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Amanda Lee



Articles by Amanda Lee

China debt concerns mounting as Beijing shifts attention to hidden local government financing

4 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Concerns are mounting over how local governments in China will pay back so-called hidden debts raised through self-issued bonds, especially as Beijing is increasing controls to prevent a meltdown in its largely state-dominated financial system.After years of poor infrastructure returns, Beijing has flagged concerns over local government financing vehicles (LGFVs), which are typically entities set up by authorities to fund infrastructure projects.US rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said…

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Mainland China bans Taiwan wax and sugar apple imports as cross-strait relations continue to worsen

5 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Mainland China has banned imports of sugar apples and wax apples from Taiwan from Monday, citing biosafety fears over plant pests.It follows a similar measure earlier this year to ban imports of pineapples from Taiwan amid ongoing cross-strait tensions.The General Administration of Customs in China said in a notice that Planococcus minor, a bug that feeds on a wide variety of agricultural crops and plants, has been found on sugar and wax apples from Taiwan “on multiple occasions” this year…

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What will form the ‘foundation’ as China moves towards overtaking the US to become the world’s biggest economy?

19 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Described as the “foundation” that will determine China’s “strength and its future position in the world”, manufacturing is once again taking over as the main engine of economic growth that could help challenge the United States as the world’s biggest economy.Amid rising competition with both developed and developing countries, China is renewing its effort to reboot its manufacturing sector, while moving away from its old playbook of relying on property and infrastructure spending to grow its…

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China to step up aviation self-reliance by 2025 amid US tensions, Shanghai to manufacture key engine parts

20 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Efforts by China to make its aviation industry more self-reliant will increase in the next five years, with plans in place to manufacture key parts for commercial engines in Shanghai by 2025.China has also already started to produce a new wide-bodied passenger jet with Russia – the CR929 – amid growing restrictions from the aviation industry in the United States, according to a development plan released by the Shanghai government this week.Shanghai is already home to the Commercial Aircraft…

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China’s coronavirus strategy deals blow to aviation sector, but could be shot in the arm for home-grown planes

27 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]With China intent on sticking with its zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy, the recovery of its domestic aviation industry remains uncertain.Analysts have said loss-making airlines may be forced to push back the deliveries of new foreign-made planes, meaning China will have to boost production of domestically made aircraft to manage growing costs.“The outlook for [domestic air travel] is another cautious year, especially with the emergence of highly infectious new Covid variants causing more…

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China debt: Guangdong, Shenzhen eye foreign capital boost via offshore bond sales in Hong Kong and Macau

August 25, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In a bid to tap into foreign investments and boost the local economy, China’s southern tech hub and mass-manufacturing powerhouse are planning to issue offshore bonds in Hong Kong and Macau – marking the first direct offshore debt sales by local-level authorities in the country.The Shenzhen Finance Bureau plans to sell up to 5 billion yuan (US$772 million) worth of bonds via Hong Kong. Meanwhile, provincial finance authorities for Guangdong say an unspecified amount of bonds will be sold via…

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China’s economy at an ‘inflection point’ as Xi Jinping embarks on sweeping regulatory crack down

August 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The regulatory storm sweeping across China’s economy has raised concerns about the scale of government intervention in local markets, while some analysts question whether the changes are enough to boost innovation and ensure “quality growth” amid an increasingly challenging external environment.In recent weeks, Beijing has unleashed a flurry of new regulations for internet-oriented tech companies, private education firms and overseas listings, disrupting global markets and triggering huge…

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China’s local governments splurge to lure aviation industry amid heightened competition with US

August 13, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Local governments in China are pouring resources into the country’s aviation industry to deliver on Beijing’s goal of self-sufficiency, as competition with the United States heats up.The number of industrial estates dedicated to aviation surged to a record high of 90 last year from 39 in 2012, according to data from Qianzhan Industry Research Institute.“At present, many local governments are actively planning the construction of a general aviation industry base,” said Tsinghua University in a…

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Airbus’ edge over Boeing in China under threat as Comac’s new C919 jet readies for take off

August 8, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Despite investing heavily in aircraft assembly facilities in China, Airbus may soon see its edge over rival Boeing eaten away as the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) is expected to enter the narrow-body plane market with its C919 jet next year.Both Airbus and Boeing assemble jets in China for the domestic market, savvy political moves to help them each carve out a portion of the nation’s vast and rapidly growing aviation market. But they will soon have to share the…

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China’s debt reduction like putting the ‘genie back in the bottle’, but can it succeed to aid the economy?

August 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the third part in a series of stories looking at China’s economic outlook in the second half of 2021 as it continues its recovery from a coronavirus-hit 2020.

