Services recovering but outlook still gloomy

Our China Activity Proxy (CAP) shows that output rebounded last month as the disruption to the service sector from virus outbreaks eased. But this wasn’t enough to prevent a sharp contraction last quarter. And even if services activity holds up better moving forward, the headwinds facing construction and industry mean that growth will be lacklustre over the coming year.
Julian Evans-Pritchard Senior China Economist
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China Economic Outlook

Cyclical trough, tepid rebound

China will be buffeted in the first half of 2022 by COVID outbreaks and a further slowdown in property construction. Policy support should improve the picture later in the year, but mounting structural headwinds will limit the extent of any rebound. Drop-In (08:00 GMT/16:00 HKT, 27th Jan): China Outlook – Cyclical trough, tepid rebound. Join Mark Williams and Julian Evans-Pritchard for a discussion about China’s economic and policy outlook this year. Register here.

26 January 2022

China Activity Monitor

Starting 2022 on the back foot

Our China Activity Proxy (CAP) suggests that China’s economy was still struggling to regain momentum at the end of last year amid troubles in the property sector and recurrent COVID outbreaks which continue to depress service sector activity. We think these headwinds will continue to hold back activity during the first half of this year.

24 January 2022

China Economics Weekly

Some relief for property developers

This week’s cut to policy rates is one of a succession of recent moves designed to stabilize residential property sales. Developers have also been given a little more breathing room in terms of their access to financing. These steps may not feed into a recovery in project starts, given the poor structural outlook for property demand. But they improve the immediate outlook for many developers. Meanwhile, Tianjin’s Omicron outbreak appears to be under control and COVID cases nationally have dropped to a two-month low. That appears to be encouraging slightly more people to make the trip home for Lunar New Year than a year ago. We’ll be discussing our expectations for policy, zero-COVID and the economy on Thursday (08:00 GMT/16:00 HKT) in an online briefing timed to coincide with publication of our next Outlook report. Please register here to join us and let us know in advance of any questions you’d like us to address.  

21 January 2022

More from Julian Evans-Pritchard

China Economics Update

Pullback in easing expectations overdone

The Loan Prime Rate (LPR) remained on hold for the 18th straight month today. And investors have recently pared back their expectations for monetary easing. But given growing economic strains, especially in the property sector, we still think the PBOC will cut policy rates before long.

20 October 2021

China Data Response

China GDP (Q3), Activity & Spending (Sep.)

In q/q terms, official GDP growth slowed to a crawl last quarter. And our China Activity Proxy points to a sharp contraction. Although some of the recent weakness in services is now reversing, industry and construction appear on the cusp of a deeper downturn.

18 October 2021

China Economics Weekly

Property downturn deepens, triggering easing

Supply-side disruptions mean there is an unusual amount of uncertainty about China’s recent economic performance. But one thing that’s clear is that the property sector downturn has gathered pace in recent weeks. Policymakers have responded by allowing banks to step up mortgage lending. Other easing measures are likely to follow, including rate cuts. But limits on developer financing are here to stay.

15 October 2021
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