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Andrew Mullen



Articles by Andrew Mullen

Best of 2021: Joe Biden, China-Australia relations dominate most read economy stories of the year

16 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]1. Will Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan’ be a boon for China, or could excessive liquidity lead to financial trouble?(Orange Wang and Amanda Lee – January 15, 2021)Latest US coronavirus stimulus package would put even more liquidity into global economy, and much could end up in China, where investment returns are promisingAnalysts say US president-elect’s proposal could further boost Chinese exports, but they also warn of hot money inflows creating dangerous asset bubblesUS…

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What is RCEP, the world’s largest free trade deal that is under way?

17 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free-trade agreement between the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) members plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.The deal took effect in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam on January 1.South Korea will follow on February 1, but Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines have yet to ratify the deal.According to a report in The…

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China manufacturing activity continues to expand, beating exceptions in December

17 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s factory activity expectantly grew again in December, data released on Friday showed.The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 50.3 in December, up from 50.1 in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.The figure was above the median forecast of a Bloomberg survey of analysts, which had predicted a slight fall to 50.China’s factory activity had unexpectedly returned to expansion in November after seven months of decline due to an…

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China, Australia agree to move ahead with WTO wine-tariff dispute that has cost 100 million litres in sales

27 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s decision to allow its dispute with Australia over Beijing’s import tariffs imposed on Australian wine – costing the industry 100 million litres in sales – highlights both a willingness and reluctance to adhere to World Trade Organization (WTO) principles, according to a trade expert.Canberra lodged a formal complaint with the WTO in June after China imposed duties of between 116.2 and 218.4 per cent on Australian wine in containers of up to two litres in March.The WTO agreed to…

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China cuts benchmark loan rate for first time in almost 2 years amid mounting economic pressures

28 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China cut its benchmark lending rate for the first time in almost two years on Monday providing support to an economy showing strain from a property slump and sporadic coronavirus virus outbreaks.The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) – on which most new and outstanding loans are based – was cut from 3.85 per cent to 3.8 per cent at the December fixing, while the five-year LPR – which is a reference for mortgages – remained at 4.65 per cent, according to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).The LPR…

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China inflation: consumer price growth accelerates due to rising food costs, but factory-gate prices ‘level off’

December 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Rising food costs pushed China’s consumer inflation up last month to the highest level in almost a year and a half, but with “price pressures generally easing”, once sky-high factory-gate inflation eased in November.China’s official consumer price index (CPI) rose by 2.3 per cent in November from a year earlier, up from a rise of 1.5 per cent in October, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday. This was below the expectations of analysts in a Bloomberg survey, but was the…

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China’s inflation: why was official database updated with more historical data?

November 16, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Historically, when it comes to statistics, China’s record is not great. It has been criticised for altering statistics, even by internal economists, and there have been reports of cases in which local officials have altered economic figures in the interest of political gains.So, why has China added almost four years of figures to its producer price index (PPI) database?In the middle of October, official data released showed China’s producer price index (PPI) rose by 10.7 per cent in September…

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China inflation: consumers set to feel ‘stronger’ knock-on effect of rising factory-gate prices

November 10, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]There are early signs that upstream producers in China may have started to pass on rising costs to downstream businesses – a shift that was underscored when both the consumer and factory-gate indices beat expectations on Wednesday, although analysts do not expect this to be a long-term trend.China’s consumer inflation index (CPI) last month rose by 1.5 per cent from a year earlier, up from 0.7 per cent in September, although analysts say the “pass-through” of a higher producer price index (PPI)…

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China consumer inflation up amid food supply concerns as factory-gate prices surge again

November 10, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s consumer prices rose only slightly last month amid public concerns over food shortages, but factory-gate inflation surged to the highest level in 26 years, data released on Wednesday showed.China’s official consumer price index (CPI) rose by 1.5 per cent in October from a year earlier, up from a rise of 0.7 per cent in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.This was above the Bloomberg survey median, which had predicted a rise to 1.4 per cent. Beijing has set a 2021 CPI…

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5 things you need to know about China’s power crisis

October 28, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]1. China’s state planner is weighing steps to tame pricesChina’s state planner has met coal producers and an industry body to discuss measures such as setting price levels and ways to better identify companies engaged in “profiteering”, it said on Thursday, aiming to tame prices during a severe power crunch.Coal futures have nearly halved from a record high on October 19 after the talks on price intervention at Wednesday’s meeting held by the powerful National Development and Reform Commission…

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What does a stronger US dollar-yuan exchange rate mean, and why is Beijing worried?

