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News from China
Chinese economy revs up recovery engine as May data improves
17th June 2022

China's key economic indicators showed improvements in May, adding to evidence that the world's second-largest economy is poised for a steady recovery from the COVID-19 impact and policies to coordinate epidemic control and economic growth take effect.

"Overall, China's economy has gradually overcome the negative impact of the epidemic and showed a momentum of recovery," said Fu Linghui, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, when commenting on the data.
Official data showed that China's value-added industrial output rose 0.7 percent year on year in May, reversing the 2.9 percent decline in April, an encouraging sign that factory activity rebounded amid work resumption.
For instance, Shanghai and Jilin, industrial bases where production was disrupted by the Omicron outbreak, saw much smaller declines in industrial output compared with April.
China's foreign trade continued to shore up growth in May, registering a growth of 9.6 percent, up 9.5 percentage points from a month ago. Exports logged a better-than-expected double-digit increase of 15.3 percent, versus 1.9 percent in April, as logistics blocks eased and ports resumed operations.
Retail sales, a major indicator of consumption strength, continued falling in May but saw a narrower decline of 6.7 percent, thanks to the gradual improvement of domestic demand.
"On the demand side, the vital role of investment was enhanced," Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission, told a Thursday press conference, noting the importance of practicing an appropriate degree of advance investment for infrastructure projects and facilitating the 102 major programs introduced in the 14th Five-Year Plan.
In the first five months, investment in infrastructure development rose 6.7 percent from a year ago, up 0.2 percentage points from the first four months.
Meng also highlighted China's capacity in keeping inflation under control in May, with consumer prices growing at a rate unchanged from the previous month, and the rise of factory-gate prices slowing to 6.4 percent.
The "hard-won" price stability came against the backdrop of high commodity prices globally and severe inflation risks in some major economies, Meng said, deeming the country a significant "stabilizer" for global prices.
Despite positive signals in sight, analysts still called for vigilance as geopolitical tensions, the protracted epidemic, and the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate hikes continue to weigh on the global economic outlook and China's consumption remains weak and employment remains under pressure.
Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank, urged greater efforts to boost domestic demand and employment, give bailouts to industries and individuals in trouble, and improve confidence among market entities.
The State Council has unveiled a package of 33 measures in six aspects recently to further stabilize the economy.
Wednesday's State Council executive meeting decided that China will support private investment and take forward projects that deliver multiple effects as part of the efforts to better spur effective investment, consumption, and employment.
The Chinese economy is expected to see reasonable growth in the second quarter on the basis of effective COVID-19 control and implementation of a raft of pro-growth measures, Fu said.
"Considering a relatively low inflation rate and fiscal deficit rate, ample forex reserves, and the room for macro regulation, China has conditions to address risks and challenges and overcome economic fluctuations," said Long Haibo, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.
Source: Xinhua
China's fixed-asset investment expands 6.2 pct in January-May
15th June 2022
China's fixed-asset investment saw steady growth in the first five months of this year, official data showed Wednesday.
Fixed-asset investment jumped 6.2 percent from a year earlier to 20.6 trillion yuan (about 3.05 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first five months, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.
The growth slowed from a 6.8-percent increase registered in the first four months. In May, fixed-asset investment picked up 0.72 percent from a month earlier.
From January to May, fixed-asset investment from the private sector increased 4.1 percent from a year earlier to 11.71 trillion yuan.
Source: Xinhua
Foreign investors snap up Chinese equities, bonds on promising long-term prospects
14th June 2022

Foreign investors continued to increase their investments in Chinese equities and bonds, casting a vote of confidence in the country's long-term development.

By June 10, the Chinese A-share market had seen net inflows of foreign capital for the last ten consecutive trading days, the longest period of net inflows so far this year, according to market tracker Wind.
Last week, overseas investors cast a net 36.83 billion yuan (about 5.48 billion U.S. dollars) on certain Chinese shares through the Stock Connect program's northbound leg, making it the biggest weekly increase since the beginning of the year, Wind data showed.
The number was in sharp contrast to a net outflow of 45.1 billion yuan in March, when the resurgences of COVID-19 battered the country's economy.
"Foreign investment in the Chinese financial market experienced quite a few fluctuations this year," said Monica Li, equities director with Fidelity International. The company now holds around 6 billion U.S. dollars in A-shares.
She attributed the outflows to a range of factors, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, U.S. Fed rate hikes and the sporadic resurgences of COVID cases in China.
But as the world's second-largest economy adjusted COVID restrictions in late May and took incremental efforts to shore up the economy, the financial market gradually warmed up.
China unveiled 33 detailed measures to stabilize its economy last month and the State Council ordered government departments to introduce practical measures.
Sensitive foreign funds have rushed to the Chinese financial market since then. On May 20, the inflow of foreign capital to the Chinese A-share market hit 14.24 billion yuan, and on May 31, the number reached 13.87 billion yuan, the biggest two inflows of the year.
"Within only two weeks in June, we have seen foreign investors pile up their purchasing of Chinese A-shares, with the inflow surpassing the total in May," said Li. "That showed a sharp and swift shift of market sentiment."
Li believes China's financial market will continue to remain attractive for foreign capital in the long run, considering the country's sound economic fundamentals. Furthermore, the country offers much attractive risk reward against the backdrop of increasing global uncertainties.
Christiaan Tuntono, senior economist with Allianz Global Investors, said the outlook on China's macro condition is contingent upon the success of the government's ambitious plan.
"The government vowed to bolster growth through stronger infrastructure investment and greater policy support," he said, adding that he believed China is capable of achieving the "around 5.5-percent" growth target by bolstering infrastructure investment.
In the bond market, China was also a shining point among the emerging economies. Data released by the Institute of International Finance showed that 2 billion U.S. dollars flowed into the Chinese bond market in May, bucking the trend of outflows of foreign capital in most emerging markets last month.
The major driver of investment to the Chinese bond market lies in demand for medium- to long-term asset allocation, with the major holders being central banks, sovereign wealth funds and passive funds that track indices, said Matt Simpson, an analyst with Gain Capital.
Given that the FTSE Russell had included Chinese government bonds in its World Government Bond Index, a total of 10 billion U.S. dollars will flow into China's bond market every quarter through the end of 2024, he added.
There is still much room for foreign investors to increase their holdings of RMB assets further, Wang Chunying, deputy head of China's forex regulator, has said.
RMB assets remain highly attractive in many ways as it has stable investment returns and could diversify portfolio risks, Wang said.
Source: Xinhua
China's PPI up 6.4 pct in May
10th June 2022

China's producer price index (PPI), which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, went up 6.4 percent year-on-year in May, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.

The figure moderated from the 8 percent year-on-year increase registered in April. On a monthly basis, China's PPI gained 0.1 percent in May, compared with the 0.6 percent increase in April.
Both the monthly and year-on-year growth rates of PPI continued to narrow thanks to the effective coordination of epidemic control, economic and social development, and measures to ensure smooth and stable industrial and supply chains, according to senior NBS statistician Dong Lijuan.
Friday's data also showed that China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in May. 
Source: Xinhua

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