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Ji Siqi



Articles by Ji Siqi

How China’s power crunch creates chaos, uncertainty in hardest-hit northeast rust belt

5 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A decision by the regional grid operator to suddenly cut off his power late last month sent a Dandong fishmonger into a panic, mulling whether he would have to give away his seafood before it went bad.The outage was relatively brief for Mr Wang – a few hours – but for a business owner whose livelihood depends on freezers, power outages can have an immediate and dangerous impact.“I had to sell all my seafood at much lower prices on the next day,” Mr Wang lamented from his coastal hometown in the…

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China-US shipping rates begin to cool as power crisis forces production cuts, but freight costs still elevated

11 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The cost of shipping between China and the United States has fallen after months of steep increases, as orders for year-end holidays slow and a power crunch in the world’s second biggest economy disrupts production of goods, new data shows.Though prices are still far higher than this time last year, costs for shipping containers have fallen by more than 51 per cent on some routes between September and October, according to freight forwarding platform Shifl.The spot rate for shipping a 40-foot…

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Xinjiang exports rattled by coronavirus outbreaks in Central Asia as risks from US sanctions loom

13 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the third 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.As the manager of a cross-border logistics company at Horgos Port on the border of China’s far west Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Kazakhstan, Zhang Junke has been struggling with dwindling business for the past year and a half.One of his biggest…

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China’s energy curbs blunt demand for bauxite after Guinea coup stokes supply fears

24 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Business as usual at Guinea’s bauxite mines following a coup early this month and China’s campaign to reduce domestic energy consumption have mitigated concerns about supply shortages of the mineral – a key ingredient in aluminium, analysts say.The tonnage of ships calling at Guinean ports for bauxite exports remained stable in the first three weeks of September, dropping only two per cent compared to the same period in August, said a report published by Clarksons Research on Thursday.The…

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China’s busiest container-shipping ports in Shanghai, Ningbo begin to reopen after Typhoon Chanthu

September 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Terminals at two of the world’s busiest container ports began resuming operations on Tuesday after briefly shutting down due to Typhoon Chanthu, but analysts warn that delays and disruptions remain a broader concern in the global supply chain.Flights and rail services in Shanghai also gradually started returning to normal on Tuesday, local authorities said.Both Shanghai Port and Ningbo-Zhoushan Port are now handling laden containers at several terminals, according to official statements.Chanthu…

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China may turn to Australia for bauxite after Guinea coup stokes fears of global supply disruptions, say analysts

September 7, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China, both a producer and major consumer of aluminium, could turn to Australia for more supplies of the key raw material bauxite after a coup in Guinea threatened to disrupt global supply, analysts said.Guinea and Australia are two of the world’s biggest bauxite producers, but the military takeover in the West African country has raised the risk of interruptions to production capacity and supply chains.Prices of aluminium on London Metal Exchange surged to US$2,745 a tonne on Monday, hitting a…

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China anti-corruption probe finds local governments are still ‘fabricating’ economic data

September 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Further cases of economic data fraud by local governments in China have been reported by the country’s top anti-corruption agency following a two-year investigation.The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) conducted two separate rounds of statistical inspections, covering 19 of mainland China’s 31 provincial jurisdictions, as well as nine departments within the State Council.A report published on Thursday by the official newspaper of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the…

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China’s shipping-container costs hit all-time highs, and shortage will further push up prices in coming months

August 31, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Prices of shipping containers are on course to keep rising for the rest of the year amid strong global trade demand, according to analysts.As of last week, the Drewry World Container Index, which provides weekly assessments of container freight rates, surged for the 19th consecutive week to US$9,817.72 per 40-foot container – a 351 per cent increase versus the same week in 2020.And the rising costs will be further exacerbated in the coming weeks by the recent temporary closure of a key terminal…

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China shipping: container disruptions inevitable at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, but impact may be ‘marginal’

August 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As rumours swirl about a possible reopening time frame for a key terminal at the world’s largest port by cargo tonnage, analysts and industry insiders say any problems in the global supply chain could be milder than those seen earlier this year at China’s Yantian Port in Shenzhen.Nonetheless, they expect further disruptions at the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port to be inevitable as a result of Meishan terminal’s closure since August 11 following a worker’s positive coronavirus test.“If the port returns to…

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China travel industry hopes of coronavirus recovery dashed by Delta variant, curtailed summer holidays

August 17, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Hopes for a full and speedy recovery for China’s domestic tourism industry in the near term are slim, as the sector remains at the mercy of the coronavirus, with the current outbreak sapping business confidence and the risks of future cases ever present, industry insiders and analysts said.Travel restrictions have been tightened, loosened and then tightened again in response to the recent surge in cases, driven by the Delta variant, and have had a significant impact on the industry.With the…

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China coronavirus infection closes shipping terminal at massive Ningbo-Zhoushan Port as container rates soar

August 12, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The world’s largest shipping port by cargo tonnage has shut down one of its key terminals following a confirmed case of Covid-19, putting further strain on the global shipping industry and disrupting supply chains.The news came as container shipping rates from China and Southeast Asia to the east coast of the United States hit a record high of more than US$20,600 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) – the standard measure for freight container volume – according to the Freightos Baltic global…

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Coronavirus amplifies China’s regional economic divide, as some provinces struggle to reset consumption

