A health worker carrying out a Covid-19 coronavirus test in Dalian, in China's northeast Liaoning province, on July 26, 2020. Photo: AFP/STR

A total of 510.5 billion yuan (US$73.52 billion) raised by the issuance of China’s special treasury bonds had been used for controlling the Covid-19 epidemic by the end of July, according to the country’s finance minister.

Proceeds from the bonds funded 24,199 projects, most of which related to infrastructure construction and Covid-19 control, Liu Kun, China’s minister of finance, told Xinhua in an interview.

By the end of July, China had completed the planned issuance of the 1 trillion yuan special treasury bonds for Covid-19 control, Liu added.

So far, funds raised had been funneled to prefecture and county governments after the provincial-level governments retained part of the money based on regulations, Liu said, adding that the ministry has put in place a mechanism to monitor the distribution, allocation and use of funds.

China pledged in May to increase its deficit by 1 trillion yuan over last year and issue 1 trillion yuan of government bonds for Covid-19 control, as part of efforts to prop up its virus-hit economy.

Overseas bonds

The Agricultural Development Bank of China, the third-largest bond issuer in China, has launched 4.3 billion yuan of overseas bonds.

Of the total, 2.5 billion yuan will mature in three years and 1.8 billion yuan will mature in five years, with a fixed interest rate of 2.6% and 2.85% respectively. It marked the bank’s first batch of overseas yuan-dominated bonds after receiving new quota approvals from the National Development and Reform Commission in 2020.

The issuance was well-received by overseas investors, with the bid amount exceeding 11.4 billion yuan, 3.82 times the original 3-billion-yuan circulation, said the bank.

The funds raised will be used to support epidemic containment and economic recovery, as well as to promote development in rural areas.

Foreign trade

China saw its foreign trade rise 6.5% year on year in July, with exports and imports up 10.4% and 1.6% respectively, official data showed Friday.

Foreign trade stood at 2.93 trillion yuan last month, resulting in a trade surplus of 442.23 billion yuan, the General Administration of Customs said.

In the first seven months of this year, the foreign trade of goods went down 1.7% year on year to 17.16 trillion yuan, narrowing by 1.5 percentage points compared with the decrease for the first half.

Company news

Geely Automobile Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed automaker, said it sold 105,218 units of automobiles last month, up about 15% year on year. Of the total, 6,401 units were new-energy vehicles.

In the first seven months of the year, Geely sold a total of 635,000 units, down 14% from the same period last year.

The company said it had so far completed 45% of its full-year sales target.

China’s new-energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturer BYD said it sold a total of 75,777 NEVs in the first seven months of this year, down by 53.29% from the same period last year.

In July alone, it sold 15,100 NEVs, down from 16,567 units in the same month a year ago.

Despite the sales slump in the NEV sector, BYD reported a sales rebound for gasoline-powered vehicles. During the first seven months, the carmaker sold 114,233 gasoline-powered vehicles, up by 17.96% year on year.

The stories were written by Xu Jiangshan and Liu Licong and first published at ATimesCN.com. They were translated by Nadeem Xu.