Archive :

China exports surge in 2021 as global demand picks up


Chinese exports surged in 2021 on solid global demand as countries reopened, official data showed Friday, bumping its overall trade surplus to a record high and providing a much-needed boost to the stuttering economy, but officials warned of headwinds.

The world’s second-biggest economy saw a quick rebound from the coronavirus last year — after cases first surfaced in a central city in late 2019 — allowing factories to operate and feed global appetite for electronics and medical supplies.

That led to a 29.9 percent spike in exports last year, helping push the annual trade surplus to $676 billion, customs data showed.

The surge came on the back of an uptick in shipments of mechanical and electronic products, customs spokesman Li Kuiwen said.

Although China “handed in a dazzling report card” in the face of challenges, Li told reporters Friday that the economy “faces triple pressures of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations”.

Imports increased 30.1 percent last year. In December, exports rose largely in line with expectations — at 20.9 percent — while imports disappointed with 19.5 percent growth.

The December export figures “may reflect the Omicron damage to the global supply chain”, with export orders shifting to China from other countries, said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.

“Currently, the strong exports may be the only driver helping China’s economy,” he added. Analysts at Capital Economics earlier noted there were early signs of supply-side constraints easing last month, while export prices were likely still rising — bumping up the value of shipments. Meanwhile, a fall in commodity prices weighed on import values.

China’s trade surplus with the United States, however, widened 25 percent last year to $396.6 billion. While a deal marking a ceasefire in the bruising trade war between Beijing and Washington expired this month, two years after it was signed, authorities have yet to confirm their next steps.

Former US president Donald Trump had pushed to narrow the US trade gap with China, signing a partial pact to boost Chinese purchases of goods like soybeans. Asked this week if there would be a continuation of the earlier deal or phase two negotiations, China’s commerce ministry said that both sides maintained normal communications.

source :

Indigenous People Could be Expelled From Land For New Capital : NGO


Tens of thousands of indigenous people are at risk of being expelled from their lands to make way for the construction of a new capital on jungle-clad East Kalimantan province, a rights group warned on Friday. At least 20,000 people from 21 indigenous groups live in the area designated for the construction of the new capital with laws enabling the move from Jakarta not providing enough protection for the communities’ land rights, according to the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN). The group issued its warning after House of Representatives last week approved the capital’s relocation from Jakarta, on Java island, to the East Kalimantan province.

“The project will trigger problems such as confiscation of customary lands and criminalisation of indigenous people when they try to defend their rights,” Muhammad Arman, AMAM’s Policy, Law and Human Rights Advocacy Director, told AFP on Friday. “They will also lose their traditional jobs such as farming.” Data compiled by AMAN in 2019 shows that at least 13 customary lands, which are administered according to indigenous customs, were located in the new capital area in North Penajam Paser. Indigenous communities in Kalimantan are already locked in ongoing conflict with corporations, which have been given plantation contracts on around 30,000 hectares that overlap with customary lands.

“It is like a double run over for indigenous communities. First, they have to fight the business sector and in the future, they will have to face their own government for the new capital project,” Arman said. A recent investigation carried out by rights groups including AMAN uncovered at least 162 permits for mining, plantations, and forestry and coal-based power plants have been granted in the new capital area. Last week, the House approved a bill to relocate Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta to a site deep within the jungle of Kalimantan, the most significant advancement of an idea the country’s leaders have been toying with for years.

The new state capital law, which provides a legal framework for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ambitious $32 billion mega project, stipulates how development of the capital will be funded and governed. “The new capital has a central function and is a symbol of the identity of the nation, as well as a new centre of economic gravity,” Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa told parliament after the bill was passed into law. The proposed city will cover around 56,180 hectares (216 square miles). In total, 256,142 hectares have been set aside for the project, with the additional land earmarked for potential future expansion. Early plans for the new capital depict a utopian design aimed at creating an environmentally friendly “smart” city, but few details have been confirmed. Plans to begin construction in 2020 were hampered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of the area will take place in several stages until 2045. Environmentalist critics of the new capital have warned it could damage ecosystems in the region, where mining and palm oil plantations already threaten rainforests that are home to Borneo’s endangered species, including orangutans.

Gov’t Revenue Tops Rp 2,000 Trillion in FY 2021


Jakarta. The Indonesian government collected Rp 2,003.1 trillion ($140 billion) in revenue in the fiscal year 2021, signaling a significant rebound in the economy after a major setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

The government spent Rp 2,786.8 trillion last year, resulting in a Rp 783.7 trillion deficit.

The materialized revenue represents 114.9 percent of the target and a 21.6 percent increase on the Rp 1,647 trillion revenue in the fiscal year 2020.

“This is a very strong recovery – amid the ongoing pandemic and the presence of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variant, the state revenue managed to grow by 21.6 percent,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati was quoted in the Finance Ministry website.

The overall revenue comprises Rp 1,277.5 trillion in tax revenue, which represents 103.9 percent of the target, Rp 269 trillion in duty and excise revenue that is 25 percent more of the target, and Rp 452 trillion in non-tax revenue.

“We also accomplish more than during the pre-Covid era of 2019,” she added. During that year, the government collected Rp 1,957 trillion in revenue.

“Our point is that the budget deficit is now below 5 percent, or 4.65 percent of the GDP to be exact. We also managed to shrink the deficit from 6.14 percent of the GDP a year earlier,” she added.

 The government has stopped issuing domestic bonds since November due to the smaller-than-expected spending.
source :