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China’s renminbi weakens

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Beijing: The central parity rate of the Chinese currency, the renminbi (yuan) weakened by 137 basis points to 6.5169 against the US dollar on Tuesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

The yuan hit its lowest level in more than four years in both onshore and offshore trade on Monday, as bad news about the country’s manufacturing activity unnerved investors, Xinhua reported.

The Caixin General China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), an indicator of manufacturing activity, edged down to 48.2 in December from November’s 48.6 percent. The reading was the lowest since September.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a reading below 50 represents contraction.

The yuan has largely been trending down since China’s central bank revamped its foreign exchange mechanism last August to make the currency more market-based.

The yuan has been losing ground as the Chinese economy hit its slowest pace in a quarter century due to outstanding issues such as housing overhang and excess capacity.

Meanwhile, the US raised its interest rates in December and more hikes are expected in 2016.

The PBOC said in August that there is no basis for steady depreciation of the yuan. (IANS), (image courtesy: fortunedotcom.files.wordpress.com)

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China’s industrial expansion slows down

Chinese manufacturing sector activity expanded at a slower pace in December while the service sector continued its growth.

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China's industrial expansion on a slow down. Pixabay
China's industrial expansion on a slow down. Pixabay
  • This December, China witnessed a slow rate of it’s industry expansion.
  • The service sector is growing whereas the manufacturing sector is bearing the brunt of the slowed pace.

Chinese manufacturing sector activity expanded at a slower pace in December while the service sector continued its growth, according to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

China's manufacturing industry experienced a slow growth rate. Pixabay
China’s manufacturing industry experienced a slow growth rate. Pixabay

The PMI of China’s manufacturing activity was released on Sunday. It stood at 51.6 points in December, down from 51.8 in November, Efe news quoted the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as saying.

 In contrast, the service sector activity grew to stand at 55 points in December as compared to 54.8 in November.

A figure above 50 points suggests expansion while a figure lower than 50 indicates contraction. The service sector already accounts for more than half of China’s gross domestic product.

The December figure for the manufacturing index was at par with the annual average, which points to strong resilience in China’s growth, according to NBS statistician Zhao Qinghe. IANS

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Search for alien life got exciting new leads this year

In yet another first for the year, scientists spotted an "interstellar object" entering our solar system.

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Telescope can view stars at ultraviolet wavelengths unhindered. Wikimedia Commons
Telescope can view stars at ultraviolet wavelengths unhindered. Wikimedia Commons
  • First observations of a merger between two faraway neutron stars
  • Discovery of the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star outside our solar system
  • A Chinese satellite detected mysterious signals in its measurement of high-energy cosmic rays, bringing scientists closer to proving the existence of dark matter.

NEW DELHI: One year passes in the blink of an eye in terms of the age of our universe, but 2017 has made significant contributions towards unravelling the deep mysteries hidden in its vast expanse, giving the search for alien life a big boost.

From the first observations of a merger between two faraway neutron stars to stunning discoveries of a number of exoplanets in the habitable zone of a nearby star and the continued march of China as a serious space player, this year has had plenty of memorable developments to excite scientists and the public at large.

Marked as the “breakthrough of the year” by the journal Science, the merger of the two neutron stars 130 million light years away generated tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves.

The first detection of gravitational waves two years ago has already brought scientists the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, but sensing the space-time ripples after the merger of the neutron stars marked the first-ever detection of g