BEIJING: Several Western media outlets in recent weeks have published articles suggesting Pakistan runs the risk of falling into a debt trap with the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
However, Pakistan, the alleged victim in such rabble-rousing stories, has reaffirmed its support for the investment project, according to an article published by Global Times on Friday.
Although there has been much controversy, those most qualified to evaluate the project are the people of Pakistan. The CPEC is a flagship component of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative. Asad Umar, who is expected to become the next finance minister of Pakistan, said the incoming government has no plans to renegotiate any Chinese B&R projects that have been criticized as too expensive, according to media reports.
Pakistani media outlets said that CPEC projects have not imposed any immediate debt burden on the government, as these projects are financed through a composite funding package, citing a statement issued by the Ministry of Planning.
The statement was a response to critics who claimed that the CPEC would create an unbearable debt burden for Pakistan.
“The real impact of the CPEC projects on the Pakistani economy will be decided by people of the country itself, not bystanders who do not understand Pakistan’s actual situation.”
Ensuring smooth progress for such a complex project would not be easy. Problems such as security concerns and financial sustainability have indeed posed challenges to the CPEC, but those problems are not as serious as Western media outlets claim.
Several years after its launch, the CPEC has begun to bring tangible benefits and laid a solid foundation for economic development through infrastructure improvement.
The Pakistani economy is projected to be on a steady uphill path, partly due to the prosperous outlook of various sectors like cement, steel, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
These conditions are likely to increase Pakistan’s debt repayment ability. So although the CPEC does face some difficulties, China and Pakistan can find solutions through communication and coordination.
China’s efforts to push forward the CPEC won’t be given up halfway.
The CPEC has long been seen as symbolic of China-Pakistan economic cooperation.
It is unlikely that China will change its supportive attitude on the project due to outsiders’ criticism.
China and Pakistan need to remain vigilant against deliberate provocation by Western media outlets, and the two countries must intensify communication to promote the economic and social development of Pakistan through the multi-billion-dollar project.
China’s property market stabilizing on tough curbs
BEIJING: China’s property market remains generally stable as the government continues stepping-up property curbs.
New home prices in four first-tier cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou – rose 0.2 percent in July from a month ago, 0.4 percentage points lower than that in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed today.
New home prices in Shanghai fell while prices in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen rose 0.2 percent, 0.6 percent, and 0.5 percent, respectively.
New home prices in 31 second-tier cities rose 1.1 percent in July, 0.1 percentage points lower than June.
On a yearly basis, first-tier cities reported a 0.2-percent increase in new home prices. Existing prices rose 0.5 percent, 0.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
NBS senior statistician Liu Jianwei said local governments continued to step up property regulation in July and strike a balance between demand and supply to promote the healthy development of the sector.
New home prices declined year-on-year in two of the 15 “hotspot” cities where speculative home purchases are monitored, with the most significant price drop of 0.1 percent last month, with 11 cities posting growth and two staying flat.
During previous years, rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, fueled concerns about asset bubbles. To curb speculation, the government rolled out various control measures, including restrictions on purchases and increasing minimum down payments for mortgages.
Major cities announced 260 control measures during the first seven months this year, 80 percent more than the same period last year, according to the research center of the Centaline Group.
Analysts expect more control measures to be announced as the central authority vowed to regulate the property market order and “firmly curb the rise in home prices” at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee last month.
The government will accelerate the establishment of a long-term mechanism to promote the stable and healthy development of the market, Cong Liang, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission told a press conference on Wednesday.
The property market will continue adjusting amid the increasingly tightened regulation, said Liu Weimin, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.
Book of Xi’s discourses on poverty alleviation published
BEIJING: A book of extracts from the discourses on poverty alleviation by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has been published by the Central Party Literature Press.
The book, which was compiled by the Party history and literature research institution of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, will be distributed across the country.
Tokyo’s Nikkei index jumps more than 2.2%
TOKYO: Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index surged more than 2.2 percent Tuesday, swiftly recovering from the previous day’s losses, with investors encouraged by an apparent hiatus in the Turkey lira crisis.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which lost more than two percent on Monday, rose 2.28 percent or 498.65 points to close at 22,356.08, snapping a four-day losing streak. The broader Topix index was up 1.63 percent or 27.45 points at 1,710.95.