China Economic Scan Weekly Economic Review

In the past week there were a range of important data releases that have painted an interesting picture of the Chinese economy. New lending, M2, CPI, urban fixed asset investment, exports and imports, and car sales were among the data released.

In the past week there were a range of important data releases that have painted an interesting picture of the Chinese economy. New lending, M2, CPI, urban fixed asset investment, exports and imports, and car sales were among the data released.

New loans jumped to 664.5 billion yuan ($97 billion) from 318.5 billion yuan a year earlier, the central bank said. M2, the broadest measure of money supply, rose 25.7% in May from a year earlier, the central bank said, after a record 26% gain in April.

Urban fixed-asset investment climbed 32.9% in the 5 months to the end of May from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said. Urban fixed-asset investment in the first five months was 5.35 trillion yuan. The increase in spending was faster than the 30.5% gain in the first four months and analyst estimates of 31%.

May exports fell by a record 26.4% from the same month of 2008, and imports were down 25.2%. Despite the year-on-year import decline, demand for foreign raw materials is rising as Beijing’s stimulus spending takes hold, analysts said. The value of imports fell even as volume rose because of a 30-50% drop in the price of oil and other commodities from last year’s highs, which cut China’s import bill.

CPI dropped 1.4% in May from a year earlier, after falling 1.5% in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. Analyst estimates were for a 1.3% decline. Producer prices fell 7.2%, the most on record.

Property sales rose 45.3% to 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) in the first five months of 2009 from a year earlier and real-estate investment growth quickened to 6.8%, the National Bureau of Statistics said. The China Se Shang Property Index is up about 116% this year.

China vehicle sales surged 34% in May on tax cuts and government subsidies, extending the country’s lead over the U.S. as the world’s largest auto market this year. Chinese drivers bought 1.12 million vehicles last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement today. Passenger-vehicle sales jumped 47% to 829,100.

The Chinese government raised tax rebates for more than 600 export items, some up to the maximum level possible. The Ministry of Finance said yesterday that it had increased tax rebates ranging from 5% to 17% on export products, including ethanol, toys and sewing machines, effective June 1. The export tax rebate scheme allows enterprises to get back part or all of the money they have paid in value-added tax, which stands at up to 17%, for items that have gone into the production of export goods.

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