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News from China
Ascentage Pharma raises US$150m in bid to introduce new cancer drugs
18th July 2018


Suzhou-headquartered Ascentage Pharma said it has raised US$150 million in series C funding for its pipeline of innovative cancer drugs as Chinese drug developers move to turn lab works into new drug launches in the world’s largest pharmaceutical market. 
The new financing will be used to fund its R&D and manufacturing facilities as well as new hiring at a time when the Chinese government is urging the introduction of innovative treatments for severe diseases prevalent in China, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, by encouraging startups in the pharmaceutical industry. 
Ascentage plans to build their team up to 300 members in the coming six months, and reach 400 by the end of next year. 
“With this financing, we are well positioned to achieve key data milestones as we continue to advance our growing pipeline of novel small molecule candidates,” said chairman and chief executive officer Yang Dajun. 
The latest round takes the total amount of capital raised by Ascentage to date to US$240 million, and was led by existing investors YuanMing Prudence Fund and Oriza Seed Venture Capital, as well as new investor Teng Yue Partners. 
ArrowMark Partners, HDY International Investment, CTS Capital and CCB International also participated.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 18, 2018
IMF maintains global growth forecasts, warns of escalating trade tensions
17th July 2018


The International Monetary Fund on Monday kept its growth forecasts for the global economy unchanged for this year and next year, but warned of escalating trade tensions that could derail the global recovery.
In its updated World Economic Outlook report released on Monday, the IMF said global economic growth is projected to reach 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019, in line with its previous forecasts in April.
"But the expansion is becoming less even, and risks to the outlook are mounting. The rate of expansion appears to have peaked in some major economies and growth has become less synchronized," the report said.
The IMF downgraded its growth forecast of advanced economies in 2018 to 2.4 percent, 0.1 percentage points lower than its April forecast, while maintaining an unchanged forecast of 2.2 percent growth in those economies for 2019.
Growth in emerging markets and developing economies is projected to strengthen to 4.9 percent in 2018 before reaching 5.1 percent in 2019, unchanged from previous forecasts.
The IMF said the balance of risks "has shifted further to the downside," amid rising trade tensions among the United States and its trading partners.
"The recently announced and anticipated tariff increases by the United States and retaliatory measures by trading partners have increased the likelihood of escalating and sustained trade actions," the report said.
"These could derail the recovery and depress medium-term growth prospects, both through their direct impact on resource allocation and productivity and by raising uncertainty and taking a toll on investment," the Washington-based international lender warned.
"Our modeling suggests that if current trade policy threats are realized and business confidence falls as a result, global output could be about 0.5 percent below current projections by 2020," IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said at a press conference.
"As the focus of global retaliation, the United States finds a relatively high share of its exports taxed in global markets in such a broader trade conflict, and it is therefore especially vulnerable," he said.
The report came after the Trump administration unilaterally imposed high tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products, provoking strong opposition from the domestic business community and retaliatory measures from U.S. trading partners.
"The risk that current trade tensions escalate further — with adverse effects on confidence, asset prices, and investment — is the greatest near-term threat to global growth," Obstfeld warned, adding that "countries must resist inward-looking thinking."
"Avoiding protectionist measures and finding a cooperative solution that promotes continued growth in goods and services trade remain essential to preserve the global expansion," the report said.
Source: Shanghai Daily,July 17, 2018
China's GDP grows 6.8% in H1
16th July 2018

 China's gross domestic product expanded 6.8 percent year on year in the first half of 2018 to about 41.90 trillion yuan (US$6.27 trillion), data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Monday.

