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Analysen 29.03.2017

China’s Multilateral Engagement To Benefit Asia

China’s Multilateral Engagement To Benefit Asia

In less than a year, China’s role in global equity markets has pivoted from being a black swan variable into an anchor for stability.


Anxiety over capital flights and imminent currency weakness were palpable in early 2016 after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) allowed a one-off sharp devaluation of the renminbi (RMB) in August 2015. Tighter liquidity conditions weighed on sentiment, leading to a precipitous sell-off in early 2016. This dragged world bourses lower and became exacerbated when Beijing implemented circuit breaker intervention to force a pause to trading if share prices moved too dramatically in one direction. The decision by state investment funds to force domestic buying and limit selling was seen as a step away from Beijing’s reform path, discouraging foreign investors from looking at China’s economic prospects.

Over the subsequent 12 months, resilient macro data and a more communicative PBOC reassured market sentiment, which came amid a backdrop of negative interest policies by the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan. Capacity cuts across industrial plants producing coal and steel were enforced, boosting commodity prices which translated into a positive Producer Price Index (PPI) in September for the first time since early 2012. Beijing was also quite prepared to use more than USD $300bn in foreign reserves over 2016 to offset currency weakness showing prudence and providing domestic stability as a counterbalance to the external events of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

The recovery last year provided tangible evidence of growth and gave reassurance going into the 2017 National People’s Congress. Premier Li Keqiang delivered the nation’s work report with an economic growth target of “about 6.5%” with a clear emphasis on mitigating financial risks. This reflected a more realistic plan for growth that was somewhat lower than the projections of the two previous years. Although 6.5% is the minimum needed to maintain the earlier ambition to double the economy by 2020 from 2010 levels, it appears that the government’s priorities have shifted for the better. Achieving such a growth target by 2021 would be hugely symbolic as it would coincide with Beijing's celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. With overconfidence creating potential risk around unsustainable growth the clear emphasis on state control should act to limit concerns.
 

The efforts to highlight potential domestic hazards and adjust growth projections accordingly reflects a more realistic approach. Looking through the key indicators, it is especially encouraging to see the recovery in PPI. After bottoming in late 2015, China’s producer prices have improved incrementally which has significant implications not just economically, but politically given the difficulty of making any progress with supply side reforms. If PPI were to rest above zero for an extended period, this would bode positively for corporate earnings by lowering the real cost of servicing debt. An inflationary environment also allows the PBOC to move away from an accommodative monetary policy towards a more neutral one. While the PBOC is likely to maintain credit growth of 12%, there is an expectation of more liquidity flowing into productive sectors and private enterprises. This complements Premier Li’s other target of a 3.0% fiscal deficit to GDP for this year.

Much of the optimism towards Chinese equity markets stems from economic data conducive to earnings growth and an appropriate central bank monetary policy that provides RMB support. Beneficiaries include the financial sector as concerns over asset quality reduces while non-bank financials, such as insurance companies may see asset revaluations. Policymakers have also pushed for greater participation for public-private partnerships to support growth, benefitting contracting companies.  Ongoing supply side reforms should also be a positive for the industrial sector once economic influences become more dynamic.

Stability in China also creates a spillover effect into the rest of Asia, particularly economies in South-east Asia, India and the ASEAN markets. Beijing’s edict promoting liberal multilateral trade encourages better economic links and more outbound investments. There are signs of this approach with Sino - ASEAN talks to improve relations over disputed territorial seas in exchange for greater trade and cooperation. Engagement of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of 16 nations and the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative come at a time when the new US administration prefers bilateralism in global trade. Stability in China has the potential to drive greater intra-regional dynamism, which is particularly important as instability becomes more evident elsewhere.


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Christopher Chu
Assistant Fund Manager - Asia

 

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Meistgelesene News

Market insight 16.02.2018

US consumer confidence surprised to the upside, UK retail sales broadly flat

US: Consumer confidence (Michigan) (Feb P): 99.9 vs 95.5 expected (prior: 95.7)

  • Current conditions: 115.1 vs 111.1 expected (prior: 110.5)
  • Expectations: 90.2 vs 87.2 expected (prior: 86.3)
  • The press release states that negative references to stock prices were spontaneously cited by just 6% of all consumers. Instead, favorable perceptions of the tax reforms dominated.
  • All in all, consumers still appear to be in strong shape to boost their spending again over the coming months.

