World Newsletter

7 August 2020



President Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of bolstering top-level design and pooling wisdom from the public in devising China's blueprint for development between 2021 and 2025.


In an instruction published on Thursday, Xi said the country must encourage the general public and all sectors of society to offer advice on the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).


The drawing up of the blueprint is an important method of governance for the Communist Party of China, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.


He called for relevant departments to open their doors and draw on all useful opinions in devising the plan, which covers various aspects of social and economic development and is inextricably linked with the daily life and work of the people.


It is important to fully absorb the expectations of society, the people's wisdom, experts' opinions and experience at the grassroots levels into the blueprint while making concerted efforts during its compilation, he said.


The plan will be deliberated on at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in October before being submitted to the National People's Congress for approval next year.


The country already embarked on work to devise the plan in November when Premier Li Keqiang presided over a special meeting on the blueprint.


China has been using five-year plans to guide its social and economic development since 1953, and the plan also includes environmental targets and social welfare goals.





China will implement measures to further boost domestic demand and deepen reform and opening-up this year, in an effort to deal with the rising uncertainties and disruptions from the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the country's top economic regulator.


In the second half of 2020, the country will take key measures, such as relaxing curbs on new energy vehicle purchases, to spur domestic consumption, Ning Jizhe, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said in an interview with China Central Television.


Other measures include boosting consumption in the smart retail, online education and home appliance sectors, encouraging areas that have restrictions on car purchases to increase the number of car registrations as appropriate and offering subsidies for the purchase of new energy vehicles.


Ning said the country will push ahead with major investment in new infrastructure, new-type urbanization and key projects for national development such as transport and water infrastructure, and focus on weak links in fields such as public health, emergency medical supplies and energy.


"Private investment, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of overall investment in China, is becoming a key force to stabilize investment," he added.


"In the second half of this year, China will further improve the environment for private investment and adopt more supportive policies to encourage private sector engagement in public health, logistics, emergency stockpiles and other weak links. More efforts are also needed to facilitate bank lending for the private sector," Ning said.


China's GDP grew by 3.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, rebounding from the first quarter's contraction, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.


"China has the foundation as well as conditions to recover the economy," Ning said during an interview with People's Daily. "The trend of the Chinese economy toward stable long-term growth with sound momentum remains unchanged."


Experts said China's economy is on track to steady recovery, and it will surely be the first major economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.


They said China will fully implement a package of policies announced during this year's annual national legislative session in May, and the country will see steady and accelerated economic growth in the second half of this year.


A report released by the China Macroeconomy Forum research team forecast China's GDP growth could rebound to 7 percent in the second half of 2020, with full-year growth of 3 percent.


Shi Jinchuan, a professor of economics at Zhejiang University, said China needs a big push to support private companies, especially those hit badly by the globally spreading coronavirus outbreak.


"The government needs to introduce long-term supportive policies and especially encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to embrace transformation and upgrading, such as using internet sharing systems, e-commerce platforms and the industrial internet," Shi said at a recent CMF seminar.


To further support the economic recovery and cushion the coronavirus impact, more efforts are also needed to deepen reform and opening-up, foster a more business-friendly environment and attract more foreign capital to invest and develop business in China, said Ning from the NDRC.





China's total foreign trade volume up 6.5 percent to 2.93 trillion yuan in July, customs data showed on Friday.


The country's exports grew by 10.4 percent year-on-year to 1.69 trillion yuan in July, while its imports amounted to 1.24 trillion yuan, jumping by 1.6 percent from same period a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said.


In the first seven months of this year, foreign trade of goods reached 17.16 trillion yuan, down 1.7 percent from the same period last year and narrowing by 1.5 percentage points compared with the decrease in the first half, customs data showed.





Recent monetary policy moves by the central banks in China and the United States have fueled a rally in the major stock markets in both countries, with the bourses notching up impressive gains in turnover and trading, experts said on Thursday.


What is more surprising is that these bright spots have emerged at a time when the global economy is yet to fully recover from the COVID-19 epidemic, they said.


The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.26 percent higher at 3386.46 points, while the Shenzhen Component Index fell by 0.7 percent to 13863.13 points. However, the total trading volume on both bourses stood at 1.29 trillion yuan ($185.7 billion).



Analysts from CITIC Securities said that A-share market fluctuations could prove to be a window of opportunity for investors, especially shareholders of companies related to consumption, healthcare and nonferrous metals.


Xun Yugen, chief strategist of Haitong Securities, said the A-share market is likely to see additional capital inflows this year, largely in the form of individuals' savings, as equity investment is gaining traction among more people in China.


"From a macro perspective, there will be adequate liquidity in the market for the subsequent months. It is expected that net capital inflows into the A-share market will exceed 1.5 trillion yuan for the whole year," he said.


In the US, the major bourses closed near the highs of the intraday session on Wednesday as pharmaceutical companies reported progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and the US Congress continued to work out another economic relief package. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.52 percent to close at 10998.40 points on Wednesday, reporting an increase for six consecutive trading days. The technology-focused index exceeded 11000 points in the early trading hours on Wednesday, a new historic high.


Experts from the Institute of International Finance said that the depreciation of the US dollar and the relaxed monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve have helped to pillar the optimistic sentiment in the US bourses.


David Chao, global market strategist of Invesco Asia-Pacific, said the surge in the US stock markets was mainly due to the fiscal and monetary policies. The low interest rates have further lowered bond yields, offering investors an option other than equities.


Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, told Reuters Global Markets Forum that the US equities will not revisit the March lows. But he added that the next big correction of the US stock market will likely be triggered by "corporate defaults and other capital impairment events that central banks cannot shield against".


