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News from China
China, EU to seal trade pact by 2020
10th April 2019

 China and the European Union aim to conclude a comprehensive bilateral investment agreement in 2020, according to a joint statement issued by the two sides in Brussels yesterday.

 
China and the EU commit to achieving in the course of 2019 the decisive progress required, notably with regard to the liberalization commitments, for the conclusion of an ambitious China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020, the statement said.
 
The high level of ambition, the statement added, will be reflected in substantially improved market access, the elimination of discriminatory requirements and practices affecting foreign investors, the establishment of a balanced investment protection framework, and the inclusion of provisions on investment and sustainable development.
 
The statement came after the 21st China-EU leaders’ meeting, which was co-chaired by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
 
In the statement, both sides also pledged to build their economic relationship on openness, non-discrimination and fair competition, ensuring a level playing field, transparency, and based on mutual benefits.
 
“China and the EU commit to ensure equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation in bilateral trade and investment,” the statement said, reiterating the two sides’ willingness to enhance bilateral economic cooperation, trade and investment, and to provide each other with broader and more facilitated, non-discriminatory market access.
 
“With this in mind, China and the EU will intensify work toward finding mutually agreeable solutions to a number of key barriers as identified by both parties,” the statement said.
 
The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism and opposition to protectionism. The leaders reiterated their respect for international law and for fundamental norms governing international relations, with the United Nations at the core.
 
The two sides commit to upholding the UN Charter and international law, and all three pillars of the UN system, namely peace and security, development, and human rights, the joint statement said.
 
China and the EU firmly support the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, fight against unilateralism and protectionism, and commit to complying with WTO rules, it said.
 
The two sides reaffirmed their joint commitment to cooperation on WTO reform to ensure its continued relevance and allow it to address global trade challenges. They agreed to intensify discussions on strengthening international rules on industrial subsidies, and continue working to resolve the crisis in the WTO Appellate Body.
 
They also underlined their support to the G20 in continuing to play its active role as the premier forum in international economic and financial cooperation, and agreed to promote the G20, in the spirit of partnership and the principle of consensus, to make more contributions to upholding multilateralism, improving global economic governance and boosting global economic growth.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 10, 2019
Survey shows strong consumer, investor confidence in Shanghai economic outlook
9th April 2019

 Shanghai's consumers and investors are increasingly confident about the city's economy, buoyed by authorities focusing on development and cutting taxes and fees, a survey released on Monday showed.

 
The latest Shanghai University of Finance and Economics quarterly Consumer Confidence in Shanghai index grew 4.8 points from the fourth quarter of 2018 to 124.5 points in the January-March period this year. That was up 6.3 points from a year earlier.
 
The Index of Investor Confidence bounced back strongly, reversing five quarters of falls. It grew 11.89 points from the fourth quarter to 113.12 points for Q1 this year.
 
But it remained flat on a yearly basis. For both indexes, a reading above 100 shows optimism; below, pessimism.
 
The increasing consumer confidence in Shanghai’s economy was attributed to Shanghai's Two Sessions held in January 2019 — the second meeting of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee and the second session of the 15th Shanghai People’s Congress — during which the city's authorities focused on promoting the steady development of the economy, said Xu Guoxiang, director of the university’s Applied Statistics Research Center.
 
The government also began cutting taxes and fees from the start of this year, reducing the burden on companies and putting more money into consumers' pockets, boosting consumer expectations on income and higher purchase intentions, Xu said.
 
The rally in the capital market also helped boost consumer confidence in the first quarter.
 
The sub-index of purchase intentions jumped sharply by 11.2 points from the previous quarter and 7.8 points from the same period in 2018 to 90.5 points.
 
The component index measuring intentions to buy homes soared to 74.8 points, 16.4 points higher than the fourth quarter and posting a year-on-year rise of 13.6 points. The intention to buy cars also posted a sharp rise to 88.2 points from 76.6 points in the previous quarter and was up 6.1 points from a year earlier.
 
The investor index was helped by the easing of trade tensions between China and the US and the plan to increase the weighting of China A-shares in the MSCI index this year, which led to strong gains in China's stock markets, Xu said.
 
The MSCI's plan to quadruple the weighting of Chinese mainland shares in its global benchmarks later this year could attract more than  US$80 billion of new foreign investment, analysts say.
 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 9, 2019
Survey shows strong consumer, investor confidence in Shanghai economic outlook
9th April 2019

 Shanghai's consumers and investors are increasingly confident about the city's economy, buoyed by authorities focusing on development and cutting taxes and fees, a survey released on Monday showed.

