News & Reports News Year 2010 May , 2010 News 24th May 2010

News 24th May 2010

No property taxes for now: official   2010-05-24 09:27:41
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BEIJING, May 24 -- China will not launch taxes on holdings of more than one residential apartment for at least another three years, a government think tank official has said.
China will not launch taxes on holdings of more than one residential apartment for at least another three years, a government think tank official has said.
Meanwhile, many economists continue to warn that the country's economy could slow down amidst property tightening policies and outside uncertainties.
"Taxes on holding of residential properties is impossible at least for another three years," Huang Hanquan, assistant director of the industrial institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation's top economic policymaking agency, was quoted by China Times as saying on Sunday.
As China's home prices continue to soar amid growing public complaint, the authorities have issued a series of tightening policies, with some experts forecasting that taxing more than one residential property could deal a final blow to the housing sector. The new tax, which is quite similar to a property tax, will increase the cost of holding more than one apartment and thus prevent speculation, which is considered the major factor for surging home prices.
Huang's comment, if true, would be the latest official confirmation that no further major tightening measures are in the pipeline.
It would mean lifting of the Damocles sword currently hanging over the developers and the real estate stocks in the domestic A-share market. The stock market has suffered several big-margin sell-offs in recent weeks due to concerns of pending taxation measures against the sector.
Chinese laws have such taxes on commercial properties, but changes in the taxation on residential housing would require revision of existing laws, which would first need to get the nod from the central government, Huang said.
Rumors have been flying that the local governments would launch such taxes, which is impossible in the near term, he said.
Analysts said the failure to launch such taxes is because the overall economy faces multiple uncertainties and if further tightening measures are taken, the slow-down of the real estate sector, which accounts for about one-fourth of the country's fixed-asset investment, could dampen investment and drag down the country's economic growth.
"Once the real estate market and the stock market both enter the downward track, they would, in turn, affect economic growth," said Wang Jian, executive secretary-general of China Society of Macroeconomics.
"The downward pressure on the Chinese economy is increasing," said Liu Yuanchun, a senior economist at the school of economics at Renmin University of China.
Control of heavy energy-consuming industries, changing export prospects, and possible yuan appreciation would all have the potential to slow economic growth, he said.
The European debt crisis, meanwhile, would also affect investor confidence in the economy, analysts said, making policymakers more cautious over making any major tightening actions, including those aimed at the real estate sector.

New standards to ban bleaching of pistachios   2010-05-24 08:26:52
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BEIJING, May 24 -- Regulators are busy drafting food safety standards for pistachios to prevent widespread bleaching of the product, experts said.
"Due to traditional eating habits, bleached pistachios are prevailing in China because of their 'clean look'," said Weng Yangyang, secretary-general of the committee for seeds and nuts of the China National Food Industry Association.
The association will create a set of standards within the year, regulating the production of several nuts including pistachios, peanuts and almonds, Weng said on Saturday during the World Nuts and Dried Fruit Congress.
The bleaching of pistachios will be addressed in the standards, Weng said, adding that the introduction of the standards is expected to improve the industry's product qualities and food safety.
The standards will establish regulative and legal matters within the nuts industry, she said.
A draft of the standards will be posted on the association's official website in late July to solicit public comments and suggestions.
"Data collected within the industry shows that 90 percent of the pistachios sold in the Chinese market have been bleached," said Fang Ming, dean of the food science and engineering department at the East China University of Science and Technology. Pistachios have become a major snack in China only within the past few years, Fang said. With no knowledge of the nuts' natural look, most consumers mistake the white-shelled pistachios as the good ones.
"The bleaching is to cater to the mass consumer idea of 'the brighter, the better', which covers up quality flaws. Most people may not know the nuts have naturally light creamy shells," Fang said.
Bleaching pistachios is against the country's Food Safety Law, he said.
"According to article 45, the law allows the use of food additives only when it's technically necessary, but the bleaching of pistachios is obviously not appropriate," Fang said.
"The often-used bleacher peroxide is also listed as an assistant item in food processing and requires cautious use," he said.
Although there is no solid evidence of the possible harm bleached pistachios might bring to consumers' health, bleaching does lead to a nutritional loss in the nuts, experts said.
For example, vitamin B1, which is contained in unprocessed pistachios, is removed during the bleaching process, statistics from the USDA National Nutrition Database show.
Consumers' lack of knowledge about the bleaching issue was a major reason for their preference for the white-shelled pistachios, said Anita Lam, Asia Pacific general manager at Paramount Farms, a US-based grower and processor of pistachios and almonds.
Lam said a 100-sample random survey at Shanghai stores conducted by her company showed that 76 percent of the consumers did not know that the white-shelled nuts had been bleached, and 90 percent said they wouldn't buy any bleached nuts after learning about the bleaching issue.
"As far as I know, China is the only place where the nuts are bleached. The white-shelled ones are even exported to some countries in Southeast Asia," she said.
Bian Zhenhu, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, said China has become the world's largest consumer of pistachios.
A total of 150,000 tons of pistachios have been sold in the country this year, which is one-third of the global trade and the number is increasing, Bian said.
(Source: China Daily)