The pace was well above the government's annual growth target of around 6.5 percent.
In Q2, China's GDP rose by 6.7 percent year on year, slightly lower than the 6.8 percent from the previous quarter but representing the 12th straight quarter that GDP growth rate has stayed within the range of 6.7 to 6.9 percent, according to NBS data.
China's economy expanded 6.9 percent in 2017, picking up the pace for the first time in seven years.
NBS spokesman Mao Shengyong told a press conference that the Chinese economy has been running soundly in the first six months, offering "a good start" for the country's pursuit of high-quality development with further restructuring progress and improved economic quality and efficiency.
The service sector expanded 7.6 percent year on year in H1, outpacing a 3.2-percent increase in primary industry and 6.1 percent in secondary industry, according to NBS.
Consumption continued to play a more prominent role in driving growth, with final consumption contributing to 78.5 percent of the economic expansion in January-June, up from 77.8 percent in Q1 and 58.8 percent last year.
The domestic job market remained stable in June, with the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas at 4.8 percent, unchanged from the level in May and down 0.1 percentage point from June last year.
China's energy consumed per unit of GDP declined 3.2 percent year-on-year in H1, exceeding the initial target of having energy consumption per unit of GDP cut by at least 3 percent in 2018.
However, noting increasing external uncertainties and the fact that China is still going through a critical stage in structural adjustment, Mao said the country would stick to the supply-side structural reform and coordinate efforts to ensure stable and sound economic performance.
Commenting on China-U.S. trade frictions, Mao said its impact, if any, would have been limited on the Chinese economy in H1, and requires further observation to judge the potential impact on the economy in H2.
With the global economy deeply integrated, the trade frictions, unilaterally stirred up by the United States, would "affect the global economic recovery and sustainability of global trade growth," he told reporters.
For the rest of the year, Mao said China's economy would stay sound and stable as domestic demand is now the deciding force behind economic growth. He expects consumption to continue its upward trend, and investment to remain stable.
He said while external demand remains an important factor in growth, despite China's challenges in foreign trade in H2, there are still favorable conditions to support stable and relatively fast trade growth.
Resident income
Meanwhile, China's average per capita disposable income grew 6.6 percent year on year in real terms to 14,063 yuan in the first half of 2018.
The growth was calculated after taking into consideration the effects of inflation, according to the NBS. The nominal growth in resident income was 8.7 percent in the first six months.
During the January-June period, the real growth of per capita disposable income in rural areas was faster than that in urban regions, indicating narrowing of the urban-rural income gap, according to NBS data.
The average per capita disposable income for rural residents reached 7,142 yuan from January to June, up 6.8 percent after deducting price factors, while that of urban residents increased 5.8 percent in real terms to 19,770 yuan.
Some 180.22 million rural laborers were working outside their hometowns as of the end of June, up by 0.8 percent compared with one year earlier.
China aims to double the per capita income of its urban and rural residents by 2020 from the 2010 levels, to build a moderately prosperous society.
Fixed-asset investment 
China's fixed-asset investment grew 6 percent year on year in the first half of this year.
Total FAI stood at about 29.73 trillion yuan, according to the NBS.
The growth is 1.5 percentage points lower than that of the first three months of this year.
Private investment picked up in the January-June period, growing 8.4 percent year on year, which is 1.2 percentage points more than that of the same period last year, NBS data showed.
In breakdown, FAI in agriculture was up 13.5 percent year on year, followed by 6.8 percent for the service sector, and 3.8 percent for industry.
With a three-month straight rebound, the manufacturing sector saw a 6.8 percent growth in FAI in the first half of 2018, up 3 percentage points from that registered in the first quarter.
FAI in high-tech manufacturing displayed strong momentum by growing 13.1 percent year on year, outpacing the country's general FAI growth by 7.1 percentage points.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 16, 2018
China's foreign trade up 7.9% in H1, surplus down
13th July 2018

 China's goods trade went up 7.9 percent year on year to 14.12 trillion yuan (US$2.12 trillion) in the first half of this year, customs data showed on Friday.

Exports rose 4.9 percent year on year in the January-June period while imports grew 11.5 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 901.32 billion yuan, which narrowed by 26.7 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs.
GAC spokesperson Huang Songping said at a press conference that foreign trade has largely maintained rapid growth year to date thanks to a continued global economic recovery and a stable domestic economy.
Exports and imports of products under the general trade category, which are differentiated with processing trade, gained 12.2 percent from a year ago to 8.33 trillion yuan, accounting for 59 percent of the total foreign trade, 2.3 percentage points higher than the same period in 2017.
Ties with major trading partners strengthened.
China's trade with the European Union, its largest trading partner, climbed 5.3 percent, and trade volume with the United States and the ASEAN countries came in at 5.2 percent and 11 percent, respectively. The three contributed 41 percent of China's total foreign trade.
Trade with the Central and Eastern European countries was especially robust, up 14.7 percent year on year. Trade with countries along the Belt and Road also registered faster-than-average growth.
Huang noted China has made headway in pushing for more balanced trade, citing surplus having shrunk for eight quarters in a row and a much faster growth pace in imports.
"China's surplus in goods trade was determined by its economic structure and the international division of labor, which should be treated objectively and rationally," Huang said, noting along with further opening up, China's foreign trade will see more balanced development."
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 13,2018

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