Date
18 November 2017
China Vice Premier Li Keqiang On Official Visit To Hong Kong

The Big Picture: SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

China will improve the quality and efficiency of its industries this year to achieve sustainable growth, which is essential to global economic development, Premier Li Keqiang {李克強} said Wednesday.

In a written address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Li said China will further open up its markets, maintain the stability of its policies, boost domestic consumption, achieve balanced economic growth and reduce the difference between rural and urban areas.

Despite a weak global environment, the Chinese economy did not experience a hard landing as some had feared last year, the premier said. China did not resort to short-term stimulus or seek to increase the fiscal deficit and money supply, but instead opted for some innovative macro control measures to overcome the challenges, he said.

Last year, the Chinese government set reasonable growth targets, which include achieving economic expansion of about 7.5 percent, creating at least 9 million new jobs in cities and capping inflation rate at 3.5 percent. It also simplified administrative approval procedures, eased entry requirements for many sectors and encouraged private investors to participate more in the market.

In 2013, a total of 2.33 million private companies were newly registered, up 30 percent from the previous year. The country also unveiled measures to support the information, financial, elderly-care, medical and new energy sectors, helping the service industry account for 46.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), surpassing the manufacturing industry for the first time.

Global investors are watching whether Li will set a lower economic growth target for 2014 as the central government’s potential moves to promote industry upgrade, reduce energy consumption, slash local debts and curb shadow banking will exert some pressure on the economy. The biggest challenge for Li is to strike a balance between the growth rate and the pace of reform, observers say.

Li is likely to announce the target during a National People’s Congress session in early March. Some economists expect the growth rate will range between 7.0 and 7.5 percent for this year, down from the 7.7 percent expansion achieved in 2013.

Big four banks said to have lent 440 bln yuan in 20 days

China’s top four state-owned banks — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (01398.HK, 601398.CN), Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (01288.HK, 601288.CN), Bank of China Ltd. (03988.HK, 601988.CN) and China Construction Bank Corp. (00939.HK, 601939.CN) — granted 440 billion yuan (US$72.71 billion) of new loans in the first 20 days of the year, 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. The figure compares with about 300 billion yuan in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, deposits in the four banks fell 700 billion yuan during the 20 days, suggesting liquidity problems, the report said.

Alibaba fund may invest in PV power station, paper says

A monetary fund of Alibaba Group may invest in photovoltaic (PV) power plants to reap steady gains, the Shanghai Securities News reported Thursday, citing an unidentified source. Alipay, Alibaba’s third-party payment unit, will launch a new closed-end fund “Ding Qi Bao” after the spring festival, it said. To broaden investment channels and get fixed income, Alibaba is currently approaching a state-owned PV power station operator and hopes to make a green investment, the paper said. 

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]

JP/AC/RC

 

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