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.
Julian Evans-Pritchard Senior China Economist
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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 https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/3546145/A9D34EF592141BEFCAC819ADB40359D5?partnerref=report

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

China Chart Book

Omicron tests China’s zero-COVID strategy

The global spread of a more transmissible COVID variant is a particular challenge for a country trying to remain COVID-free. But after nearly two years of success suppressing infections domestically, the bar to changing course before better medical treatments or vaccines are available is high. A study published last week by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that if China were to adopt the pandemic control measures recently in place in several Western countries, it would soon be facing several hundred thousand new cases per day and 10-20,000 severe cases. These estimates were deliberately conservative, made on the assumption that natural and vaccine-derived immunity is as high in China as in the comparator countries. The actual health cost, the authors argue, would almost certainly be higher. Given these concerns, if Omicron proves harder to contain than Delta, we would expect officials to tighten containment measures in response. Economically, that would lead to further intermittent disruption to domestic activity, particularly services, and to global supply chains.

29 November 2021

More from Julian Evans-Pritchard

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

China Economics Weekly

Outbreak quashed, land auction rules eased

Local authorities in China appear to be becoming more adept at bringing Covid outbreaks under control with relatively little disruption to economic activity. Meanwhile, this week’s easing of land auction rules is the latest in a series of moves to support China’s struggling property sector. We think home sales are on the cusp of a rebound. But it will take much longer for developers to start ramping up construction again.

19 November 2021

China Economics Update

Home sales on the cusp of a rebound

New home sales have dropped by a fifth since March, a similar-sized slump to those seen during the previous two housing downturns. With policy now turning more supportive, high-frequency data suggest that sales are bottoming out and a cyclical rebound looks increasingly likely. This should quash fears of a housing market crash. But financing constraints will continue to limit new construction and property investment is unlikely to bottom out until late next year.

19 November 2021
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