Concerns over China’s economy increased after a disappointing report on the nation’s manufacturing was released Tuesday. Stock price measures for exchanges around the world fell. Shanghai’s main stock index lost over one percent. Shares in Tokyo lost almost four percent while shares on exchanges in Europe and the U.S. also were down.
China’s official manufacturing index fell to its lowest level since 2012 in August. And a survey by the company Markit said that factory activity was at its lowest level in more than six years.
China is seeking to evolve from an export-driven economy toward one based on services and domestic consumer demand. However, the country is struggling with market reforms meant to make the economy more efficient.
In Tokyo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Tara Aso suggested Tuesday that the Chinese economy should be the main issue discussed at a meeting of the G20 major economies. Speaking in Indonesia, International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde said developing economies should watch for effects of China’s economic slowdown. Ms. Lagarde said that China’s slowdown was not sharp or unexpected. But it is clear, she said, that the country is adjusting to a new growth model.
China has announced many measures to support stock prices, but they have continued to fall. Shanghai’s main stock index has fallen by about 40 percent since June. The government announced new measures to support stock prices on Tuesday. They include policies that support company mergers, cash payments by companies to their shareholders, or dividends, and having state companies buying back their own stock on the market.
Europe struggles with migrant wave
Europe is trying to deal with what is being called its biggest wave of migrants since World War Two. On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on European countries to quickly develop a joint asylum policy. She said such a policy should include setting up migrant registration centers at important transit points.
The 28-member EU plans to hold emergency talks on the migrant issue on September 14.
Also, the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday that more than 350,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. The intergovernmental agency said that most have entered Greece. Others have arrived in Italy while smaller numbers have gone to Spain and Malta. About 2,600 migrants have died, most from drowning at sea.
In Hungary, officials shut down, and then reopened Budapest's main train station. The move left hundreds of migrants waiting outside the station. Most come from conflict areas of the Middle East. They were seeking to board trains to Austria and Germany. Hungary is one of the main migrant entry points to the European Union.
In Alaska, President Obama calls for urgent action on climate change
President Barack Obama walked on a melting Arctic glacier, a river of ice, in Alaska Tuesday. The president is on a three-day visit to the state. The American leader is urging nations to act quickly to cut the release of gasses linked to climate change.
The president called climate change the defining threat of this century. He said the world is “not acting fast enough.”.
Mr. Obama also called on the U.S. Congress to approve an earlier date for the delivery of a new heavy icebreaking ship costing $1 billion. The heavy ship is needed to ensure safe waterways in dangerous Arctic waters, which are also rich in resources. The U.S. has two such ships while Russia has 40.
Earlier, ministers from 11 countries and the European Union restated a commitment to take "urgent" action to slow the pace of global warming in the sensitive Arctic region. Officials from the U.S., France, South Korea, Singapore and other countries announced their promise in a joint statement at the GLACIER Conference in Alaska held by the U.S.
Thai officials arrest bombing suspect
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says a suspect matching the description of the bomber of a shrine in Bangkok has been arrested. The Thai leader said the suspect is “not Thai” and was seized near the border with Cambodia. The August 17 bombing killed 20 people and injured more than 100.
The suspect was arrested Tuesday and is being questioned by police in the capital.
Police are seeking three more suspects in the bombing. Officials on Tuesday released a photograph of a Turkish man and a drawing of two other men. The two are wanted for “illegal possession of explosives.”
The military says a female Thai suspect, whose picture was released Monday, is in another country and is cooperating with the investigation.
Protesters call for the ouster of Lebanon’s environment minister
Reuters news agency reports that Lebanese protesters occupied the environment ministry in the capital Beirut on Tuesday. Witnesses say the protesters are calling on minister Mohammad Machnouk to resign. Lebanon has been hit by a series of protests against the government started by a dispute over uncollected waste in the country.
Words in the News
Registration –n. the act or process of entering information about something in a book or system of public records
Survey –n. a study of something in order to make a judgement about it
Evolve –v. to change or develop slowly often in a better, more complex, or more advanced state
Adjust –v. to change (something) in a minor way so that it works better
Merger –n. the act or process of combining two or more businesses into one business