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News from China
Eurozone set for strong finish in 2017
27th November 2017

 THE 19-country eurozone is set for its best quarterly performance since early 2011, according to a closely watched survey yesterday, the latest sign that a robust economy has gained further momentum heading into the year’s end.

Financial information company IHS Markit said its purchasing managers’ index — a broad gauge of business activity across the manufacturing and services sectors — rose to 57.5 points in November from 56 the previous month. Anything above 50 indicates an expansion and the index now stands at its highest level since April 2011.
Chris Williamson, the firm’s chief business economist, said “business is booming,” and jobs are being created at the fastest rate since the era at the turn of the millennium.
The eurozone’s fourth-quarter growth could even come in at 0.8 percent, he said, rounding off “the best year for a decade.”
Even before the survey, the eurozone was set to post its highest growth rate in 10 years. Earlier this month, the European Union upgraded its growth forecast for the eurozone this year to 2.2 percent, which would be the highest since 2007.
The scale of the eurozone recovery this year, which is broad-based across countries and sectors, has caught many economists by surprise.
At the year’s start, many feared that the region, already disturbed by Britain’s vote last year to leave the EU, ongoing concerns over the euro and a slew of key elections, would face a difficult time. Though uncertainty over Brexit remains, the Greek crisis seems contained and populist politicians failed to make the breakthrough many economists feare
Source: Shanghai Daily, November 27, 2017
SOEs achieve 25% rise in profits
22nd November 2017

 STATE-OWNED enterprises posted a 24.6 percent rise in profits in the first 10 months of the year, driven by the metal, coal, and petrochemical sectors, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

SOEs notched up total profits of about 2.4 trillion yuan (US$361.7 billion) in the January-October period, the ministry said in a statement.
That compared with 24.9 percent year-on-year growth in the first nine months but improved from the 0.4 annual profit growth in the first 10 months last year.
Centrally-administered SOEs made about 1.55 trillion yuan in profit, up 17.8 percent year on year, while locally-administered SOE profits rose 39.4 percent to 837 billion yuan.
SOEs raked in nearly 42 trillion yuan in revenue in the first 10 months, up 15.4 percent on the same period last year, and paid 3.4 trillion yuan in tax, an increase of 11.6 percent.
While the metal, coal, petroleum and petrochemical sectors posted profit growth, the electricity sector saw a fall.
The improvement of SOE profitability was achieved as the government deepened supply-side reforms in the state-owned sector to improve efficiency.
Mixed ownership and market-oriented management were encouraged to reduce cost and boost earnings.
The SOEs are set to complete corporate governance reform by the end of this year and lead innovation-driven development in China’s economic re-balancing.
Moody’s Investors Service expected revenue and profitability of Chinese corporations to remain stable in 2018.
China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures the price of goods at the factory gate, rose 6.9 percent year on year October.
The manufacturing sector stayed above the boom-bust mark for the 11th month in a row in October as the official PMI stood at 51.6.
Source: Shanghai Daily, November 22, 2017
Sluggish new home sales prevail
21st November 2017


Seven-day sales of new homes remained below the 100,000-square-meter threshold for the seventh straight week in Shanghai despite a double-digit rebound, according to market data released yesterday.
The area of new homes sold, excluding government-funded affordable housing, totaled 83,000 square meters during the period ended Sunday, up 13.2 percent week over week, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report.
“The market was plagued by zero supply again last week with real estate developers showing no interest in launching their projects onto the market,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Centaline. “We expect new home sales to remain slack over the coming weeks amid extremely insufficient supply.”
Outlying areas continued to outperform their centrally located counterparts. Nanhui in Pudong New Area recorded new housing sales of 11,000 square meters last week, down 15.4 percent from the previous week. In contrast, central districts such as Hongkou and former Luwan, where inventories are much smaller, both suffered zero transaction during the same period.
One project in Nanhui, which sold 34 units of apartments totaling 4,865 square meters, became the most sought-after development. A luxury villa project in Pudong, which just sold five units totaling 1,646 square meters, still managed to grab the 7th position in last week’s Top 10 list, Centaline data showed.
On average, new homes sold for an average 49,054 yuan (US$7,381) per square meter, almost unchanged from a week ago.
From October 1 through Sunday, only two residential projects released a total of around 50 units onto the local market, the majority of them large-sized units, a separate report released yesterday by Shanghai Homelink Real Estate Agency Co showed.
Source: Shsnghai Daily, November 21, 2017
House prices stay ‘generally stable’ in China
20th November 2017

 China’s property market remained stable in October with home prices falling or posting slower growth in major cities amid tough control policies, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

On a yearly basis, new housing prices saw slower growth in 13 of the 15 major cities considered the “hottest markets,” the bureau’s data showed.

On a month-on-month basis, new housing prices fell in nine of the 15 cities.

New home prices in Tianjin, Shanghai and Chengdu rose 0.1, 0.3 and 0.7 percent, respectively, from a month earlier.

Of the 70 large and medium-sized cities surveyed, home prices in 50 cities rose month on month, compared with 44 in September.

Bureau statistician Liu Jianwei said housing prices were “generally stable” in major cities as control policies in different cities continued to take effect.

New housing prices in the country’s first-tier cities dropped 0.1 percent compared with a month earlier, while pre-owned home prices remained flat.

On a yearly basis, both new and pre-owned home prices in first-tier cities reported slower growth for the 13th consecutive month in October.

New home prices in smaller second and third-tier cities both rose 0.3 percent month on month, higher than the growth in September.

The data provide fresh evidence that the property market boom is running out of steam as the government continues cooling measures to squeeze asset bubbles.

Since late last year, dozens of local governments have passed or expanded restrictions on house buying and raised minimum down payments.

The market was also cooled by relatively tightened liquidity conditions as the government moved to contain leverage and risk in the financial system.

Data from the People’s Bank of China showed that loans to the real estate sector continued to slow, with outstanding loans up 22.8 percent year on year to 31.1 trillion yuan (US$4.7 trillion) at the end of September, 1.4 percentage points lower than the rate seen at the end of June.

Despite the cooling measures, China’s economy expanded by a robust 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters, well above the government target of 6.5 percent for the year.

Recent policies have showed the government will not loosen its stance in curbing property speculation and that will limit the upward potential for housing prices, Bank of Communications said in a note.

Authorities stepped up measures to act against irregularities in property financing earlier this month, prohibiting property developers, real estate agencies as well as Internet finance and micro-loan companies from offering illicit down payment financing.

Using funds obtained via channels such as consumer loans for property purchases will also be banned, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said.

Earlier data showed that property sales by floor area rose 8.2 percent in the first 10 months, losing 2.1 percentage points from the January-September level. At the end of October, 602.58 million square meters of property remained unsold, down by 8.82 million square meters from a month earlier.

Source: Shanghai Daily, November 20, 2017

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