News roundup

  • The latest growth forecasts from the World Bank put China behind the rest of the Asia-Pacific region for the first time in more than 30 years. In the forecasts, which were released on Tuesday, the full-year outlook for East Asia and the Pacific region was downgraded from 5% to 3.2%. But the bank expects the Chinese economy to grow just 2.8% this year. China’s strict adherence to its zero-Covid policy had disrupted industry and dampened domestic sales and exports, it said.
  • The yuan fell to its lowest level against the dollar in offshore trading on Wednesday since data first became available in 2011. The redback’s slide is another example of a currency weakening as a result of the strong US dollar, as well as the different paths China and the US are taking in response to economic issues at home, the BBC said. The People’s Bank of China has been easing interest rates to revive growth in an economy struggling with Covid lockdowns, while the US Federal Reserve is moving in the opposite direction as it tries to control inflation. “Do not bet on one-way appreciation or depreciation of the yuan, as losses will definitely be incurred in the long term,” the PBOC added in a statement.
  • International demand for goods from China is falling as the global economy slows, a senior official from the Chinese commerce ministry warned, although China’s foreign trade should still grow in the second half of this year. “The slowdown in external demand is the biggest uncertainty faced by China’s trade,” claimed Wang Shouwen, the vice commerce minister. “Our companies are reporting falling orders as the demand from major markets is declining.” Exports in US dollar terms expanded 7.1% last month, the weakest pace since April, Bloomberg reported. The cost of shipping goods from China has dropped to its lowest level in more than two years, the news agency added.
  • Universities are reducing the upcoming National Day holiday period and asking students not to travel to other cities, following warnings from the education ministry about Covid-19. Caixin has reported that a number of universities in Beijing have slashed the seven-day holiday by at least half on Covid concerns, ahead of the 20th National Party Congress, which will be held in the Chinese capital in mid-October.
  • At least 15 gigawatts of new coal-fired power capacity and another 30 million tonnes of coal-based iron-making capacity was approved by Chinese authorities in the first half of this year, despite falling power and steel demand over the period, new research claimed on Wednesday. Between $26-33 billion was committed in investment for the coal power and steel sectors in the first six months, the report from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said. “Although the ramp-up of coal might be a short-term policy adjustment, it poses a risk to China's long-term climate commitments,” added Xinyi Shen, a researcher from CREA.
  • Hong Kong made its way back to fourth spot among the world’s IPO markets for the first nine months of the year. Meanwhile, Shanghai-based Star Market ranks top, while Shenzhen-based ChiNext is in second place.
  • 40,000 Number of Chinese nationals to be deported from the Philippines after local authorities said they would shut down 175 online gambling firms operating illegally.
  • 82% Drop in land sales revenues for Chongqing’s local government in first seven months of this year. Local officials budgeted for land income of Rmb203.7 billion but actual sales were Rmb23.6 billion.
  • Zero Purchase taxes to be levied on electric cars next year. The Ministry of Finance has just announced the latest extension of the tax exemption, which has been in place since 2014.
  • 2,296 The number of delegates expected to attend the National Party Congress in Beijing next month. 619 are women, according to a count by the South China Morning Post, while 264 are from ethnic minority groups.

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