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News from China
China's Q1 GDP grows 6.8% year on year
17th April 2018

 The Chinese economy saw a solid start to the year with a 6.8-percent growth in the first quarter, official data showed on Tuesday.

 
GDP reached 19.88 trillion yuan (US$3.2 trillion) in the first three months of 2018, up 6.8 percent year on year at comparable prices, unchanged from the growth rate in the previous quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
 
"The economy is off to a good start," NBS spokesperson Xing Zhihong told a press conference, noting sound momentum in development, steady progress in upgrading, and improved quality and efficiency of the economy.
 
The GDP growth rate has stayed within the range of 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent for 11 quarters, with the jobless rate and inflation remaining stable, he said.
 
New businesses and industries continued to grow fast, corporate profit and resident incomes steadily increased, while consumption and services played a bigger role in driving growth, he said.
 
Services accounted for 56.6 percent of the economy and 61.6 percent of its growth in the first quarter. Final consumption contributed to 77.8 percent of the economic growth, up from 58.8 percent last year.
 
Meanwhile, increased efforts to reform and open up boosted market confidence, with the manufacturing activity expanding for the 20th straight month in March and the consumer confidence index at a relatively high level, Xing said.
 
The solid first-quarter performance extended the economic strength of last year, when China's GDP logged 6.9 percent growth, picking up pace for the first time in seven years.
 
In the first quarter, industrial output and fixed-asset investment growth eased from the January-February period, but retail sales and private investment growth accelerated, the NBS data showed.
 
Xing attributed the moderation of some indicators to seasonal factors as the Spring Festival came later this year than previous years and affected production.
 
With seasonality excluded, the positive trend remained unchanged, he said.
 
"Looking ahead, the favorable conditions and factors to support high-quality development are increasing, and the economy will continue to maintain stable development with a positive outlook," he said.
 
Speaking of challenges, Xing highlighted possible impacts from rising protectionism, monetary policy adjustments by major economies and financial market turbulence.
 
"The biggest (difficulty facing China's economy) is uncertainty in the international environment," he said.
 
The US administration has proposed tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods and, in the latest move to heighten tensions, announced activation of denial of export privileges against leading Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp.
 
Xing said China is "fully capable" of handling trade tensions with the United States, citing the country's increasingly domestic-led growth, growing innovation edge, and ample room for development and policy control.
 
"The economy has plenty of resilience, potential and leeway. The Sino-US trade frictions cannot stump the Chinese economy, nor can they change its sound momentum of sustained and healthy growth," he told reporters.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 17,2018
Canton Fair attracts over 25,000 firms
16th April 2018

 

 
China’s largest trade fair opened its 123rd session yesterday in Guangdong Province, attracting more than 25,000 companies as exhibitors.
 
The biannual China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, is considered a barometer of China’s foreign trade.
 
Xu Bing, the fair’s spokesperson, said buyers from more than 210 countries and regions are expected to attend the fair, with the total number of buyers set to remain the same as the previous session.
 
The first phase of the fair, which runs until Thursday, features products including home appliances, electronics and hardware, with major brands such as Haier and Midea showcasing their latest models.
 
The fair also features an exhibition area for imports, with more than 600 companies from 34 countries and regions expected to account for around 1,000 booths.
 
Latest data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China registered sound growth in foreign trade for the first quarter, with its trade surplus shrinking.
 
China’s exports of goods rose 7.4 percent year on year in the first three months while imports grew 11.7 percent.
 
The country’s trade surplus stood at 326.18 billion yuan (US$52 billion), a 21.8 percent drop year on year, GAC data showed.
 
Source: Xinhua, April 16, 2018
China's trade surplus narrows 21.8% in Q1
13th April 2018
 
China's goods trade surplus shrank 21.8 percent in the first quarter of this year as the country saw a better balance of trade, customs data showed on Friday.
 
China's goods exports rose 7.4 percent year on year in the first three months while imports grew 11.7 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 326.18 billion yuan (US$51.85 billion), according to the General Administration of Customs.
 
Total foreign trade volume expanded 9.4 percent to 6.75 trillion yuan in the first quarter from the same period last year.
 
Huang Songping, a spokesperson with the GAC, told a press briefing that the relatively fast trade growth was a result of a mild global economic recovery that has given rise to robust trading activities, as well as the sound development of the domestic economy, which has strengthened demand for imports.
 
Steady progress in the Belt and Road Initiative and stronger trading with emerging markets also supported the first-quarter growth, Huang said, as trade volume with Belt and Road countries jumped 12.9 percent in the three-month period, 3.5 percentage points faster than the overall increase.
 
Trade with countries along the Belt and Road reached 1.86 trillion yuan, accounting for 27.5 percent of China's total foreign trade in the first quarter, according to Huang.
 
The European Union, the United States and ASEAN were the top three trading partners of China, which together accounted for 41.2 percent of foreign trade.
 
From January to March, trade between China and the United States rose 13 percent in dollar-denominated terms, with Chinese exports to the United States increased 14.8 percent and the China-US trade surplus standing at 58.25 billion dollars.
 
Chinese private enterprises played a bigger role in trade by contributing 38.3 percent to total trade, up 1.7 percentage points compared with the first quarter of 2017.
 
The country's less developed regions, including central and western China, all outpaced the national average trade growth in the January-March period.
 
Huang said he sees rising pressure and challenges for the global economy and international trade in the second quarter stemming from global uncertainties and intensifying protectionism.
 
Fiercer competition in the global manufacturing sector will also pose challenges for China's foreign trade, he said.
 
But Huang said he expects China's foreign trade will maintain an upward trend as the country has pledged to take measures to further open up its market and expand imports.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 13, 2018
Central bank governor gives details, timetable on financial opening-up
11th April 2018

 

 
Yi Gang, Governor of the People's Bank of China, China's central bank, arrives for the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 at the BFA International Convention Center in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, on April 10, 2018.
 
China's central bank governor on Wednesday fleshed out measures and disclosed a timetable to further open up the financial sector, signaling fast progress in implementing the country's opening-up promises.
 
China will encourage foreign investors to enter its trust, financial leasing, auto finance, money brokerage and consumer finance sectors, a move to take effect before the end of this year, said Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in the southern Hainan Province.
 
No foreign ownership limits will be set for new financial asset investment and wealth management companies initiated by commercial banks, he said.
 
China will also "substantially expand the business scope of foreign banks," and impose no restrictions on the business scope of joint-venture securities companies, Yi said.
 
In addition, the country will remove the requirement that foreign insurance companies must have had representative offices for two years before they set up businesses in China, he said.
 
All these measures will come into force before the end of this year, Yi told a panel discussion, noting that the country will also try to launch the Shanghai-London stock connect program within this year.
 
The opening policies in the following six areas will be implemented in the coming months, according to the governor.
 
First, foreign equity restrictions on banks and financial asset management firms will be canceled, with equal treatment for domestic and foreign-funded institutions. Foreign banks will be allowed to set up branches and subsidiaries at the same time in the country.
 
Second, foreign businesses will be allowed to own up to 51 percent of shares in securities, funds, futures and life insurance joint ventures, and the cap will be phased out over three years.
 
Third, securities joint ventures will not be required to have at least one securities firm among its domestic shareholders.
 
Fourth, daily quotas for the stock connect schemes between the mainland and Hong Kong will be quadrupled starting from May 1.
 
Fifth, qualified foreign investors will be allowed to conduct insurance brokerage and assessment business in the country.
 
Sixth, foreign-funded insurance brokers will have the same business scope as their Chinese counterparts do.
 
Source: Xinhua, April, 11, 2018

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