 

US: Import price index (Jan): 1% m/m vs 0.6% expected (prior: 0.2% revised from 0.1%)

  • On a y/y basis: 3.6% vs 3% expected (prior: 3% revised from 3.2%)
  • Headline was driven by a surge in imported petroleum prices (+4.3% m/m).
  • Within non-petroleum imported prices, the bulk of the increase came from industrial supplies (+3.1% m/m), while prices of capital goods and autos recorded only modest growth.

 

US: Housing starts (Jan): 1326k vs 1234k expected (prior: 1209k revised from 1192k)

  • On a y/y basis: 9.7% vs 3.5% expected (prior: -8.2% revised from -6.9%)
  • Building permits: 1396k vs 1300k expected (prior: 1302k revised from 1300k); 7.4% m/m vs 0% expected (prior: -0.1% revised from -0.2%)
  • While the volatile multi-family category led the increase, single-family starts rose as well.

 

UK: Retail sales (Jan): 0.1% m/m vs 0.5% expected (prior: -1.4% revised from -1.5%)

  • On a y/y basis: 1.6% vs 2.5% expected (prior: 1.4% revised from 1.5%)
  • Ex autos: 0.1% vs 0.6% expected (prior: -1.6% revised from -1.5%); 1.5% y/y vs 2.4% expected (prior: 1.3%)
  • Retail sales growth was broadly flat at the beginning of the New Year with the longer-term picture showing a continued slowdown in the sector.
Market insight 15.02.2018

Rising core PPI and disappointing industrial production in the US

US: PPI (Jan.): 0.4% m/m as expected (prior: 0.0% revised from -0.1%)

  • PPI y/y: 2.7% vs 2.4% expected (prior: 2.6%)
  • Core PPI: 0.4% m/m vs 0.2% expected (prior: -0.1%); 2.2% y/y vs 2.0% expected (prior: 2.3%)
  • The annual increase in core PPI is close to a 6-year high, which partly reflects the upward pressure on import prices from the weaker dollar and provides further evidence that inflationary pressures are set to build this year.

US: Industrial production (Jan.): -0.1% m/m vs 0.2% expected (prior: 0.4% revised from 0.9%)

  • Manufacturing production was flat m/m (vs 0.3% expected) and previous readings were revised slightly lower.
  • Except the 0.6% m/m rise in utilities output, which was due to the unseasonably cold temperatures in some regions, the weakness in January was broad-based.
  • Along with the weaker retail sales data released yesterday, this report provides further evidence that economic growth may (yet again) disappoint in Q1.

US: Philadelphia Fed. (Feb.): 25.8 vs 21.8 expected (prior: 22.2)

  • Unexpected increase with a solid rise in new orders, in employment but also in prices paid.

US: Empire manufacturing (Feb.): 13.1 vs 18.0 expected (prior: 17.7)

  • New orders slightly increased while employment and prices paid rose more meaningfully.
  • These two regional surveys confirms that manufacturers continue to be optimistic for the economic activity.

US: Initial jobless claims (Feb. 10): 230k vs 228k expected (prior: 223k revised from 221k)

US: NAHB housing market index (Feb.): 72 as expected (prior: 72)

  • Homebuilders' confidence remains close to the highest level since 1999.
  • The measure on the 6-month outlook reached its highest since 2005.

Russia: Industrial production (Jan.): 2.9% y/y vs -0.5% expected (prior: -1.5%)

 

Market insight 14.02.2018

US: higher inflation and lower retail sales than expected

US: CPI (Jan.): 0.5% m/m vs 0.3% expected (prior: 0.2% revised from 0.1%)

  • Yearly trend on headline inflation was stable at 2.1% y/y; core inflation was up by 0.3% m/m (vs 0.2% m/m expected and in prior month; stable at 1.8% y/y).
  • Energy (3% m/m), apparels (1.7% m/m; related to import prices) and services (0.3% m/m) were responsible for the monthly rebound.
  • Outlook on inflation points towards a rising trend; after moderate yearly trend in Q1, headline inflation should be close to 3% y/y in Q2, and core CPI above 2% y/y according to our scenario. 2018 average headline inflation should now reach 2.5% y/y and core inflation 2.2% y/y.
  • This argues in favor of regular rate hikes from the Fed in Q1 and Q2-18, and in favor of 4 rate hikes this year.

