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News from China
Manufacturing grows fastest in over 2 years
2nd November 2016

 CHINA’S manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in October, as the economy continued to stabilize and the supply-side reform achieved results, data showed yesterday.

The official Purchasing Managers’ Index, a comprehensive gauge of operational conditions in largely state-owned manufacturing companies, added 0.8 points from a month earlier to 51.2 last month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.

A reading above 50 means expansion in the manufacturing sector.

The October figure pointed to a third straight month of growth, and was the highest since July 2014.

Meanwhile, the Caixin China General Manufacturing PMI, a counterpart for smaller and private manufacturers, also rose to 51.2 in October, the fastest pace since March of 2011.

“China’s manufacturing PMI surprised the market on the upside,” said Li Wei, an economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “We expect industrial production growth to accelerate to 6.4 percent in October, up from 6.1 percent a month earlier.”

Zhao Qinghe, analyst at the National Bureau of Statistics, said the improvement was due to renewed market demand and the results of supply-side reform, which pushed industrial companies to cut excessive capacity and move to more profitable sectors.

“The pace of capacity reduction in steel and coal industries has quickened in recent months, and it helped create a better industrial structure,” Zhao said.

The components of the official PMI showed that new orders rose to 52.8 in October from 50.9 in September, while production improved to 53.3 from 52.8.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter, in line with the pace in the first two quarters and well within the government’s target of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent.

The official non-manufacturing Business Activity Index, which measures the services sector, rose 0.3 points from a month earlier to 54 in October, the highest since December, the statistics bureau said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, November 2, 2016
China’s debt risks are within control
1st November 2016

 VICE Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao said yesterday that China’s debt calculation is open and transparent and the risks remain controllable.

Speaking at a meeting in Beijing, Zhu referred to figures from the International Monetary Fund and the National Institution for Finance and Development, a domestic think tank.

“The IMF estimated China’s non-financial debts at 153.4 trillion yuan (US$22.7 trillion) in 2015, accounting for 220.4 percent of GDP, while the NIFD’s was 154.3 trillion yuan, or 227.92 percent of GDP,” Zhu said.

“The two figures were almost the same, and the difference stemmed from statistical methods.”

Zhu’s remarks came amid lingering concerns that China’s policy-makers underestimated the country’s debt level.

But data from the two bodies showed similar results in the government, household and company debt, with minor difference in statistical structure, Zhu said.

He also dismissed worries about rising debt, calling the level as “reasonable” as debt ratios of central and local governments were well below 40 percent.

Source: Shanghai Daily, November 1, 2016
3 nations vow to lift trade jointly
31st October 2016

 TRADE ministers from China, Japan and South Korea agreed on Saturday to strengthen trade and economic cooperation between the three neighbors.

The meeting, held ahead of a China-Japan-South Korea trilateral summit, saw the ministers discussing a number of issues, including implementing the G20 Summit outcome and conducting practical economic cooperation.

As the world economic recovery remained fragile and anemic, the three major economies in East Asia should implement the consensus that was reached between their leaders, give full play to their industrial complementarity, and further promote investment and trade, so as to contribute to the steady economic growth in Asia, said Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng.

Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said the three countries reached consensus on jointly advancing economic structural reform. He believed the meeting’s outcome will promote regional and global economic growth.

South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Joo Hyung Hwan said the three sides reached consensus on establishing a trilateral cooperation framework as well as speeding up the negotiations on a trilateral free trade deal and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The three sides also reiterated in a joint statement their commitment to implement the outcome at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, and emphasized the importance of the G20 Strategy for Global Trade Growth and the G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking.

China has proposed to conduct industrial capacity cooperation in a third-party country under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasia Initiative, jointly explore a fourth-party market, and collectively promote sub-regional cooperation and development.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 31, 2016
Fujitsu eyes Lenovo for PC merger
28th October 2016

 JAPAN’S Fujitsu said yesterday that it was in talks to merge its struggling PC business with Chinese computer giant Lenovo, sending its shares soaring as the company also announced a recovery in profits.

The talks come as Japanese personal computer makers work to scale back their businesses as consumers shift to smartphones and tablets.

Tokyo-based Fujitsu said it and Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker, are “exploring a strategic cooperation in the realm of research, development, design and manufacturing of personal computers for the global market.”

The two firms, which are yet to reach an agreement, are also talking with government-backed Development Bank of Japan for financial and strategic support.

The market is rife with speculation that the two firms may merge their PC operations, with Lenovo taking the majority stake in the new venture.

That should free up Fujitsu to pour more resources into its profitable IT services operations, while also pushing ahead with a sweeping restructuring program that will see 3,200 job cuts.

Fujitsu President Tatsuya Tanaka told a press conference that his firm wants to improve the competitiveness of its PC business. “Our priority option is to team up with Lenovo Group which has global PC operations,” he said.

Investors welcomed the news, as Fujitsu shares rose by 7.8 percent to close at 599.3 yen (US$5.72).

Fujitsu had been in talks with Toshiba and Vaio to merge their once high-flying personal computer businesses, but those talks failed to result in a deal.

Once-mighty Japanese firms have struggled to reorganize in the face of stiff competition from lower-cost rivals overseas, including in China and South Korea.

Earlier this year, Taiwan-based Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, took over struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp after it faced huge losses and mounting debts.

In a separate announcement, Fujitsu said its net profit for the six months to September came to 11.8 billion yen. The recovery marks a reversal from a net loss of 15.9 billion yen during the same period of last year.

Source: Shanghai Daily, October 28, 2016

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