China’s first quarter GDP grows 6.8%, slightly more than expected

China records a 6.8% economic growth in the first quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, a percentage that has slightly exceeded expectations and unchanged from the previous quarter.

Reuters spoke to analysts who shared that they expected gross domestic product (GDP) to rise to 6.7% in the January-March quarter, slowing only slightly from 6.8% growth in the previous two quarters.

China’s sustained growth shows that the economy has remained resilient even as Beijing kicked its war on pollution into a high gear during the winter months by cutting production for many steel smelters, mills and factories.

“The national economy maintained the momentum of steady and sound development. The economic performance continued to improve, and the economy was off to a good start.” said Xing Zhihong, a spokesman for the National Statistics Bureau.

The National Bureau of Statistics said on a quarterly basis, GDP in the first quarter grew 1.4 percent, compared with revised growth of 1.6 percent in October-December.

Source: Reuters


China pledges to allow more foreign investment in financial sector by year-end

China has recently made plans to open its financial sector to more foreign investment by the end of this year. This comes as Beijing looks for ways to avoid growing criticism from the United States and other trading partners.
Governor Yi Gang of People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said the nation will allow foreign firms to compete on an equal footing with domestic companies in the financial sector by giving foreign banks more business scope in the country.
China promises to keep these plans that were publicly announced last year. The pledges include allowing foreign firms to invest in trust companies, financial leasing, auto finance and consumer finance.
The PBOC has confirmed that it aims to launch a planned trading link between its stock markets and London by the end of 2018.
“China will raise foreign ownership limits to 51 percent in securities, fund management, futures and life insurance companies over the next few months” said the PBOC.
The current ownership cap for securities, futures and fund management firms is 49% and the cap for insurance companies is 50%. China’s president, Xi Jinping also promised to open the economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars.
source: reuters

World Bank says SA could half poverty by 2030

The World Bank has declared that South Africa could more than half its number of underprivileged people to 4 million by 2030, but first the country must address corruption, get free higher education right and reduce policy uncertainty in its mining industry. These are said to be the short-term goals to improve the life conditions of the country.
“Solutions are needed to foster MTV because he inclusive growth, which in practice means improving the poor’s access to good jobs so they can fully participate in the economy,” the World Bank said.  
The bank has suggested long-term goals which in includes, reducing inequality levels by improving the quality of basic education delivered to students from poor backgrounds and reinforcing the spatial integration between economic hubs, where jobs are located and underserviced informal settlements. 
The World Bank mentioned that by 2030 inequality should be back down to its 1994 level, and South Africa should number 8.3 million poor people (at $1.90 a day), down from almost 10.5 million in 2017.
However, the bank noted that creating a new South Africa will take time and challenges are expected throughout the journey.  
“In this regard, continued efforts to effectively redistribute wealth to the poorest while protecting economic growth will need to complement the reforms discussed above to create skilled jobs for the poor.”

Brazil central bank tackles cost of credit with new rules

Brazil’s central bank has announced a range of new banking rules that aims to bring down some of the world’s highest interest rate by increasing liquidity, reducing funding costs and fostering competition in the financial system.

The central bank said these changes will take effect between late April and early May. These would return reserve requirements on savings accounts to levels last seen before the 2008 global crisis.

Central Bank Director, Otávio Damaso, stated that the measures created conditions for banks to reduce interest rates on loans, without mentioning specific targets.

The central bank defined rules for banks to issue covered bonds, a kind of deposit that could boost mortgage lending by reducing funding costs.

Credit Suisse analysts estimated that the extra liquidity could increase earnings at Brazil’s largest banks by 0.7 percent to 2.4 percent. Analysts also mentioned that the additional liquidity should bring down some interest rates.

“Demand for credit is still weak, especially on the part of companies, and it would be tough to see a really big change even with an eventual drop in (interest) rates,” said Roberto Padovani, chief economist at Banco Votorantim.

Source :Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Modi launches the country’s longest bridge

The 9.15 km long Dhola-Sadiya bridge launched today by India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi,  will shorten the distance between Rupai on NH- 37 in Assam to Meka/Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165 KM and reduce travel time from between the two places from six hours to just one hour.
At the launch of India’s longest bridge, Modi said Dhola-Sadiya bridge opens the door for economic development in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.
He said the enhanced connectivity between the North-East and other parts of the country continues to be a priority for his government and good connectivity in the North-East would also link the region with the economy of South-East Asia.
The bridge has been named after renowned Indian musician and poet Bhupen Hazarika who died in 2011.
Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari revealed there were also highways and inland waterways projects currently being implemented in the North Eastern states.
He said there were major highway of about 3000 kms projects  in the eight North Eastern states under construction.
The occasion also marked three year anniversary of Modi’s rule in the country.


