Premier Wen Jiabao’s European tour sent some mixed messages this week. On the negative side was the news that his government had blocked the purchase of 10 Airbus A380 planes by Hong Kong Airlines (a unit of Hainan Airlines). The purchase was supposed to be announced at the Paris Airshow, reports Air Transport World, but was vetoed by Beijing in protest at the EU’s aviation Emissions Trading Scheme (see WiC103).
However, during Wen’s trip to Berlin, a deal was also signed with Airbus to buy 88 of its A320 aircraft, which seems a little inconsistent if the A380 holdup was intended to send a message.
Wen was also in magnanimous form on the subject of Europe’s debt crisis. In a show of confidence he promised China would buy more government bonds from needy states in the Eurozone. “The difficulties that have appeared in Europe are temporary,” said Wen. “At Europe’s time of difficulty, we reach out a helping hand.”
Beijing is reckoned to have purchased more euros than dollar assets in the first four months of this year.
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