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News from China
B&R countries feature as 2018 ODI growth steady
17th January 2019

 China’s outbound direct investment grew steadily in 2018, up 4.2 percent year on year to US$129.83 billion.

Financial outbound direct investment totalled US$9.33 billion, skyrocketing by 105.1 percent from a year earlier, and non-financial ODI grew 0.3 percent year on year to US$120.5 billion, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce and the Foreign Exchange Bureau.
The total turnover of foreign contracted projects hit US$169.04 billion, up 0.3 percent year on year.
China’s outbound investment continued to show stable and sound growth, a spokesman with the cooperation department at the ministry said.
The ministry said a significant amount the outbound investment targeted Belt and Road Initiative countries
Chinese companies invested a total of US$15.64 billion in 56 Belt and Road countries, an increase of 8.9 percent year on year, accounting for 13 percent of the total ODI.
The turnover of contracted projects in 63 countries along the B&R reached US$89.33 billion, accounting for 52 percent of the total turnover.
Also, the structure of outbound investment continues to diversify, the ministry said.
China’s outward investment mainly flowed to leasing and business services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and mining, accounting for 37 percent, 15.6 percent, 8.8 percent, and 7.7 percent of ODI respectively.
ODI into the tertiary sector amounted to US$84.25 billion last year, up 3.6 percent from 2017, accounting for 69.9 percent of the total.
No new investment projects were seen in the real estate, sports and entertainment sectors, indicating that irrational investment has continued to be effectively curbed.
A total of 405 cross-border merger and acquisition projects were completed last year, with a total actual transaction value of US$70.26 billion, of which US$27.45 billion was from domestic investors, accounting for 39.1 percent of the total M&A amount and 22.8 percent of the total ODI.
Offshore financing amounted to US$42.81 billion, accounting for 60.9 percent of the total M&A.
Other foreign investment segments such as practical investment, equity swaps, joint ventures and franchises also grew.
Source: Shine, January 17, 2019
Advertising spend growth likely to slow
16th January 2019

 Global advertising growth is estimated at 3.8 percent in 2019, with a total value of US$625 billion, amid a relatively benign economic environment and broad-based recovery, according to Dentsu Aegis Network’s latest advertising spend forecast. 

Advertising spend growth in China for 2019 is projected to be 7 percent, lower than the 7.8 percent a year ago, and will hit a total of 717 billion yuan (US$105.4 billion), fuelled by the continued expansion of domestic consumption. 
However, growth is expected to be further dampened in 2020 at an estimated 6.4 percent due to economic uncertainty. 
The pace of ad spend growth for the global market is also decelerating from that of the 4.1 percent seen in 2018, but it's set to rebound to 4.3 percent in 2020. 
Last year, pharmaceuticals were the top industry in terms of ad spend in China with over 125 billion yuan of total expenditure, while entertainment and Internet services are the fastest-growing sectors, climbing 59 and 53 percent respectively. 
The real estate sector posted the biggest drop, 35 percent, due to purchase restrictions. 
As many as 32 out of the 59 markets included in the forecast are set to report slower growth this year compared to a year ago.  
In China, mobile is forecast to account for more than three-quarters of 2019's digital ad spend for the first time. Globally, digital still remains the dominant force in ad spending and is forecast to grow beyond 40 percent for the first time in 2019.
“China’s digital economy continues to lead the global market, both in terms of scale and advancement," commented Susana Tsui, Group CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network China. 
Online video is forecast to grow by one-fifth of total ad dollars globally in 2019, and it's the fastest growing category within digital ad spending, thanks to viewing habits on mobile devices and the popularity of streaming services.
"Digital connectivity, driven by advances in technology and consumers' fast adoption, has fundamentally changed the shape of the advertising business and will continue to do so," added Global CEO & Chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network Tim Andree.
Source: Shine, January 16, 2019
Trade at historic high as China tackles change
15th January 2019

 China’s foreign trade volume hit a historic high in 2018, a sign that the economy remained resilient despite growing external uncertainties.

