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Amanda Lee



Articles by Amanda Lee

Coronavirus supply chain disruptions easing for companies in south China

9 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Manufacturing supply chains in southern China have improved significantly since March when the country was still grappling with the coronavirus crisis, but companies are still reporting disruptions in terms of transport and logistics, a survey on Tuesday showed.More than 78 per cent of the 172 companies that took part in the American Chamber of Commerce in South China survey said they had no supply chain difficulties, an increase of 46 per cent since March.Of the 22 per cent of respondents that…

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China’s economic recovery continued in August, but analysts warn of ‘pent-up demand’ running out of steam

16 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Better-than-expected economic data out of China reaffirms that the world’s second-largest economy is continuing its strong recovery from the coronavirus health crisis, but analysts warn that household demand is likely to taper off in the near-term while tensions with the United States could put a dent in China’s exports.Industrial production, which gauges manufacturing and mining activity, grew in China by 5.6 per cent year on year in August, accelerating from 4.8 per cent in July.And retail…

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China’s container traffic grows in early September as export orders recover from coronavirus supply chain shock

17 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The slump in China’s worldwide trade showed further signs of recovery in the first two weeks of September as activity at major ports grew despite weaker global demand and the pressure of the relocation of supply chains, according to data from the China Ports & Harbours Association.In the first 10 days of September, combined international and domestic container traffic at Chinese ports rose 9 per cent from the same period a year earlier, with international activity growing by 16.5 per cent.In…

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Construction on China’s ‘city of the future’ highlights Beijing’s renewed zeal for ambitious state planning

19 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Countless towering cranes dominate the skyline in the Xiongan New Area of northeastern Hebei province, as construction ramps up at ground zero for one of China’s most ambitious projects – building a dream city from scratch.

China has vowed to spend billions on infrastructure projects this year in a bid to boost the nation’s economic recovery and stabilise the job market after the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Xiongan, located about a two-hour drive south of central Beijing, is in…

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Chinese ghost town rumbling back to life as free-trade zone, but is the second time a charm?

20 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Along the coast and a stone’s throw from the headquarters of Caofeidian’s Economic and Technological Development Zone, in Hebei’s Tangshan city, small groups of people hurriedly collect cockles before the tide returns.Around the government building, there are a series of Caofeidian Rural Commercial Bank advertisements hanging on street lights powered by solar and wind energy, enticing entrepreneurs to take out loans: “Achieve your dreams, start your business”, and “Loans for big firms of the…

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What is China’s social credit system and why is it controversial?

August 9, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s social credit system, by its wide definition, is a set of databases and initiatives that monitor and assess the trustworthiness of individuals, companies and government entities. Each entry is given a social credit score, with reward for those who have a high rating and punishments for those with low scores.The databases are managed by China’s economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the country’s court system.Most of…

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China’s bank regulator moves to rein in small lenders as Beijing fears financial risks

August 6, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s regulators are reining in small banks as concerns grow over broad risks to the country’s financial system that have been exacerbated in recent months by the coronavirus pandemic.Many of China’s small and medium-sized companies have been hit by the international health crisis. And as they struggle to repay debts, pressure is mounting on the country’s small lenders.“[Because of the] coronavirus epidemic and other factors, pressure is increasing on non-performing assets, due to the…

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China omits US dollar from forex trading fee waivers in bid to bolster yuan

August 5, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China is waiving transaction fees between the yuan and 12 currencies, including the Singapore dollar, Russia rouble and Korean won, for three years in its onshore foreign exchange market in a clear move to skirt the US dollar.China’s exchange regulator, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said in a notice on Monday that it was waiving fees associated with bidding and asking prices in interbank trading of the yuan and the dozen currencies from August 1.The other nine currencies…

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China’s economic recovery under threat from fresh coronavirus outbreaks and floods, analysts say

August 2, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Fresh clusters of coronavirus cases along with severe flooding may hold back China’s recovery from the pandemic as consumption and construction are likely to be hit, according to analysts.China avoided a recession after its economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, the first major economy to show a recovery from the damage caused by the coronavirus after its gross domestic production (GDP) shrank by 6.8 per cent in the first three months of the year.But consumption, which was…

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Belt and Road Initiative debt: how big is it and what’s next?