August 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the fifth 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.This summer, Zhang Luoluo’s cafe fashioned out of an abandoned shipping container celebrated its 10th birthday with little fanfare and few customers.Located in an art district of Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei province in central China, the pink cafe is the only bright spot – and one of the few businesses still operating –…

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China bucks coronavirus shipping disruptions to record surging port traffic in first half

August 5, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s strong export performance in the first half of the year has led to a surge in cargo and container throughput at major ports, defying a global trend of shipping disruptions caused by pandemic.In the first six months, China’s ports handled 7.64 billion tonnes of cargo, some 13.2 per cent more than the same period last year, the Ministry of Transport said last week.Foreign trade accounted for 30 per cent of the total cargo passing through ports, or roughly 2.36 billion tonnes. The figure…

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China’s summer tourism grinds to halt as coronavirus Delta variant spreads and ‘tourists are scared away’

August 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Any business recovery that China’s tourism operators were hoping for this summer holiday season has been thwarted following the latest outbreak of Covid-19 said to have originated in Nanjing.In a bid to curb transmissions, all of the mainland’s 31 provincial-level jurisdictions had issued notices by Monday advising people not to travel domestically. Some provincial governments singled out only medium- and high-risk regions, while others asked people to avoid all interprovincial travel.With…

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China’s job scarcity sees fresh grads shun private sector for stable civil service jobs, as ‘government is too big to fail’

July 29, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the fifth 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.A gruelling two-month stretch awaits Adam Xu later this year, and he has a stable government job in his crosshairs.In addition to the classes he is taking as a master’s student in public administration, the 25-year-old has ambitious intentions to set aside at least 12 hours a day to study for the national civil…

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China floods: food security, inflation concerns with close to 1 million hectares affected in Henan

July 27, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The floods in the central province of Henan pose a threat to one of China’s biggest agricultural regions, but any disruption to national food supplies will only be temporary, according to analysts.The so-called granary of China accounts for almost a third of the national wheat supply and around a tenth of the nation’s corn, vegetable and pork production.But as of Monday, 972,100 hectares (2.4 million acres) of crop fields have been affected by the floods, raising concerns over food inflation…

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China’s job vacancies grew by 28 per cent in second quarter, but recovery is uneven

July 21, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Job vacancies in China grew in the second quarter of the year, although the increase was uneven across sectors and regions, reflecting the nation‘s patchy economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a new employment survey shows.The number of jobs available per applicant increased to 2.09 between April and June, up from 1.66 in the first quarter and 1.35 in the same period last year, according to the survey conducted by the China Institute for Employment Research (CIER) at Renmin…

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China shipping backlog leaves factory owners with nowhere to put goods, and prices are rising

July 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A month after container shipping operations returned to normal at China’s Yantian Port, factory owners are still feeling the pinch from a debilitating three-week shutdown, with warehouses chock-full of goods awaiting export.“While we can see the cargo is moving through the port again, this event is shaping up to be one of the most disruptive of the year,” said Josh Brazil, vice-president of marketing at logistics service provider Project44, in a note earlier this month.In Guangdong, a major…

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China’s retail sales strengthen in first half of year, but clouds hang over consumer spending

July 16, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Retail consumption contributed 61.7 per cent to China‘s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first half of 2021, nudging ahead of pre-pandemic figures, but concerns about a dimmer outlook remain, experts say.Total retail sales of consumer goods – a key barometer for assessing the health of the economy – in the first half of the year rose 23 per cent to 21.2 trillion yuan (US$3.2 trillion) from the same period last year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)…

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How China’s pork crisis put the squeeze on struggling family pig farms

July 16, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In mid June, pig farmer Liang Rixiang made the painful decision to downsize the hog farm she had been expanding for the past decade, selling four of her 10 breeding sows, two of them with babies.Liang’s farm of 100 hogs was relatively big for her village in northeastern Liaoning province. But neither she nor her smaller neighbours could avoid the economic pressure caused by plummeting pork prices, which have dropped as much as 60 per cent since the beginning of the year.“No matter how you raise…

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China fine-tunes pork reserve system as panic selling and sluggish demand send prices tumbling

June 11, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Plummeting prices for China’s favourite meat mean a lot of the pigs that trader Zhang Yu is seeing in the market these days are supersized, or at least a little overweight.Low prices driven by sluggish demand and panic selling over African swine fever outbreaks are causing many farmers to hold onto their herds, and fatten them up, in the hope prices will rebound.“If they sell at the current price, they will certainly lose money,” said Zhang, who lives in a small town in the northeastern…

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China looks to boost middle class as it wraps up Xi Jinping’s anti-poverty drive

November 30, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A critical mission for President Xi Jinping over the next 15 years is likely to be doubling the size of China’s “middle-income” group after Beijing reaches its goal of eliminating absolute poverty next summer, analysts say.The Communist Party has not specified the target in its 2035 vision – vowing only to “significantly expand the middle income group” – but the message is clear among top policymakers: China must increase its middle class to avoid the middle income trap, where a developing…

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China’s frustrated millennials turn to memes to rail against grim economic prospects

November 21, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The phrases “involution”, “Versailles literature” and “working man” are gaining enormous popularity across Chinese social media platforms from Weibo to WeChat as millions of youth make psychological adjustments to cope with a rapidly changing society.For young Chinese, especially those with a college degree, there is a growing perception that their career prospects are darkening, their social mobility shrinking and the country’s wealth gap widening – although this point of view diverges sharply…

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