Power rationing adds to mounting headwinds

China’s power shortages are a reflection of the global strain in energy markets and won’t be resolved overnight. Power rationing will constrain industrial activity until demand weakens enough to bring the domestic electricity market back into equilibrium.
Julian Evans-Pritchard Senior China Economist
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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

China Economics Update

Deposit rates may be next PBOC target

Today’s reductions to both the one-year and five-year Loan Prime Rates (LPR) continue the PBOC’s efforts to push down borrowing costs. We expect additional easing to follow in the coming months, including measures to push down deposit rates. But policymakers still appear reluctant to engineer a sharp pick-up in credit growth.

20 January 2022

More from Julian Evans-Pritchard

CE Spotlight

Will US-China decoupling be inflationary?

China’s integration into the global economy contributed to the low inflation environment of recent decades. But it was not the major driver and, in any case, China’s integration peaked several years ago. Decoupling may be inflationary, but as long as it happened gradually, the impact would be small. Abrupt decoupling in key sectors would be a different story, sending prices soaring until new supply chains could be formed.

28 September 2021

China Activity Monitor

Delta blow to give way to property downturn

Our China Activity Proxy (CAP) suggests that economic output dropped back sharply in August. The big hit to services activity from efforts to contain the Delta variant should mostly reverse this month. But the downturn in the property sector has further to run.

27 September 2021

China Economics Weekly

Local governments prepare to step in

Evergrande creditors face a bumpy few weeks with a string of bond coupon payments due. Even if the company can scrape together the cash – not at all certain, given that it just missed one payment deadline – its chances of repaying the principal on bonds maturing early next year are low. Officials are initially pushing creditors to find a solution that allows work on ongoing projects to resume. But if that fails, the company will most likely be broken apart at the hands of local governments.

24 September 2021
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