Posts Tagged Hu Jintao

China economy shows signs of strength – Telegraph


China economy shows signs of strength

 

China released a series of figures on Sunday showing continued economic strength as it prepares for new leaders tasked with sustaining the country’s dramatic growth.

 

A giant dragon lantern is on display during the Spring Ice Sculpture and Lantern Exhibition

Production statistics and other figures released by China – including retail sales, fixed asset investment and inflation – all showed an improvement. Photo: EPA

12:47PM GMT 09 Dec 2012

 

There was a double-digit increase in production at factories, workshops and mines for the first time since March, the National Bureau of Statistics said, a strong sign the country is shaking off the effects of the global economic slowdown.

The 10.1pc November increase follows rises of 9.6pc the previous month, 9.2pc in September and a three-year low of 8.9pc in August.

Overall growth has slowed for seven straight quarters in China. It hit 7.4pc in the three months through September, the weakest performance in more than three years.

But the production statistics and other figures released by the bureau – including retail sales, fixed asset investment and inflation – all showed an improvement.

The statistics – the first major economic figures to be released since the Communist Party held its pivotal congress last month – will be welcomed by the political elite as it prepares to usher in new leaders in March.

“Overall it’s a quite strong set of numbers, supporting our view of rebounding GDP growth,” said Lu Ting, China economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

President Hu Jintao has called for efforts to strengthen domestic consumption in a bid to create a new growth model, echoing mounting calls for change to stabilise growth amid the slowdown.

Economists say the country faces mounting pressure to restructure its economy to ensure long-term growth, such as reducing its reliance on exports and boosting domestic consumption.

HSBC China economist Sun Junwei said Sunday’s figures have created favourable conditions to implement reforms under Beijing’s new leaders.

Xi Jinping replaced Hu as party chief last month and is strongly expected to succeed him as national president next March. The party’s new number two Li Keqiang is set to assume the premiership at the same time.

“The leaders will step up the reform efforts gradually in the coming quarters,” Sun said.

“There will not be drastic changes that will happen overnight, but the current recovery will create favourable conditions to accelerate these reforms next year.”

Other figures released on Sunday include retail sales, the main measure of consumer spending, which rose 14.9pc year-on-year in November from 14.5pc in October.

Fixed-asset investment, a key gauge of infrastructure spending, was up 20.72pc year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2012, from 20.7pc in January-October.

The consumer price index, the main measure of inflation, increased to an annual 2pc from a near three-year-low of 1.7pc in October, which will give lawmakers less room to loosen monetary policy.

Premier Wen Jiabao and Commerce Minister Chen Deming have both said in recent months that they expect China to achieve its targeted growth rate of 7.5pc this year despite the impact of the global slowdown.

China cut interest rates twice this year and has reduced the amount of funds banks must keep in reserve three times since last December, to encourage lending.

But it has avoided the kind of huge stimulus package it announced after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, which sent inflation soaring.

 China economy shows signs of strength – Telegraph.

 

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Will President Romney be the Bain of Europe’s Existence? – 2012 Decoded


Will President Romney be the Bain of Europe’s Existence?

By Michael Hirsh

June 18, 2012 

 

 

Something of a changing of the guard seems to be occurring at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, today, where the big developing countries are taking on the role of wise, engaged parent while our leading politicians in the U.S. and Europe continue to act like children in denial.

Consider: In TV interviews yesterday, Mitt Romney–who may now be the frontrunner in the U.S. presidential race–made clear he wants nothing to do with Europe’s troubles, though they are already lapping at the front steps of the White House. Romney, sounding very much like a CEO who never really left Bain Capital in sensibility and spirit, told CBS: “I surely don’t believe that we should expose our national balance sheet to the vagaries of what’s going to be happening in Europe.”

OMG. “Our national balance sheet?” 

What Romney seems to be saying is not just that he has no interest in bailing out Europe–as was reported yesterday–but also that he doesn’t even want to invest in Europe. Let’s avoid “exposure” in what is clearly a bad investment, my fellow men of Bain, and let the eurozoners go down together. Our “balance sheet” will be fine.

The problem with this view, of course, is that the president of the United States must oversee a globalized U.S. economy, not merely a national balance sheet, and its health is already intimately bound up in Europe’s similarly globalized economy in multifarious ways. According to a report from Citigroup last year, the correlation between U.S. quarterly GDP growth and that of the largest European economies has risen to 70 percent in the last decade, a leap upward from less than 20 percent correlation previously. 

Romney’s Bain-esque appraisal of Europe’s problems seems even more benighted compared with that of other G20 countries such as China, Mexico and even Indonesia, which are issuing tough but well-nuanced advice to their former colonial masters.   

China President Hu Jintao, in a written interview with a Mexican newspaper posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website today, urged the G-20 to adopt a “constructive and cooperative approach” and “encourage and support the European efforts and jointly provide confidence to the markets, “Bloomberg reported today.  

Indonesian President Yudhoyono, meanwhile, expressed his hope in a speech that “our European colleagues will reach an agreement on rigorous methods to manage the crisis,” because otherwise the consequences will be “unsettling.”