China has long relied on the old playbook of investing in infrastructure projects to boost its economy, particularly its high-speed railway network that is the largest in the world. And Beijing even said at the start of the year that its high-speed rail network could nearly double in size over the next 15 years.

But if anything…

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China jobs: is Beijing’s retreat from state-owned enterprise reform holding back job growth?

July 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the second in a series of stories on China’s job market, looking at its history, the role of migrant workers, inequality and the future for its graduates entering the workforce.As former executive Tony Dong Bin started his first job in 1997, China’s government began its biggest ever reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), leading to tens of millions of full-time workers being laid off.In the late 1990s, less than a third of China’s SOEs were profitable, while state banks were watching…

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China sees Pittsburgh as role model for industrial transformation, eyeing hi-tech shift from rust-belt roots

July 25, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s old northeastern rust-belt province of Jilin is looking for a bit of inspiration in the US city of Pittsburgh – the one-time steel capital that gradually transformed into a hub for advanced technology companies.

This type of economic transformation forms a key part of President Xi Jinping’s dual-circulation strategy, which aims to cut China’s dependence on overseas markets and technology in its long-term development – a shift brought on by a deepening rift with the US.

In a round…

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China coal imports unlikely to increase, state reserves release aimed at steadying prices amid strong activity

July 15, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The biggest release of coal from China’s state reserves this year is aimed at steadying surging prices on the back of strong industrial activity, although the move is unlikely to lead to a significant increase in imports, analysts said.China will release more than 10 million tonnes of coal from its state reserves, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Thursday, with the potential for further releases in line with market demand.Coal has been released from state reserves…

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China’s tech ‘not state-of-the-art’, but it is what emerging markets can afford, and China is already there

July 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Increasing hostility and challenges by developed countries will not deter China from boosting hi-tech investment under its grand infrastructure-connectivity plan known as the Belt and Road Initiative, according to analysts.Their comments came after European Union foreign ministers agreed this week to launch a global infrastructure plan linking Europe with the world. This followed deals involving India and Japan, and a similar plan by the Group of Seven (G7) nations to rival China’s ambitious…

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China implores US firms to invest more in northeast rust-belt region near Russia, North Korea

July 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China wants American firms to invest more in its old industrial base of Jilin province, which borders both Russia and North Korea, to help rejuvenate the state-dominated region amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington.Dozens of corporate executives from the United States attended a round-table discussion in Jilin’s capital, Changchun, on Thursday. A total of 55 American companies were represented, including the likes of GE, Honeywell and Cargill.Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of the…

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China’s retail ‘coma’ set to weigh on economic growth amid increasingly tight credit controls

June 29, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s economic growth is on course to lose steam in the coming quarter amid Beijing’s increasingly tight credit controls and the slow recovery in consumption, which may drag down growth next year, according to reports from the World Bank and US-based research firm China Beige Book.The World Bank on Tuesday maintained its growth forecast for China’s economy at 8.5 per cent for 2021, expecting the rate to moderate to 5.4 per cent in 2022 as a result of diminishing fiscal and monetary support…

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China’s debt-laden local governments struggle to secure refinancing as investors grow wary of default risks

June 24, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s local governments and state firms are struggling to refinance their debt as investors shun them over a lack of support from Beijing, with bigger defaults likely to take place, analysts say.Among Chinese state firms, the value of defaults has more than tripled over the past three years and the number of nonpayments more than doubled over the same period, a trend that is set to continue, Standard & Poors Global Ratings said in a report released on Wednesday.“A trend of bigger individual…

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China’s corn imports set to reach record levels this year, as high prices boost demand for substitutes

June 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s corn imports are tipped to reach a record high this year, but elevated prices for the widely-used animal feed are also boosting demand for alternative grains, analysts said.The world’s largest importer of corn bought a total of 3.16 million tonnes from around the world in May, a 395.3 per cent jump from the same period last year, and up from 1.85 million tonnes in April, according Chinese customs data released last week.Between January and May, it imported 11.73 million tonnes of corn,…

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China’s slowing railway investment contributing to signs that economic growth is losing steam, analysts say

June 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Investment in China’s unprofitable rail sector has slowed as Beijing clamps down on excess debt, contributing to signs that growth of the world’s second-largest economy has begun to lose steam, according to analysts.But despite Beijing’s debt concerns, it is likely to expand fiscal stimulus in the second half of the year to ensure that growth does not slow too much, they said.China’s railway investment between January and May dipped to 203.6 billion yuan (US$31.5 billion) – 8 per cent below the…

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China climbs list of world’s most competitive economies, as Hong Kong and Singapore slide

