China’s factory, retail sectors shine as trade tensions thaw

BEIJING (Reuters) – Growth in China’s industrial and retail sectors beat expectations in November, as government support propped up demand in the world’s second-largest economy and amid easing trade hostilities with Washington.

FILE PHOTO: Workers direct a crane lifting ductile iron pipes for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

The set of upbeat figures released on Monday follow firm signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade negotiations over the weekend after the world’s two largest economies announced a “phase one” trade deal that would nearly double U.S. exports to China.

However, growth in infrastructure and the property sector, both key growth drivers, remained lacklustre in November, underlining key challenges for Beijing in its efforts to stabilize economic performance next year.

Industrial production rose 6.2% year-on-year in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, beating the median forecast of 5.0% growth in a Reuters poll and quickening from 4.7% in October. It was also the fastest year-on-year growth in five months.

“Activity and spending indicators strengthened across the board last month, though we think this uptick will prove short-lived,” said Martin Lynge Rasmussen, China Economist at Capital Economics.

“Admittedly, the phase-one U.S.-China trade deal could boost both export activity and corporate investment in the near term. But real estate, a key prop to growth in recent quarters, is primed for a moderation as financing to the sector is being squeezed by a regulatory crackdown.”

Cement, crude steel and pig iron production all rose from a year earlier in November, compared with a fall in the previous month. Output growth in steel, auto and telecommunications sectors accelerated from October.

The strong industrial figures aligned with the surprising improvement seen in other factory indicators in November, including purchasing managers indexes, which suggested government support is helping domestic demand, even as exports and producer prices shrank.

Japanese construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd (6301.T) said its machine usage hours in China rose for the first time in eight months in November, echoing the trends seen in the PMIs.

Retail sales rose 8.0% year-on-year in November, compared with an expected 7.6%, buoyed by stimulus measures and the November Singles Day shopping extravaganza, the statistics bureau said.

The United States and China on Friday cooled their 17-month long trade war, which has roiled financial markets, hit global exports and disrupted supply chains.

The “phase one” agreement was first flagged by U.S. President Donald Trump in October but fuller details of the agreement only emerged over the weekend.

MIXED SIGNALS

The recent positive developments remove some clouds from China’s economic outlook and also mitigate the immediate need for stimulus to support ambitious growth targets.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.0% in the third quarter, a near 30-year low, but policymakers have been more cautious about growth boosting measures than in past downturns.

Oxford Economics on Monday raised its 2020 growth forecast for China to 6.0% from 5.7% “following signs that growth has stabilized” and said significant policy easing was less likely, given Beijing’s desire to “keep its powder dry.”

However, that would still mark a likely moderation in growth. China plans to set a lower economic growth target of around 6% in 2020 from this year’s 6-6.5%, relying on increased state infrastructure spending to ward off a sharper slowdown, policy sources said.

Fixed asset investment showed few signs of improvement, growing 5.2% from January-November, in line with the increase seen in the first 10 months, which was the weakest in decades.

Infrastructure investment growth, a key driver of activity, slowed to 4.0% in January-November from 4.2% in the first 10 months.

As Beijing seeks to avert a sharper economic slowdown, policymakers have brought forward 1 trillion yuan ($142.07 billion) of the 2020 local government special bonds quota, used to finance infrastructure projects, to this year.

China will keep economic policies stable while making them more effective in 2020 to help achieve its annual growth target, state media reported last week following a top economics meeting.

Soft patches were also seen in the property sector, once a bright spot in the economy.

Real estate investment growth marked its weakest pace in nearly a year while new home prices rose at their slowest pace in nearly three years in November.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu; Editing by Sam Holmes

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UPDATE 1-China’s Nov industrial output, retail sales beat expectations

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s industrial output and retail sales growth accelerated more than expected in November, suggesting resilience in the economy as Beijing seeks to prop up domestic demand amid the trade war with the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Workers direct a crane lifting ductile iron pipes for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Industrial production rose 6.2% year-on-year in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, beating the median forecast of 5.0% growth in a Reuters poll and quickening from 4.7% in October. It was also the fastest year-on-year growth in five months.

Factory indicators for November have shown surprising improvement in manufacturing, suggesting government support measures are helping domestic demand, even as exports and producer prices shrank.

Japanese construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd (6301.T) said its machine usage hours in China rose for the first time in eight months in November, echoing trends seen in two manufacturing surveys.

