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China factory output, retail sales beat forecasts in boost to recovery prospects

China factory output, retail sales beat forecasts in boost to recovery prospects

 – China‘s industrial output and retail sales grew at a faster-than-expected pace in August, but property investment slumped further and could drag on broader demand even as the recent flurry of support policies showed signs of stabilizing the economy.

Industrial output, released on Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), rose 4.5% in August from a year earlier, accelerating from the 3.7% pace seen in July and came above expectations for a 3.9% increase in a Reuters poll of analysts. The growth marked the quickest pace since April.

Retail sales, a gauge of consumption, also increased at a faster 4.6% pace in August aided by the summer travel season, and was the quickest growth since May. That compared with a 2.5% increase in July, and an expected 3% increase.

The upbeat data suggest that a flurry of recent measures including property support policies to shore up a faltering economic recovery are starting to bear fruit.

Reacting to the data, the Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS touched two-week high against dollar.

Yet, the recovery is far from sure-footed, analysts say.

“Despite signs of stabilization in manufacturing and related investment, the deteriorating property investment will continue to pressure economic growth,” said Gary Ng, Natixis Asia Pacific senior economist.

Friday’s data followed better-than-expected bank lending figures, narrowing in the declines of exports and imports as well as easing deflationary pressure.

The country’s passenger vehicle sales also returned to growth in August from a year earlier, as deeper discounts and tax breaks for environmentally friendly and electric vehicles boosted consumer sentiment.

To sustain the recovery momentum, China‘s central bank said on Thursday it would cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves for the second time this year to boost liquidity. Earlier in the day, the bank also rolled over maturing medium-term policy loans to inject more liquidity into the finiancial system, while keeping the interest rate unchanged.

But analysts say more fiscal and monetary policy steps are needed as an ailing property sector, high youth unemployment, uncertainty around household consumption and rising Sino-US tensions over trade, technology and geopolitics have raised the bar for a durable economic recovery in the near future.

Ng said confidence remains the root of most problems requiring larger “constructive policy and regulatory changes” to boost growth momentum.

The once mighty property sector still remains a drag on the $18 trillion economy, with the country’s largest private developer Country Garden the latest to stumble due to liquidity squeeze.

For August, property investment extended its fall, down 19.1% year-on-year from a 17.8% slump the previous month, according to Reuters calculations based on NBS data.

Moody’s on Thursday cut China‘s crisis-hit property sector’s outlook to negative from stable, expecting contracted sales to fall by about 5% over the next six to 12 months.

Fixed asset investment expanded 3.2% in the first eight months of 2023 from the same period a year earlier, versus expectations for a 3.3% rise. It grew 3.4% in the first seven months.

An uncertain business climate meant companies remained wary about hiring, but the nationwide survey-based jobless rate improved a touch to 5.2% in August, slightly down from 5.3% in July. – Reuters

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Auto Sales (August 2023)

Vehicle sales jump by annual 22% in August

AUTOMOBILE SALES in the Philippines registered a double-digit annual growth in August but saw a month-on-month sales decline amid elevated inflation.

A joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed new vehicle sales rose by 21.6% to 36,714 units in August from 30,185 units in the same month a year ago.

“Consumer demand drives the auto sales further… from an already considered pre-pandemic performance a year prior amidst the above inflation target recorded anew in the same period,” CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez said in a statement.

However, vehicle sales slipped by 1% from 37,086 units that were sold in July, reflecting the impact of rising prices.

Headline inflation unexpectedly picked up to 5.3% in August from 4.7% in July amid rising costs of fuel and food.

CAMPI-TMA data showed commercial vehicles accounted for the bulk of the August sales. Sales of commercial vehicles rose by 13.5% to 26,620 units in August from 23,452 in the same month in 2022.

Month on month, commercial vehicle sales declined by 3.5% from 27,577 units in July.

In particular, light commercial vehicles (LCV) climbed by 16.8% to 20,991 during the month. Month on month, sales of LCVs fell by 2.9%.

Sales of Asian utility vehicles (AUV) dipped by 0.3% year on year to 4,576 in August. AUV sales slumped by 8.3% month on month.

Sales of light trucks increased by an annual 29.5% to 597 in August, while heavy truck sales surged by 50.6% to 128. However, sales of medium trucks went down by 4.7% to 328 units.