Wang Xinjie, investment strategy director of the wealth management department at Standard Chartered China, said the overall outlook for the US stock market in the next few months is positive. Favorable government policies, which form one major impetus, will remain unchanged before the US presidential election in November, he said.


In addition, the US will not impose any strict lockdown measures in the next few months. Therefore, companies will gradually resume normal operation and their stock market performance will further improve, said Wang.





From automobile to sports equipment and clothing industries, companies from diversified industries are working hard in China to meet the demand of customers from all over the globe.


Staff members of Wulong Sports Equipment Co Ltd in Shijiazhuang city, North China's Hebei province, with an annual production capacity of over 100 sets of sports equipment, are making products for 20 countries and regions including the US, Canada, Brazil and Japan.


Since Chinese companies resumed production, many preferential measures have been launched by local governments to help companies especially small- and micro-sized enterprises tackle financial and employment challenges.





China is soliciting ideas for payloads aboard its proposed missions to the moon, an asteroid and a comet, according to the China National Space Administration.


It is asking for primary, middle school and university students across the country to provide ideas for payloads that would fly aboard the Chang'e 7 probe to the moon, and on another spacecraft to the asteroid 2016HO3 and the comet 133P.


The solicitation aims to arouse students' interest in science and inspire them to explore the universe, said the administration.


The space administration, together with six organizations including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, issued a notice about the solicitation in late July.


The solicitation remains open until Oct 31. Students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are also welcome to offer ideas.


Winners will be awarded with prize money and invited to witness on-site spacecraft launches, according to the notice.


In 2019, administration officials announced the Chang'e 7 mission plan, which will carry out surveys around the South Pole of the moon, including studying terrain and landform, physical composition, as well as the space environment in the region.


The asteroid mission was also unveiled last year. According to previous reports, China will send a probe to fly around the asteroid 2016HO3 and then land on it to collect samples. The probe will then fly back to the proximity of Earth and release a capsule to return the samples. After that, the probe will continue its journey. With the assistance of the gravity of Earth and Mars, it will finally arrive at the main asteroid belt and orbit comet 133P.





The flash explosion at a chemical plant in Hubei province was due to improper cleaning procedures in the facility, according to a circular released by the Hubei provincial department of emergency management on Wednesday.


The explosion occurred on Monday in a workshop of an organic silicon company in the city of Xiantao, claiming six lives and injuring four people.


According to the investigation, the direct cause of the accident was that the operator didn't comprehensively recognize the safety risks or strictly obey the parking safety measures while cleaning a layered tower at the chemical plant, the circular said.


"The accident mainly resulted from the company's chaotic safety management. The safety law was not implemented," it said.


The ongoing extreme weather in midsummer easily results in safety production accidents in the dangerous chemicals industry.


Affected by both the COVID-19 epidemic and massive floods, most chemical enterprises chose to conduct maintenance, parking and irregular operations in August.


Given the concentrated safety risks, the provincial department of emergency management urged chemical companies to strictly implement safety regulations, especially the supervision of special operations.


"The whole process of special operations should be video recorded and reserved for three months before uploading to a provincial information platform," it said.


The department on Wednesday also issued a circular demanding enterprises motivate their employees to summarize the lists of irregular operations and better recognize the potential safety risks. Workers must obey stringent safety rules amid irregular operation and take emergency measures at once if they find abnormal situations.


Companies specializing in dangerous chemicals are supposed to enhance safety management in the special period by further preventing fire, blasts, thunder, static and toxication. Meanwhile, chemical equipment should be regularly inspected and maintained to prevent accidents, according to the circular.


Tuesday's massive explosion in Lebanon's capital Beirut, which has so far claimed more than 100 lives and wounded thousands, cast a spotlight on the increasing safety risks in China, a big player in the chemical industry with large numbers of ports, harbors and warehouses that involve dangerous chemicals.


The characteristics of the production devices and the mental traits of operators during the hot summer should also be taken into consideration, it added.


The Ministry of Emergency Management plans to launch a national inspection on the safety of dangerous chemical storage during a video conference on Wednesday.


The ministry has organized several supervision teams to inspect 7,600 dangerous chemical enterprises and 22,000 major dangerous sources nationwide, according to a notice released by the ministry.





Data manager has become a hot position in job recruitment, People's Daily reported on Friday.


Some enterprises choose big data to boost management and technology in an effort to improve the quality of management.


The job descriptions from logistics, internet of vehicles and online education enterprises involve the following: collaborating to manage data assets, providing data support to business departments, turning business scenarios to data products, extracting product functionalities via standardization and automation to analyze, and offering high-quality suggestions for decision-making. This shows that the work by data managers has gradually covered decision-making, operations, production and evaluation in a company, said the People's Daily.


Given the acceleration in the growth in the value of data, and the continuous optimization of the digital industrial structure, data managers have become a breakthrough position witnessing the digital transformation of companies.


Digitization is gradually becoming part of the core competitiveness for enterprises, as it not only brings new business growth, which can continuously help expand the market space, but it also begins to change the modes of production and management from the bottom.


In addition to creating new industrial forms, big data can also accelerate integration with traditional sectors and industries to promote transformation and upgrading and create more economic benefits.


Currently, China's digital economy development still leans toward the online consumption sector; plus, the digital industrial chain is not yet sound, and the transformation of traditional industries faces certain obstacles, said the People's Daily. However, as the country continues to develop new infrastructure, and 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and internet of things are gradually maturing, the industrial internet will embrace unprecedented development opportunities.


Previously, efforts to accelerate and fuel the digital transformation were launched by the National Development and Reform Commission, along with other government departments, leading enterprises, financial institutions, research institutes and industrial associations. With further policies and measures to implement, the development of digital transformation for Chinese enterprises will enter the fast lane, the People's Daily said.





What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. - Adlai Stevenson

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