The United States and China on Friday cooled their trade war, announcing a “Phase one” agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday described the U.S.-China trade agreement as a “totally done” deal, notwithstanding some details.

However, despite recent glimmers or hope, analysts expect growth to slow further next year, with the government likely to set economic target at around 6% due to heightened uncertainties of global trade and more domestic headwinds that are set to weigh on growth.

Fixed asset investment showed no signs of improvement, after growing 5.2% from January-November, in line with a 5.2% rise in the first 10 months, which was the weakest pace in decades.

Private sector fixed-asset investment, which accounts for 60% of the country’s total investment, grew 4.5% in January-November.

China will keep economic policies stable while making them more effective in 2020 to help achieve its annual growth target, a top economics meeting said last week.

Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ, said policymakers are likely to rely on a combination of tools to maintain growth next year, rather than any single policy option.

Wang said in a note to clients on Friday accommodative policy was likely to be conducted in a less aggressive manner than what markets expect.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.0% in the third quarter, a near 30-year low, but policymakers have been more cautious about growth boosting measures than in past downturns.

Retail sales rose 8.0% year-on-year in November, compared with an expected 7.6%, buoyed by the November Singles Day shopping extravaganza.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu; Editing by Sam Holmes

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China’s November industrial output, retail sales beat expectations

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s industrial output and retail sales growth accelerated more than expected in November, suggesting resilience in the economy as Beijing seeks to prop up domestic demand amid the trade war with the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Workers direct a crane lifting ductile iron pipes for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Industrial production rose 6.2% year-on-year in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, beating the median forecast of 5.0% growth in a Reuters poll and quickening from 4.7% in October. It was also the fastest year-on-year growth in five months.

Factory indicators for November have shown surprising improvement in manufacturing, suggesting government support measures are helping domestic demand, even as exports and producer prices shrank.

Japanese construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd (6301.T) said its machine usage hours in China rose for the first time in eight months in November, echoing trends seen in two manufacturing surveys.

The United States and China on Friday cooled their trade war, announcing a “Phase one” agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday described the U.S.-China trade agreement as a “totally done” deal, notwithstanding some details.

However, despite recent glimmers or hope, analysts expect growth to slow further next year, with the government likely to set economic target at around 6% due to heightened uncertainties of global trade and more domestic headwinds that are set to weigh on growth.

Fixed asset investment showed no signs of improvement, after growing 5.2% from January-November, in line with a 5.2% rise in the first 10 months, which was the weakest pace in decades.

Private sector fixed-asset investment, which accounts for 60% of the country’s total investment, grew 4.5% in January-November.

China will keep economic policies stable while making them more effective in 2020 to help achieve its annual growth target, a top economics meeting said last week.

Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ, said policymakers are likely to rely on a combination of tools to maintain growth next year, rather than any single policy option.

Wang said in a note to clients on Friday accommodative policy was likely to be conducted in a less aggressive manner than what markets expect.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.0% in the third quarter, a near 30-year low, but policymakers have been more cautious about growth boosting measures than in past downturns.

Retail sales rose 8.0% year-on-year in November, compared with an expected 7.6%, buoyed by the November Singles Day shopping extravaganza.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu; Editing by Sam Holmes

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Ferrari won’t produce an EV until after 2025

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Mike Marsland/Getty Images for Ferrari North Europe

Just because Ferrari unveiled its first production plug-in hybrid doesn’t mean it’s ready to completely embrace electric cars. Company chief Louis Camilleri told reporters that he didn’t expect the Italian supercar brand to produce an EV until sometime after 2025. It’s not due to hostility or skepticism, though — rather, it’s that Camilleri doesn’t believe the technology meets Ferrari’s expectations.

The executive said there were “significant issues” with range and recharging speeds preventing Ferrari from making the leap. Although Ferrari had been looking at the possibility of an electric GT car, the focus would be on hybrids like the SF90 Stradale. The firm wants hybrids to represent 60 percent of its sales by 2022, and it’s exploring alternatives like hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels to determine what would be “the most efficient and effective.”

This is unfortunate news if you’re eager to see how Maranello handles an emissions-free car, although it’s not surprising given the current state of electric supercars. Porsche’s Taycan is nimble and consistently fast, but the EPA also estimated a range of just 201 miles — and the ultra-fast chargers needed for those vaunted 20-minute top-ups are still scarce. Ferrari may consider it difficult to justify a grand tourer that could be hamstrung by the same technical limitations.

