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News from China
PBOC’s yuan funds for forex fall again
15th December 2016

 THE Chinese central bank’s yuan funds outstanding for foreign exchange fell again in November, burdened by lingering capital outflow pressures amid a weakening yuan against the US dollar.

 
The funds shed 382.7 billion yuan (US$55.44 billion) month on month to 22.26 trillion yuan, data from the People’s Bank of China showed yesterday.
 
It is the largest monthly drop this year and marks the 13th consecutive month of decline.
 
As the yuan is not freely convertible under the capital account, the central bank has to purchase foreign currency generated by China’s trade surplus and foreign investment in the country, adding funds to the money market.
 
Such funds are a vital sign of cross-border foreign fund flows and domestic yuan liquidity.
 
Concerns about capital outflows had been rising as the economy slowed, possibility of a US rate hike loomed and the yuan had fallen since China revamped its forex mechanism last year
 
China’s forex reserves, another sign of capital outflow, fell for the fifth straight month in November to US$3.05 trillion, down US$69.1 billion from October.
 
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange has dismissed the huge capital outflows.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 15, 2016
FAI increases 8.3% in first 11 months
14th December 2016

 CHINA’S fixed-asset investment rose 8.3 percent year on year to 53.85 trillion yuan (US$7.8 trillion) in the first 11 months of 2016, data showed yesterday.

The growth was flat from the January-October period, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Fixed-asset investment includes capital spent on infrastructure, property, machinery and other physical assets.

Infrastructure investment jumped 18.9 percent in the first 11 months, while FAI in high-tech industries surged 15.9 percent during the period, according to the data.

 

FAI by state-owned enterprises climbed 20.2 percent year on year during the period. Private sector FAI, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the total FAI, expanded 3.1 percent in the first 11 months, accelerating from 2.9 percent in the first 10 months.

Growth in property development investment fell slightly to 6.5 percent for the January-November period, after rapid housing price rises in major cities forced the country to impose restrictions on home purchases.

Other indicators released by the statistics bureau, including industrial production and retail sales, pointed to evidence that the world’s second-largest economy was stabilizing.

Source: Shanghai Daily, December 14, 2016
China approaches WTO in ‘market economy’ row
13th December 2016

 CHINA said yesterday it had launched a dispute resolution case at the World Trade Organization over the surrogate country approach used by the United States and European Union to calculate anti-dumping measures against Chinese exports.

 
When China joined the WTO in 2001, it agreed to let WTO members treat it as a non-market economy when assessing dumping duties for 15 years.
 
That gave trade partners the advantage of using a third country’s prices to gauge whether China was selling its goods below market value.
 
But that clause expired on December 11, and China has demanded that countries abide by the agreement.
 
US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in November the time was “not ripe” for the United States to change the way it evaluates whether China has achieved market economy status, and there was no international trade rules requiring changes in the way US anti-dumping duties are calculated.
 
China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website that 15 years on, all WTO members had an obligation to stop using the surrogate country approach. “Regretfully, the United States and European Union have yet to fulfil this obligation,” the ministry said.
 
Separately, a ministry official said in another statement yesterday that a US investigation into what it regards as Chinese dumping of plywood products launched last week amounted to abuse of emergency trade relief measures. The United States and European Union are some of the biggest levellers of anti-dumping measures under this process against China.
 
The measures have seriously affected exports and employment for Chinese firms, the ministry added.
 
The case China has lodged is a normal way of resolving trade disputes, and it has every right to do so, it said.
 
“China reserves the right under WTO rules to resolutely defend its legal rights,” it added, without elaborating.
 
The United States has repeatedly argued that China’s market reforms have fallen short of expectations, especially in aluminium and steel, where state intervention has led to oversupply and overcapacity, threatening industries around the world.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 13, 2016
China sets major economic tasks
12th December 2016

 THE Communist Party of China yesterday specified major tasks for the economy next year, including further advancing supply-side structural reform.

 
The country should push forward reforms in key sectors, including state-owned enterprises, fiscal policy, finance and social security, according to a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
 
China will enhance the rule of law, improve its investment environment, unleash consumption potential, further open up its economy and work to proactively attract foreign investment, the statement said.
 
The meeting was presided over by President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
 
China’s economic growth remained within “a reasonable range” this year, with better quality and higher efficiency, the statement said.
 
But it warned that the economy faces various challenges, including the contradiction between industrial overcapacity and structural upgrades in demand, financial risks in certain areas and economic difficulty in some regions.
 
In 2017, the country will continue its efforts to stabilize economic growth, promote reform, adjust structure, improve people’s livelihoods and guard against risks.
 
The country aims to yield substantial progress on five major tasks — cutting excessive industrial capacity, destocking, deleveraging, lowering corporate costs and improving weak links, the statement said.
 
For the year ahead, China should study and establish a long-term mechanism compatible with the conditions in China and market laws to ensure stable and healthy development of the real estate market.
 
Guidelines to enhance efforts to safeguard national security were passed at the meeting. The statement said China maintained overall social and political stability, but its national security remained in complicated circumstances.
 
The statement said China must integrate various resources and use a combination of measures to safeguard national security on all fronts. The country must also hold fast to “a centralized, unified, highly efficient and authoritative national security leadership system,” it said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 12, 2016

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