China’s stimulus plans and the implications for growth

The fiscal plans unveiled by China’s leadership today are as expansive as those in 2009 but credit growth will remain far more constrained. The focus again is overwhelmingly on measures to boost investment, primarily infrastructure. We expect stimulus to succeed in lifting growth in the near-term – China should emerge from the coronavirus downturn faster than other major economies. But another wave of state-mandated investment will only cement China’s structural economic problems more firmly in place.
Mark Williams Chief Asia Economist
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China Economics Weekly

Capacity constraints put a ceiling on export outlook

In the long-run, the global spread of highly-transmissible coronavirus strains may make China’s zero-COVID stance untenable but the immediate response to concerns about B.1.1.529  is more likely to be a doubling down on the strategy, with rolling local lockdowns in response to any local cases and continued tight border controls. China’s exporters could benefit from another wave of lockdown-induced demand elsewhere in the world. But capacity limits, particularly at ports, potentially exacerbated by further port shutdowns, may limit their ability to meet orders.

26 November 2021

China Activity Monitor

Service sector recovery remains lacklustre

Our China Activity Proxy (CAP) shows that growth ticked up last month as energy shortages eased and the service sector continued to recover from virus disruptions over the summer. But the rebound remains lacklustre, with output still well below June’s peak. And while the outlook for home sales and exports has brightened in recent weeks, cooling construction activity still looks set to weigh on growth next year.

24 November 2021

China Economics Update

LPR on hold but wider easing already underway

The Loan Prime Rate (LPR) remained unchanged for the 19th consecutive month today. But officials are already easing policy in other ways, such as by relaxing constraints on mortgage lending. The PBOC has also pushed down bank funding costs via recent deposit rate reforms and July’s RRR cut, paving the way for future moves to nudge down lending rates using LPR cuts.

22 November 2021

More from Mark Williams

China Economics Update

Where might markets be wrong about Evergrande?

If Evergrande were to cause a financial or economic shock it would either be because policymakers failed to contain financial contagion or because the company’s collapse precipitated a much bigger decline in construction activity than most investors currently expect. The latter is probably the bigger risk and hinges on whether the company’s demise triggers a substantial drop in property sales.

22 September 2021

China Economics Update

Property crunch will be followed by lasting decline

The root of Evergrande’s troubles – and those of other highly-leveraged developers – is that residential property demand in China is entering an era of sustained decline. Relaxation of regulatory controls on the sector wouldn’t change this fundamental constraint. Construction, a key engine of China’s growth and commodity demand, will slow substantially over the next few years, whether or not the economy escapes the current crunch unscathed.

15 September 2021

China Economics Update

Evergrande circling the plughole

Evergrande’s collapse would be the biggest test that China’s financial system has faced in years. Policymakers’ main priority would be the households that have handed over deposits for properties that haven’t yet been finished. The company’s other creditors would suffer. Markets don’t seem concerned about the potential for financial contagion at the moment. That would change in the event of large-scale default, though the PBOC would step in with liquidity support if fears intensified.

9 September 2021
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