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News from China
China's industrial output falls 8.4% in Q1
17th April 2020

 China's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, fell 8.4 percent in the first quarter of this year, as the novel coronavirus outbreak deals a huge blow to industrial production, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday.

Output by the manufacturing industry went down 10.2 percent, while the production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water reported a year-on-year decrease of 5.2 percent.
The mining sector saw output down by 1.7 percent in the period.
In a breakdown by ownership, the output of state-controlled enterprises went down 6 percent, that of joint-stock companies down 8.4 percent, and that of overseas-funded enterprises dropped by 14.5 percent.
In Q1, output by the private sector went down 11.3 percent year on year.
The industrial output is used to measure the activity of designated large enterprises with annual business turnover of at least 20 million yuan (US$2.82 million).
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 17, 2020
Asia expected to see 0% growth in 2020: IMF
16th April 2020

 Growth in Asia is expected to stall at zero percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lowest growth since the 1960s, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

"This is a crisis like no other. It is worse than the Global Financial Crisis, and Asia is not immune," Chang Yong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, said at a virtual press conference Wednesday night.
The region's growth prospect for 2020 is the worst in almost 60 years, including during the Global Financial Crisis (4.7 percent) and the Asian Financial Crisis (1.3 percent), Rhee said.
"That said, Asia still looks to fare better than other regions in terms of activity," he noted. According to the IMF's new World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, the global economy is on track to contract "sharply" by 3 percent in 2020.
The latest WEO report showed that advanced economies will contract significantly by 6.1 percent in 2020, and emerging market and developing economies, which typically have growth levels well above advanced economies, will shrink by 1 percent.
Despite overall negative growth, the IMF projects 1-percent growth for emerging and developing Asia. China and India will both see moderate growth this year, with a rate of 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.
"Prospects for 2021, while highly uncertain, are for strong growth," Rhee told reporters. "If containment measures work, and with substantial policy stimulus to reduce 'scarring,' growth in Asia is expected to rebound strongly — more so than during the Global Financial Crisis."
Rhee noted the region is experiencing different stages of the pandemic. "China's economy is beginning to get back to work, other economies are imposing tighter lockdowns, and some are experiencing a second wave of virus infections," Rhee said.
"Much depends on the spread of the virus and on how policies respond," he said, while stressing that "there is no room for complacency."
The IMF official noted that the multilateral lender is in continuous contact with the authorities in the region to offer advice and assistance, saying that more than 15 countries from across the region have expressed interest in its two emergency financing instruments.
At the virtual press conference, Rhee also conveyed IMF's thanks to Japan and China for their "generous contribution" to the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), which can currently provide about US$500 million in grant-based debt service relief to the poorest countries.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 16, 2020
China steps up to boost economy, employment
15th April 2020

 China will take solid steps to implement supportive measures for enterprises to help them through challenges, and boost employment for college graduates, according to an executive meeting of the State Council.

The meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, noted that the country has rolled out a series of policies and measures to benefit enterprises since the beginning of the year to support epidemic control, burden-easing for firms and work resumption.
Solid implementation of the policies should be guaranteed, said the meeting, including a series of tax cuts which would ease the burden for firms by 1.6 trillion yuan (US$227.25 billion), and 1.29 trillion yuan of local government special bond quotas which the country has assigned ahead of schedule.
China has offered 3.55 trillion yuan of low-cost capital to financial institutions via reserve requirement ratio cuts, re-lending and re-discount quotas, according to the meeting.
Multiple steps should be taken to further enhance the implementation of positive fiscal policies, increase financial support for the real economy and small- and medium-sized firms, and ease the cost pressure for firms of the manufacturing and service industries, the meeting noted.
The meeting also decided to take effective measures to boost employment for college graduates, whose job outlook looks grim due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.
To promote the development of new business models and flexible employment, steps will be taken to strengthen guaranteed loans for start-ups and advance mass entrepreneurship and innovation.
Employment services should be enhanced, with special support policies introduced to facilitate the employment of graduates in Hubei Province, the region hardest hit by the epidemic, according to the meeting.
The renovation of old urban residential areas forms an important measure to improve people’s livelihood and expand domestic demand, the meeting noted.
China has planned to renovate over 39,000 old urban residential communities nationwide this year, which was estimated to benefit about 7 million households, aiming to improve public services such as elderly care, child care and medical care in communities.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 15, 2020
China's exports down 3.5%, imports up 2.4% in March
14th April 2020

 China's foreign trade showed signs of stabilizing in March with export and import both beating bearish market expectations, official data showed on Tuesday.

Exports dipped 3.5 percent year on year in yuan terms last month while imports climbed 2.4 percent, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
In March, foreign trade of goods totaled 2.45 trillion yuan (US$$348 billion), down 0.8 percent year on year, compared with a decline of 9.5 percent during the January-February period, the GAC said.
In the first quarter, foreign trade of goods fell 6.4 percent year on year to 6.57 trillion yuan.
Exports dropped 11.4 percent to 3.33 trillion yuan while imports dipped 0.7 percent to 3.24 trillion yuan during the first three months, resulting in a trade surplus of 98.33 billion yuan, down 80.6 percent year on year, customs data showed.
China has rolled out a string of policies to help foreign trade firms resume operation amid further containment of COVID-19, the GAC noted.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 14, 2020

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