China industrial output, retail sales beat expectations, investment growth slows

China’s industrial output rose 6.6 percent in September from a year earlier. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017

China industrial output, retail sales beat expectations, investment growth slows

BEIJING: China’s industrial output growth accelerated to a three month high in September, while fixed asset investment growth continued to decline, falling to the slowest pace since December 1999.
Strong factory output and solid retail sales growth helped China’s economy meet expectations for 6.8 percent GDP growth in the third quarter, though a continued trend of weaker investment growth could raise concerns about growth going forward.
Industrial output rose 6.6 percent in September from a year earlier, beating expectations for 6.2 percent growth and up from 6 percent in August, data showed on Thursday.
Communication equipment output posted the biggest acceleration in growth in September, rising to 16.3 percent year-on-year from 13.0 percent in August.
But the government has also ordered some steel mills and factories in northern areas to cut back or halt production in coming months to reduce choking winter air pollution, which some analysts have said could hit the industrial sector.
Fixed-asset investment expanded 7.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, missing forecasts for 7.7 percent growth, and marking the slowest rate of growth since a 6.3 percent reading in December 1999, according to Reuters calculations.
Investment growth has slowed in recent years amid efforts by authorities to move away from investment-driven economic growth.
But private sector fixed-asset investment continues to lag state spending, slowing to 6.0 percent growth for Jan-Sept, compared to 11.0 percent growth in investment by state firms. Private investment rose 6.4 percent in the previous period.
Retail sales rose 10.3 percent in September on-year, beating expectations and indicating consumption continues to hold up well. Retail sales growth has hovered in the 10 to 11 percent range for the last two years.
Analysts had forecasted sales would rise 10.2 percent, slightly more than in August.
After a surprisingly strong start to the year, the world’s second largest economy is expected to easily meet or beat the government’s full-year growth forecast of around 6.5 percent.
But most China watchers expect activity will slow in coming months as higher financing costs and measures to cool the heated property market start to weigh on activity.

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 26 April 2018

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.