x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

China's trade heartland set for a soaking

China's economic heartland was at risk of attack from the weather yesterday as temperatures, which had fallen to as low as minus 5°C, began to climb.

A fisherman walks on the sea ice as the fishing boats are trapped by sea ice at Jiaozhou Bay in rural Qingdao city, eastern China's Shandong province. Wu Hong / EPA
A fisherman walks on the sea ice as the fishing boats are trapped by sea ice at Jiaozhou Bay in rural Qingdao city, eastern China's Shandong province. Wu Hong / EPA

China's economic heartland was at risk of attack from the weather yesterday as temperatures, which had fallen to as low as minus 5°C, began to climb.

The national weather agency yesterday called for southern parts of the country to prepare for widespread rain and snow. Precipitation was forecast for the Yangtze Delta region around Shanghai, portions of Yunnan province and other parts of southern China, said the China Meteorological Administration. Rain and snow in these areas may spread and intensify from today, it warned, threatening to dent a region responsible for 20 per cent of China's GDP and one third of its imports and exports.

About 346,000 people in the Yangtze River Delta of eastern China boast personal wealth of more than 10 million yuan (Dh5.76m). Of these, 20,800 have assets worth more than 100m yuan. That means one in every 451 people in the region is a dollar millionaire and one in every 7,500 people has more than $15.7m, according to the 2012 Yangtze River Delta Wealth Report.

Businesses and residents were yesterday urged to make preparations to protect against the effects of the weather on transport, agriculture and property, the forecast agency said.

Freezing temperatures and snowfall in northern China in the past week blocked motorways in Xinjiang, prompted officials to urge cities to conserve heating fuel and killed two tourists stranded on a mountain near Beijing.

Temperatures have since begun to rise, increasing by 8°C to 15°C on Monday in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, the meteorological administration said.

Portions of Xinjiang, China's westernmost province, were forecast again to see blizzards yesterday, the agency said. Some northern parts of the province have seen as much as 1.5 metres of snowfall in the past few days, it said.

Rainfall is forecast today for Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province, and for Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. Shanghai was also forecast to see showers, according to the weather agency's National Meteorological Centre. Rain was not forecast for the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province.

* Bloomberg News