Economists: China's macroeconomic control policies prove fruitful   2010-05-23 00:24:03
Feedback  Print  RSS   

by Zhang Baoping, Jiang Zhao Cesarone
CHICAGO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The macroeconomic control policies adopted by the Chinese government since mid-2008 have been proven successful, two economists said Saturday.
Since late 2008, the Chinese government has taken a series of macroeconomic control policies to deal with the global financial crisis. The government carried on massive financial investment, some of which focused on real estate.
"In spite of some problems, the Chinese government has been making great progress in regulating and controlling the Chinese economy during the global financial crisis," Min Tang, a Chinese economist, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
"Everything has two sides, good and bad. This macroeconomic control policy is an action taken to fight against a crisis," he said.
Tang believed that whether or not the policies are successful should be judged from the macro perspective instead of a micro perspective.
"China was able to resume its rapid growth first when the global economy was still going downhill," Tang said, "China also successfully kept the confidence of its people and enterprises, which is more important than anything else. Therefore, the government's macro control is very successful."
In addition, Tang said that the increased investment in infrastructure has strategic significance for the Chinese economy.
"The government invested over 60 percent in infrastructure. This is much needed for the long term development of the Chinese economy, especially for cities and rural areas," he said, "It will bring great potential for the future development of the economy."
Tang also noted some problems caused by the control policies.
"First of all, the real estate bubble was blown up during this process. This is very dangerous," he said, "The soaring real estate price makes it impossible for average people to buy any real estates."
Another problem, according to Tang, is the huge local government debt, which has amounted to about 7,000 billion Yuan (47,793 billion U.S. dollars).
"This is an enormous number which might cause potential economic troubles in the future," he said, "This number is twice as much as the annual income of the local governments."
Xiaolei Zuo, chief economist at China Galaxy Securities Company Limited, agreed with Tang.
"During the sudden storm of global economy, as a developing country, if China can not stabilize its economy quickly, it will be very dangerous and take much longer to recover the confidence level," she said.
Zuo said the 4,000 billion Yuan (27,310 billion dollars) government investment played a critical role in not only stabilizing the Chinese economy, but also contributing to global economy.
"The Chinese government's control policy should receive very positive evaluation," she said.
Meanwhile, she said there are problems that the country should be concerned with during the recent round of adjustment.
"The Chinese government fully recognized the problems and risks and has taken actions accordingly," she said.
Regarding inflation, Zuo said, "There are very many complicated reasons for inflation."
"It happens regularly in an economy," she said, "Many people misunderstood it and worried too much."
She said that China, a country with a growth rate of about 10 percent, is capable of handling an inflation rate of about 5 percent.
"If there are no unexpected events this year, the Chinese government should be able to control its inflation rate between 3 and 5 percent," she said, "On the other hand, inflation can be taken care of through subsidizing people with low income and applying price limit to certain products."

China's SOE top watchdog stresses industry innovation   2010-05-22 22:03:56
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese state-owned firms should step up efforts on innovation to ensure a sustainable development, Li Rongrong, director of China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), said here Saturday.
The economic globalization trend is deepening and the world pattern is in the process of great shifts since the break-out of the financial crisis. Companies need to be forward-looking and innovative to be competitive, Li said at a Sino-Swedish CEO innovation summit held here.
There are currently 126 centrally-administered SOEs under the SASAC, including many industry leaders like China Mobile and PetroChina.
China's central SOEs registered a combined profit of 797.7 billion yuan (116.8 billion U.S. dollars) last year.

HK ranks 2nd most competitive economy   2010-05-22 16:59:37
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BEIJING, May 22 -- Hong Kong ranks as the world's second most competitive economy, following Singapore, according to the 2010 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR).
The report was released by the International Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on May 19, 2010, the People's Daily reported.
The United States dropped to third, and the Chinese mainland went up two places from 2009 to No 18.
It is the first time Asia took the top two positions over the U.S.. The new rising Asian economies are blessed by its economic recovery, according to the report.
IMD pointed out that the report was conducted following a comprehensive standard, including economic performances, science and technology development, life quality and environmental substantiality.
(Source: China Daily)

