EconomyFirstFT: Boeing 737 crashes in southern China mountains

FirstFT: Boeing 737 crashes in southern China mountains

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A Boeing 737 passenger plane with 132 people on board crashed in southern China yesterday, in what threatens to be the country’s worst air disaster in recent years.

China Eastern Airlines said flight MU5735 crashed in a mountain range in Guangxi province an hour after take-off. The flight was travelling from Kunming to the city of Guangzhou.

No information on casualties or the cause of the crash was immediately available. Flight tracking websites showed that the route was being flown by a 737-800 and not a Boeing 737 Max, which was grounded in 2019 after two fatal crashes. Shares in the US plane manufacturer fell more than 7 per cent to $181 in early morning trading in New York.

Chinese state media quoted China Eastern as saying it would ground all of its 737-800s starting on Tuesday. Data from tracker Flightradar24 showed the six-year-old plane travelling at 29,100 feet before it began to rapidly lose speed and altitude.

The flight was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The aviation regulator said it had activated its emergency response measures and was sending a team to the crash site.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Send your feedback on this newsletter to Here’s the rest of today’s news — Emily

The war in Ukraine:

  • The latest: Ukraine has rejected Russia’s ultimatum to surrender Mariupol, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents trapped in the besieged port city.

  • China: The country’s ambassador to Washington said yesterday that Beijing “will do everything” to de-escalate the war in Ukraine but stopped short of condemning Russia.

  • Refugees: As many as 10mn people have fled the fighting in Ukraine, the UN refugee agency said in its latest estimate.

  • Global impact: Countries across the Arab world, dependent on Russia and Ukraine for grains and vegetable oil, are fearing food insecurity and political instability.

  • Energy: The conflict has exposed the heavy bet Germany, Italy and other European countries made on Russian oil and gas. Can they now wean themselves off it?

  • Opinion: Peace talks or turmoil in Russia could halt the conflict, but the likeliest outcome is many more months of fighting, writes Gideon Rachman.

Keep up with the latest developments from Ukraine on our live blog and follow Russia’s invasion in maps.

1. Hong Kong suspends trading in Evergrande Shares in the world’s most indebted property developer were suspended yesterday pending the release of “inside information”. The company borrowed more than $20bn in dollar-denominated bonds

2. Saudi Arabia ‘will not bear responsibility’ for global oil shortages Saudi Arabia has said it will not be held responsible for shortages in the global energy market as it warned on Monday that missile attacks on oil installations by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen will disrupt supply.

3. Federal Reserve prepared to move aggressively to tighten policy Jay Powell has said the Federal Reserve needs to move “expeditiously” towards tighter monetary policy and is prepared to act even more aggressively if necessary to tackle excessive inflation.

4. Chipmakers face two-year shortage of critical equipment Chipmakers’ multibillion-dollar expansion plans will be constrained by a shortage of critical equipment over the next two years as the supply chain struggles to step up production, according to one of the industry’s most important suppliers.

5. Whistleblower alleges Johnson authorised Afghan animal airlift Boris Johnson personally authorised the airlift of staff from a former UK serviceman’s Kabul-based animal charity when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan’s capital city last year, according to a British government whistleblower.

Coronavirus digest

  • Hong Kong’s leader said she would lift a flight ban from nine countries, including the US and UK, for Hong Kong residents and allow those travellers to quarantine in a hotel for seven rather than 14 days.

  • Samsung Biologics, the biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea’s Samsung Group is seeking to build its first plants in the US and Europe as it rebalances its global supply chains following the pandemic.

The day ahead

Nahdi Medical IPO listing Shares in the Saudi pharmacy company are set to begin trading. It’s part of a growing group of Saudi family-owned companies, long resistant to opening their books to outside shareholders, that are now lining up to list stakes as the country’s stock market booms.

What else we’re reading

Help wanted: tech firms in Vietnam seek Chinese speakers The rising demand for Vietnamese employees who speak Chinese is just the latest symptom of factories moving to the south-east Asian nation as higher costs and risks in China motivated companies from many countries to make the shift. (Nikkei Asia)

How war is changing business The war in Ukraine has already disrupted countless lives. Now it’s disrupting business models as well. With the exodus of western multinationals from Russia and Ukrainian supply chain disruptions coupled with Covid-related disruptions in China, companies are having to rethink everything, writes Rana Foroohar.

Citi recruits’ future of work trade-off A new hub for fledgling investment bankers that Citigroup is setting up in Málaga is innovative — and its progress will be keenly watched. But ensuring it thrives will require some serious management effort.

How Big Tech lost the antitrust battle with Europe Brussels is set to finalise stringent legislation targeting Silicon Valley giants, disabling their strategy to dominate markets and capture billions of euros in revenues, despite desperate lobbying that has fallen on deaf ears.


With Pachinko, Apple TV Plus has delivered a series that is both global in scope and its most entrancing to date. Adapted from Min Jin Lee’s bestselling novel, the new eight-part Korean family saga retains its literary texture. The detail is rich, the pacing deliberate, the characters complex and scenes are shot with a stillness that allows us to take in their beauty, writes critic Dan Einav

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