October 21, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Why is the US dollar-yuan exchange rate so important?The exchange rate between the Chinese yuan and the US dollar is an indicator of relative economic strength and also has a direct impact on each nation’s economy by affecting the value of imports and exports.In general, a stronger exchange rate makes a country’s exports more expensive, which can reduce demand for them. But a stronger exchange rate makes imports cheaper, potentially increasing demand in the longer run and helping to hold down…

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China GDP: how will third quarter growth fare amid a power crisis, sluggish consumption and property curbs?

October 15, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Buffeted on all sides by a property slump, energy crisis, weak consumer sentiment and soaring raw material costs, China’s third quarter economic growth could drop to as low as 4.9 per cent, analysts say.Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday China has “adequate tools” to tackle the economic challenges facing the country, including the nation’s current power crisis and high commodity prices.But after posting 7.9 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter, economists have…

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China inflation: record factory prices amid power crunch add to risks facing world’s No 2 economy

October 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s record-high level of factory gate inflation has increased the risk of stagflation, but surging coal prices that have forced factories to charge more for their products are unlikely to keep rising at the same pace for much longer, analysts said.China’s energy crisis is accentuating economic problems posed by elevated coal prices, which helped push the producer price index (PPI) from 9.5 per cent year on year growth in August to a new high of 10.7 per cent in September.The increase in…

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China inflation: factory-gate prices rise at fastest pace on record due to surging coal costs amid power crisis

October 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Factory-gate inflation in China rose to the highest level on record in September, data released on Thursday showed.The producer price index (PPI), which reflects the prices factories charge wholesalers for their products, rose by 10.7 per cent in September from a year earlier, up from a gain of 9.5 per cent in August, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.This was above expectations of analysts in a Bloomberg survey, who had predicted a rise to 10.5 per cent.The reading in September is…

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Xinjiang timeline: key dates, events as China denies Western forced labour allegations

October 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the sixth and final part in a series of stories looking at China’s Xinjiang province and how the far-western region is coping economically under a series of US sanctions over alleged human rights violations and the widespread use of forced labour.Since 2017, China has faced international criticism over alleged forced labour, genocide and other abuses against the Uygur Muslim population in Xinjiang province. Beijing has continually denied these allegations.“Since at least March 2017,…

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China power crisis weighs on manufacturing activity, drops to lowest level since coronavirus outbreak

September 30, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Activity in China’s manufacturing sector contracted in September due to “low sentiment of high energy-consuming industries”, data released on Thursday showed, but the services sector bounced back strongly from coronavirus outbreaks last month.The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) – a survey of sentiment among factory owners – fell to 49.6 in September from 50.1 in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.The figure was below the median forecast of a…

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China’s US trade-deal purchases remain more than 30 per cent short of target, PIIE report says

September 28, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China remained on course to be more than 30 per cent short of its 2021 commitments under the phase-one trade deal with the United States with four months left, according to the latest analysis of trade data between the world’s two largest economies.The US and China signed their long-awaited deal in January 2020, and the terms outlined in the agreement took effect one month later, with China committed to buying an additional US$200 billion worth of goods and services over 2020-21, relative to…

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China inflation: commodity costs push factory-gate prices to rise at fastest pace since August 2008

September 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Factory-gate price inflation in China remained high in August, rising to the highest level in 13 years, data released on Thursday showed.The producer price index (PPI), which reflects the prices that factories charge wholesalers for their products, rose by 9.5 per cent in August from a year earlier, from a gain of 9 per cent in July the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.This was the fastest pace since August 2008 and was also above expectations, as a Bloomberg survey of analysts had…

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China’s services activity ‘plunges’ after coronavirus flare-ups

September 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Activity in China’s services sector “plunged” in August due to a series of coronavirus outbreaks, a private survey showed on Friday, matching the findings in the official data released earlier this week.The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) – a gauge of sentiment among smaller, private firms – fell to 46.7 in August from 54.9 in July. It was the first time that services activity shrank since April 2020.The result was well below expectations by analysts polled by Bloomberg,…

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China’s economic recovery woes increase as services sector activity contracts

August 31, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s services sector activity contracted in August to the second-lowest level on record, further adding to evidence of a slowing economy after the key indicator missed expectations.The official non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) – which measures morale in the services and construction sectors – fell to 47.5 in August, from 53.3 in July, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Tuesday.The figure was below the median forecast of a Bloomberg survey of…

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US-China trade war timeline: key dates and events since July 2018

August 29, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The US-China trade war began in July 2018 under the administration of then-US president Donald Trump, eventually leading to tariffs on some US$550 billion of Chinese goods and US$185 billion of US goods.

