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Domestic weakness frees up ports for exports

The Omicron virus wave in China appears to have eased global shipping bottlenecks rather than worsened them as many had feared. Firms were able to re-route shipments through other ports to avoid disruption in Shanghai. And weaker goods demand domestically freed up port capacity that could be used for export shipments. In the past three months, container throughput for foreign trade has risen at its fastest pace in over a year. There has probably been some movement of vessels from domestic to foreign routes too. Together, the increase in export-directed capacity helps explain why freight rates out of China have fallen sharply. Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  
Mark Williams Chief Asia Economist
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More from China

China Data Response

China Activity & Spending (Jul.)

The July data suggest that the post-lockdown recovery lost steam as the one-off boost from reopening fizzled out and mortgage boycotts triggered a renewed deterioration in the property sector. We think the outlook will remain challenging in the coming months as exports turn from tailwind to headwind, the property downturn deepens, and virus disruptions remain a recurring drag. Asia Drop-In (25th Aug.): What’s the economic impact of a weak yen? What does the latest China-Taiwan flare-up mean for decoupling? How ugly are conditions in China’s real estate sector? Join economists from across our Asia services for this regular briefing on the region’s big investment stories. Register now.

15 August 2022

China Economics Update

Surprise rate cut amid economic woes

The People’s Bank (PBOC) has cut its policy rates in response to a loss of economic momentum. A cut to the Loan Prime Rate (LPR) later this month is now a given and we expect additional easing measures further ahead, though it’s far from clear that this will be sufficient to drive a revival in credit growth.

15 August 2022

China Economics Weekly

PBOC turns less dovish on inflation

The PBOC’s latest monetary policy report struck a less dovish tone, warning that inflationary pressure may increase in the near-term. We think these concerns are overdone and that inflation is more likely to drop back over the rest of the year. But for now at least, the PBOC appears to see inflation risks as yet another reason to maintain its restrained approach to stimulus.

12 August 2022

More from Mark Williams

Japan Economics Weekly

Respite for BoJ doesn’t weaken case for a policy tweak

Pressure on the Bank of Japan’s Yield Curve Control framework eased this week. On the campaign trail for the Upper House election, where inflation has emerged as a key concern, Prime Minister Kishida said that monetary tightening would do more harm than good. Even more welcome for the BoJ, pressure emanating from the bond market has dropped back too. It had to buy less than a tenth as many JGBs this week as last. Some might feel that this reduces the need to shore up the policy framework. But a respite provides a window in which to make it more resilient.
Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  

24 June 2022

Japan Chart Book

BoJ at the barricades

While inflation is still far lower in Japan than in most places, rapid increases in the prices of some everyday purchases have made it a political focus. A Nikkei poll following the Bank of Japan’s meeting at the end of last week found that nearly half of respondents thought that the BoJ should call a halt to ultra-loose policy. Another, more pressing challenge to Yield Curve Control (YCC) is coming from the bond market. The policy’s success in its first five years is indicated by the fact that the Bank was able to reduce its bond purchases substantially after YCC was introduced. But this month, as yields overseas have risen, the BoJ has been forced to buy more JGBs than ever before to keep yields within the target band. This pace of purchases cannot be sustained. Asia Drop-In (30th June, 09:00 BST/16:00 SGT): Are Asia’s central banks behind the curve? Can the Bank of Japan and People’s Bank of China continue to go against the grain? Find out in our special session on what global monetary tightening looks like in Asia. Register now.  

21 June 2022

China Economics Weekly

GDP target unattainable, shipping disruption

China’s statistics office is adept at massaging GDP data. But with many of the indicators that feed into GDP showing year-on-year contractions in April and May, even it won’t be able to deliver published growth at the rate the government wants this year. Meanwhile, the latest port throughput data suggest that Shanghai’s lockdown had a much smaller impact on shipping than commonly supposed.

17 June 2022
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