Food Prices Continue Falling
The prices of the 18 most eaten vegetables in China fell 5.2% week on week in 36 largest cities in the week through May 19, 2013, as the warmer weather increased output and supply, the Ministry of Commerce said. The prices of the 18 vegetables have declined 17.6% in the recent four weeks. Pork prices were down 0.5% last week, the ministry added.
More Graduates See No More Jobs
Chinese employers aren't planning to recruit more this year despite a record number of college graduates this summer. According to Mercer, 45% of the 634 companies (90% fully or partially foreign funded) it surveyed didn't have a plan to hire college graduates; 51% had hiring plans in Q1 2013, down from 55% in Q4 2012; 16% had downsizing plans in Q1 2013, up from 9% in Q4 2012. Nearly 7 million graduates are to finish their higher education in one month, 190,000 more than a year earlier.
3G Service Users Top 289 Million
Revenue from China's telecommunications services rose 8.8% year on year to ¥369.24 billion ($60.22 billion, $1 = ¥6.13) in the first four months of the year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. The number of mobile service users increased by 42.97 million between January and April to a total of 1.16 billion, where the number of 3G service users increased by 55.94 million to 289 million.
Gold Demand Up 20% in Q1
China's gold demand rose 20% year on year to a record 294.3 tons in Q1 2013, driven by sales of gold jewelry, bars and coins, the World Gold Council said. Gold jewelry sales were up 19% to 185 tons in China during the quarter. Sales of gold bars and coins surged to a quarterly high of 109.5 tons in Q1 2013 from a quarterly average of 43.8 tons over the past five years.
WMPs Lose Favor
Chinese banks and other financial institutions sold 2,439 wealth management products (WMPs) in April, down 12.8% from March, the China Daily reported, citing figures from Bankrate.com.cn. WMPs are short-term investments disguised as deposits with higher yield than regular deposit interest rates. The yields of WMPs have fallen since China tightened rules on the sale of such products in March. The reason regulators have restricted WMPs is to protect buyers' interests and reduce the risks of shadow banking, according to Zeng Gang, a banking expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Drug Sales Up 19% in April
Medicine sales in China, including traditional Chinese medicine, rose 18.7% year on year to ¥46.8 billion in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Deutsche Bank ascribes the signs of strength to the fact that April is the first month of the fiscal year for many provinces, and that as hospitals adopted reimbursement budget control pent-up demand could be released after the last quarter of the fiscal year (Q1 2013). Deutsche Bank also says bird flu and the smog in northern China could have contributed to the strong growth in April.
China's Forex Holder Diversifies US Investment
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China's currency reserves manager, has set up a New York operation to invest in private equity, real estate and other US assets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the move. The move by the SAFE, which oversees the world's largest foreign exchange holdings, comes as it steps up diversification away from US government debt, and the new office is separate from one the agency has been running for years in the US that focuses on government debt, corporate bonds and asset-backed securities, the people said.
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