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.
Mark Williams Chief Asia 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 Mark Williams

China Economics Weekly

Policymakers are stressing developers not markets

This week’s sell-off in Chinese high-yield dollar bonds is not a good measure of the stress facing Chinese developers. These bonds account for less than a tenth of developer debt. Their key creditors are domestic banks. Whether developers can refinance their debt therefore depends primarily not on conditions in the offshore market but on the political and regulatory constraints on bank lending.

12 November 2021

India Economics Update

Mobile payment takes off

The pandemic has triggered a three-fold increase in the use of mobile payments in India. It is unclear whether there has been a corresponding broadening in the number of people using cashless payment. Demonetisation, five years ago this week, also resulted in a surge of cashless payment but mostly by those who already had access to it, rather than new users. However India has taken big strides since then in modernising its payments infrastructure and should be better able to reap the benefits.

11 November 2021

China Economics Weekly

Policy outlook, new forecasts, property tax

Ahead of the publication of our quarterly China Economics Outlook next week, we consider how Evergrande's woes, power cuts and supply shortages have shifted prospects for the economy. Our answer: surprisingly little, but perhaps only because only our expectations for 2022 were already fairly gloomy. There has been growing talk this week that the People’s Bank won’t lower policy rates in the coming months. We’re not convinced.

22 October 2021
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