U.S. economy shrinks 1.4%
- The U.S. economy contracted for the first time since the Covid pandemic, as its gross domestic product last quarter declined 1.4% annually. The surprising negative growth rate accompanied by a significant rise in trade deficit came after a year with the fastest annual GDP increase since 1984 at 5.7%. However, experts said there is no need to worry because consumer demand and private investment remain solid.
China temporarily removes coal import tariffs
- The Chinese Finance Ministry said on Thursday that it would cut the import tariffs of coal to zero from May 1 to March 31 next year to ensure energy supply.
- Accounting for about 56% of China’s energy consumption, coal remains the main energy source in the country. The removal of the tariffs encourages coal imports, which are important sources of cleaner coals that generate power more efficiently than most domestic ones. However, the change might not effectively boost the coal imports, given that the domestic coal prices are lower than foreign ones.
Chinese defense minister visits five Asian countries
- Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe traveled to Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Oman and met with their leaders and senior military officials this week. During the trip, Wei criticized forces instigating a "color revolution" in Kazakhstan and vowed to promote strategic relations with the countries.