“China effectively tackled profound changes in the external environment last year, and foreign trade maintained steady and positive growth, reaching a historic high in import and export volumes,” General Administration of Customs spokesman Li Kuiwen said yesterday.
China’s foreign trade rose 9.7 percent year on year to a historic high of 30.51 trillion yuan (US$4.5 trillion) in 2018.
The value was 2.7 trillion yuan higher than in 2017, according to the customs.
Exports rose 7.1 percent year on year to 16.42 trillion yuan last year, while imports grew 12.9 percent to 14.09 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 2.33 trillion yuan, which narrowed by 18.3 percent.
“China is expected to keep its No. 1 position in the world in terms of trade in goods,” Li said.
He attributed the growth to sound and steady economic fundamentals and a number of policies and measures boosting steady foreign trade growth, including lower import tariffs, higher export tax rebates and improvement in the business environment.
Behind the strong foreign trade figures, China’s shifting engines of economic growth are revealed.
Exports and imports of products under the general trade category, which have a higher added value than the processing trade, surged 12.5 percent year on year to 17.64 trillion yuan, accounting for 57.8 percent of total foreign trade, 1.4 percentage points higher than in 2017.
China’s trade with the European Union, the United States and ASEAN increased 7.9 percent, 5.7 percent and 11.2 percent, with their combined trade volume accounting for 41.2 percent of China’s total foreign trade.
China’s trade with the US totaled 4.18 trillion yuan in 2018, up 5.7 percent year on year.
Exports to the US rose 8.6 percent year on year to 3.16 trillion yuan last year, while imports from the US dropped 2.3 percent to 1.02 trillion yuan, resulting in a trade surplus of 2.14 trillion yuan, which widened by 14.7 percent.
“The widened trade surplus in 2018 shows China and the US are in different development stages and both are economically complementary,” Li said.
Trade with countries along the Belt and Road registered faster-than-average growth, with the trade volume standing at 8.37 trillion yuan, up 13.3 percent year on year.
“Trade cooperation with Belt and Road countries has become the new driving force of China’s foreign trade development,” Li said.
Private enterprises played a bigger role, accounting for 39.7 percent of the total foreign trade, up 1.1 percentage points compared with 2017.
Private firms posted total imports and exports of 12.1 trillion yuan last year, an increase of 12.9 percent.
“Private enterprises contributed more than half to China’s foreign trade growth in 2018,” Li said.
Electro-mechanical products remained a pillar of exports. Exports of metal-working machines, cell phones and automobiles grew 19.2 percent, 9.8 percent and 8.3 percent.
Trade growth is more balanced among regions. Less developed regions, including central and west China and northeast China, all outpaced the national average.
Yesterday’s data also showed China’s December exports fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier. Imports shrank 7.6 percent in December alone.
“The fluctuation of the import and export growth rate is common. It is related to the domestic and international economic situation, international commodity prices, and the import and export rhythm of foreign trade enterprises,” said Li.
For China’s foreign trade outlook in 2019, the spokesman said the biggest challenge is the severe and complicated external environment, rising protectionism and unilateralism, and slowing global economic growth that will drag down multinational trade and investment.
“China’s foreign trade growth would slow in 2019 off a high base,” Li said.
But generally speaking, he said, China’s steady and positive growth momentum would lay a solid foundation for the development of foreign trade this year.
As the country continues to push forward supply-side structural reform and opening-up, the structure of China’s exports and imports will be further optimized with both quality and efficiency improved, Li said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 15. 2019
China doubles QFII quota to US$300b
14th January 2019

 China's forex regulator announced Monday that the total quota of the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) program had doubled to US$300b.

The move aims to meet demand from overseas investors to expand investment in China's capital market, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement.
The QFII program is the earliest and most important arrangement for the opening up the country's capital market, the statement said.
Introduced in 2003, the scheme allows overseas institutional investors to move money into China's capital account to encourage controlled flows.
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 14, 2019

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