Rain back tomorrow; pollution stays light
Rain is expected to taper off today in Shanghai but start up again tomorrow while the temperature should remain mild until early next week, forecasters said.
The sky should be cloudy today, with a low of 9 degrees Celsius and a high of 13 degrees. Tomorrow is forecast to range from drizzle to moderate rain with a low of 9 degrees Celsius and a high of 12.
It should grow more windy over the weekend and the next cold front should start to influence Shanghai starting Monday, said Kong Chunyan, a chief service officer of the observatory.
On Tuesday, Kong said, "Residents can add some clothes as the temperature should drop by then."
Shanghai experienced the fourth consecutive day with light pollution yesterday. The primary pollutant was not the fine-particle PM2.5 but the larger PM10. Sandstorms from the north bumped up PM10 starting late Wednesday night.
At 5pm, the density of PM10 in the city was 170 micrograms per cubic meter. The reading for the latest 24 hours was 191.5 micrograms per cubic meter. The nation's standard for PM10 in the latest 24 hours is 100 micrograms per cubic meter.
"The impact of this round of sandstorms will last for one more day, but its influence has started to decrease," said forecaster Lin Chenyuan. --(11/30)
Running safety at issue as student dies
The sudden death of a Shanghai college student at the end of a 1,000-meter run raised questions about long-distance races, given reports of worsening health among Chinese youth.
The Donghua University student, in his early 20s, died in the hospital after collapsing at the finish line of a 1,000-meter running test at the school's Songjiang campus on Tuesday.
The student died the same day as a second runner died after participating in last Sunday's Guangzhou Marathon. Also, it comes right before this Sunday's annual Shanghai International Marathon.
Due to the student's death, Donghua University has postponed plans to hold a 3,000-meter on-campus race next week.
However, Li Junxiu, deputy director of the Shanghai Education Commission, said long-distance running is a basic health test and they won't cancel the running because of an individual case. Instead, more students should be encouraged to exercise.
Doctors said most sudden deaths during races are caused by heart problems, though no cause of death has been released for the Shanghai student.
The student, surnamed Miu, is a senior in the university's College of Foreign Language. Miu went to the running test after he finished a translation class. He collapsed at around 10am and could not be revived despite emergency treatment.
Recent studies say Chinese students are becoming weaker in strength and stamina compared with those 20 years ago. Heavy study burdens, lack of sleep and exercise, and an unhealthy diet have been blamed.
Li Guoqiang, professor of the Shanghai Sports Institute, reminded the athletes, especially the amateurs, to know better of their own bodies and their limits.
"The problem usually occurs when the runner did not run according to the regulations of the sport or they did not run scientifically. Some of the runners don't run often and don't warm up enough before the race," Li told Jiefang Daily.
The second runner who died on Tuesday, following last Sunday's Guangzhou Marathon, was a 25-year-old man. The first, a 19-year-old, died of cardiogenic shock hours after the marathon.
Organizers of the annual Shanghai International Marathon on Sunday said participants will be observed every 50 meters in the last phase of the course. --(11/29)
Shanghai index falls below 2,000 points
Shanghai stocks yesterday fell the most in two weeks, sending the key index to below the psychological 2,000-point barrier, as jitters over a potential liquidity crunch overshadowed an accelerated growth in China's industrial profit.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped 1.3 percent to 1,991.17 points, the lowest close since January 23, 2009, when it closed at 1,990.66. It is also the first time since then that the index has closed below 2,000 points.
The combined profit of China's major industrial companies rose 0.5 percent in the first 10 months of this year, compared with a 1.8 percent drop in the January-September period, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
Industrial profit posted an annual gain of 20.5 percent to 500 billion yuan (US$80.6 billion) in October, up sharply from September's increase of 7.8 percent.
Although the new data indicated China's economy is recovering, it was not enough to boost the stock market, analysts said.
"A moderate rebound in economic fundamentals is unlikely to lift the stock index in the short term, especially during a policy vacuum. Concerns over a year-end liquidity crunch remain the prime barrier for the market," Changjiang Securities said in a report.
Market confidence was further eroded after data from the Desheng Fund Research Center showed that Chinese funds reduced their equity weighting for three consecutive weeks to a 12-month low of 73.69 percent.