July 19, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]What is the Belt and Road Initiative?This ambitious plan involves connecting more than 70 countries on the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa via a series of rail, road and sea infrastructure projects, thus forming a “new Silk Road”. The goal for Beijing is to promote regional connections and economic integration, thereby expanding China’s economic and political influence.The initiative was introduced by President Xi Jinping during his 2013 visit to Kazakhstan. He initially called it “One…

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China puts US tensions aside to boost phase one trade deal, food security with record corn purchase

July 17, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has been able to put aside its growing tensions with the United States at least in the area of agricultural purchases, with a record purchase of US corn reinforcing the phase one trade deal as well as Beijing’s need to bolster its food security.The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Tuesday that China bought 1.762 million tonnes of corn for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year beginning in September, its largest-ever daily purchase of US corn and the fourth-largest US sale…

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China’s debt-fuelled county admits ‘reckless borrowing’ after video questions 40 billion yuan construction spree

July 15, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A county-level government in China has vowed to make changes after a viral online video raised questions over its debt-fuelled 40 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) construction spree that began in 2016.Since its release on Sunday, the How Dushan Burnt 40 billion video has been viewed over 27 million times on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.The 22-minute video, produced by Shanghai-based Guan Video, features some of the construction projects that have taken place in Dushan County…

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China cracks down on ‘themed towns’ in a bid to stop local governments wasting coronavirus stimulus funds

July 2, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Local Chinese governments will no longer be able to build the extravagant and controversial “themed towns” that popped up around the country after Beijing’s post-global financial crisis infrastructure splurge, the country’s state planner has announced.Instead, the government is demanding a return to “rationality” after a number of high profile failures added to concerns over regional economies wasting central government stimulus funds.The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said…

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Hong Kong’s role in funding Chinese tech firms could be cemented by US-China rivalry, analysts say

June 30, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The rivalry between China and the United States, including Washington’s increased scrutiny over Chinese companies, could cement Hong Kong’s role as the primary location to raise money for mainland technology firms, analysts said.Escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington over the Hong Kong national security law have raised questions over the future of the city as an international financial hub.But with US-listed firms fearful of losing access to American capital markets, the likes of…

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China county government censured over illicit tax collection in sign of local fiscal woes

June 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A county government in Hebei province has been found to have illicitly collected business fees and taxes following a central government investigation, highlighting the mounting financial pressure facing regional economies because of the coronavirus pandemic.Jing county carried out “unrealistic taxation tasks”, collected taxes in advance and forced businesses to donate in the name of poverty alleviation, the General Office of the State Council said on Sunday.The county government “blindly” set a…

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Shadow banking back in vogue in China as assets grow for the first time since 2017

June 24, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Informal lending by Chinese banks, so-called shadow banking, is back in vogue after two and half years of regulatory clampdown as Beijing pledges faster credit growth to rescue its coronavirus-hit economy, according to a new report.Overall shadow banking assets in China rose for the first time since 2017, a report published by American business and financial services company Moody’s on Wednesday showed.The report detailed how shadow banking assets in the world’s second largest economy grew 100…

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China’s banking system begins to crack at its grass roots as two bank runs take place within a week

June 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s US$40 trillion banking system is seeing growing signs of trouble at its grass roots with bank runs happening at two small local lenders last week, a sign that a mountain of debt and an unprecedented economic contraction has started to take a toll.Local governments and police in both Baoding city in Hebei province and Yangquan, a coal mine town in Shanxi province, last week pleaded with customers not to withdraw cash from local banks despite various unsubstantiated rumours.On Saturday,…

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India-China border dispute: tensions likely to increase scrutiny of Chinese investment, analysts say

June 19, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Restrictions on Chinese trade and investment in India are expected to increase following a deadly clash between troops along their shared border on Monday, analysts said.Local trade groups and officials in India are urging boycotts of Chinese-made products and new reviews of Chinese investment following the major escalation of a weeks-long standoff between the two countries in the western Himalayas.However, the size of Chinese trade and investment in the country is still relatively small, so…

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China out to offset coronavirus impact with construction boom, but sustainability in doubt

June 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Questions have been raised as to whether China can sustain the strong construction activity drive intended to aid its economic recovery after seemingly turning to tried and tested infrastructure and property construction to bolster growth and jobs.China’s industrial production data for May showed all categories of fixed asset investment picked up, with Beijing counting on investment in infrastructure and property to make up for weakness in the manufacturing sector and help the overall economy…

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China and US can still cooperate as competitors, Beijing’s former top trade negotiator says

June 14, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Despite growing tensions, China and the United States must find a way to cooperate because their economies are too intertwined to decouple, according to a former top Chinese trade negotiator.“At a time when the [coronavirus] pandemic is still threatening global cooperation, I think it’s even more important to uphold and carry forward a spirit of cooperation,” Long Yongtu, head of the Chinese team that negotiated the country’s 2001 entry into the World Trade Organisation, told a seminar in the…

