BEIJING – China, the world’s largest developing economy, against bearish bets, has once again sailed through the year safe and sound.
The year of 2019 was by no means easy for China, with rising global uncertainties and lingering domestic downward pressure. Reform, opening-up and innovation remain the main themes of the year, while some popular terms offer insight into how the country countered challenges and seized opportunities.
— “Counter-cyclical adjustment”
The testing external and domestic environment entailed skillful macro-management, and counter-cyclical adjustment was a key strategy of Chinese policymakers.
Proactive fiscal policies have been rolled out to buffer economic cooling, including expanding tax and fee cuts to benefit firms and individuals and increasing local government special bonds issuance to finance major infrastructure projects.
While maintaining its prudent monetary policy, the central bank enhanced targeted support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to cut financing costs for them.
— “Trade tensions”
Trade frictions stood out as one of the biggest external uncertainties facing the Chinese economy in 2019.
The economic and trade consultations between China and the United States had suffered major setbacks this year, with the US side imposing rounds of additional tariffs on Chinese products that met firm opposition and forced countermeasures from the Chinese side.
On Dec 13, the Chinese side announced that the two countries had reached agreement on the text of the phase one economic and trade deal on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The deal is expected to benefit the two countries and the whole world.
China greenlighted the commercial use of the superfast wireless technology in June, triggering a surge in consumer enthusiasm and an acceleration in industrial investment.
Telecom operators are stepping up construction of 5G base stations, which have totaled around 126,000 so far.
Shipments of 5G smartphones reached 8.36 million sets in the first 11 months. In the period, 24 new 5G phone models were rolled out.
— “STAR market”
First proposed in November 2018 and officially launched in July this year, China’s sci-tech innovation board, or the STAR market, is designed to provide direct financing support for companies in the high-tech and strategic emerging sectors.
The STAR market piloted a registration-based IPO system that required strict information disclosures, a pilot ground for China’s other boards.
Some 70 firms had been listed on the STAR market by end-December. Data showed that firms listed on the STAR market generally reported rising revenues and profits in the first three quarters.
— “Pork price”
In the Year of the Pig, outbreaks of African swine fever slashed a chunk of China’s pig herd. Pork prices soared for several months this year, pushing the consumer price index uptick to 4.5 percent in November.
To stabilize pork supply, China has released frozen pork reserves from government inventory and expanded pork import amid a slew of policy measures to restore hog production.
Official data showed that hog prices had fallen for weeks in a row. China’s pig herd and the number of breeding sows both rebounded, signaling hog production recovery nationwide.