The tech is catching up. Tesla’s next-gen Roadster is supposed to boast a 620-mile range through a dense battery pack, and that’s on top of a claimed 1.9-second 0-60MPH time and a 250MPH-plus top speed. Extra-fast chargers are becoming more commonplace, too. It’s just a question of whether or not these advancements are coming quickly enough to satisfy Ferrari, and whether or not it feels any added pressure to ditch the burbling engines that have defined its lineup for decades.

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India: BRICS’ NDB pledges $100 m to NIIF’s Fund of Funds

New Development Bank (NDB), earlier known as the BRICS Development Bank, has committed $100 million to India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’s (NIIF) Fund of Funds, two people aware of the development said.

NDB is a multilateral development bank that was created by governments to leverage capital for development purposes, especially infrastructure projects. Founded by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (collectively the BRICS countries) in July 2014, the bank was launched a year later with an initial authorized capital of $100 billion.

Earlier in August, NIIF Fund of Funds (FoF) received a commitment of 667 crore (close to $100 million) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), according to a disclosure on ADB’s website.

NIIF’s Fund of Funds, according to the disclosure, is looking to raise about $1 billion to invest in up to 10 private equity funds managed by fund managers in India. Its portfolio funds are expected to provide primarily growth capital to firms across sectors, including green infrastructure, affordable housing, manufacturing and services.

“Of the targeted corpus, the fund has so far received commitments worth $700 million, including investments from NDB and ADB,” one of the people cited above said.

In June 2018, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) had approved an equity investment of $100 million as part of FoF’s initial closing, committing a further investment of $100 million as part of phase II for the final closing.

Emails sent to NIIF and NDB remained unanswered till press time.

Envisioned in the Union budget 2015, NIIF was launched as an alternative investment fund in December 2016 with a target corpus of 40,000 crore.

Its investments are diversified across its three funds— Master Fund, Fund Of Funds and Strategic Fund, across which it manages $4 billion of capital commitments.

In 2017, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund—Abu Dhabi Investment Authority—committed to invest $1 billion, becoming the first institutional investor in NIIF’s Master Fund and a shareholder in NIIF Ltd, its investment management firm.

NIIF is a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, in which the government of India holds 49% equity with the rest held by foreign and domestic investors, is mandated to invest in infrastructure and related sectors that could help fuel economic growth in the country.

Its Fund of Funds is mandated to invest as an anchor investor in third-party fund managers. It can also selectively form joint ventures with fund managers.

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UPDATE 1-Australia’s Jetstar to cut capacity in Jan as pilots dispute drags on

FILE PHOTO: An airport worker stands in front of a Jetstar passenger plane at Avalon Airport in Melbourne in this March 19, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/files/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Budget airline Jetstar said on Monday it would cut domestic capacity by around 10% in January due to industrial action by pilots and was considering the sale of three Boeing Co (BA.N) 787-8 jets serving loss-making international routes.

The Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) subsidiary said the financial impact of disruptions by pilots and ground staff in December and January was estimated to be around A$20 million ($13.6 million) to A$25 million and had led it to do a broader review of its fleet and network, including its 787-8s.

“There’s no doubt that industrial action is expensive and frustrating, but we have to hold the line on costs or it threatens the long-term sustainability of our business,” Jetstar Group Chief Executive Gareth Evans said in a statement.

Jetstar said a business case had been developed to sell three of its 11 787-8s, with the capital to be reinvested in other parts of the Qantas Group or returned to shareholders, with a final decision expected in the first quarter of the 2020 calendar year.

The airline said the proactive domestic capacity cuts in January would reduce disruption in the busiest month of the year, given the pilot’s union was required to give only three to five working days notice of industrial action over failure to reach a pay deal.

Qantas in October said Jetstar was performing weakly in the domestic market where airline margins have been squeezed by fuel costs and weakness in consumer spending.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates

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See Why This Rugged Camper Is A Perfect Match For Tesla Cybertruck

The camper is seemingly even more rugged than the Cybertruck.

The Bruder EXP-4 off-road expedition trailer with a fully engineered suspension, chassis and body construction is a Tesla Cybertruck match made on Mars.

Okay, so it’s not quite as genius as that adapted fifth-wheel trailer that perfectly matches the outward appearance of the Cybertruck, but if you envision yourself taking the Cybertruck deep into the backcountry, then this camper is a perfect option.