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Coronavirus: China stimulus policies not enough to boost job growth, steady economy, experts warn

June 9, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China needs to do more to steady employment this year given the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and calls from some trade partners to decouple from the world’s second largest economy, a panel of government advisers and academics said on Tuesday.Beijing wants to keep the urban surveyed unemployment rate steady at about 6 per cent in 2020, while creating 9 million new jobs. But David Li Daokui, a professor at Tsinghua University and former adviser to China’s central bank, said the…

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China to bypass provinces with direct payments to cash-strapped local governments, but revenue problems remain

June 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China is planning to channel much of its stimulus funding directly to cash-strapped city and county governments to help revive the economy, a move that highlights the long-standing tax and spending problems between Beijing and local governments.Beijing will create a special central transfer mechanism to direct 2 trillion yuan (US$281.2 billion) – 1 trillion yuan from the central government budget and 1 trillion yuan in special off-budget treasury bonds – to local governments to provide them…

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China facing soybean dilemma as it tries to balance phase one trade deal with self-reliance

May 27, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s demand for soybeans is expected to rebound in 2020 but the question remains where the supply will come from as it attempts to move away from over reliance on imports but also meet its commitments under the phase one trade deal with the United States.There are growing concerns regarding China’s food security as the relationship with the US becomes volatile, and since the beginning of the trade war, China has been reinforcing self-reliance on its industries including manufacturing and…

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China’s private firms demand tighter oversight of local governments as virus causes spike in late payments

May 20, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China should establish a system to monitor the finances of cash-strapped local governments that fail to pay private businesses on time, fed up company executives say, a problem that is growing worse as the coronavirus ravages the economy.Governments with low creditworthiness scores could be punished, and jurisdictions banned from starting new projects, according to the proposals.Tax cuts to support growth and higher spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic have caused a spike in delayed…

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China sets out stall ahead of NPC with pledges for market-oriented, local government finance reforms

May 19, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has renewed its pledge to undertake market-oriented reforms of its economy and to better regulate local government finances ahead of what is expected to be lively debate at the meeting of the National People’s Congress this week on proper government policies to respond to the rising challenges in the domestic and foreign environments.The publication of the list of reform promises by the ruling Communist Party and the State Council, the government’s cabinet, came at a time when the world’s…

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China debt: how big is it, who owns it and what is next?

May 19, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]What is the nature of China’s debt? Broadly speaking, China’s debt can be divided into domestic debt and foreign debt.China’s domestic debt, denominated in yuan, consists of three components: corporate, household and government debt. Corporate debt includes borrowings by private sector and state-owned companies, while China’s public debt is a combination of national and local government debt. Household debt, meanwhile, is the combined debt of all people in a household, including consumer debt…

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Coronavirus: China doesn’t need big economic stimulus, advisers and former officials say

May 17, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China does not need to launch a large economic stimulus effort to address the damage being done by the coronavirus pandemic, a group of government advisers and former officials said at the weekend.In particular, they said, there was no need to copy the quantitative easing policy employed by a number of major central banks around the world.Beijing is expected to announce details of additional economic support measures at the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress this week.However,…

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Coronavirus: China to revive special ‘off-budget bonds’ as pandemic stokes debt dilemma

May 8, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Chinese government has found itself in a tough spot. After years of trying to clamp down on the nation’s high level of debt, it is now being forced to watch it balloon again to rescue its coronavirus-stricken economy.But to make sure the extra borrowing does not become a feature of government finances, Beijing is using an accounting sleight of hand to keep a new bond issue “off budget” – and not a part of deficit spending.Still, Beijing must be careful, analysts said, as the additional debt…

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Coronavirus: China should raise US$700 billion from special bonds to kick-start economy, top adviser says

May 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China should look to raise up to 5 trillion yuan (US$700.5 billion) from the sale of special bonds to stimulate the economy after the “unprecedented impact” of the coronavirus pandemic, a top government adviser said.The funds created by the debt sale – which would be in addition to already budgeted spending – were necessary to drive investment and restore consumer confidence, both of which had been ravaged by the health crisis, Liu Shangxi, president of the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences,…

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Coronavirus: US farm sales to China hit by bumper soybean crop from Brazil, supply chain disruptions

April 24, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The coronavirus pandemic and strong foreign competition are obstructing a US push to increase sales of farm products to China, even as Washington banks on Beijing buying more of its agricultural goods as part of the phase one trade deal signed in January.While analysts say the pandemic has not affected soybean shipments from the United States, cheaper beans from Brazil have made them less competitive. The South American country is also benefiting from its largest harvest on record.US pork…

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