Media and entertainment companies were among the biggest losers. Jishi Media Co slumped 6.7 percent to 6.93 yuan. BesTV New Media Co lost 5.8 percent to 13.88 yuan. --(11/28)
Toll-free travels during Spring Festival
Shanghai traffic authorities said yesterday that it will continue the holiday toll-free policy during the Spring Festival next year and may stop dispensing and collecting passes at the toll gates of local highways.
The officials promised better services after a lot of complaints were made when the country introduced the toll-free policy for the first time in October during the National Day holidays. But they warned that traffic will be heavier compared with previous Spring Festival holidays. --(11/27)
Local couriers suspended
Four Shanghai courier firms had their licenses for air-freight services suspended over the weekend because they failed to report inflammable materials in their cargo, causing a small fire on a China Southern Airlines flight last week after it landed.
YTO, Yunda Express, and the Huixing and Qihang courier firms will have to suspend their air-freight services until they improve their business procedures, the China Air Transport association announced on its website.
"All membership carriers of the association should refuse to transport cargo for the four couriers during the suspension," said the association. Most Chinese airlines are members.
Some cargo on the China Southern CZ6524 passenger flight caught fire after the aircraft landed at an airport in Dalian in northeast Liaoning Province. There were no injuries or major damage. Police found that inflammable materials, including two lithium batteries banned onboard, led to the fire.
The association found the batteries were transported by YTO Express, while the other firms also had concealed prohibited materials. Company officials could not be reached for comment. --(11/26)
Snow for west
A cold front moving eastward will bring snow and cold winds to west China, the National Meteorological Center said yesterday. Snow was due hit the parts of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and areas of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia yesterday. The front will bring winds for Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia autonomous regions and Gansu Province. --(11/25)
Life premiums not expected to pick up
China's life insurance premium income rose 3.8 percent in the first 10 months from a year earlier to 874.7 billion yuan (US$140 billion), the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said yesterday.
But the property insurance sector saw a 15-percent jump in premium income, the CIRC said.
Peng Yulong, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, said the life insurance premiums may not pick for the remainder of the year, but the expansion of investment options by the CIRC may give insurers a boost.
Domestic life insurers collected 819.8 billion yuan in premiums in the first 10 months while their foreign peers took in 37.5 billion yuan, the CIRC said. --(11/23)
New law prohibits excess packaging
Local companies will be fined up to 50,000 yuan (US$8,025) for selling goods with too much packaging, according to a new law approved yesterday.
The new law to take effect in February next year aims to cut down on unnecessary use of resources and reduce the city's waste, according to Shanghai People's Congress.
China currently restricts packaging of two commodities: moon cakes and cosmetics. No punishment is mandated.
"The technical standards will include the number of layers of packaging papers, the allowed ratio of empty space inside the whole box of goods as well as the maximum percentage of the packaging cost to the goods' value," said Gan Zhongze, a lawmaker. Local standards will cover a variety of goods. --(11/22)
Lack of talents
China will continue to face a great shortage of highly skilled management talents in the next decade despite its fast-growing economy, Eric Salmon & Partners, a leading executive search firm, said at a briefing in Shanghai yesterday. "It's a very big gap. As Chinese companies go global, the problem will only get worse," said Derek Hu, managing director of the firm in China. Hu said Chinese companies should open up to recruit both local talents and foreign experts if they want to enter the international market. A good mix of local and foreign talent will be key to helping a company succeed globally. --(11/21)
City app debuts
Shanghai government will launch a bilingual app called "Touch Shanghai" today with information on the city's economic development and tourism. The application developed by the information office of city government can be downloaded free at the App Store for iPad. It includes shopping, eateries, accommodations and traffic information. The city's promotional video and photos will also be posted. The app for iPhone is currently unavailable. --(11/20)
14 Metro stations shut in power glitch
Metro operators closed 14 stations of lines 3 and 4 for nearly two hours yesterday afternoon because of power glitches, leading to massive backups of passengers on those lines and some lines connecting to them.
Around noon, operators closed the 14 stations that the two lines share between the Hongkou Football Stadium and Zhongshan Park.
"A malfunction occurred on the power network of lines 3 and 4, so the operator has to close the stations to fix the problem," local Metro operator told passengers at 11:59am.
Stranded passengers were asked to transfer to other lines, including the lines 1, 2, 8 and 10, the operators said shortly afterwards.
A minor operational alert was issued at 11:55am saying a small problem on Line 3 was forcing trains to run at limited speed but that it would be fixed in about 10 minutes.
But the operator upgraded the alert only four minutes later and announced the closures of the stations.
