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China becomes first economy to grow since virus pandemic

16th July 2020
"China became the first major economy to grow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, recording an unexpectedly strong 3.2% expansion in the latest quarter after anti-virus lockdowns were lifted and factories and stores reopened."

China became the first major economy to grow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, recording an unexpectedly strong 3.2% expansion in the latest quarter after anti-virus lockdowns were lifted and factories and stores reopened.

Growth reported Thursday for the three months ending in June was a dramatic improvement over the previous quarter’s 6.8% contraction — China’s worst performance since at least the mid-1960s. But it still was the weakest positive figure since China started reporting quarterly growth in the early 1990s.

“We expect to see continuous improvement in the upcoming quarters,” Marcella Chow of JP Morgan Asset Management said in a report.

China, where the coronavirus pandemic began in December, was the first economy to shut down and the first to start the drawn-out process of recovery in March after the ruling Communist Party declared the disease under control.

“The national economy shifted from slowing down to rising in the first half of 2020,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

Economists say China is likely to recover faster than some other major economies due to the ruling Communist Party’s decision to impose the most intensive anti-disease measures in history. Those cut off most access to cities with a total of 60 million people and suspended trade and travel — steps later imitated by some Asian and European governments as the virus spread.

Manufacturing and some other industries are almost back to normal. But consumer spending is weak due to fear of possible job losses. Cinemas and some other businesses still are closed and restrictions on travel stay in place.

“The pandemic is creating winners and losers,” said Bill Adams of PNC Financial Services Group in a report. “Manufacturing is leading China’s recovery.”

Private sector analysts say as much as 30% of the urban workforce, or as many as 130 million people, may have lost their jobs at least temporarily. They say as many as 25 million jobs might be lost for good this year.

The ruling party promised in May to spend $280 billion on meeting goals including creating 9 million new jobs. But it has avoided joining the United States and Japan in rolling out stimulus packages of $1 trillion or more due to concern about adding to already high Chinese debt.

China reported 4,634 coronavirus deaths and 83,611 confirmed cases. It has not reported any domestically transmitted cases since an outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people before it faded early this month.

On Tuesday, the government eased some curbs on domestic tourism after China reported no new locally acquired infections in nine days. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said tourist sites can allow 50% of their daily visitor capacity, up from 30%, and tours from one province to another can resume.

In the three months ending in June, factory output rose 4.4%, rebounding from the previous quarter’s 8.4% contraction after factories that make the world’s smartphones, shoes, toys and other goods reopened.

Retail sales shrank by 3.9%, but that was a marked improvement over the previous quarter’s 19% contraction while millions of families were confined to their homes and shopping malls were shut down. Online retail sales rose 14.3%, up from the previous quarter’s 5.9%.

June exports grew by an unexpectedly strong 0.4% but still are off 3% for the first half of the year. Imports rose 3% — including a 10.6% jump in purchases of U.S. goods despite a tariff war — but are down 3.3% so far this year.

Forecasters warn exporters are likely to face another decline in demand as sales of masks and other medical supplies taper off and U.S. and European retailers cancel orders.

“This suggests sustained pressure on employment, currently the government’s foremost policy priority,” said JP Morgan’s Chow.

A potential stumbling block is worsening relations with the United States, China’s biggest national export market, over disputes about trade, technology, human rights and Hong Kong.

The two governments signed an agreement in January to postpone further tariff hikes in their fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus. But most increases already imposed remained in place.

Source: apnews

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Compiled by : Debashish S Neupane Debashish S Neupane

Huawei, China Mobile setup 5G Connectivity to Mount Everest

23rd April 2020
"Huawei Telecommunications, the electronics giant, has partnered up with telecom operators from China, to brings the newer and faster bandwidth, 5G network, to Mount Everest."

Huawei Telecommunications, the electronics giant, has partnered up with telecom operators from China, to brings the newer and faster bandwidth, 5G network, to Mount Everest.

