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China GDP shows strong recovery signs



Beijing’s economy suffered under years of pandemic restrictions as the government continued to follow the Zero-Covid strategy

With Covid-19 restrictions finally lifted at the end of last year, China’s economy is showing strong signs of recovery in the early stages of 2023.

Gross Domestic Product grew 4.5 per cent for the first three months of this year, compared with the same period in 2022.

That figure was half a percentage higher than what analysts had predicted before the data was released.

China’s economy suffered under years of pandemic restrictions as the government continued to follow the Zero-Covid strategy.

But with Beijing finally removing all pandemic control measures – life has slowly returned to normal in China, giving the country a much needed economic boost.

One area which has seen a huge boost is retail sales, which rose 5.8 per cent year on year in the first quarter of this year.

Output from factories also grew 3.9 per cent from a year ago – although that figure was slightly lower than experts had predicted.

Despite the strong GDP data overall, concerns still remain about China’s economy.

Youth unemployment continues to rise, with the jobless rate for 16-24 year-olds up to 19.6 per cent in March – a third-straight monthly increase.

There were also some more troubling signs for the property sector in China with Investment in property dropping 5.8 per cent in the first quarter.

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When will airfares begin to fall?



As the global aviation market rebounds, airlines are changing their service offerings

Over 46 million workers in the global aviation sector lost their jobs as global aviation came to a grinding halt at the onset of the pandemic.

However, Geoffrey Thomas from said passengers have returned to airport terminals and boarded flights in droves.

“When travelled returned, many of us wondered what sort of low airfares will we have to be charged to entice people back onto airplanes.”

In February 2023, total traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometres) rose 55.5 per cent when compared to February 2022.

Globally, traffic is at 84.9 per cent of February 2019 levels.

“It was a stampede, the likes of which we have never seen before,” Mr Thomas said.

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The worst of inflation could be behind us



The unprecedented nature of the pandemic continue to shape international fiscal policy

As reserve banks and federal reserves continue to battle the impacts of Covid-19, inflation has become a dominate issue.

In some parts of the world, rising household costs have slowed consumer spending by more than expected.

It means the end of aggressive rate hikes could come to an end in a matter of months.

In Australia, recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed inflation has passed its peak and is beginning to moderate.

The numbers show annual inflation peaked in December 2022 but will still remain higher for longer than anticipated.

Matt Grudnoff is a Senior Economist at The Australia Institute, who said these are uncharted waters.

“I don’t think they should be fully blamed.

“The pandemic was an entirely different kind of recession, one that we have never seen before.

“The world went into recession because the world shut down for very good health reasons.

“But the economy rebounded extremely quickly, simply because there was no underlying problem with the economy,” he said.

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“I think there is a great risk”: will AI steal our jobs?



Artificial Intelligence has become an increasingly powerful and pervasive force in our modern world.

Artificial intelligence is not a new concept. However, the growing advancements have the potential to revolutionise industries, improve efficiency, and enhance the quality of life.

Along with its promising advancements, artificial intelligence also brings certain risks and challenges that must be acknowledged and addressed.

It has become the focus of lawmakers, who are working towards greater regulation of the sector.

U.S. and European Union officials recently met in Sweden to weigh up the benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies.

“The AI process is creeping up on us,” said Dr Keith Suter, who is a global futurist.

“You’ve got competition between companies.”

It’s almost like some of us can see this raft that’s heading towards the rapids and a disappearance towards the waterfall, and we’re giving a warning but it’s not being heeded because everybody’s in this race to get down to the river,” Dr Suter said.

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