FirstFT: China emissions fall as economy buffeted by property downturn

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Carbon dioxide emissions in China have fallen for the first time since last year’s lockdown, the latest signal the property sector downturn and energy shortages have hit industrial demand in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Emissions fell about 0.5 per cent in the three months to the end of September, according to data published by Carbon Brief, a climate research and news service.

“The reasons [for the decline] are the clampdown on runaway real estate lending, resulting in a sharp reduction in steel and cement output, and the sky-high coal prices,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, an independent research group based in Helsinki.

The third-quarter emissions decline this year follows the sharpest increases in a decade as Chinese factories, construction and heavy industry roared back to life last year, riding a wave of pandemic stimulus spending.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Asia. Here is the rest of today’s news. — Zehra

1. Deutsche Bahn whistleblowers alleged fraud Two employees alleged that some senior staff at the state-owned railway company misused corporate funds as part of widespread fraud at one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects, an underground railway station in Stuttgart.

2. UK and France vow to increase co-operation after migrant tragedy French president Emmanuel Macron has called for accelerated attempts by France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to shut down people-trafficking operations across Europe after 27 people drowned off Dunkirk on Wednesday.

3. Sweden’s PM resigns hours after taking office Magdalena Andersson stepped down as the country’s first female prime minister just seven hours after gaining backing from parliament, when her new partners from the Green party quit the coalition and her centre-left government collapsed.

4. Spain passes biggest budget in its history Spain’s chamber of deputies has approved the biggest budget in the country’s history after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez won the support of a Catalan pro-independence party in return for a deal setting a quota for regional languages on digital platforms such as Netflix.

5. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi barred from Libya’s presidential poll Libya’s electoral body has barred Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the late dictator, from contesting the oil-rich north African state’s upcoming election, citing his previous convictions for crimes.

Coronavirus digest

  • Austrian prosecutors have closed an 18-month investigation into the outbreak of coronavirus at a ski resort with no charges of wrongdoing for authorities.

  • Airlines are bracing for threat from Europe’s surge of Covid infections, with Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary forecasting a “fraught period” over the next month.

  • Nando’s has called 2020 “the most challenging year” in its history as the chicken chain revealed annual pre-tax losses more than doubled to £240m.

  • Countries such as Mexico offer acute examples of how employees with young children have been worst affected during the pandemic. This is the fourth instalment of our series on how Covid-19 has transformed the labour market.

The day ahead

Black Friday in the US In the days after Thanksgiving, large numbers of Americans are expected to return to stores and malls to shop the sales, despite higher prices, product shortages and an early surge in online spending before the formal start of the holiday season.

Bank of England speech on economic outlook Huw Pill, the Bank of England’s chief economist, will give a speech on the country’s economic outlook.

What else we’re reading and listening to

Scholz bridges political differences to become Merkel’s heir On Wednesday, Olaf Scholz sealed one of the most remarkable comebacks in German politics: written off for months as an also-ran, he stood before a packed hall as the country’s new chancellor. His coalition deal focuses on climate investment along with commitments on wages and pensions.

Asia is the global inflation exception The region is not experiencing the sharp price rises seen elsewhere because it handled the pandemic better, argues Robin Harding. While many Western countries struggle to manage high inflation, Asia’s central banks can focus on economic recovery.

Inside Boris Johnson’s Downing Street A series of policy mishaps has drawn attention to the UK prime ministerial operation, which some believe lacks experience ahead of significant winter challenges.

  • Opinion: Ministers must not let international power politics get in the way of this opportunity to reform the WTO, writes Valdis Dombrovskis.

Multiple cabinet ministers, officials and MPs have told the Financial Times that a sense of drift has developed in the Johnson government
Multiple cabinet ministers, officials and MPs have told the Financial Times that a sense of drift has developed in the Johnson government © Simon Dawson/Number 10 Downing Street

Sometimes we need to ‘unbelieve’ our tribe In today’s “attention economy”, it often seems that people have decided on what they believe not after a rational assessment of the facts, but according to the belief system of their ideological camp. Jemima Kelly asks what is making us all so unwilling, perhaps even unable, to understand the “other side”?


From politics, economics and history to art, food and, of course, fiction — FT writers and critics pick their favourite reads in our annual round-up of publishing highlights. You can browse their choices here.

© Cat O’Neil

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