Free buses were dispatched to shuttle passengers between the affected stations. But large crowds of passengers were still stranded at some stations of lines 3 and 4, especially at the stations where other lines converge.
At the Hongkou Football Stadium Station, where lines 3 and 8 meet, large crowds of passengers who got off Line 3 to transfer to Line 8 almost clogged the passageway between the two lines.
Some Line 8 passengers who failed to hear the announcements tried to break through the crowds from the opposite direction to get to Line 3, causing a chaotic situation.
Big crowds grew at other stations along the two lines because train intervals were prolonged to over 10 minutes.
The glitch was fixed at around 2pm, when the operator issued an apology on its microblog.
"We sincerely apologize for influencing the weekend schedule of passengers," the operators said. --(11/19)
Rain leads to better air quality
The city's air quality was good yesterday morning and improved to excellent in the afternoon due to the rain.
It was the first day Shanghai adopted the stricter Air Quality Index, or AQI. The city's environmental watchdog uses an illustration of a girl with various faces from smiling to crying to indicate air quality. --(11/17)
Shanghai keeps its cool, stays sunny most of week
Local temperatures dropped by nearly 5 degrees between Saturday and yesterday to a high of 13.7 degrees Celsius and winds picked up as a cold front arrived Saturday night.
It will be sunny today with a high of 15 degrees. The low will hit 8 degrees in the wee hours.
Though the wind will be lighter today, people aren't likely to feel much less chilly.
There will be light smog in some areas this morning, local forecasters said.
The temperature is expected to remain between 7 and 16 degrees most days this week with clear weather. There may be some showers on Friday.
The weekend's rain and wind, while chilling the city, helped dissipate lingering dust and pollutants and Shanghai's air quality was rated excellent.
The density of PM2.5, a measure of airborne pollutants smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are the main cause of urban smog and haze and are harmful to human health, started to rise from 30 micrograms per cubic meter at 2am yesterday and reached a peak at 80 micrograms per cubic meter from 8am to noon.
The fine particles dropped quickly in the afternoon to 29.4 micrograms per cubic meter at 5pm, resulting in an average of 55.1 micrograms per cubic meter in the latest 24 hours.
The national standard for PM2.5 within 24 hours is 75 micrograms per cubic meter.
The city's air quality this morning is expected to stand on the verge of light pollution, said the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center. --(11/12)
China's auto sales recover in October
China's auto sales recovered in October after posting the first drop this year in the previous month as Chinese carmakers tapped the domestic boycott of Japanese brands due to the Diaoyu Islands row and increased their market share.
Deliveries of passenger cars and commercial vehicles rose 5.3 percent last month from a year earlier to 1.6 million units - a huge turnaround from its 1.8 percent drop in September when nationwide anti-Japanese protests broke out and almost halved Japanese car sales.
While Japanese car sales shrank 38.2 percent on a monthly basis and 59.4 percent on an annual basis, Chinese brands boosted their October deliveries by 17.5 percent from September and 4.2 percent from a year earlier.
As a result, the market share of domestic automakers in the passenger car segment powered to this year's highest level of 45.1 percent in October, up 2.37 percentage points from September. But Japanese brands lost 4.55 percentage points in market share to 7.61 percent, falling below 10 percent for the first time. --(11/10)
Index records worst slump in 2 weeks
Shanghai stocks fell yesterday for the fourth straight day, the worst slump in two weeks as investor turned their focus to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China for sign of any policy direction.
The Shanghai Composite Index stumbled 1.63 percent to 2,071.51 points.
"The market is likely to see the falling trend extend in the next few days," Cheng Yimin, a senior securities analyst at China Post Securities, said, adding that private investors should trim their holdings.
He said that investors are eying the congress hoping to pick up investment directions. "Some investors are eager to get ahead in emerging industries that will be backed by new government policies to be announced after the meeting," he added.
Oil refiners, coal firms and metal producers fell as commodity prices declined on growing fears that economic uncertainty in the US and Europe will hit demand for their products.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, the nation's largest oil refiner, lost 1.6 percent to 6.30 yuan (US$1.01). PetroChina Co, the second-biggest player, shed 1.1 percent to 8.72 yuan.
China Shenhua Energy Co, the nation's biggest coal producer, declined 2.3 percent to 22.65 yuan while Yanzhou Coal Mining Co sank 3.3 percent to 17.48 yuan. China's biggest gold miner, Zijin Mining Group Co, shrank 2.3 percent to close at 3.83 yuan. --(11/9)
City will introduce smart gas meters
The city is introducing a smart gas meter that sends monthly readings to gas companies automatically and also addresses safety issues.
