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Milk production running ahead of forecast on high demand from China

Milk production running ahead of forecast on high demand from China

WELLINGTON, Jan 20 (Xinhua): New Zealand’s Fonterra said on Thursday the multinational dairy co- operative’s production forecast for this season stands at 1.55 billion kg of milk solids, up 3 percent from the previous season. As one of New Zealand’s largest company, Fonterra is responsible for about 30 percent of the world’s dairy exports. “We are seeing really good demand out of China, which is going to support it,” the company’s Interim Chief Executive Miles Hurrell told local media, adding favorable growing conditions had boosted production but that the 3-percent forecast still stood. “Europe was holding down a bit of skim milk powder stock, and most of that is exhausted now, so you are starting to see that play out through the shortage of supply,” Hurrell said, adding hot weather in Europe was helping to drive up skim milk powder prices. Rural lending specialist Rabobank said continued good weather across much of New Zealand has seen feed reserves aplenty and milk production volumes still strong. “While November 2018 milk collections saw modest year-on-year growth of one percent, we anticipate stronger December 2018 growth given that the tail end of 2017 was hot and milk supply dipped,” it said. U.S. tech giant Microsoft on Thursday launched an incubator centering on artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) in Nanchang, east China’s Jiangxi Province. The company said the “Microsoft Cloud & Mobile Technology Incubation Program—Nanchang City AI+VR Innovation Center” will serve start-ups and existing manufacturing companies, empowering them with new technologies. The incubator, by lending training and other support to tech companies, is expected to boost the VR industry in Jiangxi, which has launched an industrial base for VR technologies, the first of its kind in China. The government of Honggutan New District, where the incubator is located, said the incubator is expected to lure dozens of AI, VR and other tech companies into the district. VR, which uses helmets and glasses to simulate a virtual 3D environment that resembles reality, can be widely applied in education and training, medicine, gaming, tourism and online shopping. China’s VR market expanded 164 percent year on year to reach 16 billion yuan (2.37 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, data showed. The market is likely to exceed 90 billion yuan by 2020, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China’s centrally administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) made greater contributions to society last year, an official with the state assets authority said Thursday. In 2018, central SOEs handed in 2.2 trillion yuan (325.5 billion U.S. dollars) of taxes and fees, up 5.7 percent from a year earlier, Peng Huagang, spokesman for the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, told reporters. The country’s three telecom operators completed their tasks of fee cuts in advance last year, saving more than 120 billion yuan for their clients during the year, Peng said. An industrial investment fund for central SOEs to support poor areas decided upon 63 projects involving 12.89 billion yuan, which will bolster infrastructure construction, promote distinctive industries, improve education and medical care, and raise people’s incomes. Peng also said the combined profits of those companies reached a new high of 1.7 trillion yuan in 2018, up 16.7 percent from 2017, while their revenues rose 10.1 percent to 29.1 trillion yuan. A total of 10 billion U.S. dollars of passive funds will be pumped into China’s capital market in 2019 as FTSE Russell plans to add A-shares in its global indices this June, China Securities Journal has reported. Mark Makepeace, CEO of FTSE Russell, has said another 50 billion U.S. dollars is expected to be injected into China in the next three to four years, with a weight increase of Chinese A-shares in its key indices. China has facilitated market reforms so global investors will enjoy greater access to the country’s equity market. FTSE Russell’s rival MSCI, another global index compiler, has included a number of China A-shares on its MSCI Emerging Markets Index and has proposed to increase the weighting. The sentiment is generally optimistic about China’s A-share market this year. With improving policy environment, China’s stock market is expected to garner significant global investment, analysts said.

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