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China: State capital optimization gets impetus

China will accelerate the optimization of State capital and industrial restructuring during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25) and create role-model companies to foster high-quality growth, senior government officials said on Tuesday. The government will promote the strategic reorganization and professional integration of centrally administered State-owned enterprises and divest their noncore, nonadvantageous and noncompetitive businesses during this period, said Hao Peng, chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. “This will help deal with ineffective and low-performing assets, and speed up the digital and smart ...

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Economic pain from pandemic upends the lives of restaurant owners, entertainers

The reality has not yet sunk in for Pepe Diaz that the beloved deli he ran with his brother for more than 30 years is permanently shut. Servers package food at a table at a pop up restaurant set up in Times Square for ‘Taste of Times Square Week’ during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri “The camaraderie with all the students and the regular customers, I miss all that,” he said, outside Howard Deli ...

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Kuroda says BOJ will seek ways to make ETF buying more effective

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank is already buying exchange-traded funds (ETF) flexibly, but will seek ways to make the programme more effective and sustainable in a scheduled review of its policy tools in March. Kuroda said the BOJ is mindful of the need to address the side-effects of its massive stimulus, adding that he was aware of criticism its ETF purchases were distorting stock prices. But he offered few clues on what tweaks the BOJ could make to the asset-buying programme, and said he saw ...

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German 4Q GDP Growth Revised Up in Second Estimate

Germany’s economy grew in the fourth quarter by more than reported in the first release, the German statistics office Destatis said Wednesday. Gross domestic product for the fourth quarter increased by an adjusted 0.3% from the previous quarter, according to Destatis. This is above the preliminary estimate of 0.1% growth and beat economists’ expectations of a 0.1% expansion in The Wall Street Journal’s survey. After the historic 9.7% slump in GDP in the second quarter, the German economy posted a record expansion in output of 8.5% in the third quarter. ...

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Japan Finance Minister Aso: First-quarter GDP will no doubt undershoot fourth-quarter

Japan’s economy will likely deteriorate this quarter compared with the previous three-month period, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Wednesday, stressing the need to swiftly carry out planned stimulus measures. Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Aso said the government was not currently considering adopting any fresh stimulus. Source: Reuters (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)

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Factbox: Biden trade czar’s to-do list – China tariffs to UK post-Brexit

Katherine Tai, President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, will have a full inbox waiting if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate after a confirmation hearing on Thursday. U.S. allies, global corporations, domestic industries and labor groups are eager to see how she will address the upheaval after President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policies. Here are the top issues: EUROPE AND AIRCRAFT SUBSIDIES Four U.S. administrations have argued with Europe over past government aid to aircraft manufacturers since 2004. After WTO rulings, both Washington and Brussels put ...

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JPMorgan’s blockchain payments test is literally out of this world

Stuck in space with bills to pay? Don’t worry, the satellites could take care of it. JPMorgan Chase & Co has recently tested blockchain payments between satellites orbiting the earth, executives at the bank told Reuters, showing that digital devices could use the technology behind virtual currencies for transactions. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT), where devices connect to one another, is most associated with consumer electronics, including smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and banks want to be ready to process payments when these smart devices start ...

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Plans for ‘future industries’ aim to exploit local advantages

Four years ago, Peng Xiaobo, who had been working in the research, development and management of spacecraft technology for 25 years, established Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Co Ltd to pursue his dream of advancing commercial spaceflights. Peng, CEO of the company, believes the value of the aerospace industry has not been fully tapped. “Our goal is to become a global leader in commercial spaceflights,” he said. Despite the limited scale of the company, its core competitiveness in the field has highlighted China’s emerging “industries of the future”, a new ...

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U.S. new home sales beat expectations; December data revised higher

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased more than expected in January, boosted by historically low mortgage rates and an acute shortage of previously owned houses on the market. New home sales rose 4.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 923,000 units last month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. December’s sales pace was revised higher to 885,000 units from the previously reported 842,000 units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales increasing 2.1% to a rate of 855,000 units in January. New home sales are drawn ...

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A U.S. strategy paper on China draws a tepid response in Beijing

A recent U.S. strategy paper on China that’s widely read in Washington, D.C., has drawn only a passing response in Beijing where limited public discussion has focused on one point: The author got China wrong. “The Longer Telegram” released in late January proposed how the new U.S. administration should deal with a rising China by laying out a detailed critique of the Communist Party government under President Xi Jinping. An effective U.S. approach on China requires the “same disciplined approach it applied to the defeat of the Soviet Union,” the ...

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German economy to shrink some 1.5% in early 2021: DIW

Germany’s economy could shrink by around 1.5% in the beginning of the year, the DIW research institute said on Wednesday, as lockdown measures to restrict coronavirus infections take a toll on Europe’s biggest economy. DIW said a surge in coronavirus cases was constraining economic growth but that the pandemic’s impact was less severe than in last spring when production facilities came to a standstill. “Above all, industry has come through the winter robustly so far,” said DIW forecaster Claus Michelsen. Strong exports and solid construction activity helped the German economy ...

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India’s economy likely returned to growth last quarter: Reuters poll

India’s economy is likely to have returned to growth in the December quarter due to the easing of restrictions on movement after the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic peaked, a Reuters poll predicted. The median forecast from a survey of 58 economists, conducted between Feb. 18-24, put year-on-year growth at 0.5% in the December quarter, as the economy stabilised after contracting 23.9% and 7.5% in April-June and July-Sept quarters respectively. “We forecast a mild expansion in the December quarter owing to strong resumption in economic activity, festival led consumer ...

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French Manufacturing Sector Sentiment Rises in February

Sentiment in the French manufacturing sector rose in February for the third consecutive month, despite coronavirus-related restrictions. Figures from the French national statistics agency’s monthly survey on Wednesday showed manufacturing sentiment rose to 97 in February compared with a revised level of 96 in January. The reading for February was below economists’ consensus forecast of 99 in a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal. Source: Dow Jones

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HSBC ups U.S. GDP forecasts for 2021 and 2022 on stimulus prospects

HSBC Holdings LLC, Europe’s biggest bank, on Wednesday said it raised its forecast for U.S. gross domestic product to 5.0% in 2021, from 3.5% previously, and its growth call for next year to 3.0% from 2.5%. HSBC Global Research said in a note that the upgrade was due to higher consumer spending, thanks to pandemic stimulus, the Democratic push to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package and the U.S. housing boom’s impact on residential construction. “Our new growth forecasts imply that pre-pandemic levels of GDP could be reached ...

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EU seeks views on gig workers’ rights ahead of new law by year end

The European Commission kicked off a public consultation on Wednesday to determine whether to propose a law that would give gig economy workers greater rights as contractors or employees or by being allowed to bargain as a group. The move comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted online platforms, with food delivery companies hiring more staff to deal with a surge in business and cleaners facing health and safety risks and limited social protection. Courts and regulators have over the past year acted to boost gig workers’ rights. The UK ...

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