If China catches a cold
China has defied predictions of a hard economic landing for some time now so it is somewhat unsettling to see investors positioning for a sharp slowdown in the worldâs second-largest economy. Over the last 10 years, the world has become accustomed to Chinese annual GDP growth of above 9 percent. A seemingly insatiable demand for commodities from soya beans to iron ore has catapulted the Asian giant to near the top of the global trade table. China is the biggest trading partner for countries on nearly every continent, from Angola to Australia. But many are now fretting that an unhappy coincidence between stuttering global demand and domestic strains in the property and banking sectors could knock Chinese growth to below 7 percent (the level commonly identified as a âhard landingâ), with grave implications for the rest of the world. âIt used to be the case that if the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. But with the US already confined to the emergency room since 2008 thequestion is what happens if China catches a cold,â says Citi in a recent report. Many are now preparing for the first sneeze. Commodity exporters are expected to bear the brunt of a sharp Chinese slowdown. Investors have pared back exposure to Brazil, Russia, Chile and South Africa, citing fears over China. On the flipside, Turkey, Mexico, Israel and India have been identified as less vulnerable. Citi has constructed a currency index hedge against Chinese weakness, which comprises short positions in the Brazilian real, Russian rouble, Chilean peso, Korean won and Indonesian rupiah with long positions in the Turkish lira, Mexican peso, Indian rupee, Israeli shekel and Hungarian forint. Â
China’s Dongfeng Motor expects 12-13 pct sales rise in 2011
“We sold 12.3 percent more vehicles in the first nine months. And full-year growth will be in the 12-13 percent range.”China’s once-sizzling auto market slowed down significantly after Beijing stripped away most of its policy incentives for the industry at the end of last year.Dongfeng is the parent of its Hong Kong listed subsidiary Dongfeng Motor Group Co , which operates vehicle manufacturing ventures with Honda Motor , Nissan Motor and PSA Peugeot Citroen .
UPDATE 1-Liberia counts votes in tight presidential election
* Poll a test for post-war gainsBy Richard Valdmanis and Alphonso TowehMONROVIA, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Liberia tallied votes on Wednesday in a hotly contested presidential election pitting the incumbent, Nobel peace laureate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, against former U.N. diplomat Winston Tubman and 14 others.The election in the West African state is a test of fragile gains since a 1989-2003 civil war that killed around a quarter of a million people and, if all goes smoothly, could pave the way for new investment in its mining and energy sectors.”With the polls now closed, the reconciliation, sorting and subsequent counting of ballots has commenced,” the National Election Commission said late on Tuesday. It said provisional results would be released on Thursday.Many expect Tubman and Johnson-Sirleaf — who received a boost days before the election last week with the Nobel award — to qualify for a run-off vote against each other on Nov. 11.Voting on Tuesday passed peacefully in the capital Monrovia. Observer groups said they had received no reports of trouble elsewhere in the country of four million people, but have expressed concern that the results could be a flashpoint.”We feel fine, the election was peaceful, there were no perturbances,” said Boye Morgan, 52, one of a group of men drinking tea and chatting outside a shop on Carey Street, one of the capital’s main thoroughfares.HIGH TURNOUTThe front pages of local newspapers carried banner headlines hailing the peaceful vote and the apparent high turnout, despite heavy rain during much of the day.Liberia’s New Democrat carried the headline “CDC To Accept Results If.”, referring to the party of Tubman, which has said it is 100 percent confident he will win and that its supporters would reject defeat if the vote was not considered free and fair.A dispute over the results of the 2005 election that brought Johnson-Sirleaf to power as Africa’s first freely elected female head of state triggered days of rioting.”I hope everybody, as I have appealed and appealed, will proceed peacefully and accept the results according to the rules,” Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary General Ellen Margreth Loj told Reuters on Tuesday. U.N. peacekeepers have been in the country since the war.Eight years into peace, Liberia has seen growing investment in its iron and gold mines and has convinced donors to waive most of its debt, though many residents complain of a lack of basic services, high food prices, rampant crime and corruption.A peaceful, free and fair election could bolster growing investor confidence in the country, which is also hoping to strike oil offshore.Miners ArcelorMittal and BHP Billiton and oil companies Anadarko , Tullow and Chevron are active in the country.