China to maintain prudent monetary policy in 2013

Updated 17 December 2012
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China to maintain prudent monetary policy in 2013

BEIJING: China's new Communist Party leaders promised yesterday to be ready to spend more if needed to shore up a shaky economic recovery and pledged more market-opening reforms.
In the first statement of their economic goals, the leadership wrapped up a two-day planning meeting by pledging continuity with earlier party plans aimed at making China's economy more productive and spreading prosperity to its poor. They gave no indication of plans for major changes.
The world's second-largest economy is gradually pulling out of its deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis, but weaker-than-expected November trade data prompted suggestions the rebound might be faltering.
The leadership under party General Secretary Xi Jinping pledged a "proactive fiscal policy" and "prudent monetary policy" in a statement distributed by the official Xinhua News Agency, referring to willingness to boost spending if needed and keep credit easy so long as inflation stays low.
Xi and other leaders who were installed last month in a once-a-decade handover of power are under pressure to overhaul an economic model based on exports and investment that delivered 30 years of rapid growth but is running out of steam.
The World Bank and other analysts say Beijing needs to curb dominant state companies and promote service industries and consumer spending to keep incomes rising. They say without prompt action, growth might slow abruptly, leaving China stuck at middle-income levels.
Companies, investors and political analysts are watching to see how far Xi and others on the seven-member ruling Standing Committee are willing to go to change the state-dominated economy. They face potential opposition from state companies that might be hurt by changes and have influential allies in the party.
"If China does not change its strategy, it risks falling into the 'middle income trap'," Robert Zoellick, former World Bank president, said in a speech at a Beijing business conference last week.
The new leadership affirmed support for earlier party pledges to promote reform, open markets further and encourage economic efficiency. The statement promised to "accelerate structural reform" but gave no details of how far or how fast Xi and other leaders are willing to go in changing the state-dominated economy.
Economic growth fell to a three-and-a-half-year low of 7.4 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30. Factory output, consumer spending and other indicators are improving in the current quarter but analysts say a recovery is likely to be gradual and too weak to drive a global rebound without improvement in Europe and the United States.
Data last week showed November trade deteriorated sharply following a rebound that started in August. Export growth plunged to 2.9 percent over a year earlier from October's 11.6 percent. Imports were flat, down from October's 2.4 percent growth.
Sunday's statement gave no indication the leadership plans to depart from the party's official annual economic growth target of 7.5 percent through 2015.
The statement promised to "fully deepen reforms" and "firmly promote opening up" next year. It said "enhancing quality and efficiency of economic growth" will be a "central task."
It promised to support the orderly growth of cities, a key element in raising incomes by allowing migrants from the countryside to look for better-paid urban jobs.
The leadership pledged to increase domestic demand, though it gave no details of how it will do that.
Companies are under pressure to put more money in consumers' pockets by raising wages. Other changes require longer-term effort, such as freeing up money in household budgets by raising government spending on schools, health care and other social programs.
yesterday's statement promised more spending on building affordable housing and other initiatives aimed at spreading money to China's poor.
Earlier statements by the new leadership suggested they want to narrow China's yawning and politically sensitive wealth gap between an elite who have benefited from economic reform and the poor majority.
The new party Politburo pledged this month to pursue both economic growth and "social harmony and stability."
The government is due to release a long-awaited report this month on proposals for policy changes to narrow the wealth gap.


Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 27 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.