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BBC Chinese: Multiple Reports Showed HK Protests Impacted Retail

BBC Chinese recently reported that, over the past month or so, Hong Kong has had several major protests against the “Extradition Bill.” More protests are expected in the coming days. The frequent protests have had an impact on the local retail industry because they introduced uncertainty into this region’s traditional “shopping haven.” According to a data report that the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA) provided, most of its members suffered a decline in sales in the past month, with an expectation of a further downturn. The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (KFTU) also released reports showing that, since June, there has been a significant decline in tourists from the Mainland. In the meantime, the hotel occupancy rate declined by 20 percent. However, many owners of the local small businesses and restaurants polled expressed their support for the city-wide protests and even strikes because the damage from passing the Extradition Bill is considered to be much more significant than the temporary loss of retail sales. Most analysts expressed the concern that the political situation may cause the U.S. to re-evaluate Hong Kong’s special tariff status, which can heavily damage Hong Kong’s position as a financial center.

Source: BBC Chinese, July 19, 2019
https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-49045962

RFA: CCP Encourages Party Members to Invest in the Stock Market

Amid the stagnant, weak stock market, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently issued an order to encourage party members to invest in the stock market.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that, in the past, Beijing had discouraged people working in the government from buying stock. On June 24, however, Beijing asked them to invest in the stock market. The CCP Central Committee for Disciplinary Investigation’s (CCDI’s) website claimed, “The stock market is a main component of China’s socialist market economic system. For the staff members of the party and the government to invest their legally-obtained property in the stock market will support our country’s development. Party cadres can legally invest in legitimate stock transactions.”

People commented that this indicates that the CCP is desperate to inject money into China’s stock market and at this time they are looking at party members’ money. Some also pointed out that this gives the party members a money laundering opportunity so they can cleanse their illegal money.

Source: RFA, June 25, 2019
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/jingmao/ql1-06252019073624.html

Xinmin Evening News: China Had Record Low Marriage Rate in 2018

Xinmin Evening News reported that, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the national marriage rate in 2018 was only 7.2 percent, which is the lowest it has been in nearly 10 years. 2013 was the turning point and the marriage rate has been declining for five consecutive years since 2014. More developed regions had a relatively lower marriage rate. The marriage rate in 2018 in Shanghai was only 4.4 percent, the lowest in the nation. Zhejiang was 5.9 percent which was the second lowest, and the marriage rates in Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin and other places were also lower. Economists believe that the low national marriage rate in 2018 is closely related to the stronger independence of young people. With the improvement of the income level and the change of perspective about life, economically independent young people can have more options. They can maintain a relationship or they can live together but not get married. Therefore, many people believe that, while marriage is a need for a certain group of people, it is not for everyone, nor is it the only correct choice. While China’s marriage rate has hit a record low, the divorce rate has been climbing for 16 consecutive years. In 2002, only one out of seven married couples got a divorce. By 2017, the divorce rate was one out of every three marriages. One scholar pointed out that the imbalance between males and females is an important reason for the low marriage rate in the country. According to the sixth national census data, there were 154 million males aged between 14 and 27 in 2010 and 143 million females aged 12 to 25 in 2010. That means that a large number of males will not be able to get married when they reach the legal age for marriage, which is 22.

Source: qq.com, July 13, 2019
https://xw.qq.com/partner/hwbrowser/20190713A0NZQ5/20190713A0NZQ500?ADTAG=hwb&pgv_ref=hwb&appid=hwbrowser&ctype=news

China’s Automobile Market Saw a 9.6 Percent Decline in June

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), China’s domestic automobile market suffered a year-over-year decline of 9.6 percent. In the first half of 2019, the total automobile sales saw a year-over-year decline of 12.4 percent. CAAM expressed its belief that the full year outcome may turn out to show a negative growth. The Chinese automobile market has already suffered 12-consecutive-months of decline. The year 2018 was the first year in 28 years that the industry had a negative growth rate. The numbers showed that passenger cars had a better sales performance than commercial vehicles. The month of June showed that mid-duty commercial trucks had a year-over-year decline of 39 percent. CAAM called for a government intervention to stimulate consumer spending. Also in 2019, the government is expected to reduce the subsidy for new-energy vehicles by 70 percent. Even with the previous high subsidy, the new-energy vehicle profit margin remains very low, far less than for conventional vehicles.

Source: Sina, July 11, 2019
https://finance.sina.com.cn/stock/hyyj/2019-07-11/doc-ihytcitm1155583.shtml

Expert: How to Stop Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Organ Harvesting

The Independent People’s Tribunal in London pronounced its verdict on June 17, saying that the CCP is still conducting organ harvesting from dissidents, especially the Falun Gong practitioners and the Uyghurs. The Epoch Times interviewed Ethan Gutmann, founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) on how to stop the CCP’s organ harvesting.

Gutmann believes that there is ample evidence of the CCP’s organ harvesting. What the world needs now is action. “Will (the People’s Tribunal verdict) mean that more countries will prohibit their citizens from going to China for an organ transplant? “I hope so,” said Gutmann. Will this mean more countries will stand up to oppose the CCP’s actions? “I very much hope so.” The London Tribunal has pointed out that if you trade with the CCP, you are trading with a criminal state. I hope the verdict will cause the world to cut ties with the Chinese doctors who conduct organ transplants.”

Gutmann explained what cutting ties means: Chinese doctors doing organ transplants are not welcome at Western conferences and cannot publish articles in Western medical magazines, receive Western training, or buy equipment. Western medicine companies should stop clinical trials in China.

Gutmann believes that cutting ties is the most powerful means that the West can use.

He also pointed out that cutting ties would mean the CCP will lose a lot of money which is what the CCP really cares about. “If the Western pharmaceutical industry wants people to buy medicine from China, people must first have a high confidence in China’s medical system. If people lose that confidence because of the organ harvesting, the CCP’s ability to make money will be impacted dramatically.”

Source: Epoch Times, June 30, 2019
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/19/6/29/n11354404.htm

China’s Companies Are Facing Credit Default Challenges

The 21st Century Business Herald reported that 96 businesses suffered credit defaults for a total valuation of 66.8 billion yuan (US$ 9.7 billion) in the first six months of 2019, a 263 percent increase from the same period in 2018.

Some analysts think this is the continuation of the credit default wave outburst from the second half of last year, which reached 100 billion yuan in that period.

CITIC Securities analyst Lv Pin warned about the increasing risk of credit defaults in the coming months, since companies are facing more difficulties in getting new money to pay back their debts. “The speed of credit defaults in the second half of this year may increase for the following reasons: First, the market is re-assessing (downgrading) the credit rating of many institutions. Second, the market is tightening the requirements for securing properties when issuing loans to companies that have a low credit rating. Third, the special ways of issuing bonds in the past may no longer continue, which will make bond issuance harder.”

Source: 21st Century Business Herald, July 2
https://m.21jingji.com/article/20190702/c28db078ab114f9ff3a7938acae0ec7f.html