International News 22/03

March 22, 2024 No. 46

Fidelity plans to lay off employees in China.

Fidelity International, a fund manager, is set to lay off 20 employees from its China unit, which currently employs 120 staff. The layoffs are part of Fidelity's global review of redundancies, aimed at reducing costs by $125 million by 2024. The move comes as global asset managers face challenges in the Chinese market, including a weakening stock market and a severe debt crisis in the property and local government sectors. Fidelity is not the only company reducing its workforce in China. In December, Morgan Stanley laid off approximately 9% of its asset management unit staff, and Matthews International Capital Management announced the closure of its Shanghai office. Despite these challenges, Fidelity manages mutual funds in China worth $3.7 trillion and had assets of $931 million in three products at the end of January.


Signs of Improvement in China's Economy.

China's economy is displaying signs of improvement. In January and February, factory output and retail sales exceeded analysts' expectations. Industrial output grew by 7%, surpassing the projected growth of 5%, and retail sales increased by 5.5%, beating the estimated growth of 5.2%. The recovery of the travel sector during the Lunar New Year holiday contributed to this positive trend. Refinery production also grew by 3% to meet the high demand for transportation fuels. These positive indicators, combined with better-than-expected export and consumer inflation data, offer some relief for policymakers and support the government's goal of achieving 5% economic growth this year. However, challenges in the property sector continue to burden the Chinese economy. Overall, China's economic activity at the beginning of the year remains stable, but there are still concerns about future growth.