Orange Wang

Orange Wang

Orange in a contributor to Inkstone. He covers the Chinese macroeconomy for the South China Morning Post.

China's economy fell off a cliff during coronavirus lockdown
The coronavirus’ impact on China’s economy was made plain in new numbers released on Monday, which showed a collapse across the board. Strict containment efforts, including the full-scale lockdown of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first reported, has led analysts to downgrade their outlook for the Chinese economy, with most now expecting a historic contraction in the first quarter. On Monday, newly released economic data points fell dramatically further than analysts had predicted. For example, retail sales,  a key metric of consumption in the world’s second-largest economy, fell by 20.5%, the first decline on record.  The median forecast of a group of analysts, conducted by Bloomberg
Economic shock of coronavirus may ‘hit harder than Sars’
Cities across China have become virtual ghost towns as public fear grows over the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Early signs indicate the outbreak could deal a heavy blow to the country’s already fragile economic recovery. As the virus has fanned out from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, authorities have taken increasingly aggressive measures to contain the Sars-like virus: curbing public transport, shuttering entertainment venues and shortening business hours. The rapid transmission of the coronavirus, partly due to initial mishandling by officials in Wuhan and Hubei, comes as China is trying to stabilize economic growth in 2020 following the signing of a phase one t
China’s growth falls to 29-year low. Official says progress ‘unstoppable’
China’s economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, the lowest annual growth rate for 29 years, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. The gross domestic product (GDP) figure came in a year in which the Chinese economy was hammered by US tariffs as a result of the trade war. The new data comes a day after China and the United States signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday, marking something of a ceasefire in the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. However, despite falling to a new low since 1990, when political turmoil drove economic growth down to 3.9%, the 6.1% rate met the target range of between 6.0% and 6.5% set by the central government at the beginning of last year
China province, population 80 million, says only 17 people live in poverty
A Chinese province of 80 million people has claimed that only 17 residents, from six families, remain in poverty, sparking intense debate about the veracity of official anti-poverty statistics. The coastal province of Jiangsu is the first to declare a near elimination of absolute poverty – which is defined in China as per capita net income of 2,300 yuan ($331) in 2011 prices – as part of President Xi Jinping’s drive to wipe it out and build China into a comprehensive well-off society by 2020. China has yet to publish official statistics for all of 2019, but the government has said the number of people in poverty was cut to 16.6 million at the end of 2018 and an additional 10 million were lif
Why Chinese banks are giving out free pork to new customers
Handing out servings of expensive pork as a reward for opening an account is the latest gimmick being used by a growing number of small local banks across China to lure new depositors. The fact that pork could be seen as a desirable reward for opening a bank account speaks to the country’s massive shortage of its favorite staple meat. On Monday, clients who deposited $1,430 or more in a three-month time deposit at the Linhai Rural Commercial Bank in Duqiao in Zhejiang province were then eligible to enter a lottery to win a portion of pork ranging from one to ten pounds. “The money is still my own, and the interest is good. I’m happy to receive a piece of pork in addition,” one female client,
Xi Jinping’s Chinese dream, and the nightmare of a ‘triple threat’
The gigantic bazaar in Baigou, Hebei province has 216 escalators. There, shoppers can browse more than 10,000 stores and, for the cost of a movie ticket, buy a handbag that looks like a Louis Vuitton or Gucci original. The bazaar, officially known as the Hedao International Trade Center for Cases and Bags, symbolizes the northern Chinese town’s dream of finding a place in the global trading landscape. Around two hours south of Beijing, Baigou’s effort to put itself on the map has come a long way. According to the town’s local history archive, the collective commune system in rural China imposed in the 1950s wiped out traditional trading, resulting in famine and catastrophe. The daily grain r
China releases ‘emergency pork’ amid swine virus outbreak
The Chinese government has stepped up efforts to ease an acute pork shortage that is fueling public grievances. African swine fever, which is harmless to humans but deadly to pigs, has spread across the country over the past year, forcing farmers to slaughter their hogs and shutting down loss-making pig farms. As a result, China’s hog herd is now down more than 30% compared with a year ago, according to official data, while pork prices have hit new highs.  Pork is the most popular meat for the majority of the Chinese population. Pork affordability is also one of the indicators people use to gauge their own financial well-being.  With citizens increasingly unhappy over expensive pork, the go
Chinese cities take drastic action to offset soaring pork prices
Across China, the price of pork has doubled since July, prompting some cities to take the unusual step of offering discounts on the country’s favorite meat. In the southwestern city of Nanning, coupons have been distributed to shoppers since Sunday. The bearer is entitled to a 10% discount on the average price of pork, according to the government-backed Nanning Evening News. But there is a catch. The discount is only be available at 10 pilot sites. Each local resident restricted to just 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) per day. Feng Yonghui, chief analyst at meat industry portal Soozhu.com, believes the discounted meat has been taken from the government’s frozen pork reserves. Officials have not conf
China can deliver a ‘deadly punch’ to the US, ex-official says
China has many options for retaliating against the United States and is likely to implement sanctions that go beyond tariffs on trade in goods, a former top government official has said. “China will not only act as a kung fu master in response to US tricks, but also as an experienced boxer and can deliver a deadly punch at the end,” Wei Jianguo, a former vice-minister at the Ministry of Commerce responsible for foreign trade, told the South China Morning Post. Beijing is considering how it will strike back at the US after President Donald Trump on Friday raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China’s response can be consequential to ending – or escalating – a trade war that has di
China confronts perfect storm of trade war and a pig plague
When China levied additional tariffs on pork from the United States last year, Zhu Mengzhou, a manager of an imported food distributor in Guangzhou, was one of many traders who stopped buying it. “Unless the tariffs are adjusted, the cost is too high for us,” Zhu said. Even as an outbreak of African swine fever threatens to decimate China’s most important meat market, Zhu cannot afford to resume US purchases due to two rounds of trade war tariffs which added a total of 50% to import duties. For some US pork products, Chinese buyers have to pay duties up to 70% just to get them past customs. Zhu and many other pork traders in China – as well as the US – are watching anxiously as negotiators f