Chinese, Vatican foreign ministers hold first meeting: state media

first_imgThe Vatican News, the Holy See’s official information website, cited a statement as saying that the meeting — which took place during the Munich Security Conference — covered the 2018 agreement.The two sides agreed to “continue the institutional dialogue at the bilateral level to promote the life of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people”, the statement said, according to Vatican News.China’s roughly 12 million Catholics have for decades been split between a government-run association, whose clergy were chosen by the atheist Communist Party, and an unofficial underground church loyal to the Vatican.But under the terms of the deal agreed in September 2018, both Beijing and the Vatican now have a say in appointing Catholic bishops. The foreign ministers of China and the Vatican have met in the first such high-level encounter between the sides, which do not have diplomatic ties, Beijing’s state media said Saturday.The meeting between China’s Wang Yi and Archbishop Paul Gallagher in Munich, Germany, on Friday comes as relations between the two sides steadily improve following a landmark agreement on the appointment of bishops in 2018.The People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, said Gallagher and Wang spoke about China’s efforts to combat the new coronavirus epidemic, describing it as their first-ever meeting. Topics :last_img read more

Sweden’s AMF reports 1.3% gain as property shines

first_imgSweden’s third biggest pension fund bucked the trend last year to produce a 1.3% gain on its investment portfolio, according to preliminary full-year results just released.AMF reported that its real estate allocation produced a gain of 12.4% for 2018.The total return of 1.3% is lower than the previous year’s 7.9% gain, but comes at a time when many other pension funds are reporting losses.Chief executive Johan Sidenmark said: “In light of the late autumn’s sharp fall in stock prices, I am pleased that we could secure a positive return for the full year.” Sidenmark said AMF had worked actively with its allocation to increase the proportion of assets that did not correlate with the stock market, such as real estate and infrastructure.“The year was characterised by signs that a slowdown was beginning, while trade wars and political concerns created uncertainty in the financial markets,” he added.The fund’s average annual return over the past five years was 6.8%, and 7.6% a year over the past decade. Total assets dipped to SEK590bn (€56bn) at the end of December 2018 from SEK596bn a year earlier.AMF said its property portfolio generated the strongest return of any asset class during the year, with a return of 12.4%, while the return on alternative assets was 4.1%.Both equity and fixed income incurred losses over the course of the year, it said.AMF’s solvency ratio fell to 182% from 196%, the provider reported, after SEK11.2bn was allocated to a reinforcement of guarantees during the year.last_img read more