China Press Review – April 14, 2020

Press review

Coronavirus: global economic downturn in 2020 likely to be worst since Great Depression, IMF says
IMF slashes global economic growth forecast to minus 3 per cent in 2020, from a 3.3 per cent increase predicted in January   China will grow only 1.2 per cent this year, down from 6.1 per cent in 2019 and well below the IMF’s January forecast of 6.0 per cent

Coronavirus ‘Great Lockdown’ to shrink global economy by 3% in 2020: IMF
The global economy is expected to shrink by 3.0% during 2020 in a stunning coronavirus-driven collapse of activity that will mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.  Euro zone economies will contract by 7.5% in 2020, with hard-hit Italy seeing its GDP fall 9.1% and contractions of 8.0% in Spain, 7.0% in Germany and 7.2% in France, the Fund said. It predicted euro-area economies as a whole would match U.S. growth of 4.7% in 2021.   China, where the coronavirus outbreak peaked in the first quarter and business activity is resuming with the help of large fiscal and monetary stimulus, will maintain positive growth of 1.2% in 2020, a reduction from 6% growth in the IMF’s January forecast. China’s economy is forecast to grow 9.2% in 2021, the IMF said.

How coronavirus almost brought down the global financial system
The crisis has brought the economy to a near halt, and left millions of people out of work. But thanks to intervention on an unprecedented scale, a full-scale meltdown has been averted – for now

Coronavirus: China’s trade recovery to be short-lived with overseas demand set to fall amid Covid-19
China’s exports only fell 6.6 per cent in March after having contracted 17.2 per cent in combined figures for January and February   But with global demand set to drop amid antivirus measures in US and Europe, analysts have warned of a substantial fall in the coming months

Coronavirus: China’s imports and exports dropped again in March
Exports fell by 6.6 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier, according to data released on Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs   Imports dropped 0.9 per cent from a year earlier, having dropped 4 per cent in January and February combined

Coronavirus: China’s small firms see revenues tumble 70 per cent in March, survey shows
Study finds small and medium-sized businesses lost nearly 70 per cent of their income in March due to the coronavirus outbreak    Hotels, restaurants and education firms were the hardest by pandemic, Tsinghua University says

Economic recovery is certain even after the worst hit – the coronavirus crisis will be no different
The optimism of the US stock rally last week may look misplaced, but the nature of economic cycles should give confidence that the world will bounce back – even if the recovery is more likely to be gradual and U-shaped, than sharp and V-shaped

China’s March export data gives Asia stock investors welcome surprise despite coronavirus
China says exports drop 3.5 per cent in March – far less than expectedHong Kong, Stock Connect reopen      after two-day holiday; Asia stocks broadly gain

EU’s Vestager says EU nations should buy stakes to block Chinese takeovers: FT
The European Union’s competition chief told the Financial Times that member countries should buy stakes in companies to counter the threat of Chinese takeovers, with her comments coming as the EU formulates plans to protect its businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

China is giving cash to car buyers to revive sales crushed by the pandemic
In a normal year, China would have sold more than 6 million new cars by now. This year, the number is closer to 3.7 million, and now the government is handing out cash to help the world’s biggest auto market get back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic.

China’s Biggest Carmaker Posts 29% Profit Drop on Industry Slump
biggest automaker in China, reported a 28.9% drop in earnings for 2019 as an industrywide sales slump undermined manufacturers’ profitability in the world’s largest market.  Net income at the company, a partner of Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co., fell to 25.6 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) for 2019, it said Monday in a statement. Analysts predicted earnings of 27 billion yuan on average. Revenue fell 6.88% year-on-year

Renault exits Wuhan car venture as months of lockdown to contain coronavirus puts it beyond any hope of catching up in China
Renault will transfer the 50 per cent stake in its venture with Dongfeng Motor Group to its Chinese partner, the French carmaker said, without divulging a price for the transfer   After its exit from making passenger cars, Renault will focus on making light commercial vehicles and electric vehicles in China

Renault pulls out of China joint venture as auto outlook darkens
SAIC forecasts sales to dip while BYD warns of sharp profit fall

China’s handset sales rebound in March but Covid-19 effect may linger
Handset sales in China surged 241% in March compared with the previous month though were still down 23% from a year earlier, according to official data released Monday.  China’s handset consumption has started to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic but its aftershocks continued to weigh.
Coronavirus can survive long exposure to high temperature, a threat to lab staff around world: paper
French scientists had to bring the temperature to almost boiling point to kill virus    Results have implications for the safety of lab technicians working with the virus

Fund managers want retail investors to embrace gold-backed exchange-traded funds as yellow metal hits 7-year high
State Street will reduce the lot size of SPDR Gold Shares in Hong Kong from April 24 to ease access the fund  Gold has risen 13 per cent this year, beating US Treasuries while global stocks crashed amid recession threats

Travel Policies to and from Cities in China
In order to help companies and individuals plan their travels to and from different cities in China, the European Chamber has compiled the below list,

In the battle against the coronavirus, Japan and the four ‘tiger economies’ offer the world a new ‘Asian miracle’
The relatively low infection and death rates in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are a testament to investment in public health infrastructure, transparency and societies that prioritise group interests

Coronavirus: green light for human trials on two more Chinese vaccine hopefuls
Medical products watchdog gives approval to two pharma firms to combine the first two phases of clinical testing     One experimental preparation developed by state-owned company hit by 2018 vaccine scandal

Coronavirus: China bans two medical equipment exporters for ‘tarnishing the country’s image’
Two Chinese firms have been banned from selling medical equipment after they were found to have exported defective products, the commerce ministry says  Both firms started trading in medical equipment after a sharp increase in global demand due to the global fight against the coronavirus outbreak

China will become more influential in the world’s drug market as rush for coronavirus vaccine spurs more investment, research, says Fosun Pharma
Regulatory changes aimed at lowering prices, and greater investment in research and development triggered by Covid-19 will give China an edge, says Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical   ‘In the next five years, I believe there will be a number of Chinese pharmaceutical firms joining the world’s top list,’ says chairman Chen Qiyu

Cold War rivals fought disease together. Why not China and the US in the face of the coronavirus crisis?
It’s unrealistic to expect rivalries to disappear during a pandemic, but such issues should be set aside for now   The USSR and the US once worked together to develop a polio vaccine. Today, the US is more intent on killing off Chinese competition than working with China to avert economic depression

The coronavirus mutation that threatens the race to develop vaccine
A strain found in India showed changes in the mechanism used to bind the virus to human cells which could render current research futile   Researchers are targeting the same process that allowed Sars to infect people, but the mutation could upend their assumptions

Vietnam’s war on COVID-19
Vietnam has been one of Asia’s most successful nations in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Its first confirmed case was announced on 23 January, at the same time as France. After two and a half months, France is struggling with nearly 140,000 cases and 15,000 fatalities, while Vietnam — bordering China and having extensive economic relations with it — has uncovered fewer than 300 cases, with no deaths. But this success is coming at a cost.

PM Narendra Modi says India will extend coronavirus lockdown until 3 May
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended a nationwide lockdown until 3 May to contain the spread of the coronavirus

India coronavirus fight hampered by China medical exports delays
Speedy shipments of protective equipment and other supplies would be an ‘immediate boost’ to relations between the two countries, Indian ambassador says    New quality regulations to address European concerns about substandard items have led to uncertain supplies for other countries

Coronavirus: how much of Covid-19’s social distancing is here to stay?
People will gladly resume some old habits when coronavirus restrictions are eased, but some of the new ones may stick   The latest part of our series on lessons learned from the pandemic looks at aspects of lockdown life that could change us forever

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