 
The latest Shanghai University of Finance and Economics quarterly Consumer Confidence in Shanghai index grew 4.8 points from the fourth quarter of 2018 to 124.5 points in the January-March period this year. That was up 6.3 points from a year earlier.
 
The Index of Investor Confidence bounced back strongly, reversing five quarters of falls. It grew 11.89 points from the fourth quarter to 113.12 points for Q1 this year.
 
But it remained flat on a yearly basis. For both indexes, a reading above 100 shows optimism; below, pessimism.
 
The increasing consumer confidence in Shanghai’s economy was attributed to Shanghai's Two Sessions held in January 2019 — the second meeting of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee and the second session of the 15th Shanghai People’s Congress — during which the city's authorities focused on promoting the steady development of the economy, said Xu Guoxiang, director of the university’s Applied Statistics Research Center.
 
The government also began cutting taxes and fees from the start of this year, reducing the burden on companies and putting more money into consumers' pockets, boosting consumer expectations on income and higher purchase intentions, Xu said.
 
The rally in the capital market also helped boost consumer confidence in the first quarter.
 
The sub-index of purchase intentions jumped sharply by 11.2 points from the previous quarter and 7.8 points from the same period in 2018 to 90.5 points.
 
The component index measuring intentions to buy homes soared to 74.8 points, 16.4 points higher than the fourth quarter and posting a year-on-year rise of 13.6 points. The intention to buy cars also posted a sharp rise to 88.2 points from 76.6 points in the previous quarter and was up 6.1 points from a year earlier.
 
The investor index was helped by the easing of trade tensions between China and the US and the plan to increase the weighting of China A-shares in the MSCI index this year, which led to strong gains in China's stock markets, Xu said.
 
The MSCI's plan to quadruple the weighting of Chinese mainland shares in its global benchmarks later this year could attract more than  US$80 billion of new foreign investment, analysts say.
 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 9, 2019
China sees forex reserves grow 5 months in a row
8th April 2019

 China’s foreign exchange reserves rose for a fifth straight month in March, with the increase exceeding expectations, as growing optimism about the prospects for a US-China trade deal offset concerns over slowing economic growth.

 
Chinese reserves, the world’s largest, rose by nearly US$9 billion in March to US$3.099 trillion, its highest since August last year, central bank data showed yesterday.
 
Economists polled by Reuters had expected reserves in the world’s second-largest economy would rise US$5 billion to US$3.095 trillion.
 
“The US dollar index strengthened slightly in March due to China-US trade talks, the revised policy outlooks of central banks in Europe and America as well as uncertainty over Brexit,” China’s forex regulator said after the data release.
 
“China’s forex reserves expanded marginally.”
 
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange added that with the economy expected to maintain reasonable growth and improved flexibility in the yuan exchange rate, the country’s forex reserves will remain stable.
 
The yuan fell 5.3 percent against the dollar last year as trade relations with the United States deteriorated and the Chinese economy slowed. But it has rebounded over 2 percent so far in 2019 on hopes Washington and Beijing will reach an agreement to end their trade tension.
 
In March, the yuan fell 0.3 percent against the dollar due to the strength of the greenback. The dollar was up 1 percent against a basket of major currencies.
 
US and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their latest round of trade talks on Friday and were scheduled to resume discussions this week to try to secure a pact that would end a tit-for-tat tariff battle that has roiled global markets.
 
But the outlook for the dollar is expected to remain soft after the Federal Reserve last month abandoned projections for further interest rate hikes this year on signs of an economic slowdown in the United States.
 
Assuming continued dollar weakness and progress in trade talks, the yuan will likely hold on to its recent gains and appreciate modestly over the coming year, according to analysts in a new Reuters poll.
 
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday a trade deal could be announced in the next four weeks.
 
But the US trade office said on Saturday that significant work remains to be done.
 
The value of China’s gold reserves fell slightly to US$78.525 billion from US$79.498 billion at the end of February.
 
For much of last year, global investors worried about the risk of capital flight from China as the economy cooled.
 
More recently, with the dollar on the backfoot, attention has turned to how much upward pressure Chinese policy-makers will be comfortable with, as foreign inflows into the country’s financial markets look set to boost the currency.
 
Chinese stocks have rallied more than 20 percent this year on trade deal hopes, while some Chinese bonds were added on April 1 to the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index, one of the most widely tracked fixed income benchmarks.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 8, 2019

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