Coming down to earth

China’s economy has been defying gravity thanks to elevated global demand but this support may now be fading. Meanwhile, last year’s policy easing has been fully reversed. An abrupt slowdown is not likely to follow, but highly-indebted firms, including many property developers, will come under increasing strain.
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China Economics Weekly

Year-end policy bash to strike a more dovish tone

The upcoming Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing is likely to signal that policy is turning more supportive. But loosening will be measured, and growth over coming quarters will still slow.

3 December 2021

China Data Response

China Caixin Manufacturing PMI (Nov.)

The Caixin manufacturing index published today slipped under 50 last month on the back of softer domestic demand. This contrasts with the official survey released yesterday. Taken together, the surveys still suggest that industrial output rebounded in November as power shortages abated. And they also point to easing factory-gate price pressures. Drop-In: Why is Asia sitting out the global inflation surge? 09:00 GMT/17:00 HKT, Thursday 2nd December

1 December 2021

China Data Response

China Official PMIs (Nov.)

The official PMIs suggest that industrial activity rebounded this month thanks to easing disruptions from power shortages while a renewed virus flare-up held back the recovery in services. And while we know little about its transmissibility and severity, the new Omicron variant could hold back a further economic recovery. On a more positive note, the surveys point to easing price pressures.

30 November 2021

More from China Economics Team

China Activity Monitor

Still strong but probably close to a cyclical peak

Our China Activity Proxy (CAP) suggests that output remained strong in May but didn’t rise much further,  with slowing credit growth weighing on construction and China’s pandemic-induced export boom showing signs of peaking. We think output will, at best, tread water during the second half of this year.

23 June 2021

China Economics Weekly

PBOC is right to be relaxed about inflation

Producer prices are rising rapidly as the extraordinary surge in global demand for consumer durables during the pandemic has led to bottlenecks in supply. But the People’s Bank is right to not be too concerned about the implications for domestic inflation. There are no signs of broader price pressures or overheating in the labour market, for example. And export demand is unlikely to remain this strong indefinitely.

14 May 2021

China Chart Book

Jump in input costs weighing on industry

The Q1 industrial profits data published this week were very strong. Net profits continued rise rapidly and are now 50% higher than they were two years ago. Only a third of this is due to higher sales. Instead, the bulk of the increase has come from fatter net margins, which hit a record high last quarter. The picture isn’t quite as bright when looking at gross margins, however, which have begun to drop back due to a jump in input costs. (See Chart 1.) So far, the impact on net profits has been more than made up for by savings elsewhere, including lower taxes and administrative expenses. But this offset is likely to be temporary, with the drag on profits from higher input prices becoming more visible before long. Officials are already concerned, with Premier Li this month calling for stricter regulation of raw material prices.

30 April 2021
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