SA’s plan to boost investment in underdeveloped regions

South African Government wants to accelerate economic development in the country's underdeveloped areas by attracting investors to these regions.
The R42 million Babelegi Industrial Park project expected to be launched in Hammanskraal next week is one of the projects under the Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme which is aimed at attracting investment.

The Babelegi Industrial Park boasts about 261 units available for leasing and 188 occupied by firms operating in textiles, engineering, construction, light manufacturing, warehousing and distribution.

The Department of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the objective of the programme was to also create jobs in manufacturing and related sectors, the Citizen newspaper reported.

“The dti has forged strategic partnerships for the implementation of the programme on a national scale working with the provinces, their agencies as well as municipalities,” Davies was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“In the case of Babelegi, the department is working with the North West Development Corporation, who are also the owners of the park. The City of Tshwane has also played a strategic role in ensuring the smooth implementation of the programme,” he said.

SA Tourism Minister wants more women to take up leadership positions in the sector

South Africa wants to increase women in leadership positions in tourism sector to 30% in the next five years.

This was said by SA Tourim Minister Tokozile Xasa during the Tourism Indaba held in Durban this week.

Last year Xasa revealed that there were about 20%  women in general management in the sector and only 5-8% in board positions.


She launched  the Department of Tourism’s campaign to achieve 30% of women in executive management and board directorship positions in tourism in the next five years at the Indaba.

“The campaign, dubbed “Women in Tourism (WiT) 30in5”, will be chaired by Tourvest chief operating officer Judi Nwokedi in a collaboration with the private sector,” she said.

President Jacob Zuma who opened the 3-day event revealed that Durban would host the Indaba for the next five years.


He also launched South Africa’s “I Do Tourism” marketing campaign, which is aimed at highlighting how tourism has the potential to change people’s lives for the better by making a direct and tangible contribution to economic growth.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, said it the province is “thrilled” at the announcement to host Indaba for the next five years.

“This will give us an opportunity to further invest in the show and ensure that it continues to grow, thereby increasing its contribution to the province’s GDP. Furthermore, it will allow us the opportunity to engage tour operators to partner with us in growing intra-African travel into KwaZulu-Natal. We want to create an impactful tourism sector that will spread into our rural and township tourism economies as well,” he said.

South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona said the Indaba which attracted more than 7000 delegates was a success.

“This year was all about listening to the feedback from exhibitors and partners that resulted in some fundamental changes, to ensure the event stays fresh and relevant. These ranged from the show’s updated diary system that provided more matchmaking and meeting opportunities to a brand-new Indaba app as the show’s primary source of information about news, meetings and events.” Ntshona said.

He said this year’s programme also identified 90 quality tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from all nine provinces in the country and assisted them to be market-ready before their sponsored participation at Africa’s Travel Indaba.

“It proved to be a highly successful platform for them to meet and network with fellow exhibitors as well as travel buyers, and gain valuable exposure for their enterprises,” said Ntshona.


7000 delegates attended
1440 local and international buyers
1000 exhibitors showcased their work
18 African countries represented
692 registered media representatives covered the event



BRICS agrees to disclose tax information

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have agreed to work within the OECD’s Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project. The project focuses on tax avoidance initiatives undertaken by individuals who take advantage of ‘existing loopholes’ that exist between different countries’ tax laws.

Tax officials who serve as representatives for the BRICS countries, are dedicated to their pledge to automatically share tax information between them.

Heads of revenue recently held a two-day meeting in Mumbai, India where it was concluded that these efforts would introduce ‘global standards to tax transparency’, putting a tight grip on tax evasion.

They also announced plans to implement the standards used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the G20 on Automatic Exchange of Information.

“We recognise the importance of the exchange of information between competent authorities in preventing cross-border tax evasion and we resolve to exchange information, both on request and on automatic basis, and to adopt global standards on tax transparency,” noted the communique issued after the meeting.

Included in theBEPS project are all G20 countries, and another 40 developing countries.

The proposed start date for the exchange of information and the implementation of the OECD/G20 standards is 2018.

The final communique also said: “We will continue to work towards developing a framework of cooperation between our administrations to contribute to the economic growth of the BRICS countries.”

– BRICS Post