Think Putin is a global threat? Then we need to talk about Xi Jinping | Simon Tisdall

Like fearsome dictators throughout history, Xi Jinping has a tender side. He loves his mum. In a touching puff piece on Mother’s Day this year, state TV showed China’s strongman president strolling hand in hand with 96-year-old Qi Xin, a Communist party veteran and proud mother of the paramount leader. Many mums read fairy stories or sing nursery rhymes to their young children. Not so Qi. She taught five-year-old Xi about Yue Fei, a famously hawkish Southern Song dynasty general who had “Serve the country with utmost loyalty” tattooed on…

China growth lags Asia-Pacific for first time in decades as World Bank cuts outlook

Covid-zero policies and the housing market crisis have put China’s economic growth behind the rest of the Asia-Pacific region for the first time in more than 30 years, according to World Bank forecasts. In a biannual report released on Tuesday, the US-based institution said the annual growth outlook for East Asia and the Pacific region had been downgraded from 5% to 3.2%. However much of that decline was down to economic woes in China, which constitutes 86% of the region’s economic output. The World Bank forecast GDP growth in China…

A Ponzi scheme by any other name: the bursting of China property bubble

A little more than a year ago, a Chinese property developer largely unknown to the outside world said its cashflow was under “tremendous pressure” and it might not be able to pay back some of its eye-watering debts of $300bn (£275bn). Today, that company, China Evergrande Group, is all too well known as the poster child of the country’s economic woes. House prices in China have fallen in each of the 12 months since Evergrande’s now prophetic warning, with Xi Jinping’s government now preparing to throw billions of dollars at…

China tells banks to check exposure to debt-laden Fosun conglomerate

China’s biggest banks and state-owned companies have been told to check their financial exposure to Fosun, the sprawling conglomerate that owns assets including the Premier League football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, as the heavily debt-laden group struggles from the impact of downturn in the property sector in its home market. The financial strength of the Shanghai-based group, co-founded in 1992 by the billionaire Guo Guangchang and built into one of China’s largest non-state-owned conglomerates, has come under scrutiny after a huge sell-off in property bonds that began in June. Dollar bonds…

Evergrande lenders appoint receiver to seize Hong Kong HQ – sources

Lenders to the struggling Chinese developer Evergrande Group have appointed a receiver to seize its Hong Kong headquarters, two sources have said, as the world’s most indebted developer struggles to emerge from its debt crisis. Evergrande is saddled with more than $300bn (£260bn) in liabilities and has been kept alive by a government-run rescue operation since it defaulted on $22.7bn of overseas debts in December last year. It has been trying to sell its 26-storey China Evergrande Centre in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district as part of its asset disposal…

China’s property market is in freefall. What does this mean for the world economy? | Keyu Jin

The property sector in the Chinese economy has always been something of a puzzle. At its peak, it accounted for a quarter of the nation’s economic output, broadly measured. And it sees people in Beijing and Shanghai paying house prices similar to those in San Francisco and New York, despite having just a quarter the income of American buyers. Now many believe that we are about to see a violent contraction of the property market in China. The government wants to intervene to curb speculation, and rein in what it…

Oil prices hit lowest level since Ukraine invasion on China growth fears

Global oil prices have dropped amid concerns over weaker growth in the Chinese economy caused by repeated Covid lockdowns and a downturn in the property sector. A barrel of Brent crude fell by about 5% to below $94 (£78) on Monday, hitting the joint lowest levels since the Russian invasion of Ukraine as traders reacted to weaker figures from the world’s second-largest economy. China’s central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates on its key lending facilities for the second time this year after disappointing official growth figures. Factory output in the…

Mortgage strikes threaten China’s economic and political stability

The alarm bells are ringing louder. Last week, hundreds of depositors gathered in front of the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China in the provincial capital of Henan, demanding their frozen life savings held in rural banks. A day later, tens of thousands of homeowners threatened to stop paying mortgages on scores of unfinished housing projects they had purchased. All of this happened in a week where the officials reported lacklustre second-quarter economic performance. China’s economy is facing a dangerous cocktail of stalling growth, high unemployment, spreading mortgage…

No longer the most populous, but still China wants to be world number one | Rana Mitter

Last week, the UN’s global population project announced a major shift in the way the world looks. Next year, India, not China, will be the world’s most populous country. Right now, China has 1.43 billion people to India’s 1.41 billion, but by mid-century there will be more than 1.6 billion Indians to around 1.3 billion Chinese. At one level, this development ought to delight Beijing, which compelled its population into a “one child” policy for some 40 years. Yet there may be a few disconsolate faces in Beijing. The idea…

China funnels its overseas aid money into political leaders’ home provinces

China’s financing of overseas projects has disproportionately benefited the core political supporters of incumbent presidents or prime ministers of those countries that receive the funds, according to a new book. During the 20th century, China was mostly known as a recipient of international development finance. Its overseas development programme was modest – roughly on a par with that of Denmark. But over the course of one generation, as Beijing emerged as the world’s second-largest economy, its footprint began to extend far beyond its borders – often in the form of…