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Imports fall leads to New Zealand’s largest trade surplus in 6 yrs




New Zealand imports fell nearly NZ$1 billion ($650 million) in August, leading to the country’s largest annual trade surplus since 2014, the Stats NZ said on Thursday.

The NZ$1.3 billion annual goods trade surplus reflected a rise in exports and a fall in imports over the past months, Xinhua news agency quoted Stats NZ as saying.

“The recent falls in imports and growth in exports resulted in an annual trade surplus not seen since the strong 2013-2014 dairy export season, when product prices were high,” senior analyst Nicholas Cox said in a statement.

Imports of crude oil, cars, and other vehicles were much lower than usual in recent months after the Covid-19 pandemic, Cox said.

New Zealand’s demand for fuel dropped due to the international and domestic travel restrictions, which were put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

During the lockdown in April, imports of vehicles were particularly affected by international trade restrictions and the closure of vehicle dealerships as non-essential businesses, he added.

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Weak demand from power sector pushes up CIL’s e-auction of coal




With weak demand from the power sector in the wake of Covid-19 disruptions, the country’s largest coal producer Coal India Ltd shifted its attention to the non-power sector to see around six-fold increase in the sales of the dry fuel.

In the first half of the current fiscal (FY21), CIL’s fuel allocation under the exclusive e-auction scheme for the non-power sector rose close to six times at 13.44 million tonnes as against a mere 2.31 million tonne during the same period of previous year.

Lockdown in various parts of the country and continuing sluggish economic conditions dried up demand for the dry fuel pushing CIL to explore new avenues for growth.

The government had earlier asked state-run power companies such as NTPC to reduce coal imports needed for blending purpose and look more at the domestic sources.

The CIL has also set up various washeries to supply good quality coal that could replace imports.

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‘China on solid path of economic recovery from pandemic shock’




The Chinese economy is staging impressive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic shock, bolstered by the country’s effective control of the novel coronavirus, a renowned US economist said.

“The third quarter GDP was encouraging,” which does show that “China is on a solid path of economic recovery following the Covid-19 shock in the early months of this year,” Stephen Roach, senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, told Xinhua .

“The encouraging pieces of it have to do with the contribution to economic growth made by Chinese consumers, who clearly were most adversely impacted by the lockdown early this year,” said Roach, who was formerly chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and chief economist at Morgan Stanley, a New York-based investment bank.

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 4.9 per cent year on year in Q3, faster than the 3.2-per cent growth seen in Q2, showed official data earlier this week.

Also, in the latest World Economic Outlook report released earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund projected China’s economy to grow by 1.9 per cent in 2020, 0.9 percentage points above the IMF’s June forecast, making it the only major economy that will see positive growth this year.

“The most impressive aspect of the economy’s performance is that the highest priority was given to containing the outbreak of Covid-19,” said Roach.

“China’s approach to public health is strict, it’s disciplined,” which is “a model of what can be done to contain the impacts of a disease outbreak in a major economy,” he said, adding that “it’s a model that the rest of the world needs to take very seriously as an example of what is missing today and what they could do.”

A shock like a pandemic does not just go away, instead, it takes very rigorous, focused and disciplined public health actions to curtail the spread and bring the disease under control, said the famed Yale scholar.

“The lesson from China is (that) they addressed the shock first of all and that was the principal focus of the government’s efforts in the early months of 2020. And then by containing the shock, they were able to utilize policy tools, fiscal and monetary, to then stimulate the aggregate demand after the shock had been controlled,” said Roach.

“That’s an important lesson for other economies around the world,” as “massive fiscal and monetary stimulus could be undermined if you don’t have effective control over the disease,” he noted.

The economist said he expects China to see “further progress in economic growth in the fourth quarter,” and “it will be a positive number” for the year as a whole.

Meanwhile, he cautioned that challenges remain, especially given the complexity and uncertainty of the pandemic.

Further efforts in public health, health security and the social safety net, and continuing down the road of reforms, are among the aspects in which China could continue their endeavor so as to maintain the economic momentum and build up resilience, according to Roach.

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Hopeful of quick revival of India’s aviation sector: Airbus South Asia President




Strong local fundamentals will aide the revival of India’s aviation sector, believes Airbus South Asia President, Remi Maillard.

In a conversation with IANS, Remi Maillard, President and Managing Director, Airbus India and South Asia, expressed confidence in the industry’s potential along with its revival prospects on the back of strong fundamentals.

“I remain confident about the future of the Indian aviation industry because of the strong local fundamentals,” Maillard said.

“That is why, in parallel to our efforts of catalysing a safe traffic recovery, we need to work on further strengthening the foundations for India to become a world leader in the civil aviation industry. This implies further developing the domestic market, turning India into an international hub, growing the MRO and training eco-systems as well as stimulating the helicopter business,” he added.

Notably, the sector has been heavily battered by the coronavirus outbreak and its cascading impact on the overall travel industry.

Maillard termed the pandemic as the ‘gravest crisis’ that industry has ever faced.

“There is not one single player in the market that is immune to the crisis, be it an airline, a lessor, an MRO, a training centre, an airport, an equipment supplier or an aircraft manufacturer. It is a long-term crisis,” he elaborated.

“Given how deep the crisis is, a full recovery in aviation will take years specifically when it comes to international flights,” he added.

Nevertheless, Maillard pointed out that with the economy opening up gradually, demand for air travel has started to pick-up.

“We have now started seeing a gradual increase in air travel as the domestic flights have increased in a phased manner,” he said.

“We are hopeful passenger demand will further pick up during the festival season. Now the situation remains very fluid and uncertain and we predict that 2021 will remain a difficult year for the industry. This is why we need to continue adapting ourselves to navigate the crisis,” he added.

According to him, the regional connectivity scheme, ‘Udan’, will play a major role in the growth of the domestic market.

Besides, the aerospace major is aiding its airline partners to fully utilise the potential of its cargo business.

“Indian carriers have started focusing on international markets in the recent past and the induction of wide-body aircraft will be a key strategy for consideration in their growth plans,” he said.

“We are also supporting our customers to diversify in the cargo market for them to capture additional sources of revenue,” he added.

Further more, Maillard sees immense potential in the chopper, MRO and aviation training segments of the industry.

As a case in point, he pointed out that India has only about 270 civil helicopters which is less than 1 per cent of the worldwide helicopter fleet.

“India’s civil helicopter market has a large runway for growth. The emergence of new segments like urban air connectivity as well as the launching of next generation helicopter plat-forms such as the recently certified H160 and the 5-bladed H145 will also further drive growth,” he said.

“For this, the industry needs policy reforms and regulatory support. We believe that helicopters will play a critical role in the future growth of the country as helicopters missions are essential to protect people, to save lives and to drive efficiency savings,” he added.

On its part, Airbus has been working towards developing new market segments in the country such as, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), security, aerial work, power line missions etc.

Recently, the first official HEMS service was launched in India by the state of Karnataka followed by AIIMS hospital in Dehradun, using Airbus H130 helicopters.

In addition, he credited the recent reforms to usher in opportunities to leverage the huge untapped MRO market.

“There is also an opportunity to boost training capabilities to meet a growing demand for pilots, engineers and technicians in the coming years. Let us have faith. It will take time, but the industry will recover while contributing to building a better future,” he added.

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