Credit risk awakens from COVID-19 hibernation

With output now back to its pre-virus path and the labour market returning to health, policymakers appear to have decided that the time has come to instil a bit more discipline into credit markets. By paring back state support they have allowed bond defaults to jump recently. We suspect this marks the start of a renewed regulatory push to tackle moral hazard. This could help improve credit allocation but it carries risks to both financial stability and economic activity.
Julian Evans-Pritchard Senior China Economist
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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

China Economics Update

PBOC takes a bigger bite of the easing apple

The People’s Bank (PBOC) has stepped up its efforts to loosen monetary conditions, following up last month’s reduction to the Loan Prime Rate (LPR) with cuts to the rates at which it lends to banks. Another LPR cut this month is now a given and we expect additional easing measures further ahead.

17 January 2022

More from Julian Evans-Pritchard

Long Run Update

Employment already declining at pace

Revisions to the historic data following the recent census show that China’s population barely grew last year and that employment is already contracting faster than previously understood, having peaked in 2014 rather than 2017. The silver-lining, however, is that the new data suggest that productivity growth has slowed by less and that there is greater scope to counter demographic headwinds by boosting participation rates over the coming decades.

1 July 2021

China Data Response

China Caixin Manufacturing PMI (Jun.)

The Caixin manufacturing index published today dropped back last month and adds to signs from the official PMI released yesterday that momentum in industry is waning. The surveys point to a levelling off in demand and easing of price pressures, even as supply shortages continue to constrain output.

1 July 2021

China Chart Book

No, China isn’t exporting inflation

Some believe that China is adding to global inflationary pressure. The opposite is closer to the truth: the large increase in China’s trade surplus over the past year signals that supply from China has risen far more than demand. Global consumer goods prices are rising in spite of China, not because of it. Admittedly, China’s rapid, investment-intensive recovery has been an important factor in the rise in global commodity prices over the past year – this is the key reason why China’s producer price inflation hit a 12-year high last month. But China’s contribution to the surge in global demand for consumer durables has been relatively small – unlike in many major economies, retail spending on goods in China is not particularly strong. And while dollar prices of goods from China have risen over the past year, these price hikes have generally failed to keep up with the pace of renminbi appreciation. In renminbi terms, export prices have been falling unusually fast.

30 June 2021
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