Yuan rises 0.5 percent after US drops currency manipulation charges

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   534

Chinese 100 yuan or renminbi (RMB) notes and coins in Beijing, China, 5 August 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Beijing – The renminbi (the official name of the Chinese currency, commonly known as ‘yuan’) rose by 6.8954 units per dollar or 0.45 percent – its highest level since August – hours after the United States government decided to drop China from its currency manipulator list.

The daily trading rate set by the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, was 0.0309 yuan higher on Tuesday, compared to the previous day.

The PBOC does not allow the yuan to fluctuate by more than two percent from the reference rate marked each day.

Washington included Beijing in its “currency manipulators” list on Aug. 5 after the yuan dropped below the psychological barrier of 7 units per dollar for the first time in more than a decade.

The significant drop in the yuan was seen as a response to new tariffs on Chinese products announced by Washington four days earlier.

However, the US Department of the Treasury on Monday announced the withdrawal of China from the list as a gesture of goodwill before the signing of the “first phase” of an agreement to resolve the bilateral trade war in the US capital later this week.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability,” US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

However, the US has not completely written off its suspicions over China and moved China to the so-called “Monitoring List,” in which it classifies those trade partners that merit “close attention” because of their monetary policies.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua acknowledged that the strengthening of the yuan against the dollar came just after the gesture made by the US.

The agency quoted an analyst who attributed the appreciation in the national currency to the improvement in the country’s economic inertia and the counter-cyclical adjustments carried out by the government.

After 22 months of trade war and the ensuing exchange of tariffs, Trump announced mid-December that the first phase of a pact with China had been finalized.

According to the agreement, the US will keep its 25-percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, along with reduced charges of 7.5 percent on additional imports worth $120 billion.

Ever since the announcement of a possible agreement in October, negotiations between the Asian and American superpowers have seen several upheavals, including the spread of contradictory information and mutually-lobbed veiled criticism.

Trade tensions between the two world economies – which began in March 2018 – go beyond bilateral relations and have had global consequences.

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest forecasts in October, downgraded global growth projections for the year to 3 percent, 0.2 percent less than that in July, weighed down by doubts about a possible resolution of the trade dispute. EFE-EPA

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China warns of sustained virus impact on poultry, eggs supply amid rising death toll

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

China’s supply of poultry and egg products is likely to be hit in the second and third quarters as the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on the industry, agriculture ministry official Yang Zhenhai told a State Council briefing on Tuesday (February 18).

The world’s second-largest poultry producer, China had been ramping up output to fill a meat shortage after the African swine fever epidemic, which began in 2018, decimated its pig herd.

Poultry prices have plunged this year and restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain. Farmers have been left with large inventories of birds and eggs even as demand plunged as restaurants and canteens stay shut.

Yang said that since the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 1,800 deaths, live poultry markets have been closed, transportation of baby poultry and live poultry has been curtailed and slaughterhouses have been shut down. (Reuters)

(Production: Wang Shubing, Thomas Suen)

“Every scenario on the table” in China virus outbreak – WHO

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

The latest data provided by China on people infected with coronavirus indicates a decline in new cases, but “every scenario is still on the table” in terms of the epidemic’s evolution, the World Health Organization said on Monday (February 17).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva that China’s detailed paper on more than 44,000 confirmed cases provided insight into the age range of infections, disease severity and mortality rates.

Asked whether the outbreak was a pandemic, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “The real issue is whether we are seeing efficient community transmission outside of China, and at the present time, we are not observing that”.

WHO expert Sylvie Briand said the agency was working closely with Japanese authorities and the chief medical officer on the Diamond Princess docked off Yokohama on infections and evacuations, adding: “Our focus is on our public health objective that we contain the virus and not contain the people”. (Reuters)

(Production: Marina Depetris, Johnny Cotton)

Hospital president dies of infection in Wuhan

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

Liu Zhiming

The president of Wuhan’s Wuchang Hospital in central China’s Hubei Province, Liu Zhiming, died at the age of 51 from the novel coronavirus pneumonia, or COVID-19, on Tuesday.

Liu died at 10:54 despite all attempts made by medical staff to cure him, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in an online statement.

Wuchang Hospital was among the first designated to treat infections related to the epidemic. Liu had led the medical staff in the fight against the virus and had made important contributions in the city’s prevention and control efforts, according to the statement.

Chinese authorities said as of February 11, more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected and six have died. (Reuters)

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