The Bruder EXP-4 doesn’t buck, jolt or bounce around off-road, it’s advanced suspension soaks up undulations and remains in complete control. It’s designed to handle rugged terrain with ease and it self levels just like the Cybertruck. Although it seems the capability of this camper likely is beyond what the Cybertruck is able to handle.

Additional features of the Bruder EXP-4 include comfortable arrangements within, a full kitchen, ample storage both inside and out, as well as double awnings, solar panels and even an outdoor shower. It’s a home on wheels that can go anywhere you can imagine.

Check it out in the video above and let us know what you think of the Bruder EXP-4/Cybertruck combo in comments.

Video description via Electric Future on YouTube:

The futuristic Tesla Cybertruck was designed for function, with the utility of a truck and sports cars like performance, this durable vehicle was built to be capable both on-road and off-road, which makes Cybertruck camping perfect.

What the Cybertruck camper mode needs is a versatile equally high tech trailer camper to perfectly compliment it, and the Australian made Bruder EXP-4 off road expedition trailer with a fully engineered suspension, chassis and body construction is a match made on Mars.

The Tesla Cybertruck is made out of Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel and equipped with immensely controversial Tesla “bulletproof” glass, this electric pickup truck is not easy to ignore in traffic. What the Cybertruck lacks in grace, it makes up for in sturdiness and performance, sporting a powerful drivetrain and a low center of gravity that not only gives it amazing traction control, but also enable the mind-bending acceleration that can take the truck from 0 to 60 in as little as 2.9 seconds. These specs are available in the top level $70,000 version which also has an immense 500 mile range.

With a Tri motor all-wheel drive powertrain that generates an estimated 800 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque, the Cybertruck is able to pull pretty much anything that you can imagine having a whopping towing capability of 14,000 pounds. What this means to us is that you can attach an awesome trailer to it and use it when you go camping, and the EXP-4 from Bruder fits the Cybertruck like a glove.

This rugged camper packs advanced technology that won’t hinder the Cybertrucks natural abilities. The EXP-4 doesn’t buck, jolt or bounce around off-road, it’s advanced suspension soaks up undulations and remains in complete control. Made from 450 grade high tensile circular hollow section steel, the self-leveling capabilities of the Bruder trailer match perfectly with the adjustable air suspension of the Tesla cybertruck.

The monochrome stainless steel exoskeleton of the Cybertruck is perfectly complimented by the epoxy bonded closed cell composite of the Bruder RV, that was tested for durability in 120 degrees Fahrenheit ambient heat and it performed exceptionally well, the special material it’s made of being 60 millimeters thick and being able to handle 10 times its own weight. It seems that these two do not only work perfectly together on a functional level, but are also equally indestructible and well built.

The 14,000 pound towing capacity of the Cybertruck is unrivaled, but no matter how powerful a truck may be, its performance is only as good as the trailer it drags behind. And we already know that the EXP-4 is the absolute king of campers, with a wheelbase and a drawbar designed with the utmost of precision, this trailer can achieve 90° turning angles without even a slight jolt. You can take any sharp turn and the Bruder will loyally follow you without jackknifing. This awesome performance can be achieved thanks to the patented suspension that can lean away, lower or rise up to 12 inches to avoid obstacles such as boulders or even overhanging trees.

Built with performance, aerodynamics and versatility in mind, both the Cybertruck and the EXP-4 can be successfully paired together for an off-road camping experience from the future. With this setup you will benefit from Tesla’s state of the art technology, while traveling safely and comfortably in a sturdy and secure trailer that doesn’t just give you a mere sleeping place, but can be considered an entire high tech home on wheels, with a fully equipped kitchen and more.

This combination is perfect, but tesla is thinking about making an RV of their own. CEO Elon Musk was quoted as saying that Tesla in planning on producing a “sick attachment for the Cybertruck”

With a confirmed solar roof option on the Cybertuck, the potential to add additional solar panels on an overland trailer teases the idea of a self powered mobile home.

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BMW i8 Production Hits 20,000: Production To Cease In April 2020

20,000 plug-in hybrid sports cars is quite an achievement.

This month BMW produced in Leipzig the 20,000th BMW i8 plug-in hybrid, which is, by the way, one of the last of the i8 Ultimate Sophisto (limited edition of 200 units).

The German manufacturer describes the i8 as the world’s most successful plug-in hybrid sports car. After several years of production (since 2014), the i8 will come to an end in April 2020.