The installation of equipment required to enable 5G services on the world's tallest mountain has been completed at two Everest camps. China Mobile said that the pending work of setting up 5G base stations at the forward camp at an altitude of 6,500 metres will be completed by April 25. The base station at forward camp will offer 5G coverage to the summit of Mount Everest.

people climbing Mount Everest

To get 5G to reach such heights, China Mobile sent 150 workers for construction and maintenance purposes. 8-tonnes of network construction and life support equipment was carried to the mountain. The equipment used to deploy 5G was made by Huawei. 25 kilometres of optical fibre cable also had to be laid for the project.

According to Global Times, a newspaper the 5G base stations on the Everest provide download speeds of 1Gbps.

“In addition to China Mobile, China Telecom has announced that it built 5G base stations at the Qomolangma base camp, at an altitude of 5,145.3 meters on April 13. The tested upload and download speeds were 700Mbps (megabits per second) and 223Mbps, respectively. China Unicom has also announced in recent days that it has built two 5G base stations on Mount Qomolangma,” Global Times reported. Qomolangma is the Tibetian name of Everest.

With the deployment of 5G at the 8,848 metres tall mountain, mountaineers are expected to be able to communicate better, thus making their expedition safer. It could also prove to be helpful for rescue workers and researchers.

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Electric car sales jumped by 57 percent Q1 2020 in Europe

13th May 2020
"Registrations of electric cars in Europe jumped 57.4% in the first quarter of 2020."

Overall sales of passenger cars in the European Union, United Kingdom and countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) fell by 52.9% in the same period, when many showrooms were closed due to lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the ACEA auto association said.

In Germany, Europe’s largest car market, showrooms have been open since late April, but demand is massively down and inventory levels unusually high in what is usually the strongest sales period, German dealership association ZDK said.

Demand is down by at least 50% from a year earlier, according to more than half of the 1,357 dealers polled by ZDK.

Shifting more electric cars will be made harder by the backlog of unsold combustion-engined vehicles.

“There are between 750,000 to 1 million unsold cars sitting in German dealerships, the vast majority of them are conventional petrol and diesel cars,” ZDK spokesman Ulrich Koester said.

Electric car sales in the EU, UK and EFTA countries reached 130,297 in January-March, ACEA said.

Germany extended its lead over Norway in terms of new electric car registrations, with a 63.3% rise. Sales in France jumped 145.6%, while Norway’s declined 12.4%.

Carmakers need to sell more electric vehicles after EU lawmakers in December 2018 ordered them to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40% between 2007 and 2021, and then by a further of 37.5% by 2030, or face fines.

Carmakers are readying new electric and hybrid models to try to meet the targets.

Volkswagen Group said in March 2019 it planned to launch almost 70 new electric models by 2028, starting with its ID3 model which is set to hit showrooms in summer.

BMW has said it plans to offer 25 electrified models by 2023, with more than half being fully electric and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer 12 electrified models by 2021, including both hybrid and fully electric vehicles of all types.

However, a lack of charging infrastructure will continue to hamper sales, and electric car sales will not overtake petrol and diesel models in the five largest Western European markets until 2030, forecasters at LMC Automotive have said.

Source: Reuters

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Compiled by : Reviewer Team Reviews

April European car sales see worst drop since records began

20th May 2020
"A report from AP states that European car sales bottomed out last month as the automotive industry faces its worst crisis in decades."

