Zero-Covid policy is costing China its role as the world’s workshop

Beijing’s endless lockdowns are causing shortages for western firms such as Apple, and it may not be long before they move their supply chains elsewhere

The anti-lockdown unrest gripping China has forced the authorities in Beijing to respond by easing some restrictions in big manufacturing centres, as they map out a “new stage and mission” in the country’s deeply unpopular zero-Covid policy.

There are concerns that more freedom of movement could allow the virus to rip through a population where immunity is lower than in the west. Those health risks mean the “world’s workshop” is heading for a difficult winter, casting a shadow over the prospects for international trade.

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‘I should eat more vegetables’: living with diabetes in rural China

Li acknowledges the link between his changing diet and his diabetes, a disease that costs him a large chunk of his income in medical bills

Li, a retired farmer who lives in Henan province in central China, has type 2 diabetes. The condition is manageable but comes with large out-of-pocket expenses, a common feature for people in China, especially those who, like Li, live in rural areas and don’t have the best insurance policies.

Li doesn’t like to complain too much, though, and says his children help him with the bills.

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China’s ‘hidden epidemics’: the preventable diseases that could reshape a nation

Stratospheric economic growth since the late 1970s has brought great prosperity, along with ‘western-style’ health problems that are beginning to have a devastating impact

China faces a health emergency from “hidden epidemics’’ of diseases such as cancer, heart trouble and diabetes that could have far-reaching social, economic and demographic consequences for the world’s most populous nation, experts have warned.

Although China imposed the world’s strictest lockdowns to protect its people from Covid-19, the deadly impact from non-communicable diseases is much less well understood and threatens to kill tens of millions of Chinese in the coming decades without tougher public health policies.

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The urban-rural divide hampering China’s efforts to cut smoking

Health cover varies widely between rich cities and poorer regions, and government messages on healthy living do not always go down well

The tyranny of distance and the yawning social divide in China are seriously hampering attempts to control an “epidemic” of diseases such as lung cancer, despite billions being spent on healthcare, experts have warned.

Health and social outcomes vary greatly between urban and rural areas, between rich and poor, causing such alarm in Beijing that President Xi Jinping has made raising “common prosperity” the watchword of his bid to rule for an unprecedented third term.

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India is quietly laying claim to economic superpower status

India recently overtook UK as the world’s fifth biggest economy – and it could be third by 2030

The rise of China has been the biggest story in the global economy in recent decades. But amid concern about its stumbling property market and global fears about inflation, the emergence of its neighbour, India, as a potential new economic superpower may be going under the radar.

You won’t find mention of it in Liz Truss’s blueprint for a “modern brilliant Britain”, but the UK has just been overtaken by India as the world’s fifth biggest economy. The nation of 1.4 billion people is on track to move into third place behind the US and China by 2030, according to economists.

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Suez Canal briefly blocked again after another ship, Affinity V, becomes stuck

Tanker blocked canal for hours, close to where Ever Given container ship became stuck, disrupting supply chains for a week

A tanker getting stuck used to be more the domain of niche business news, but that was before the Ever Given, so all eyes were soon on the Affinity V tanker’s plight in the Suez Canal.

On Wednesday, the 250-metre long Affinity V tanker was bound for Saudi Arabia when it ran aground close to the same spot in the narrow southern section of the canal in Egypt where the Ever Given container ship caused a week-long halt to traffic in March 2021, dominating global headlines and paralysing supply chains.

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Indian coal magnate Gautam Adani becomes Asia’s richest person after solar energy drive

Despite controversy over Queensland coal mine, the tycoon’s investments in green energy at home have helped his wealth rise to $88.5bn

The Indian coal mining tycoon Gautam Adani has become Asia’s richest person thanks to a push into green energy that has boosted his fortune to $88.5bn.

Adani has overtaken fellow countryman Mukesh Ambani to enter the top 10 of the world’s richest people, according to figures from Forbes and Bloomberg, after seeing his personal fortune rise by $12bn in the past year.

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Chinese developer Shimao plans fire sale after downgrade and missed payment

Fears over contagion mount as a company once considered financially sound is running out of cash to pay its debts

A Chinese developer previously considered financially sound is embarking on a fire sale of assets as the contagion of bad debts built up within China’s bloated housing sector continues to spread.

Shimao Group Holdings, which is in the top dozen Chinese property companies, was plunged into crisis after it said it defaulted a trust loan last week after missing a 645m yuan ($101m) payment that it guaranteed.

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China housing market slumps again as another developer runs into trouble

House prices, sales and construction all fell in November as Shimao Group shares plunge and Beijing assesses what to do with Evergrande

China’s giant housing market has continued to decline in the past month and another major developer showed signs of financial distress as state-owned enterprises began carving up the carcass of the failing property giant Evergrande.

House prices, sales, investment and construction data released on Wednesday all showed renewed signs of the crisis in the market, which accounts up to 30% of the country’s output and which appears certain to drag on the world’s second biggest economy.

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Covid live: over-40s in England now eligible for booster after three months; South Korea surge sparks alarm

Millions of over-40s in England can book a top-up jab from today; South Korea PM Kim Boo-kyum says hospital capacity under strain as cases rise

Germany reported 69,601 cases of Covid-19 and 527 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute, taking the total cases in the country to 6,291,621. There have been 104,047 deaths.

South Korean authorities are urging people to get vaccinated as case rise in the east Asian nation generally regarded as having dealth with the pandemic well.

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China unveils package to boost economy as Evergrande teeters

Beijing to increase business lending and build more affordable housing, but reports say property giant has missed a key bond repayment

China’s politburo has signalled measures to kickstart the faltering economy as the crisis gripping the country’s debt-laden property sector continued to blight prospects for growth.

President Xi Jinping’s senior leadership committee rubber-stamped a plan from the central bank on Monday for more targeted lending to businesses and outlined support for the housing market.

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Third of Chinese developers could face debt problems as Evergrande contagion grows – report

Even if the embattled property giant manages to avoid default again, many other firms are heading the same way, warns S&P

One third of China’s property developers will struggle to repay their debts in the next 12 months, according to a new report, as the sector reckons with increasingly serious headwinds from falling sales, restricted access to credit and a wider downturn.

Even if the embattled developer Evergrande manages to meet its latest debt repayment on Friday and head off a potentially disastrous default, analysts at the credit rating agency S&P warned that many other property companies could be heading towards bankruptcy.

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How Covid spread fear of globalisation and threatens a new world order

From China backtracking on coal to Britain’s ‘chicken king’ calling for a rethink of food production, the virus has accelerated nationalist impulses towards autarky

When Xi Jinping promised the world’s movers and shakers in January 2017 that China would champion globalisation, it looked as if the baton of global economic leadership was being picked up seamlessly by Beijing as Donald Trump prepared to usher in an era of American isolationism.

Almost five years later a new world order has emerged, but it is not the one China’s president and others gathered in Davos that day seemed to have in mind.

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Shares in China’s Evergrande plunge again as fears of contagion grow

Hong Kong stock fell up to 19% amid default fears that are beginning to have a knock-on effect on other markets

Shares in the embattled Chinese property company Evergrande have plunged again as investors weigh up whether the group’s massive debt problems could trigger a broader sell off across all financial markets.

Related: ‘China’s Lehman Brothers moment’: Evergrande crisis rattles economy

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