It’s not known at this point whether the BMW i8 is gone forever or if there will be a new successor a few years from now.

Interesting is that BMW will be supplying BMW i8’s engines to Karma Revero GT and Karma Revero GTS plug-in hybrids.

Let’s take a look at the first out of the 200 last BMW i8s at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show:

BMW i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition

“The BMW i8 Ultimate Sophisto Edition is the final chapter in the story of a very special car which, since its launch in 2014, has become the world’s most successful plug-in-hybrid sports car.

Both the i8 Coupe and Convertible feature Sophisto Grey metallic paint with E-Copper accents applied to the 20-inch radial-spoke BMW i light alloy wheels, kidney grille inserts and side skirt accent. The tailgate inlay is finished in High-gloss Black while C-pillar trim elements in Shadowline. The brake calipers are also painted High-gloss Black and feature blue detailing and BMW i badging.

The door sill plates display the words “Ultimate Sophisto Edition” and an interior badge adds the car’s status as being “1 of 200”. E-Copper detailing carries into the i8’s interior.

The i8 Coupe and Convertible Ultimate Sophisto Edition combine 369 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque with all-wheel drive, a CFRP passenger cell and an aluminum chassis to deliver an emotion-stirring, visceral driving experience. The i8 Coupe will sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.2 seconds with the Roadster right behind in 4.4 seconds, all while delivering 69 MPGe.”

Standard Equipment

The i8 Coupe and Roadster Ultimate Sophisto Edition feature as standard equipment:

  • Sophisto Grey exterior paint with E-Copper accents
  • E-Copper Leather upholstery
  • Exclusive 20-inch Style 516 wheels finished in E-Copper
  • Ultimate Sophisto Edition 1 of 200 interior badge
  • Ultimate Sophisto Edition door sills
  • Black painted brake calipers
  • Head-Up Display
  • Navigation with Apple CarPlay Compatibility
  • Harman-Kardon Audio System
  • Ceramic controls
  • Anthracite headliner (i8 Coupe)

Gallery: BMW i3s RoadStyle, i8 Ultimate Sophisto

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Australia’s Jetstar to cut capacity in January as pilots dispute drags on

FILE PHOTO: An airport worker stands in front of a Jetstar passenger plane at Avalon Airport in Melbourne in this March 19, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/files/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Budget airline Jetstar said on Monday it would cut domestic capacity by around 10% in January due to industrial action by pilots and was considering the sale of three Boeing Co (BA.N) 787-8 jets serving loss-making international routes.

The Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) subsidiary said the financial impact of disruptions by pilots and ground staff in December and January was estimated to be around A$20 million ($13.6 million) to A$25 million and had led it to do a broader review of its fleet and network, including its 787-8s.

“There’s no doubt that industrial action is expensive and frustrating, but we have to hold the line on costs or it threatens the long-term sustainability of our business,” Jetstar Group Chief Executive Gareth Evans said in a statement.

Jetstar said a business case had been developed to sell three of its 11 787-8s, with the capital to be reinvested in other parts of the Qantas Group or returned to shareholders, with a final decision expected in the first quarter of the 2020 calendar year.

The airline said the proactive domestic capacity cuts in January would reduce disruption in the busiest month of the year, given the pilot’s union was required to give only three to five working days notice of industrial action over failure to reach a pay deal.

Qantas in October said Jetstar was performing weakly in the domestic market where airline margins have been squeezed by fuel costs and weakness in consumer spending.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Chris Reese and Stephen Coates

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Jetstar to cut capacity by 10% in January as pilots take industrial action

FILE PHOTO: An airport worker stands in front of a Jetstar passenger plane at Avalon Airport in Melbourne in this March 19, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/files/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Budget airline Jetstar said on Monday it would cut domestic capacity by around 10% in January due to industrial action by pilots and it was considering the sale of three Boeing Co (BA.N) 787-8 jets serving loss-making international routes.

The Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) subsidiary said the financial impact of disruptions by pilots and ground staff in December and January was estimated to be around A$20 million ($13.57 million) to A$25 million and had led it to do a broader review of its fleet and network, including its 787-8s.

“There’s no doubt that industrial action is expensive and frustrating, but we have to hold the line on costs or it threatens the long term sustainability of our business,” Jetstar Group Chief Executive Gareth Evans said in a statement.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Chris Reese

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