Zero-Covid policy is costing China its role as the world’s workshop

The anti-lockdown unrest gripping China has forced the authorities in Beijing to respond by easing some restrictions in big manufacturing centres, as they map out a “new stage and mission” in the country’s deeply unpopular zero-Covid policy. There are concerns that more freedom of movement could allow the virus to rip through a population where immunity is lower than in the west. Those health risks mean the “world’s workshop” is heading for a difficult winter, casting a shadow over the prospects for international trade. Western companies have learned lessons from…

Sizewell C ‘confirmed’ again – this time it might be the real deal | Nils Pratley

Another day, another “confirmation” that the government plans to build the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk – surely the “most announced” project in UK infrastructure history. The latest update, though, contained a genuine sign of seriousness: the Chinese are being paid to go away. China General Nuclear (CGN), a state-backed firm, owned a 20% stake in the fledgling project and had, in effect, a right to subscribe to maintain its holding through the various funding rounds – just as it did at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. In…

Covid’s still a big issue for China – and that’s trouble for global economy

For much of the world there has been hope for some time that the worst economic shocks from the Covid pandemic are in the rearview mirror. In China, however, there are important reminders that risks to the world economy still remain. Three years since the virus first spread, protests in several Chinese cities against the Beijing government’s strict zero-Covid policies have reignited concerns in financial markets over the economic costs of the pandemic. Global oil prices have fallen back, while the Chinese yuan and stock markets across Asia have taken…

Oil, yuan and stocks slide as China protests send ‘waves of unease across financial markets’ – business live

From 2h ago Introduction: Oil and stocks hit by China protests A currency trader at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of business, the financial markets and the world economy. Global stock markets are on edge as the protests intensify at major Chinese cities against the country’s stringent zero-Covid rules. Stocks have fallen across Asia-Pacific markets, while oil has dropped to a near 11-month low, as public demonstrations in cities…

Mick Lynch says RMT no closer to calling off rail strikes as transport minister states there is ‘deal to be done’ – UK politics live

From 3h ago Mick Lynch says meeting with transport secretary ‘positive’, but RMT no closer to calling off rail strikes Mick Lynch, the RMT general secretary, has been speaking to the media after his meeting with Mark Harper, the transport secretary. He said that it was a “positive meeting” and that Harper said he would set out in writing what steps might be taken towards a resolution of the dispute behind the rail strikes. He said one issue was that it has not been clear what scope the Rail Delivery…

Newport semiconductor factory: ‘Losing these jobs would be devastating’

The clean room in Newport, south Wales, is the size of a football field, but in the industry they call it a ballroom. Workers in full bodysuits move silicon wafers from one end to another in a series of careful steps. The 20cm slices of silicon are rigorously cleaned in chemical baths before light is used to draw precise patterns that are then etched out. It all takes place in an orange gloom to prevent light-sensitive chemicals from reacting. After robots and people test for defects, the owner Nexperia ships…

Major funds exposed to companies allegedly engaged in Uyghur repression in China

Many of the world’s largest asset managers and state pension funds are passively investing in companies that have allegedly engaged in the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, according to a new report. The report, by UK-based group Hong Kong Watch and the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University, found that three major stock indexes provided by MSCI include at least 13 companies that have allegedly used forced labour or been involved in the construction of the surveillance state in China’s Xinjiang region. In recent years,…

The Guardian view on Olaf Scholz’s visit to Beijing: treading a fine line | Editorial

The brevity of Olaf Scholz’s one-day visit to China, where he will meet President Xi Jinping on Friday, means that there will be little scope for the kind of colourful photo-ops that his predecessor, Angela Merkel, enjoyed during 12 visits to Germany’s most important trading partner. For Mr Scholz, who becomes the first G7 leader to visit Beijing since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, that is just as well. The optics of the German chancellor’s trip have already proved controversial enough. Mr Scholz is travelling with the traditional bevy…

Supply fears as China lockdown hits world’s largest iPhone factory

Chinese authorities have announced a seven-day coronavirus lockdown in the area around the world’s largest iPhone factory, stoking concern that production will be severely curtailed ahead of the Christmas period. Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, which employs about 200,000 people, produces the majority of Apple’s new phones, including the new iPhone 14. It has been rocked by discontent over stringent measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, with workers fleeing the site over the weekend after complaining about their treatment and provisions via social media. Nearby cities have drawn up plans…

China iPhone factory quadruples bonuses to workers amid anger over Covid curbs

Apple supplier Foxconn said it has quadrupled bonuses on offer for workers at its Zhengzhou plant in central China as it seeks to quell discontent over Covid curbs and retain staff at the giant iPhone manufacturing site. Daily bonuses for employees, who are part of a Foxconn unit responsible for making electronics including smartphones at the site, have been raised to 400 yuan ($55) a day for November from 100 yuan, according to the official WeChat account of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant. Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry, is Apple’s biggest…