Discouraging data flowed forth from the National Bureau of Statistics. Exports fell 2.2% year-on-year in November, the first month they had declined in more than eight years, while foreign direct investment in the month was down by more than a third from the previous year. The sudden outflow of funds has some economists talking of potential deflation, something that was practically unthinkable at the start of the year. Meanwhile, China’s top muckety-mucks, including Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, convened at the Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing to talk about where to steer the economy from here. Job creation to absorb losses from export-oriented sectors was one imperative; stimulating domestic demand was another.
Though there is no word on whether the airline industry was discussed at the meeting, China Eastern and China Southern’s parent companies said they would each give their own carriers a US$437 million capital injection to help them pay down debt. Both companies’ shares, which have been suspended for two weeks due to bailout rumors, resumed trading today. Rumors that Lenovo would buy out Brazilian PC manufacturer Positivo Informatica surfaced, causing Lenovo’s Hong Kong-traded shares to jump nearly 27%. Both companies declined to comment.
Government authorities are considering what to do about the victims of the Sanlu milk formula melamine scandal. A lawsuit by some victims’ families was thrown out of a Hebei court earlier this week, but “relevant departments” are taking a look at giving straight compensation for the incident.