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News from China
Chinese economy continues on recovery road
20th October 2020

 China's economy saw a further recovery in September, especially in the services sector, with positive growth for the first three quarters that was reversing the negative figure for the first half of 2020.

The nation's gross domestic product in the first three quarters reached 72.28 trillion yuan (US$10.8 trillion), an increase of 0.7 percent from the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics onon Monday.
The first quarter saw GDP tumbling 6.8 percent year on year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second quarter then started to recover, with a 3.2 percent rebound, while GDP for the July-September period grew by 4.9 percent.
September activity data suggested the pace of recovery of major economic activity was on track.
Growth of industrial production and retail sales quickened to 6.9 percent and 3.3 percent year on year in September from 5.6 percent and 0.5 percent in August.
In the first three quarters, Chinese authorities coordinated pandemic prevention and control work and promoted economic and social development, said Liu Aihua, a spokeswoman for the NBS.
"China’s quick recovery was a product of its stringent lockdowns, massive testing, population tracking, a large economy that can afford to be somewhat insulated, and fiscal stimulus via credit expansion," said Lu Ting, chief China economist of financial services company Nomura.
Strong export growth, a further recovery from the pandemic, the lagged impact of fiscal stimulus and credit growth and pent-up demand following the summer floods all contributed to the robust activity data in September, Lu added.
Industrial output rose further by 6.9 percent year on year in September from 5.6 percent in August, much stronger than market expectations. Among upstream sectors, year-on-year industrial production growth in the manufacturing and mining sectors rose to 7.6 percent year on year and 2.2 percent in September from 6 percent and 1.6 percent in August, while industrial output growth in the utilities sector fell to 4.5 percent year on year from 5.8 percent over the same period.
In the first nine months, industrial production rose 1.2 percent year on year, compared with the 1.3 percent decline in the first half. The third quarter’s year-on-year increase of 5.8 percent, which was 1.4 percentage points faster than that in the second quarter, mainly offset the first quarter’s 8.4-percent slump.
Production in the services sector, meanwhile, rose 4.3 percent in the third quarter year on year, compared with the 1.9 percent growth in the first quarter.
Modern services industries showed strong growth momentum in January-September, Liu said. Production of the information transmission, software and information technology services sector, and the financial services sector increased by 15.9 percent and 7 percent, up 1.4 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points from the first half.
The bureau also highlighted the recovery in retail sales, especially the rapid growth in online retail.
Headline retail sales growth in nominal terms rose significantly to 3.3 percent year on year in September from 0.5 percent in August, stronger than the market consensus. In real terms (excluding price factors), retail sales growth jumped to 2.4 percent year on year in September from the 0.6 percent drop in August, the first positive monthly print this year.
For the first quarters, retail sales added up to 27.33 trillion yuan, down 7.2 percent year on year but the drop was largely narrowed from the 11.4 percent decline in the first half of 2020.
The figure for the third quarter grew 0.9 percent from a year earlier, which was this year's first positive quarterly growth in retail sales.
"We expect retail sales growth to gradually recover further in coming months barring a second wave of COVID-19 in China," Nomura's Lu said.
Fixed-asset investment growth, however, moderated on weaker infrastructure and manufacturing investment, inching down to 7.5 percent year on year in September from 7.6 percent in August, taking its year-to-date growth to 0.8 percent year on year.
"The September moderation was led mainly by infrastructure and manufacturing investment. However, we expect infrastructure investment to accelerate, as the government could ramp up its spending of the proceeds from bond issuance in previous months, while manufacturing investment may remain subdued amid elevated uncertainties surrounding US-China relations," Lu said.
The bureau's Liu said stabilizing employment is one of the key tasks for the year. In the first nine months, 8.98 million new urban jobs had been created nationwide, achieving 99.8 percent of the target for the year.
In September, the unemployment rate in the national urban survey was 5.4 percent, 0.2 percentage points lower than in the previous month. The 31 major cities surveyed posted an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from August. By the end of the third quarter, there were 179.52 million rural migrant workers.
"In general, China's economy did show a sustained and steady recovery in the first three quarters of this year. However, while we fully see an improving trend, we should also be reminded that the current epidemic situation outside China is still severe and the international environment is unstable and uncertain," Liu said.
For the next stage, Liu highlighted the importance of further ensuring stability and security, deepening reform and opening-up, helping enterprises alleviate difficulties, smoothing the economic cycle, and laying a solid foundation for ensuring people’s livelihoods, striving to achieve the goals and tasks of economic and social development for the year.
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 20, 2020
China's growth 'positive impulse' for world economy: IMF chief
16th October 2020

