Today marks the first anniversary of last year’s tragic earthquake in Sichuan and our thoughts are with the victims of the disaster who lost their loved ones and homes. We will leave the speechmaking today to others more capable than us, and serve our readers by doing what we do best. Today that means reporting the numbers. A bevy of financial data has been released, painting a mixed picture of the effectiveness of China’s stimulus package. Exports fell 22.6% in April, compared to a 17.1% slump in March, suggesting that a broad economic recovery may still be some ways away. Fixed Asset Investment, however, rose 30.5% in the first four months of the year mostly due to government investment in railways, oil pipelines and low-cost housing. The Consumer Price Index dropped 1.5% in April, continuing a deflationary trend in which we saw declines of 1.2% in March and 1.6% in February. The central bank also reported that new bank lending declined sharply in April, falling to US$87 billion compared to US$278 billion in March. Also noteworthy, the State Council has released a plan to begin a massive reinvigoration of its non-ferrous metals sector, details of which you can find here.
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