Chinese business assets grow to $3.9 trillion   2010-05-22 16:21:37
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BEIJING, May 22 -- Global Chinese business assets grew to 3.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2009, a 56 percent growth from 2008, and a slight 5 percent rise compared with 3.7 trillion dollars in 2007, according to the 2009 World Chinese Entrepreneurs Development Plan released by the China News Agency special seminar group Thursday, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Of the 3.9 trillion-dollor assets, 3 trillion dollars are from 335 large listed Chinese companies whose headquarters are away from the Chinese mainland, 750 billion dollars are from Asia-based big private companies and small and medium-sized ones, and the other 160 billion-dollor assets are from non-Asia areas.
Assets bubble, depreciation of the U.S. dollar and China's economic recovery are the three key reasons behind the global Chinese business development in 2009, the report said.
Chinese enterprises, especially the big state-run listed corporations, will exert more influence on global Chinese entrepreneurs' development, according to the report.
However, despite the growth of total assets volume among global Chinese entrepreneurs, the profits shrank dramatically compared with before the world financial crisis, the report said.
(Source: China Daily)

China allocates 16.7 bln yuan for housing for low-income urban families   2010-05-20 20:41:47
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- China's central government has allocated 16.7 billion yuan (2.45 billion U.S. dollars) to help fiscally stretched local governments solve the housing problems of low-income urban families, the Ministry of Finance said Thursday.
The move came after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised at the annual legislative session in March the nation would build 3 million low-cost apartments for low-income families and renovate 2.8 million shanty houses.
Governments at all levels are forbidden to hold back or misappropriate the funds, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
Local governments are not allowed to divert the funds to balance their budgets either, the statement said.
China has adopted a series of measures to cool the runaway property market and ease residents' frustration with skyrocketing home prices.
The measures include increasing land supply for residential property, especially for small- and medium-sized apartments for low- and middle-income families.

China's trade chief says to proceed with RMB reform   2010-05-22 02:34:01
Feedback  Print  RSS   

BRUSSELS, May 21 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to proceed with reform of its currency yuan, or RMB, despite the recent sharp falls of the euro, Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said here on Friday.
"We know now the euro is in difficulty. We will continue with the direction of the reform of our currency," Chen told reporters after a meeting with European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
"China will continue to proceed towards the direction of reforming the exchange rate formation mechanism of RMB. This will remain unchanged," he added.
According to Chen, the RMB has appreciated by 15 percent against the euro in recent months and by 7 percent in the past month as the euro dropped dramatically as the Greek debt crisis is spreading in the euro zone, which posed risks to the economic recovery.
A spokesman from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said earlier this week that the worsening debt crisis in the euro zone and the sharp depreciation of the euro would have negative impact on Chinese exporters.
The EU is currently the largest market for China, accounting for 16 percent of Chinese exports.
Chen said it is important to keep major currencies, including RMB, stable as the economic crisis is not yet over.
"The stability of a country's currency, especially the currency of major economies, is of vital importance. The depreciation or appreciation of a single currency will have a major impact on the world economy," he said.

Expo tour groups continue to grow

The Expo site welcomed a total of 4.05 million visitors by 7:30pm yesterday since the fair's opening on May 1, the organizers announced yesterday, the Expo's 20th day.
About 291,900 visitors entered the Expo site by 7:30pm yesterday on the 20th day, among whom 110,418 were on group tours, accounting for about 38 percent of yesterday's visitor flow.
More than 150,000 visitors on group tours have reserved visits tomorrow, said an official with the ticketing center of the Expo Bureau. The figure for today is about 130,000.
The most crowded gates were still Shangnan Road, Gaoke Road W., Houtan, and Changqing Road. As many as 65,000 visitors passed Houtan yesterday.
A total of 47,012 tickets were sold on site by 7:30pm.
By 5pm, 76 performances had been staged, attracting nearly 123,000 visitors. Altogether 6,027 volunteers served on the site.
Editor: Hu Min

Expo record in the rain

Despite continuous rain, yesterday's visitor number to Expo hit 361,200 and broke the record of 335,000 set a week ago.
The number of group visitors reached 144,000. Visitors from various parts of the country toured the site, many wearing the uniform hats provided by their travel agencies.
The gates of Shangnan Road, Gaoke Road W., Houtan and Changqing Road still saw the biggest crowds like ever before, with as many as 68,700 visitors entering the Expo park through the Houtan gate and more than 40,000 through each of the other three gates.
A total of 49,552 tickets were sold on site by 7:30pm, including 15,689 night tickets.
Before the Expo site opened, Expo sanitation staff started working at 4am yesterday to clean up the water left by the storm during the previous night.
By 6pm, 63 performances had been staged, attracting nearly 97,000 viewers. Altogether 6,086 volunteers served on the site.
Five medical service stations inside the Expo site had received 311 visitors by 4pm yesterday.