 China's growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a positive impulse for the world economy and could especially benefit commodity exporters and countries that are connected to the Chinese economy through global value chains, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday.

The IMF's latest forecast for China's economy is based on the country's "decisive" measures to contain the pandemic and its "potent stimulus" for its economy, Georgieva said at a virtual press conference during the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF.
In its latest World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, the IMF projected the global economy to contract sharply by 4.4 percent this year. Meanwhile, it projected China's economy to grow by 1.9 percent this year, 0.9 percentage point above its June forecast.
"When we look at the more disaggregated data, the manufacturing sector is doing better, whereas the services, especially contact services, are still more constraint," said the IMF chief.
Despite that, China's growth is "a positive impulse for the world economy," Georgieva said, noting that it is particularly important for countries that export metals and other commodities, as demand from China has been "a much needed relief," with commodity prices now going up.
China's growth is also important for countries that are connected to the Chinese economy through global value chains, as demand from China is an engine for growth there, she noted.
Additionally, China has joined the international efforts to develop vaccines, which is building global confidence to overcome the pandemic. "I cannot stress enough how important it is that boost the confidence that we together can get out of this crisis," said the IMF chief.
In an interview with Xinhua earlier this week, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said "the importance of multilateralism has never been greater."
"With this pandemic, unless we're able to control it everywhere in the world, nowhere in the world will be safe, and so countries have to work together," Gopinath said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 16, 2020
China's consumer inflation up 1.7% in September
15th October 2020

 China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.7 percent year on year in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

The growth eased from the 2.4-percent rise registered in August.
The CPI edged up 0.2 percent month on month in September, compared with an increase of 0.4 percent in August.
Dong Lijuan, a senior statistician with the NBS, attributed the easing CPI growth to moderating food prices, especially vegetables and pork.
Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in the country's CPI, climbed 0.4 percent month on month in September, with the pace of growth decelerating from 1.4 percent in the previous month.
In the first nine months, China's CPI rose 3.3 percent from a year earlier.
According to the latest data, the country's producer price index, which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, fell 2.1 percent year on year in September
Source: Shanghai Daily, October 15, 2020
EU can slap tariffs on US goods over Boeing aid: WTO
14th October 2020

 The World Trade Organization on Tuesday ruled that the European Union can impose tariffs on US products worth around US$4 billion, in retaliation for government subsidies given to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

The WTO said in an arbitration decision that the level of countermeasures, amounting to US$3.99 billion, is commensurate with the adverse effects suffered by Boeing's European rival Airbus in terms of lost sales and impeded imports and exports of its aircraft.
In reaction, the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a press release that "the EU has no valid basis to retaliate against any US products," noting that the WTO arbitrator "did not authorize any retaliation for subsidies other than the Washington State tax break," which was "repealed earlier this year."
"The EU will immediately re-engage with the US in a positive and constructive manner to decide on next steps," tweeted Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission's Executive Vice President in charge of trade.
"Our strong preference is for a negotiated settlement. Otherwise, we will be forced to defend our interests & respond in a proportionate way," he added.
The long-standing issue between the EU and the US began in 2004, when the US accused France, Spain and Germany — also known as the "Airbus member states" — of providing illegal subsidies and grants to support the production of a range of Airbus products.
Following prolonged legal proceedings, the WTO allowed the US to take countermeasures against European exports worth up to US$7.5 billion in October 2019. The basis for this was a 2018 decision that found that the EU and the "Airbus member states" had not fully complied with previous WTO rulings with regard to Repayable Launch Investment for the A350 and A380 programs.
Source: Shanghai Daily October 14, 2020

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