 

US: Retail sales (Jan.): -0.3% m/m vs 0.2% expected (prior: 0% revised from 0.4%)

  • Core sales were flat (0.4% m/m expected) and past month data were revised from 0.4% m/m to 0% m/m.
  • Bad weather conditions and a pause after strong Q4 data partly explained the negative surprises on sales.
  • Purchases on several items have reversed from the past two months (autos, building materials and electronics); non-store sales were flat after 0.5% m/m.
  • Too early to see in these volatile data a reversal in US scenario, as supports should continue from the heathy labor and some fiscal easing.

 

US: Business inventories (Dec.): 0.4% m/m vs 0.3% expected (prior: 0.4%)

  • Inventories have increased (notably ex-autos); but sales were still dynamic (0.6% m/m).

 

Eurozone: Industrial production (Dec.): 0.4% m/m vs 0.1% expected (prior: 1.3% revised from 1%)

  • Except capital goods, momentum in production was positive for all major sectors.
  • Yearly trend has reached 5.2% y/y, comparable to the high pace in activity reached before the crisis.

 

Germany: GDP (Q4-17): 0.6% q/q as expected (prior: 0.8%)

  • Growth has been strong at year end; Eurozone GDP has also been confirmed up by 0.6% q/q in Q4-17.

 

Germany: CPI (Jan.): -1% m/m as expected (prior: 0.6%)

  • Rising oil and food prices, while prices for leisure and clothes have weakened.
  • Yearly trend has moderated from 1.6% y/y to 1.4% y/y.

 

Italy: GDP (Q4-17): 0.3% q/q as expected (prior: 0.4%)

  • GDP was up by 1.6% y/y (1.7% y/y in Q3-17); Italy is under a progressive recovery, but it remains fragile.

 

Poland: GDP (Q4-17): 1% q/q vs 1.2% expected (prior: 1.2%)

  • Activity was on an accelerating trend (5.1% y/y after 4.9% y/y in Q3-17).

 

Turkey: Current account (Dec.): -7.7bn USD vs -7.5bn expected (prior: -4.38bn revised from -4.2bn)

  • Rising imports and weaker exports have increased trade and current account deficits.

Auch lesenswert

Market insight 16.02.2018

US consumer confidence surprised to the upside, UK retail sales broadly flat

US: Consumer confidence (Michigan) (Feb P): 99.9 vs 95.5 expected (prior: 95.7)

  • Current conditions: 115.1 vs 111.1 expected (prior: 110.5)
  • Expectations: 90.2 vs 87.2 expected (prior: 86.3)
  • The press release states that negative references to stock prices were spontaneously cited by just 6% of all consumers. Instead, favorable perceptions of the tax reforms dominated.
  • All in all, consumers still appear to be in strong shape to boost their spending again over the coming months.

 

US: Import price index (Jan): 1% m/m vs 0.6% expected (prior: 0.2% revised from 0.1%)

  • On a y/y basis: 3.6% vs 3% expected (prior: 3% revised from 3.2%)
  • Headline was driven by a surge in imported petroleum prices (+4.3% m/m).
  • Within non-petroleum imported prices, the bulk of the increase came from industrial supplies (+3.1% m/m), while prices of capital goods and autos recorded only modest growth.

 

US: Housing starts (Jan): 1326k vs 1234k expected (prior: 1209k revised from 1192k)

  • On a y/y basis: 9.7% vs 3.5% expected (prior: -8.2% revised from -6.9%)
  • Building permits: 1396k vs 1300k expected (prior: 1302k revised from 1300k); 7.4% m/m vs 0% expected (prior: -0.1% revised from -0.2%)
  • While the volatile multi-family category led the increase, single-family starts rose as well.

 

UK: Retail sales (Jan): 0.1% m/m vs 0.5% expected (prior: -1.4% revised from -1.5%)

  • On a y/y basis: 1.6% vs 2.5% expected (prior: 1.4% revised from 1.5%)
  • Ex autos: 0.1% vs 0.6% expected (prior: -1.6% revised from -1.5%); 1.5% y/y vs 2.4% expected (prior: 1.3%)
  • Retail sales growth was broadly flat at the beginning of the New Year with the longer-term picture showing a continued slowdown in the sector.
Market insight 15.02.2018

Rising core PPI and disappointing industrial production in the US

US: PPI (Jan.): 0.4% m/m as expected (prior: 0.0% revised from -0.1%)

  • PPI y/y: 2.7% vs 2.4% expected (prior: 2.6%)
  • Core PPI: 0.4% m/m vs 0.2% expected (prior: -0.1%); 2.2% y/y vs 2.0% expected (prior: 2.3%)
  • The annual increase in core PPI is close to a 6-year high, which partly reflects the upward pressure on import prices from the weaker dollar and provides further evidence that inflationary pressures are set to build this year.

