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Xinhua Headlines: Steady Chinese economy making difference in rapidly changing world – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Xinhua

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China has been a major growth engine for the world economy and its economic health has global significance. China’s growth rate, though slowing, is still within the target range. A closer relationship would mean more opportunities and benefits for China and the rest of the world.

by Xinhua writers Zheng Xin, Xu Xiaoqing and Hu Wenjia

SHANGHAI, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, with people lamenting the uncertainties and the difficulty to fathom what the future has in store.

The Chinese leadership, having incorporated the concept of “unseen changes” into its decision-making, is sober-minded about the undercurrents: the global economy continues to slow down, the world is still undergoing in-depth adjustments due to the global financial crisis, profound changes are accelerating, and sources of turbulence have substantially increased.

The year-end tone-setting Central Economic Conference painted a clear picture of the challenges, prioritized economic stability, and pledged a stronger policy repertoire toward finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects in 2020 and beyond.

Experts said they believe it would be a mistake to ignore the profound changes, which are important for the Communist Party of China’s approaches to so many issues and understanding the opportunities the Party sees for the country.

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 16, 2019 shows the automated wharf of the fourth phase of the Yangshan Deep Water Port of east China’s Shanghai. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

LULL IN THE CHINA BOOM?

Some profound changes have been felt globally in the sphere of economic activities. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeatedly downgraded its global growth forecast for 2020, citing a sharp deterioration in manufacturing activity and global trade, with higher tariffs and prolonged trade policy uncertainty damaging investment and demand for capital goods.

As the growth outlook became gloomier, emerging and developing economies are less well-positioned today to withstand a deeper global downturn, should it occur, than they were before the 2009 global recession, according to a new World Bank Group study.

Since the financial crisis a decade ago, emerging and developing economies have become “more vulnerable” to external shocks in an environment of “mounting debt and weakening long-term growth prospects,” the study found.

Rodrigo Zeidan, an associate professor of business and finance at New York University Shanghai, said one aspect of the profound changes is the process of de-globalization fueled by exacerbated nationalism and protectionist trade policies.

“This has profound implications for how China manages its economic relationships with the rest of the world,” he told Xinhua in an interview, noting that the profound changes could also make avoiding the middle-income trap to achieve high-income fully-developed status more challenging for China.

China is seeing a slower growth rate as it steps up economic restructuring. The country is transforming from high-speed growth to high-quality growth, no longer driven by manufacturing but by consumption and the service sector, with more investment into innovation and technology.

People watch welding robots operating at the equipment exhibition area during the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 6, 2019. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

“It’s crucial for China’s economy to move up in the technological chain and in the value chain, so we are focusing on economic restructuring, and China’s growth rate has slowed down in the process,” said Zhang Weiwei, director of the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai.

“Given the sheer size of China’s economy, a dip in growth rate is no cause for heightened worries over the stable economic trajectory,” Zhang said, adding that doomsayers targeting China’s economy should pay more attention to the quality of growth and how the nation stands at the forefront of the new round of technological revolution.

Voicing her confidence in China’s future growth amid low global economic growth, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the measures that the Chinese government had taken to prop up the economy, including tax and fee cuts, small trims in interest rates and supply-side structural reforms would be good for growth today and also competitiveness in the future.

Kristalina Georgieva, chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), delivers a speech in Washington D.C., the United States, Oct. 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

SOURCE OF CERTAINTY

“The profound changes include positive changes, negative changes, and changes with uncertain prospects and uncertainties,” said Long Yongtu, China’s former chief negotiator for entry into the World Trade Organization. “The most positive change, in my view, is the rise of China.”

Commenting on how China will cope with the challenges ahead, Long said: “Facing the turbulent situation, our government and enterprises need to maintain their resolve, especially when it comes to opening up.”

He noted that the Chinese government remains committed to further opening up amid de-globalization, with the annual China International Import Expo and joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative enhancing the engagement between China and the world.

Zhu Xian, vice president of the New Development Bank, said: “China’s reform and opening-up have catapulted the country to a highly competitive manufacturing base in the global industrial chain, and further reform and opening-up will enable China to achieve long-term stable and sustainable development.”

China has been a major growth engine for the world economy and its economic health has global significance. China’s growth rate, though slowing, is still within the target range. A closer relationship would mean more opportunities and benefits for China and the rest of the world.

