Officials of China’s national pension fund said that a decision on investing in the stock market would be delayed for up to a year, South China Morning Post said. The results of a planned study into how to allow fund managers to handle the money would first have to be completed, and that would take at least three to four months. The vice-chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund told the newspaper that money from the fund would not be invested in shares until there was a ‘bright prospect’ of good returns. The fund currently has about US$10bn in assets, most of it in low-yielding bank deposits and government bonds.
A report by international consultants McKinsey & Co estimates that pension funds under management will rise to US$150bn- 200bn by 2005, from around US$80bn today. Cotton imports set to rise
The smaller cotton harvest forecast for China this year is likely to trigger a rise in imports, Reuters reported. The National Bureau of Statistics said in March that planted acreage had fallen by 17.3 per cent from last year’s level to 3.98m hectares, and based on this decline, the Cotton and Jute Bureau estimated a cotton harvest of 4.7m tonnes this year, down from last year’s 5.3m tones. The bureau’s director, Shi Jianwei, said that he expected China’s imports to rise to 200,000 tonnes this year, up from just 20,000 tonnes in 2001. Imports would be encouraged by China’s commitment to allow up to 818,500 tonnes of cotton to be imported at a tariff of 1 per cent starting from this year.