US: Industrial production (Jan.): -0.1% m/m vs 0.2% expected (prior: 0.4% revised from 0.9%)

  • Manufacturing production was flat m/m (vs 0.3% expected) and previous readings were revised slightly lower.
  • Except the 0.6% m/m rise in utilities output, which was due to the unseasonably cold temperatures in some regions, the weakness in January was broad-based.
  • Along with the weaker retail sales data released yesterday, this report provides further evidence that economic growth may (yet again) disappoint in Q1.

US: Philadelphia Fed. (Feb.): 25.8 vs 21.8 expected (prior: 22.2)

  • Unexpected increase with a solid rise in new orders, in employment but also in prices paid.

US: Empire manufacturing (Feb.): 13.1 vs 18.0 expected (prior: 17.7)

  • New orders slightly increased while employment and prices paid rose more meaningfully.
  • These two regional surveys confirms that manufacturers continue to be optimistic for the economic activity.

US: Initial jobless claims (Feb. 10): 230k vs 228k expected (prior: 223k revised from 221k)

US: NAHB housing market index (Feb.): 72 as expected (prior: 72)

  • Homebuilders' confidence remains close to the highest level since 1999.
  • The measure on the 6-month outlook reached its highest since 2005.

Russia: Industrial production (Jan.): 2.9% y/y vs -0.5% expected (prior: -1.5%)

 

Market insight 14.02.2018

US: higher inflation and lower retail sales than expected

US: CPI (Jan.): 0.5% m/m vs 0.3% expected (prior: 0.2% revised from 0.1%)

  • Yearly trend on headline inflation was stable at 2.1% y/y; core inflation was up by 0.3% m/m (vs 0.2% m/m expected and in prior month; stable at 1.8% y/y).
  • Energy (3% m/m), apparels (1.7% m/m; related to import prices) and services (0.3% m/m) were responsible for the monthly rebound.
  • Outlook on inflation points towards a rising trend; after moderate yearly trend in Q1, headline inflation should be close to 3% y/y in Q2, and core CPI above 2% y/y according to our scenario. 2018 average headline inflation should now reach 2.5% y/y and core inflation 2.2% y/y.
  • This argues in favor of regular rate hikes from the Fed in Q1 and Q2-18, and in favor of 4 rate hikes this year.

 

US: Retail sales (Jan.): -0.3% m/m vs 0.2% expected (prior: 0% revised from 0.4%)

  • Core sales were flat (0.4% m/m expected) and past month data were revised from 0.4% m/m to 0% m/m.
  • Bad weather conditions and a pause after strong Q4 data partly explained the negative surprises on sales.
  • Purchases on several items have reversed from the past two months (autos, building materials and electronics); non-store sales were flat after 0.5% m/m.
  • Too early to see in these volatile data a reversal in US scenario, as supports should continue from the heathy labor and some fiscal easing.

 

US: Business inventories (Dec.): 0.4% m/m vs 0.3% expected (prior: 0.4%)

  • Inventories have increased (notably ex-autos); but sales were still dynamic (0.6% m/m).

 

Eurozone: Industrial production (Dec.): 0.4% m/m vs 0.1% expected (prior: 1.3% revised from 1%)

  • Except capital goods, momentum in production was positive for all major sectors.
  • Yearly trend has reached 5.2% y/y, comparable to the high pace in activity reached before the crisis.

 

Germany: GDP (Q4-17): 0.6% q/q as expected (prior: 0.8%)

  • Growth has been strong at year end; Eurozone GDP has also been confirmed up by 0.6% q/q in Q4-17.

 

Germany: CPI (Jan.): -1% m/m as expected (prior: 0.6%)

  • Rising oil and food prices, while prices for leisure and clothes have weakened.
  • Yearly trend has moderated from 1.6% y/y to 1.4% y/y.

 

Italy: GDP (Q4-17): 0.3% q/q as expected (prior: 0.4%)

  • GDP was up by 1.6% y/y (1.7% y/y in Q3-17); Italy is under a progressive recovery, but it remains fragile.

 

Poland: GDP (Q4-17): 1% q/q vs 1.2% expected (prior: 1.2%)

  • Activity was on an accelerating trend (5.1% y/y after 4.9% y/y in Q3-17).

 

Turkey: Current account (Dec.): -7.7bn USD vs -7.5bn expected (prior: -4.38bn revised from -4.2bn)

  • Rising imports and weaker exports have increased trade and current account deficits.