A phase-one trade deal between the two sides was signed in January 2020, although relations have not significantly improved under the administration of US President Joe Biden.

06/07/2018: US-China trade war begins

US places 25 per cent duties on around US$34 billion of imports from China,…

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What is China’s common-prosperity strategy that calls for an even distribution of wealth?

August 25, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]What is common prosperity?At an economic leadership meeting in August, Chinese leaders agreed that China must pursue a goal of “common prosperity” – where citizens share in the opportunity to be wealthy – as the main objective for the next stage of its development, while stressing the need to maintain an airtight economy that allows for that smoothing out of wealth.According to the meeting notes, common prosperity was described as a means to “properly deal with the relationship between…

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China inflation: factory-gate price growth quickened in July, higher than expected

August 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Factory-gate price inflation in China remained high in July, data released on Monday showed.

The producer price index (PPI), which reflects the prices that factories charge wholesalers for their products, rose by 9 per cent in July from a year earlier, from a gain of 8.8 per cent in June the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

This was above expectations, as a Bloomberg survey of analysts had predicted a rise of 8.6 per cent.

“The price increase of industrial products expanded…

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Canada escalates WTO case against China’s blocks on its canola seed exports

July 27, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Canada has succeeded at the second time of asking to establish a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to look into China’s restrictions placed on its canola seed exports, which have been in effect for over two years.China suspended imports of canola seeds from Richardson International and Viterra in March 2019, while also making shipments from other Canadian firms subject to enhanced inspections, due to the detection of pests.The first attempt by Canada to establish a panel was blocked by China…

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China jobs: inside the world’s biggest workforce

July 25, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the first 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.China has always placed a high priority on support for the job market, seeing a high level of employment as being the main ingredient in overall social stability. In addition, the working element of the country’s 1.4 billion population is crucial to driving economic growth.A major concern for Beijing is ensuring…

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China’s exports of coronavirus-critical medical products nearly tripled in 2020, with US$105 billion in goods shipped

July 2, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China exported the largest amount of coronavirus-critical medical products in 2020, with the US$105 billion worth of equipment shipped overseas – almost three times the level seen a year earlier, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).Global trade in medical goods hit US$2.3 trillion in 2020 as the world responded to the coronavirus outbreak, which was first reported at the end of 2019 and declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization at the end of January 2020…

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China’s US trade deal commitments more than 30 per cent short of year-to-date target, report says

June 30, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China was more than 30 per cent short of its 2021 commitments under the phase-one trade deal with the United States during the first five months of the year, according to new analysis of trade data between the world’s two largest economies.The US and China signed their long-awaited deal in January 2020, and the terms outlined in the agreement took effect one month later.As part of it, China committed to buying an additional US$200 billion worth of goods and services over 2020-21, relative to…

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China blocks Canadian move to set up WTO probe into ‘serious, negative’ canola seed restrictions

June 29, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China as expected blocked Canada’s first request to establish a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to investigate Beijing’s restrictions placed on imports of Canadian canola seeds.China suspended imports of canola seeds from Richardson International and Viterra in March 2019, while also making shipments from other Canadian firms subject to enhanced inspections, claiming that pests were detected.Canada claims discussions with China in October 2019 “failed to settle the dispute” and confirmed…

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Canada’s canola farmers hope WTO complaint against China can ease costly blocks on seed exports

June 27, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Canola farmers in Canada hope the escalation of a complaint over restrictions placed on its seed exports to China, which have been in effect for over two years, can help resolve the issue that is estimated to have already cost the industry up to US$1.9 billion.China suspended imports of canola seeds from Richardson International and Viterra in March 2019, while also making shipments from other Canadian firms subject to enhanced inspections, claiming that pests were detected.The case will now be…

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