More than 300,000 households and company users now use the smart meter, said gas authorities, adding that the plan is to install them citywide within five years.
However, some residents don't want the meter as they are not convinced about its accuracy.
Liu Huiping, a professor with the Shanghai Energy and Transportation Research Institute, said yesterday that the meter is a part of the green energy program "which promotes the use of natural gas around the city."
Liu said the meters can alert the gas company if there is a gas leak. Once the leaking gas exceeds a predetermined limit, the meter can turn off the gas.
The meters reduce labor costs as employees will no longer be required to go door-to-door to record the amount of gas each household has used.
But some residents said they are worried about the accuracy as they can not see the readings themselves.
"I am worried about the device's accuracy after a newspaper reported earlier that one household was charged tens of thousands of yuan for their water bill," said a resident, who declined to be named. --(11/6)
Nobel winner signs deal
Nobel laureate Martin Evans yesterday signed an agreement on conducting stem cell anti-aging research with Zhongyuan Union Stem Cell Bio-engineering Corporation in north China's Tianjin Municipality.
Evans was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2007 and co-established Cell Therapy Ltd (CTL), a biological high-tech enterprise undertaking stem cell research and clinical application, in Wales.
Under the agreement, domestic life science and technology enterprise Zhongyuan and CTL will jointly invest US$8 million to create a new company this year in Tianjin. This will industrialize achievements from research.
The prospects for anti-aging research on stem cells are "brilliant," said Evans. --(11/4)
Index climbs 1.7% on PMI figures
Shanghai stocks rose the most in over three weeks yesterday after data showed a recovery in China's manufacturing sector, pointing to a rebound in the world's second largest economy.
The Shanghai Composite Index posted the biggest gain since October 9 by adding 1.72 percent to 2,104.43 points.
China's official Purchasing Managers' Index, a gauge of manufacturing activity slanted more to state-owned firms, rose to 50.2 in October, the first time it has risen above 50 since July, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing yesterday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
"The PMI returned to expansion last month, suggesting the trend of stabilization and recovery in China's economy has consolidated," said Cai Jin, deputy director of CFLP. Cai expects a modest economic recovery in the fourth quarter.
A HSBC PMI report yesterday also noted improving conditions for the country's private and export-oriented manufacturers, with its gauge rising to an eight-month high of 49.5, from 47.9 in September.
Sentiment rose after the People's Bank of China yesterday injected 173 billion yuan into the banking system via reverse repurchase agreements, bringing its weekly injection to a record 379 billion yuan.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation's biggest lender, gained 1.3 percent to 3.87 yuan. China Merchants Bank rose 2.2 percent to 10.30 yuan.
Property firms climbed after the China Securities Journal said Chinese cities are fine-tuning policies to boost home buying. Poly Real Estate, the nation's second largest developer, rose 4.4 percent to 11.60 yuan. --(11/2)
China sovereign fund owns 10% of Heathrow
China Investment Corp, the sovereign wealth fund, has bought a 10 percent stake in the operator of London's Heathrow Airport for 450 million pounds (US$726 million).
Spanish construction group Ferrovial said yesterday it sold 5.72 percent of FGP Topco, the holding company that owns Heathrow Airport Holdings, to Stable Investment Corp, a unit of CIC, for 257.4 million pounds.
Stable also acquired shares from other shareholders of FGP Topco for 192.6 million pounds, bringing its holding to 10 percent, Ferrovial said.
CIC was created in 2007 to enhance returns on China's foreign exchange reserves, the world's largest. President Gao Xiqing said at a forum in Shanghai last weekend that Chinese companies don't always have to seek a controlling stake in overseas acquisitions as this could stoke political concern.
CIC usually limits its stake purchases to 10 percent, Gao said.
"This sale of a stake in Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd is a further part of Ferrovial's investment diversification strategy. Following this deal, we reiterate our role in Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd as the industrial partner," Ferrovial Chief Executive Inigo Meiras said in a statement, adding the deal will improve the company's liquidity and financial flexibility.
Following the transaction Ferrovial holds an indirect stake of 44.27 percent of Heathrow Airport. But its indirect stake will be further reduced to 33.65 percent once European competition authorities approve Qatar Holdings' purchase of a stake in FGP Topco, the Madrid-based company said. --(11/1)