Briefs | Gangs spreading rumors to exploit pork crisis

Chinese criminal gangs are spreading rumors about the African swine fever to scare farmers into selling pigs for cheaper, according to magazine China Comment. The healthy animals are sometimes smuggled across provinces and resold at a higher price, the investigative report said. In some cases, drones would be used to drop infected feed into farms in a bid to buy pigs for cheap. Others are forging quarantine certificates. Moving livestock or pork across provinces is banned as authorities try to prevent the disease from spreading. With the outbreak of the African swine fever, China has been grappling with a surge in the price of pork, a staple in the local diet. The disease, for which there is no approved vaccine, can be fatal for pigs but doesn’t affect human health. Wholesale pork prices have more than doubled this year, according to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, fueling the highest annual consumer inflation rate in seven years.

Retaliation coming should Germany ban Huawei 5G

China’s ambassador to Germany threatened Berlin with retaliation if it excludes Huawei Technologies Co. as a supplier of 5G wireless equipment, citing the millions of vehicles German carmakers sell in China. “If Germany were to take a decision that leads to Huawei’s exclusion from the German market, there will be consequences,” Ambassador Wu Ken said Saturday. “The Chinese government will not stand idly by.” The ambassador’s comments come on the heels of growing resistance against Huawei among some lawmakers in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition. They have challenged her China policy with a bill that would impose a broad ban on “untrustworthy” 5G vendors. While the German legislation doesn’t explicitly name Huawei, it’s tailored to the Chinese company and comes after months of debate about 5G security. Huawei has repeatedly rejected allegations of its equipment’s potential for espionage and sabotage. Ambassador Wu also reminded the audience that German manufacturers account for a quarter of the 28 million cars sold in China last year.

Stability, not stimulus push, in China 2020 agenda

The Chinese government’s annual economic policy meeting signals a continuation of the current moderate stimulus strategy with only fine-tuning likely, economists said. Policy makers pledged to keep next year’s economic growth “within a reasonable range,” highlighting the need to achieve its goal of “building a moderately prosperous society” in 2020. Economists including Lu Ting at Nomura International Ltd in Hong Kong expect that the annual economic growth target will be trimmed to “about 6%” when it is released early next year. “We expect China’s 2020 policy stance to resemble that of 2019, with a significant focus on fiscal policy to prevent a sharper economic slowdown,” said Marie Diron at Moody’s Investors Service in Singapore. The government said it will focus more on improving the effectiveness of fiscal policy. The pledge to consolidate the effect of tax cuts this year “almost rules out the possibility of further tax cuts,” said Goldman Sachs Group Inc economists in a note.

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