China’s ‘happiness economy’ intact in Lunar New Year spending


People spent at least 312 billion yuan ($48 billion) during the lunar New Year period, when schools and businesses shut down. That record spending came to 31 percent more than during last year’s holidays, according to China UnionPay Co., which runs the national bank card network.

Travel transactions were up 42 percent, with the government projecting that people will make 2.91 billion trips during the 40-day festival, which sets in motion the world’s largest annual human migration.

“The tourism market expanded rapidly, driven by long-term consumption upgrades to the ‘happiness economy’ and good weather across China,” China International Capital Corp. analysts wrote.

*  Tourism revenue was up 16 percent from last year, the National Tourism Administration said.

* Trains carried a record 10.3 million passengers on Sunday, according to the state-run rail network.

* Three times as many people as last year went on luxury cruises, travel website said.

Movies also got a boost as the holiday came in a Monday-to- Sunday period this year while coinciding with Valentine’s Day. Ticket sales rose 67.7 percent, to a record 3.1 billion yuan, according to entertainment research firm EntGroup Inc. in Beijing. The most popular film was `The Mermaid,’ which earned 1.79 billion yuan.

While mainland Chinese tourists poured into Macau, the world’s largest gaming center, in greater numbers during the holiday week, gambling revenues extended an almost two-year slump as high-rollers stayed home. Tourism from the mainland to Hong Kong dropped over the holidays.

This Republican wants to cut spending beyond the sequester

MW-CB739_brady__20140502145005_MGWith Congress and the White House hurtling toward a new confrontation over spending as the end of the fiscal year approaches on Sept. 30, Brady says Washington ought to “think bigger” than just caps on discretionary spending. Yet congressional Republicans and the Obama administration are still tussling over the caps as they’re now written, with the White House demanding they be lifted for domestic and defense spending and Republicans arguing for defense relief only. The government could temporarily shut down if the two sides can’t agree.