Yuan rises 0.5 percent after US drops currency manipulation charges

UNTV News   •   January 14, 2020   •   296

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 bans wildlife trade amid novel Coronavirus outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020

China on Saturday (January 26) has imposed a nationwide ban on the trade of wildlife until the outbreak of novel coronavirus is eliminated across the country.

This new restriction includes transport and trading of any form of wildlife, specifically in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.

Experts blame the country’s eating habits as the possible cause of the current epidemic.

China is known for its bizarre custom of eating wild and exotic animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, civet cats, wolves, rats, and bats which health experts consider as ‘incubators’ for viruses that may evolve or mutate and spread to humans often in unhygienic conditions.

These wild animals are also made available on online shops in China.

As of Monday (January 27), China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 1975 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus with a death toll of 80.

So far, the outbreaks’ epicenter, Wuhan City, remains on lockdown along with 19 other cities across Central China.

Health authorities in Beijing, through a text message sent to mobile phone users in Wuhan City, urged people not to shake hands as the common Chinese greeting.

Instead, the public is advised to salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture.

DOH: 11 patients under investigation for suspected novel coronavirus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 27, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that 11 patients are under investigation for suspected novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the 11 patients under investigation have a history of travel to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus.

Based on the DOH, two of the 11 patients are in Metro Manila, one in MIMAROPA, three in Western Visayas, one in Eastern Visayas, three in Central Visayas and one in Northern Mindanao.

Duque said all the patients under investigation are being closely monitored. He also reiterated that there are still zero confirmed nCoV cases in the Philippines.

“There shouldn’t be any cause for alarm. Just because we flashed the areas where the PUIs come from, it doesn’t mean those areas are infected with the novel coronavirus, because there’s none. We keep harping the fact that there is none—still zero as of today,” he said.

DOH Epidemiology Bureau officer-in-charge Chito Avelino said the five-year-old patient in Cebu has already been discharged, while the others are already in the process of being released.

The DOH also reminds the public to practice good hygiene to prevent the risk of infection from any virus.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Hundreds of health workers deployed to Wuhan City as death toll from nCoV rises to 80

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2020

CHINA – The National Health Commission (NHC) on Monday (January 27) confirmed the rise in number of deaths related to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei province in Central China.

State-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) cited reports from NHC which stated that the death toll from nCoV has climbed to 80 and the number of confirmed cases to a total of 2,744 persons across the country.

According to the NHC, 461 of those infected are in serious condition, while 51 others have been discharged.

The NHC confirmed that the first batch of medical staff already entered Wuhan City.

As of Monday, a total of 956 medical personnel from different municipalities and provinces were deployed to ground zero in Wuhan City.

Among them were 128 medical staff from the Southern province of Guangzhou and 137 health workers from the northern province of Shanxi.

All were given prior training on how to properly wear protective gear and were oriented on the conditions of residents in the city.

Testing kits have been distributed to disease control centers across China.

Likewise, the Chinese government deployed seven teams of supervisors to key areas in the country to facilitate the situations in relation to the novel coronavirus.

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