China’s second-half GDP growth to ease around 6.6% — state think tank

The US and China imposed duties on $34 billion worth of each other’s imports on Friday, starting a trade war that could drag on for some time. (Reuters)
Updated 07 July 2018

China’s second-half GDP growth to ease around 6.6% — state think tank

SHANGHAI: China’s broad economic growth was expected to ease to around 6.6 percent in the second half of this year, the State Information Center said on Saturday.
The official China Securities Journal quoted the State Information Center (SIC) saying the Chinese economy is likely to experience a mild slowdown in the second half of the year as financial market risks become “obvious” and demand is expected to decline.
The SIC is an official think tank affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency.
The economy has already felt the pinch from a crackdown on riskier lending that has driven up corporate borrowing costs.
The central bank has since pumped more cash into the economy to ease fears from the start of a trade war with the United States by cutting reserve requirements for banks.
“Uncertainties in both internal and external economic developments are rising. Global trade frictions are intensifying while a spill-over effect from major economies’ monetary policy normalization will amplify financial market volatility,” the think tank said.
“Downward pressure on the Chinese economy has increased.”
The United States and China imposed duties on $34 billion worth of each other’s imports on Friday, starting a trade war that could drag on for some time.
A Reuters poll of 55 economists this week showed China’s gross domestic product growth was expected to ease marginally to 6.7 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, versus the 6.8 percent seen in the previous three quarters.
China is due to publish second quarter GDP on July 16, along with other activity data.
The State Information Center think tank expected dollar-denominated exports to grow around 8 percent in the second half versus a year earlier and imports to rise about 12 percent.
It forecast consumer inflation of around 1.8 percent and producer price inflation would pick up to about 2.5 percent in the second half from a year earlier.
In the same article, the SIC said it expected China’s industrial output to grow about 6.6 percent in the July-December period from a year earlier, with fixed-asset investment growth of around 6.5 percent and retail sales seen rising about 9.5 percent.


STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

Updated 13 July 2020

STC postpones its acquisition of Vodafone Egypt for second time

  • Kingdom’s largest telecom company says it will need an additional two months to complete the deal

CAIRO: The Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the Kingdom’s largest telecom company, said that it will need an additional two months to complete a deal to purchase a 55 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In January, STC was in agreement to buy the stake for $2.4 billion. In April, it extended the process for 90 days due to logistical challenges stemming from the spread of COVD-19. The company said in a statement that it would extend the period again to September for the same reason.

The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, owns a majority stake in STC. The ownership of Vodafone Egypt is divided between 55 percent for Vodafone International, which is the target percentage of the Saudi purchase offer, 44.8 percent for Telecom Egypt, and the remaining 0.2 percent for small shareholders.

Telecom Egypt is awaiting the results of Vodafone’s evaluation of the final share price to announce its position on the deal. A Telecom Egypt official stated that the company is still awaiting STC’s position regarding the purchase of the share. If the deal is not completed, it may be presented with its rights to acquire Vodafone’s share, which would allow it to take over 99.8 percent of the company’s shares, leaving 0.2 percent for small investors.

Ashraf El-Wardany, an Egyptian communications expert, pointed out the importance of waiting until the procedures between STC and the Vodafone Group are complete. The results will determine the next steps by Telecom Egypt.

El-Wardany said that the Saudi operator must, after completing the relevant studies, submit a final binding offer at the share price and any conditions for purchase. If approved by Vodafone, it must submit the offer with the same conditions and price to Telecom Egypt, provided that the latter responds within a maximum period of 45 days to determine its position regarding the use of the right of pre-emption and the purchase, or lack thereof, of Vodafone’s share.

According to El-Wardany, there are other possible scenarios. Vodafone International may not be convinced of the offer or the conditions presented by the Saudi side and the sale may be withdrawn, or the Vodafone group may be ready to sell and has prepared another buyer for its stake in Egypt in the event of rejecting the Saudi offer. It may also it back away from the deal and continue to operate in Egypt for a few more years.

El-Wardany said that if Telecom Egypt decides not to use the right of pre-emption to acquire the remaining Vodafone shares for any reason, it will continue with its 44.8 percent stake.
It may also resort to selling all of its shares or part of it to the Saudi side or to any company that wants to acquire its stake.

“This raises the question of whether STC can acquire all of Vodafone’s shares,” El-Wardany said, adding that the coming months “will make the answer clear.”