11-12/2015 The party’s over
The nigh-on 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislative assembly, have met in session every year since 1954. They discuss the state of the country, pass laws and the budget, and even change the constitution, if necessary – even though the important decisions have already been taken in advance by the politburo of the Communist Party of China. 2015 saw the same procedure as every year.
The results of the body’s deliberations were not known yet when this issue of the ITJ went to press, but one thing was certain: the republic’s economy has cooled down substantially. The boom has been superseded by a rather more mixed commercial climate. The festivities celebrating the Chinese new year have finished – and the hangover has started.
Everyone is looking to China and asking the crucial question – what next for the world’s second-largest national economy? The government is doing all in its power to stimulate business and commerce again. The country’s central bank cut the interest rate for the second time in three months recently, for example, opening the purse strings in an attempt to encourage banks to provide companies with cheaper funds. The aim is to make it easier to take out loans for new investments. The maritime economy is far ahead of the game in this respect. Germany’s HSH Nordbank has put it in a nutshell in its recent new report entitled «Shipping goes to Asia»: that continent’s institutes are intensifying their ship financing activities, whilst European banks are withdrawing ever more from the field (see page 18).
The People’s Republic is also planning to open up more to foreign investors. The activities of Chinese entrepreneurs, in turn, are continuing apace beyond the national borders too. Thus the «new gringos» have added a focus on Latin American markets to their activities in India and Africa, for example (see page 12 of our supplement). Shipping might be sailing for Asia – but again the Chinese are already much further.
Antje Hanna Veregge