Unsettling indeed. If the eurozone collapses, the U.S. and the world face not just the prospects of another economic downturn now, but a longer-term geopolitical future that could be far more unsettling. One only has to recall that, pre-unity, Europe turned the 20th century into one of the darkest in history, largely because of two European-generated world wars. 

Will yet another American CEO president, if we end up with one, understand these stakes as well as he does America’s balance sheet? 

 Will President Romney be the Bain of Europe’s Existence? – 2012 Decoded.

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In China, millions make themselves at home in caves – latimes.com


In China, millions make themselves at home in caves

Some are basic, others beautiful, with high ceilings and nice yards. ‘Life is easy and comfortable here,’ one cave dweller says.

 

Cave dwellers in China

Ma Liangshui, 76, has lived in caves around Yanan his entire life. (Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times / February 1, 2012)

March 18, 2012

Reporting from Yanan, China— 

Like many peasants from the outskirts of Yanan, China, Ren Shouhua was born in a cave and lived there until he got a job in the city and moved into a concrete-block house.

His progression made sense as he strove to improve his life. But there’s a twist: The 46-year-old Ren plans to move back to a cave when he retires.

“It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s quiet and safe,” said Ren, a ruddy-faced man with salt-and-pepper hair who moved to the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian, in his 20s. “When I get old, I’d like to go back to my roots.”

More than 30 million Chinese people live in caves, many of them in Shaanxi province where the Loess plateau, with its distinctive cliffs of yellow, porous soil, makes digging easy and cave dwelling a reasonable option.

Each of the province’s caves, yaodong, in Chinese, typically has a long vaulted room dug into the side of a mountain with a semicircular entrance covered with rice paper or colorful quilts. People hang decorations on the walls, often a portrait of Mao Tse-tung or a photograph of a movie star torn out of a glossy magazine.

The better caves protrude from the mountain and are reinforced with brick masonry. Some are connected laterally so a family can have several chambers. Electricity and even running water can be brought in.

“Most aren’t so fancy, but I’ve seen some really beautiful caves: high ceilings and spacious with a nice yard out front where you can exercise and sit in the sun,” said Ren, who works as a driver and is the son of a wheat and millet farmer.

The caves have an important role in modern Chinese history. The Long March, the famous retreat of the Communist Partyin the 1930s, ended near Yanan, where Mao took refuge in caves. In “Red Star Over China,” writer Edgar Snow described a Red Army university that “was probably the world’s only seat of ‘higher learning’ whose classrooms were bombproof caves, with chairs and desks of stone and brick, and blackboards and walls of limestone and clay.”

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed Hu Jintao next year as president, lived for seven years in a cave when he was exiled to Shaanxi province during the Cultural Revolution.

“The cave topology is one of the earliest human architectural forms; there are caves in France, in Spain, people still living in caves in India,” said David Wang, an architecture professor at Washington State University in Spokane who has written widely on the subject. “What is unique to China is the ongoing history it has had over two millenniums.”

In recent years, architects have been reappraising the cave in environmental terms, and they like what they see.

“It is energy efficient. The farmers can save their arable land for planting if they build their houses in the slope. It doesn’t take much money or skill to build,” said Liu Jiaping, director of the Green Architecture Research Center in Xian and perhaps the leading expert on cave living. “Then again, it doesn’t suit modern complicated lifestyles very well. People want to have a fridge, washing machine, television.”

Liu helped design and develop a modernized version of traditional cave dwellings that in 2006 was a finalist for a World Habitat Award, sponsored by a British foundation dedicated to sustainable housing. The updated cave dwellings are built against the cliff in two levels, with openings over the archways for light and ventilation. Each family has four chambers, two on each level.

“It’s like living in a villa. Caves in our villages are as comfortable as posh apartments in the city,” said Cheng Wei, 43, a Communist Party official who lives in one of the cave houses in Zaoyuan village on the outskirts of Yanan. “A lot of people come here looking to rent our caves, but nobody wants to move out.”

The thriving market around Yanan means a cave with three rooms and a bathroom (a total of 750 square feet) can be advertised for sale at $46,000. A simple one-room cave without plumbing rents for $30 a month, with some people relying on outhouses or potties that they empty outside.

Many caves, however, are not for sale or rent because they are handed down from one generation to another, though for just how many generations, people often can’t say.

Ma Liangshui, 76, lives in a one-room cave on a main road south of Yanan. It is nothing fancy, but there is electricity — a bare bulb dangling from the ceiling. He sleeps on a kang, a traditional bed that is basically an earthen ledge, with a fire underneath that is also used for cooking. His daughter-in-law has tacked up photographs of Fan Bingbing, a popular actress.

The cave faces west, which makes it easy to bask in the late afternoon sun by pulling aside the blue-and-white patchwork quilt that hangs next to drying red peppers in the arched entrance.

Ma said his son and daughter-in-law have moved to the city, but he doesn’t want to leave.

“Life is easy and comfortable here. I don’t need to climb stairs. I have everything I need,” he said. “I’ve lived all my life in caves, and I can’t imagine anything different.”

 In China, millions make themselves at home in caves – latimes.com.

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