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 16, 2019 shows the Yangshan Deep Water Port of east China’s Shanghai. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

According to a research report by McKinsey Global Institute, China has achieved a global scale in many sectors, and a great deal of value could be at stake depending on whether there is more or less engagement.

China’s rapidly expanding consumer market — confident, increasingly rich and sophisticated, and willing to experiment — offers a strong link between China and the world. It is not only the prime engine for economic growth but is a huge opportunity for international businesses, according to the report.

“More engagement could see China importing more from the rest of the world, greater two-way flows of technology, and a more competitive Chinese services sector,” the report said, adding that better integration will also increase the possibility of reaching a consensus in addressing key global issues.

The year ahead will see China implement a slew of new measures to bolster opening up. The reduction of import tariffs on more than 850 products is set to take effect from Jan. 1, 2020, and the foreign investment law will take effect on the same day to provide a more business-friendly environment.

“We believe that economic globalization is irreversible. The more you keep opening up and embrace this trend, the better,” said Zhang Weiwei. ■

(Video reporters: Di Chun, Hu Wenjia; Video editor: Chen Sihong)

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Swedish government promises $12 billion to kick-start economy in 2021 budget – The Journal Pioneer

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By Simon Johnson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s government will pump 105 billion crowns ($12 billion) into the economy in 2021 through tax cuts and spending in a record giveaway aimed at getting the economy back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic-induced slump.

Sweden’s economy will shrink around 4.6% this year, the minority coalition said its budget on Monday, a milder hit than many other European countries, some of which are being forced to re-impose COVID restrictions after a surge in new cases.

“Economic policy is going into a new phase,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters. “It is about a record-large budget to restart the Swedish economy: 100 billion so that we can work our way out of the crisis.”

The Social Democrat and Green coalition said the budget would focus would be on boosting jobs, welfare and supporting the switch to a carbon-free future.

Most measures, agreed with two small, centre-right parties which help keep the coalition in power, were already known.

Individuals and companies will get a tax cut and local authorities and welfare services more cash while around 10 billion crowns will go toward fighting climate change.

The budget is expected to create around 75,000 jobs.

LONG TERM WINNERS

While Sweden looks to have got off relatively lightly economically in the short term, analysts caution that it is too early to pick the longer term winners and losers from the pandemic.

Much will depend on how government largesse, including Europe’s 750 billion euro recovery find, is spent.

Sweden also faces a number of structural challenges, not least in the labour market where unemployment among young people and immigrants is uncomfortably high.

A dysfunctional housing market also threatens long-term economic stability while funding the country’s comprehensive welfare model as society as a whole ages will require a huge increase in productivity.

The government has promised to keep the taps open, at least for the next few years – tax cuts and spending will boost the economy by 85 billion in 2022.

But with a general election due that year, longer term policies remain unclear. The last national vote resulted an a virtual stalemate between the centre-left and centre-right blocs and there is little evidence that voters are any clearer about what they want now.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson, additional reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Toby Chopra)

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US household wealth hits record even as economy struggles – CKPGToday.ca

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By Canadian Press

Sep 21, 2020 9:07 AM

WASHINGTON — Americans’ household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced plunge in March. Yet the gains flowed mainly to the most affluent households even as tens of millions of people endured job losses and shrunken incomes.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that American households’ net worth jumped nearly 7% in the April-June quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy and sent stock prices tumbling.

Since then, the S&P 500 stock index has regained its record high before losing some ground this month. It was up 2.8% for this year as of Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has soared more than 20% this year.

The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has recovered only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality. Data compiled by Opportunity Insights, a research group, show that the highest-paying one-third of jobs have almost fully recovered from the recession, while the lowest-paying one-third of jobs remain 16% below pre-pandemic levels.

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US household wealth hits record even as economy struggles – meadowlakeNOW

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By Canadian Press

Sep 21, 2020 10:06 AM

WASHINGTON — Americans’ household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced plunge in March. Yet the gains flowed mainly to the most affluent households even as tens of millions of people endured job losses and shrunken incomes.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that American households’ net worth jumped nearly 7% in the April-June quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy and sent stock prices tumbling.

Since then, the S&P 500 stock index has regained its record high before losing some ground this month. It was up 2.8% for this year as of Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has soared more than 20% this year.

The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has recovered only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality. Data compiled by Opportunity Insights, a research group, show that the highest-paying one-third of jobs have almost fully recovered from the recession, while the lowest-paying one-third of jobs remain 16% below pre-pandemic levels.

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