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News from China
China to maintain economic and social progress while advancing epidemic control
13th February 2020

 As it advances epidemic control with all-out efforts, China will enhance macro-economic regulation, and step up production, allocation and supply of key materials, to maintain social and economic progress.

These arrangements were made at a State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.
Li urged continued efforts to advance science-based epidemic control, and resume production in an orderly way to better support outbreak response and preserve normal economic and social order.
At the meeting, competent departments reported their work on provision of key supplies and orderly resumption of production and life. There is a fast increase in essential medical supplies, ample supply of daily necessities, and steady energy supply including coal, electricity, oil and gas. Multiple steps such as spacing out return trips have prevented large-scale flows of people on the back of the Spring Festival. Relevant departments excluded the possibility of any travel rush in the coming week like previous years.
"While ensuring effective outbreak response, a category-based approach should be adopted in resuming production in an orderly manner," Li said.
The meeting underscored the need to encourage enterprises to resume production in a category-specific and well-organized manner. The immediate priority for Hubei Province is to stay concentrated on epidemic containment while ensuring the normal running of companies vital for outbreak response and key urban services. Other provinces shall take well-targeted measures in epidemic control and prevention based on local realities. For most cities in other provinces with limited numbers of cases, local authorities should facilitate the orderly resumption of production.
The meeting urged producers of key medical supplies to promptly resume full-capacity production to meet front-line epidemic control needs. Transportation arteries and key logistics hubs must be kept unimpeded. In places where the situation is not that serious, coach services and urban public transportation can be resumed in an orderly way.
"We must make every effort to ensure the supplies for outbreak response and daily necessities to maintain economic progress and people's life," Li said.
The meeting urged well-planned return of workers, including better coordination and services for key groups of people such as migrant workers. Any one-size-fits-all practices to stop non-local vehicles and personnel from coming in must be redressed.
"We must keep transportation arteries open and shipment unimpeded. Concentrated flows of people must be averted by staggering return trips," Li stressed.
The meeting urged sub-national governments to establish special mechanisms to help companies cope with the outbreak impact to ease the difficulties facing businesses, especially private and smaller firms. Temporary measures should be implemented to support businesses, including cutting or waiving rent for private firms in state-owned properties, lowering lending rates, and improving tax relief policies.
The supply of essential goods including grains, oil, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products will be ensured with greater efforts. Illegal activities such as price gouging will be dealt with pursuant to law. To facilitate production in agriculture and animal husbandry, supplies of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and animal feeds will be guaranteed and their smooth shipment ensured. The timely launch of key projects will be promoted.
Employment is another priority and massive lay-offs must be prevented. Local governments will be encouraged to allocate funding, including tapping the balance in unemployment insurance funds, to help businesses keep their payrolls stable. In places where conditions permit, deferral or refund on social insurance contributions and other possible means will be encouraged.
"All ministries and departments under the State Council must act on the requirements of the State Council's inter-agency task force, and introduce, in a timely way, supportive policies as the outbreak situation evolves, to promote social and economic development on all fronts," Li said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, Feebruary 13, 2020
Coronavirus-hit Hubei's new confirmed cases continue to drop
12th February 2020

 Central China's Hubei Province, center of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 1,638 new confirmed cases and 94 new deaths on Tuesday, local health authorities said Wednesday.

The latest figure continued the downward trend of the province's new confirmed cases, down from the 2,097 recorded on Monday. It is also the lowest figure in 11 days since Jan. 31 when Hubei registered 1,347 new confirmed cases.
The Hubei Provincial Health Commission also said 6,756 suspected cases of infection were ruled out on Tuesday after testing, as the province speeds up the diagnosis of suspected cases.
The provincial capital Wuhan reported 1,104 new infections and 72 new deaths, and the cities of Xiaogan, Ezhou and Huanggang reported 109, 71 and 66 new confirmed cases, respectively, according to the commission.
The province also saw 417 patients discharged from the hospital after recovery on Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,639 patients by Tuesday.
Hubei had 33,366 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection by Tuesday, with 1,068 deaths and 7,241 cases still in severe or critical conditions. The mortality rate is calculated at 3.2 percent.
In breakdown, the total number of confirmed cases in Wuhan reached 19,558, followed by 2,751 in Xiaogan and 2,398 in Huanggang.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 12, 2020
China's central bank injects 100b yuan into market
11th February 2020

 China's central bank pumped 100 billion yuan (US$14.3 billion) into the financial system via reverse repos on Tuesday.

The People's Bank of China injected the fund through seven-day reverse repos at an interest rate of 2.4 percent.
The move aims to offset the impact of reverse repos maturing and to keep liquidity in the banking system at a reasonably sufficient level, according to a statement on the website of the central bank.
Meanwhile, 380 billion yuan of reverse repos matured Tuesday, resulting in a net withdrawal of 280 billion yuan from the market.
A reverse repo is a process in which the central bank purchases securities from commercial banks through bidding, with an agreement to sell them back in the future.
Source: Shanghai Daily,February 11, 2020
China's producer prices up 0.1% in January
10th February 2020

 China's producer price index which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, rose 0.1 percent year on year in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

The slight increase last month was the first year-on-year increase in eight months, the NBS data showed.
On a month-on-month basis, the PPI remained flat for the second month in a row, according to the NBS.
Factory prices of capital goods decreased 0.4 percent year on year in January, shrinking from the 1.2 percent decline in December.
Seventeen of the 40 surveyed industries saw price hikes month on month, while 18 reported price drops and five witnessed unchanged prices.
Among major industries, oil and natural gas extraction saw faster price increase in January, with prices up 17.5 percent year on year, expanding by 11.7 percentage points.
Prices for non-ferrous metal mining and dressing edged up 2.4 percent year on year, while ferrous metal mining and dressing went up 0.7 percent over one year ago in January.
NBS senior statistician Dong Lijuan said the 0.1 percent year-on-year gain in January was the carry-over effect of last year's price movements.
Monday's data also showed China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.4 percent year on year in January.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 10, 2020

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