A report from AP states that European car sales bottomed out last month as the automotive industry faces its worst crisis in decades.
Strict lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus closed most dealerships across the continent for the full month of April amid a precipitous drop in consumer spending, causing sales to collapse by an unprecedented 76%, the ACEA car manufacturers’ association said Tuesday.
Carmakers across the continent sold just 270,682 vehicles last month, compared with 1.14 million a year earlier, the ’’strongest monthly drop in car demand since records began,” ACEA said.
Southern Europe was the hardest hit with new car registrations down 97.6% in Italy and 96.5% in Spain -- as both countries struggled with some of the highest levels of coronavirus infection in Europe. France saw an 89% contraction while Germany suffered a 61% drop.
European car sales for the first four months of the year were down 39%.
Like March’s 55% drop, the decline was far worse even than during the 2008-9 global financial crisis, which triggered a six-year slump in car purchases. The steepest losses during that financial crisis occurred in January 2009, when sales fell 27%.
The crisis was striking both mass-market and luxury carmakers indiscriminately.
The Volkswagen group maintained the largest market share, expanded by 30% despite a 73% drop in sales. French rivals PSA Group and Renault saw declines hovering around 80% while Fiat Chrysler -- which is seeking a 6.3-billion-euro Italian government-backed loan to relaunch -- dropped by 88%. German luxury carmakers BMW and Daimler saw sales sink 65% and 79% respectively.

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Compiled by : Debashish S Neupane Debashish S Neupane

China launches final satellite in GPS-like Beidou system

23rd June 2020
"China on Tuesday launched the final satellite in its Beidou constellation that emulates the U.S. Global Positioning System, marking a further step in the country’s advance as a major space power."

China on Tuesday launched the final satellite in its Beidou constellation that emulates the U.S. Global Positioning System, marking a further step in the country’s advance as a major space power.

The launch of the satellite onboard a Long March-3 rocket was broadcast live from the satellite launch base of Xichang, deep in the mountains of southwestern China, shortly before 10 a.m. About half an hour later, the satellite was deployed in orbit and extended its solar panels to provide its energy.

An initial launch scheduled for last week was scrubbed after checks revealed unspecified technical problems.

The third iteration of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System promises to provide global coverage for timing and navigation, offering an alternative to Russia’s GLONASS and the European Galileo systems, as well as America’s GPS.

China’s space program has developed rapidly over the past two decades as the government devotes major resources toward developing independent high-tech capabilities — and even dominating in fields such as 5G data processing.

The first version of Beidou, meaning “Big Dipper,” was decommissioned in 2012. Future plans call for a smarter, more accessible and more integrated system with Beidou at its core, to come online by 2035.

In 2003, China became just the third country to independently launch a crewed space mission and has since constructed an experimental space station and sent a pair of rovers to the surface of the moon.

Future plans call for a fully functioning permanent space station and a possible crewed flight to the moon, with its first attempt to send an orbiter and rover to Mars possibly coming as early as next month. If successful, it would be the only other country besides the U.S. to land on Earth’s closest planetary neighbor.

The program has suffered some setbacks, including launch failures, and has had limited cooperation with other countries’ space efforts, in part because of U.S. objections to its close connections to the Chinese military.

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Compiled by : Samana Maharjan Samana Maharjan

Europe 2020 auto sales to plunge record 25%: industry group

24th June 2020
"Auto sales in Europe this year will tumble a record 25 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic which has left manufacturers facing a "major economic crisis", a top industry group said Tuesday"

Auto sales in Europe this year will tumble a record 25 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic which has left manufacturers facing a "major economic crisis", a top industry group said Tuesday.
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association(ACEA) also urged the European Union and member state governments to help the industry recover and safeguard jobs.
EU car sales will "tumble by more than three million from 12.8 million units in 2019 to some 9.6 million units this year", ACEA said in a statement.
So far this year, the auto market has shrank 41.5 percent due to the impact of coronavirus lockdowns but ACEA said the situation should improve somewhat as restrictions are eased.
"In terms of percentage change, the bleak outlook represents the sharpest drop ever witnessed by Europe's automobile sector," it said.
"ACEA maintains hope that this dramatic scenario can be mitigated through fast and strong measures by the EU and national governments," group head Eric-Mark Huitema said in the statement.
"Given the unprecedented collapse in sales to date, purchase incentives and scrappage schemes are urgently required right across the EU to create much-needed demand for new cars.
"In the interest of our industry and the wider EU economy, we are calling for the necessary political and economic support... to limit the damage to production and employment over the months to come."

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Compiled by : Samana Maharjan Samana Maharjan