreaks of african swine fever were gradually contained, according to the statistics bureau. 
Financial service group Nomura paid particular attention to the pork prices in its analysis.
“Pork prices are set to become a major source of CPI inflation this year as the stock of hog stocks and breeding sows have fallen to historically low levels,” said the Nomura. 
Food prices jumped 4.1 percent year on year last month, contributing to a 0.82-percentage-point rise in the overall CPI growth. 
The pace of increase was also much faster than the 0.7 percent recorded in February. The prices of vegetables and fruits surged 16.2 percent and 7.7 percent year on year, respectively. 
The sharp increase of vegetable prices can be attributed to low yields in spring and cold rainy weather. non-food prices posted an increase of 1.8 percent year on year last month, contributing to a 1.46-percentage-point increase in the overall CPI growth. 
On a month-on-month basis, the CPI dipped 0.4 percent in March, compared with the 1 percent growth in February, with food prices down 0.9 percent and non-food prices shedding 0.2 percent. 
Prices of eggs, aquatic products and vegetables declined after the spring Festival by 6 percent, 3.6 percent and 2.6 percent respectively. 
Beef, lamb and chicken prices also fell by 1.8 percent, 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent from a month earlier. among non-food sectors, with the shrinking number of travelers after the Spring Festival, the prices of air tickets, travel agency charges and hotel accommodation dropped by 15.9 percent, 11.1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively. 
Prices for vehicle repair and maintenance, housekeeping services and haircuts fell 5.3 percent, 4.1 percent and 3.9 percent respectively, with workers returning to the cities. 
The Producer Price index, which measures costs of goods at the factory gate, rose 0.4 percent year on year in March, 0.3 percentage points faster than the previous month. 
This marked the first acceleration in PPI growth since June, with the market fear over deflation risks largely abated, according to an analysis of the Bank of Communications. Despite the high base a year earlier, the prices of mining-related products rose 4.2 percent in March, the highest since November. 
The prices of raw materials also improved from a 1.5 percent drop in February to rise 0.6 percent in March. The trend is consistent with the jump in the factory output index in the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ index, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said. 
Prices of the hot-rolled coil have also breached 4,000 yuan (US$595) per ton as producers responded to rising iron ore prices due to Brazilian supply disruptions, according to the ANZ Group. 
“China’s inflation data for March indicate that the supply shocks faced on the consumer and producer fronts have helped to mitigate deflationary risks,” said Raymond Yeung, chief China economist of the ANZ Group. 
“Both CPI and PPI are unlikely to retreat in the second quarter, in our view,” Yeung said. 
Analysts with the CITIC securities Co expected the PPI to continue expanding in April on the low-base effect. 
Considering the high producer price base last year and China’s reducing value-added tax rates, however, the PPI may contract in May and June of 2019, they said. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 12, 2019
China abides by EU standards, rules in infrastructure cooperation: premier
11th April 2019

 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will insist on open tendering when carrying out infrastructure cooperation with European Union member states and will abide by the EU standards and rules.

Li made the remarks during his meeting with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, to whom the Chinese premier first extended the greetings from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On infrastructure cooperation, Li said that China will ensure projects being completed with high quality, and strive for mutual benefits, win-win and all-win cooperation in this area.
An important consensus reached in the just-concluded 21st China-EU leaders' meeting is that investment should be open to both sides and non-discriminative, which the China-EU cooperation should comply with, he added.
Li said that China and Croatia always stick to treating each other equally with mutual respect based on mutual benefits and win-win principles, and the bilateral relations have maintained healthy and stable development.
China appreciates that President Kitarovic pays great attention to the development of China-Croatia relationship, said the premier.
Noting that China-Croatia cooperation is equal, open, inclusive and has huge development potential, Li said China is willing to strengthen the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with Croatia's Three Seas Initiative, and continuously deepen bilateral practical cooperation in all areas.
For her part, Grabar-Kitarovic said Croatia and China share a profound traditional friendship and amicable bilateral relations.
The two countries have no conflict of interests and have broad prospect for cooperation in areas including economy and trade, investment and culture, she added.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that Li's visit has achieved fruitful results and injected new impetus into the development of China-Croatia relationship.
Croatia welcomes Chinese companies to invest in the country and carry out port cooperation, among others, said Grabar-Kitarovic, adding that Croatia will not discriminate any state enterprise.
Grabar-Kitarovic said the project of the Peljesac Bridge is a symbol of friendship between people of the two countries, and it is a large-scale infrastructure project constructed in an EU country by a Chinese company through open tendering and in compliance with EU laws and standards.
The project will bring a huge convenience to local people, said the president, adding that it has shown the capabilities of Chinese enterprises, set up a new model for bilateral cooperation and is expected to deliver positive demonstration effect.
Croatia is willing to better align the TSI with the China-proposed BRI as well as the cooperation mechanism between China and Central Eastern European Countries to promote Croatia-China and Europe-China practical cooperation to achieve new development, she said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 11, 2019

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