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News from China
Chinese economic growth may have bottomed out, UBS says
2nd April 2019

 Chinese economic growth is now showing signs of having bottomed out, said the latest research note issued by Swiss multinational investment bank UBS AG on Monday.

 
UBS said the expectation-beating Chinese purchasing managers' index for March is in line with the bank's expectations for only a controlled slowdown in China that won't derail the global economy or markets.
 
The recovery in Chinese March PMI extends beyond typical seasonal outperformance after Chinese Lunar New Year, the UBS said, adding that sub-index readings reflect improvements across the board.
 
UBS forecasts that Chinese economy would expand 6.1 percent in 2019 as China's monetary policy easing and fiscal stimulus measures offer an improved macro outlook for the second quarter of 2019.
 
"China's more nuanced approach to stimulus this time around has nonetheless translated into a pronounced market bounce," UBS said.
 
The bank maintains a moderately risk-on stance on Chinese stock markets with both H-shares and A-shares attractive on an equity risk premium basis.
 
Still, Chinese stock markets face risks from on-going China-US trade talks, more measured stimulus policies from the government and earnings downgrade cycle with listed companies, according to the research note.
 
The PMI for China's manufacturing sector rebounded to the expansionary territory of 50.5 in March, up from 49.2 in February, according to data issued by the National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 2, 2019
Sharp decline in imports of solid waste
1st April 2019

 China's imports of solid waste continued to drop in 2018 as the country tightened its ban on solid waste imports, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

 
Last year, imports of solid waste saw a sharp 46.5 percent decrease year on year, and the restricted solid waste imports slumped 51.5 percent, said Qiu Qiwen, a ministry official in charge of solid wastes and chemicals.
 
The ministry has jointly worked with relevant government departments, including the General Administration of Customs, to forge action plans, adjust solid waste import management categories and step up the restrictions of imports, he said.
 
China, by no means, will loosen its policy and restrictions on the imports of solid waste, Qiu said, adding that the country is determined to significantly reduce the amount and types of imported solid waste and basically realize the target of zero solid waste imports by 2020.
 
According to the customs data, plastic, paper and metal waste imports totaled 2.65 million tons for the first two months of 2019, down 22.9 percent from a year earlier.
 
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world’s largest importer, despite its weak capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally bring foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
 
Given rising public awareness of environmental protection and China’s green development drive, the government decided to phase out and halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable. The government last year banned 32 types of solid waste, including plastics and paper, and has imposed tough quality restrictions on other recyclable materials.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 1, 2019
Seasonal factors behind drop in industrial profits
28th March 2019

 China’s major industrial firms reported falling profits in the January-February period, due to price and seasonal factors, but continued to see progress in structural upgrading and deleveraging, data showed yesterday.

 
Combined profit of industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$3 million) dropped 14 percent year on year in the first two months of this year to 708.01 billion yuan, compared with the 16.1 percent growth in the same period of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
 
Compared with the first two months in 2018, this year’s Spring Festival holiday had a longer impact on industrial production as it came earlier this year, said Zhu Hong, a senior statistician at the bureau. “After being adjusted for the Spring Festival factor, the profits of major industrial firms were basically flat or slightly down from the same period of last year,” Zhu said.
 
The automobile, petroleum processing, steel and chemical industries saw profits markedly pared by falling product prices, dragging the overall industrial profit growth down 14.2 percentage points, Zhu said.
 
In January and February, the factory-gate prices fell 0.4 percent year on year in the auto industry. The prices also dropped 1.3 percent in the petroleum processing industry, 2.5 percent in the steel sector, and 2.3 percent in the chemical industry.
 
Excluding the four industries, the overall industrial profit could have posted an increase of 0.2 percent year on year, according to the statistics bureau.
 
Apart from those factors, the profit decline was also a result of adjustments in the official statistical caliber and stronger efforts to ensure data quality, Huatai Securities said in a research note.
 
On the positive side, consumer product manufacturers and equipment producers maintained relatively fast profit growth, reflecting structural improvement. Profits of major consumer goods manufacturers rose 5.8 percent year on year. Major special-purpose equipment producers recorded a 14-percent profit growth, while electrical machinery and device producers’ profits climbed 10.9 percent.
 
The structural change was in line with a shift in China’s economic growth drivers from exports and investment to domestic consumption and high-end industries.
 
Yesterday’s data also showed progress in the country’s bid to help reduce corporate leverage through supply-side structural reform. The leverage ratio continued to fall as the debt-to-asset ratio fell 0.2 percentage points to 56.9 percent at the end of February, the bureau said.
 
Among them, the debt-to-asset ratio of state-owned industrial companies slipped 1 percentage points from a year earlier to 58.6 percent, indicating that the deleveraging of state-owned enterprises has achieved remarkable results, Zhu said.
 
Chinese authorities have pledged to stick with supply-side structural reform and rolled out a raft of measures to cut taxes and fees for firms.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 28, 2019
China's industrial profits fall in first 2 months
27th March 2019

 Profits of China's major industrial firms fell 14 percent year on year in the January-February period, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

 
Combined profits of industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$2.98 million) stood at 708.01 billion yuan in the first two months of 2019, the NBS data showed.
 
Zhu Hong, an NBS senior statistician, attributed the decline to lower profits at some major industries and disruptions caused by the Spring Festival holiday in February.
 
"After being adjusted for the Spring Festival factor, the profits of major industrial firms were basically flat or slightly down from the same period of last year," an NBS statement quoted Zhu as saying.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 27, 2019

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