China Business Digest: Caixin PMI Rebounds; Chinese Embassy Charters Plane to Get Stranded Students Back Home
Starting this week, Caixin Global will run a daily news digest to give readers a quick rundown of the top China business and finance stories, plus whatever is driving markets for the day. Please do let us know if you have any feedback.
The Caixin China manufacturing PMI returned to positive territory in March after suffering the worst February on record as more companies got back to business. Meanwhile, China has decided to make more cuts to banks’ reserve requirements and urged them to help tide small businesses over through a difficult period where the global pandemic has further hobbled the country’s already slowing economy.
— By Lin Jinbing (email@example.com)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
Global cases surge
The new coronavirus has continued to run rampant around the world, with over 860,000 infections reported as of Wednesday afternoon Beijing time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The pandemic has claimed more than 42,000 lives so far.
Six countries have each recorded more than 50,000 infections: The U.S., Italy, Spain, China, Germany and France.
Things aren’t good in America
The U.S. still has the most coronavirus cases of any country as it has accelerated testing. The official number of infections approached 190,000 late Tuesday in the U.S., including more than 4,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins data. New York remains the worst-hit state.
Ventilators are urgently needed
The pandemic has sparked a global hunt for mechanical ventilators to help the sickest patients breathe. Chinese ventilator-makers are now shifting their focus from domestic use to export as overseas demand soars.
From March 19 to Sunday, China shipped over 1,700 ventilators to overseas markets — about half the number supplied to domestic hospitals this year.
Other virus news
• China’s Embassy in the U.K. is chartering a plane to get stranded Chinese students back home (link in Chinese).
• Infants may have higher rates of severe illness from Covid-19 than older children, according to a study of more than 2,000 pediatric cases. Check out our in-depth story.
• There were 1,367 asymptomatic coronavirus cases under medical observation on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, official data show (link in Chinese).
• All 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland except Beijing, Tianjin, Hubei and Hebei have lowered (link in Chinese) their public health emergency response levels.
• Chinese economists suggest that the best way for the government to help low-income families hit by the pandemic is to just give them cash.
• China postponed college entrance exams for more than 10 million students by one month because of concerns about the virus.
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Caixin PMI turns positive
The Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rebounded to 50.1 in March from a record low of 40.3 the previous month.
More manufacturers have resumed operations as the epidemic has been largely contained in China thanks to draconian control measures. However, some have found they have no work to do as foreign orders have been postponed or even canceled due to the virus’s swift global spread.
Monetary easing on the way
The Chinese government has decided to make further targeted cuts to small and midsize banks’ reserve requirement ratios (RRRs), and urged them to provide small and midsize businesses with cheap loans using the funds released from the cuts.
The government also plans to raise relending and rediscount quotas for these banks by 1 trillion yuan ($141.2 billion).
Asian stock markets edge down
The Chinese mainland’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.57% on Wednesday, while the Shenzhen Component Index fell 0.11%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 2.2%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed down 4.5%, while South Korea’s Kospi Index dropped 3.9%.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• BlackRock Financial Management Inc. and Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC have filed applications (link in Chinese) to set up wholly foreign-owned mutual fund firms in China.
• Creditors of Xiwang Group Co. Ltd. approved a draft settlement proposal to repay some of its debts.
• Smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.’s adjusted net profit climbed 27% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019.
• State oil giant Sinopec’s net profit fell 8.7% last year.
• The solar panel sector could see a slowdown this year amid the fallout from the pandemic, analysts said.
• China will extend subsidies and tax breaks for new-energy vehicle purchases by two years.
• China Renaissance Securities (China) Co. Ltd. Vice Chairman Wang Ou will join financial firm China Everbright Ltd. as a senior director of overseas investment.
** AND FINALLY
Today marked the 17th anniversary of the death of Hong Kong singer and movie star Leslie Cheung, who committed suicide (link in Chinese) at age 46 by leaping off luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental in the city.
Leslie Cheung in the movie “Days of Being Wild.” Photo: VCG
** THE WEEK AHEAD
April 2: Caixin new-economy index
April 3: Caixin China services PMI
April 4: Qingming Festival
Contact reporter Lin Jinbing (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editors Doug Young (email@example.com) and Michael Bellart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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