Meanwhile, passenger car sales accelerated by an annual 49.9% to 10,094 units in August from 6,733 units a year ago. Month on month, sales of passenger cars rose by 6.15% from 9,509 units in July.

For the first eight months of the year, CAMPI-TMA members sold 276,215 units, increasing by 29.8% from 212,872 a year ago.

“The 276,215 units year-to-date sales of CAMPI-TMA, up by 30% from the same period a year ago — equivalent to 70% of the 395,000 sales forecast is certainly giving optimism of a sustained and even stronger post-pandemic recovery for the auto industry,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

Commercial vehicles, which accounted for 75% of the total industry sales, reported a 28% increase in sales to 205,764 units in the January-to-August period.

Passenger car sales jumped by 35.3% to 70,451 in the eight-month period.

“The auto industry is mindful of the challenges brought by high inflation and its effect on the overall consumer confidence particularly for big-ticket items — not welcome news to the consumers and industry alike if it will persist,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

For the eight-month period, inflation averaged 6.6%. The Philippine central bank is projecting inflation to average 5.6% this year.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP) remained the market leader with a 45.9% share as eight-month sales rose by 16.6% to 126,795.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. came in second spot with a 67% surge in sales to 50,439 in the January-to-August period.

In third spot is Ford Motor Company Phils., Inc. as its sales jumped by 47.6% to 19,700 units in the period ending in August.

Rounding out the top five are Nissan Philippines, Inc., which saw a 23.4% increase in sales to 17,873 units, and Suzuki Phils., Inc. whose sales dropped by 7.9% to 11,821 units.

In 2022, CAMPI-TMA members sold a total of 352,596 units. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

#Vehicle #sales #jump #annual #August

Why has France banned sales of Apple’s iPhone 12?

Why has France banned sales of Apple’s iPhone 12?

LONDON – France’s radiation watchdog has banned sales of Apple’s iPhone 12 after tests that it said showed the smartphone breached European radiation exposure limits.

The Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR) said on Tuesday the model’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) – a measure of the rate of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body from a piece of equipment – was higher than legally allowed.

Jean-Noel Barrot, France’s junior minister for the digital economy, told newspaper Le Parisien a software update could fix the problem. If Apple does not resolve the issue, the ANFR said it would order a recall of the device across France.

Apple disputes the watchdog’s conclusions, saying the iPhone 12 was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards.


“Standard Absorption Rate” refers to the dose of energy that the body absorbs from any source of radiation. It is expressed as watts per kilogram of body weight.

The radiation from mobile phones is a result of the way they work, by transmitting radio frequency waves, creating electromagnetic fields. Unlike the radiation from X-rays or gamma rays – caused by radioactive decay – phones cannot break chemical bonds or cause changes to cells in the human body, a process which can ultimately cause harm like cancer.


The ANFR said it recently carried out random tests on 141 phones, including iPhone 12, bought from shops. In independent laboratory tests, two iPhone 12s did not comply with EU standards, the office of the Digital Minister told Reuters.

Smartphone radiation tests have so far led to 42 imposed sale stops in the country, it said.


The main issue caused by a phone’s “non-ionizing” type of radiation is the heating up of body tissue. Above set limits, and depending on the duration of exposure, this can lead to health effects such as burns or heat stroke, according to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a body which sets guidelines for the limits globally.

The ANFR said accredited labs had found an SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests of the iPhone 12 being held in the hand or kept in a trouser pocket. The EU standard is 4.0 watts per kilogram. However, this represents no risk to human health, the chair of ICNIRP, Professor Rodney Croft, said.

The WHO and other international health bodies say there is no definitive evidence that radiation from mobile phones causes other adverse health effects. However, it has called for more research.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classed the radiation from mobile phones as “possibly carcinogenic”, or class 2B. This designation is used when the agency cannot rule out a potential link.

The agency said there was “limited” evidence of an increased risk of brain tumours in some, but not all, of the research available – and particularly for “heavy users” – but it could not rule out bias or errors in the data, meaning no definitive conclusions could be drawn.


The ANFR has said a software update should be sufficient to fix the issue.

In simple terms, this is because the software – the apps, programmes and other operating information running on a device – affects how the hardware (the device) works. So a software update should be enough to reduce iPhone 12 users’ SAR exposure.

