A night view of the CBD area in downtown Beijing on May 11, 2017. Photo: Xinhua

China’s economy is expected to revive in the second half of this year as the country retains huge market potential and ample policy room, according to some Chinese economists.

It takes time for major economic indicators to fully recover, but positive signs like a narrowing power-use decline have surfaced, said Liu Huan, a counselor with the State Council, China’s cabinet.

The country’s economy will be restored in the second quarter as Covid-19 wanes, and see robust growth from the third quarter onwards, he said.

The consumer market has a 1.4 billion population, showing China’s potential to mitigate the impact of the epidemic and pursue development in the long term, said Wang Zhaoxing, another counselor with the State Council.

Wang called for measures to focus on increasing high-quality products and services, as well as stabilizing employment and supporting low-income people, to stimulate consumption.
Instead of focusing on GDP figures, people should pay attention to whether enterprises truly benefit from government policies, said Liu.

Wang suggested that efforts be made to ensure funds from fiscal and financial policies such as tax and fee cuts, lower-interest loans and market liquidity injection directly go to the real economy.

The country still has sufficient policy room, since inflation is not that serious and the interest rate still permits adjustment, he said.

Refined oil prices

China’s top economic planner said it would keep domestic gasoline and diesel prices unchanged as the international crude prices are still lower than the “floor rates.”

As of Wednesday, the average international crude price was lower than US$40 a barrel, the floor set by the Chinese government, in the past 10 working days, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Under the current pricing mechanism, China will adjust domestic prices of refined oil products when international crude prices translate into a change of more than 50 yuan ($7.08) per tonne for gasoline and diesel for a period of 10 working days, but will not do so if the international prices go below the floor of $40 or above the ceiling of $130 a barrel.

China slashed prices of gasoline and diesel to a level corresponding to $40 a barrel on March 17 amid the global oil price collapse.

Automobile market

China’s auto market ramped up expansion in recovery last month, with both production and sales clocking double-digit growth that were much higher than April, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The year-on-year growth in output and sales were 15.9 percentage points and 10.1 percentage points, higher than those registered in April, respectively.

Total output reached 2.19 million units in May, up 18.2% on a yearly basis, while sales hit 2.19 million units, up 14.5% from the same period last year.

In April, automobile sales increased by 4.4% year on year to 2.07 million units, ending a contraction streak over the previous 21 months.

Jobs in Xinjiang

Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has launched an action plan to add 200,000 jobs in the construction sector in the next three years to increase local people’s sources of income.

A total of 50,000 new jobs will be created in 2020, 70,000 in 2021 and 80,000 in 2022 in the construction sector, according to the regional department of housing and urban-rural development.

Training courses will be provided to help job seekers learn skills needed in sectors such as water conservancy, transportation and electric power.

The action plan will mainly benefit impoverished labor forces from southern Xinjiang by helping them find jobs in construction enterprises.

Company news

The People’s Insurance Company Group of China (PICC), the country’s leading insurer, reported premium income of 280.72 billion yuan in the first five months of the year.

The figure represented a growth of 3.26% over the same period last year, according to the company’s statement, filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The company’s premiums reached 552.3 billion yuan in 2019.

Dongfang Electric Corp, based in the city of Chengdu in southwest China, said it had recently signed a supply contract with a consortium of two Egyptian companies for a major hydropower project in Tanzania. Dongfang Electric is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of power-generating equipment.

The contract between DEC and the consortium of Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric is to provide hydroelectric generating sets and related equipment for the Julius Nyerere hydropower project in the Rufiji River basin.

The hydropower plant has a designed capacity of 2,115 megawatts, with nine 235-megawatt generating units to be installed. The project will more than double the East African country’s current power-generation capacity and promote local development.

The story was written by Xu Jiangshan and Liu Licong and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated by Nadeem Xu.

Xu Yuenai

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.