June 17, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s economy is getting more globally competitive as a result of its success in managing the coronavirus pandemic, while Hong Kong’s has been dragged down by a deteriorating labour market and a decline in international investment, Switzerland’s IMD business school said in a report released on Thursday.The Chinese economy came in at 16th in the 2021 IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, up from 20th last year, the biggest jump among Asian economies. Hong Kong was ranked at seventh, down from No…

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China’s holiday box office plummets to 7-year low as film industry struggles to rebound from coronavirus pandemic

June 15, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s box office revenue over the most recent three-day holiday period plummeted to its lowest level in seven years amid a new coronavirus outbreak in the populous province of Guangdong, raising questions about the recovery of the nation’s film industry. Box office sales for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday that ended on Monday grossed 465 million yuan (US$72.6 million), the lowest tally since 2014, when Chinese cinema-goers spent 439 million yuan on film tickets over the long weekend,…

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China food security: soybean imports ‘exceptionally large’ as pig population nears pre-African swine fever level

June 13, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s soybean imports increased significantly in the first five months of the year, in line with a recovery in the domestic hog population, but domestic demand for the crop looks to be more modest in the coming months amid rising commodity prices.China bought a total of 38.23 million tonnes of soybeans from January to May. The world’s largest soybean importer spent US$19.35 billion on the crop, up 44.2 per cent from the same period last year, according to Chinese customs data last week.Its…

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China inflation worries hang over store owners already struggling with weak consumer demand

June 8, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Faced with global commodity prices that show no signs of retreating, store owners at Beijing’s Sanyuanli market are facing the possibility that inflation may add pressure onto China’s already weak consumer demand.With the coronavirus having weakened local demand since last year, the prices of some products such as seafood and meat have risen recently, partly due to seasonal factors, and owners are unable — or in some cases unwilling – to pass on the increased costs to customers.“Usually around…

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China’s state-driven economic model may be limiting investment in aviation industry

June 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s state-led development model is making it increasingly difficult to attract foreign investment and secure advanced technology for its commercial aviation industry, analysts have warned.The country’s medium and long-term economic plans include ambitious targets for the global expansion of its aviation and aerospace industries, but so far, the state-directed model, which relies on subsidies for domestic firms and technology transfers, has not made a significant impact.The C919, a single…

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China debt: has it changed in 2021 and how big is it now?

June 5, 2021

[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. Public debt is a combination of national and local government debt.Household debt is the combined debt of all people in a household, including consumer debt and mortgage loans.China’s…

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Coronavirus outbreak in southern China forces organisers to postpone Shanghai Air Expo

June 2, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has postponed an international aviation and aerospace expo in Shanghai following a surge of Covid-19 infections in the southern province of Guangdong, highlighting ongoing challenges for businesses operating during the pandemic.“Due to the recent outbreak, some scheduled exhibitors from high and medium-risk regions cannot come to Shanghai to participate in the exhibition,” organisers of the Shanghai International Aerospace Technology and Equipment Exhibition said in a statement on…

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China’s debt clamp down stokes risk of first local government debt defaults

May 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The risk of a wave of defaults among China’s heavily indebted local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) for the first time is causing jitters in financial markets after Beijing signalled early this year there would be no bailouts.The central government set a modest economic growth target of above 6 per cent for 2021, but it highlighted debt reduction as one of five major tasks this year as it seeks to cut excess housing inventory and reduce overcapacity in certain sectors.Beijing’s renewed…

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China’s debt clamp down stokes risk of first local government credit defaults

May 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The risk of a wave of defaults among China’s heavily indebted local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) for the first time is causing jitters in financial markets after Beijing signalled early this year there would be no bailouts.The central government set a modest economic growth target of above 6 per cent for 2021, but it highlighted debt reduction as one of five major tasks this year as it seeks to cut excess housing inventory and reduce overcapacity in certain sectors.Beijing’s renewed…

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China population: state pension fund under pressure from ‘unprecedented challenge’ as nation gets older

May 13, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the fifth in a series of stories about China’s once-a-decade census conducted in 2020. The world’s most populous nation released its national demographic data on Tuesday, and the figures will have far-reaching social policy and economic implications.Zhao Baidong, a 28-year-old property agent in Beijing, would like to travel when he retires, but with China and its state pension system facing a “challenge unprecedented in human history” as its population gets older, he is concerned he…

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China-Australia tensions ratchet up unease in Beijing about surging iron ore prices

May 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China may step up efforts to reduce steel demand as authorities and industry groups grow increasingly uneasy about high iron ore prices amid a trade dispute with its biggest supplier Australia, according to analysts.China’s state-dominated steel sector, represented by China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), has been sounding the alarm about surging prices, urging the central government last week to help with market “malfunctions” and improve policies in the futures market.“I don’t think the…

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