However, Apple has rejected the agency’s findings. The company said it had provided ANFR with multiple Apple and independent third-party lab results proving its compliance with all applicable SAR regulations and standards in the world.

Apple said it would contest the results of ANFR’s review and would continue to engage with the agency to show it is compliant.


The ANFR said the iPhone 12 had failed to meet European Union standards, raising questions over whether more sales bans could be coming elsewhere.
ANFR will pass on its findings to regulators in other EU member states.

While it remains unclear if other authorities are investigating, Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection said on Wednesday “the question of the need for change is currently the subject of discussions”. — Reuters

#France #banned #sales #Apples #iPhone

Honda expects monthly sales of 300 units of its latest CR-V

Honda expects monthly sales of 300 units of its latest CR-V

HONDA Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) is expecting to hit its sales target of 300 units a month for its newly launched sixth-generation Honda CR-V starting in October.

“Because of the newness of this model, I think we are going to achieve the [sales] target of 300 units per month. And the composition [will be] more or less 30% for electric vehicles and 70% for the petrol cars,” said Louie C. Soriano, HCPI vice-president and sales division general manager, on the sidelines of the vehicle’s launch on Wednesday.

The latest generation of the Honda CR-V is the first model to receive the company’s e:HEV technology, which is the latest generation of its full-hybrid system.

“But while I said that we could achieve that, I would also like to mention that e:HEV will just be available next month, while the petrol cars are already available in our dealerships,” Mr. Soriano said.

The company is optimistic about reaching the sales target after receiving early interest from prospective buyers, he said.

“We had a pre-selling campaign [where] we received a lot of bookings. And we over-achieved our target for pre-selling bookings because I think the existing booking now is more than 200,” he said.

The pre-selling campaign started running three weeks prior to the car’s launch. The company had expected the pre-selling bookings at 100, Mr. Soriano said. The new product line is said to cater to luxury-seeking business owners and professionals.

The sixth generation Honda CR-V will have three grades with a suggested retail price of P2.1 million to P2.59 million depending on the product grade.

Meanwhile, HCPI President Rie Miyake said that the company had set its eyes on network development and expansion with three more dealer stores bound to start construction soon.

“[Our] sales performance is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our dealer partners. [With that], we are moving forward with the network development efforts and expansion,” she said.

She added that new stores will follow a store in Sta. Rosa, Laguna which is set to open by the end of September to bring the network to 38 dealerships nationwide.

“We also have three more dealers set to break ground in new locations soon,” she said.

In the first half of the year, HCPI’s sales stood at more than 11,000 units, a growth of 21% compared to the level in the previous year, Ms. Miyake said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

#Honda #expects #monthly #sales #units #latest #CRV

Philippine school opening gives top mall operator sales lift

Philippine school opening gives top mall operator sales lift

Top Philippine mall operator SM Prime Holdings Inc.’s revenue from its malls in the country may exceed P16.1 billion ($283 million) in the third quarter as school openings boost consumer spending in restaurants and shops, according to Steven Tan, president of the company’s unit SM Supermalls.

The third-quarter is so far “turning out better than the first quarter and there’s a good chance it will even be better than our second quarter,” Mr. Tan said. SM Prime booked P13 billion and P16.1 billion in rental revenue from its malls in the country in the first quarter and second quarter, respectively.

“A lot of sales are driven by what students need,” Mr. Tan said in an interview on the sidelines of an event on Monday. “The third quarter so far is our biggest surprise because normally it’s a lean season,” he added. Schools resumed classes for the year in the Southeast Asian nation last month.

A positive revenue outlook at SM Prime’s SM Supermalls unit could help perk up sentiment toward the Philippine consumer sector after online broker COL Financial said companies mostly performed below expectations in the second quarter due to “normalizing” demand and higher operating costs.

Shares of SM Prime rose as much as 2% in Manila, heading for the third gain in four days. The stock is down about 15% this year, compared with a drop of some 5% in the Philippine Stock Exchange Index.

SM Prime reported a 49% increase in second-quarter net income with mall revenue driven by sustained tenant sales and foot traffic. Despite elevated inflation, Mr. Tan said restaurants are still “‘doing well,” while there is “some” pullback on high fashion and high-end products as many consumers are watchful of non-discretionary spending. — Bloomberg

#Philippine #school #opening #top #mall #operator #sales #lift