Jan 29, 2017

Lunar New Year: The latest sign of China's economic slowdown

Lunar New Year celebration in Beijing. (Associated Press)

Lunar New Year in China is the world's largest annual migration, but fewer Chinese will have to make the return thrip this year.

The Telegraph reports that thousands of travelers will remain in the rural birthplaces after the holiday rather than return to big cities, out of fear of rising prices and dwindling employment opportunities.

As Chinese economic growth slows—2016's 6.7% rate was the slowest in a quarter century—Chinese officials have tried to support the economy with easy lending. But rising debt levels have also led officials to cut back on this stimulus and shrink the number of low-skilled jobs.

Why it matters: With China now also facing the twin threats of foreign, low-cost competition and automation, trade negotiations with the largest source of American imports may simply hasten the migration of manufacturing to countries, like Vietnam with even cheaper pools of labor.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."