- China’s GDP Grows 6.7% as Expected
While concerns are growing over China’s growing debt and the risks to its financial system.
China‘s economy expanded at a steady 6.7% in the third quarter and looks set to hit Beijing’s full-year target, fueled by stronger government spending, record bank lending, and a red-hot property market that are adding to its growing pile of debt.
Wednesday’s data painted a picture of an economy that is slowly stabilizing but increasingly dependent on government spending and a housing boom for growth, as private investment and exports remain stubbornly weak.
Some economists believe Beijing has had to “double down” on stimulus this year to meet its official growth range of 6.5 to 7%, and say the government’s obsession with meeting hard targets may hurt both planned reforms and the long-term health of the world’s second-largest economy.
“So far this year they have clearly chosen to do everything they can to meet the growth targets, and now there is a little bit of an upward surprise from the housing market which actually will help them with GDP growth this year,” said Louis Kuijs, head Of Asia economics at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.
“The question really is, is the leadership willing to move to somewhat lower growth targets in order to put growth on a more sustainable footing, or will it feel obliged to continue to hang on to those very high growth targets.”
The economy grew at the same clip in the third quarter year-on-year as in the first and second quarters, as analysts polled by Reuters had expected. Government infrastructure projects and the property boom have spurred prices and demand for raw materials and goods from cement and steel to furniture.
On a quarterly basis, it grew 1.8%, again in line with expectations but easing slightly from the previous period.
PROPERTY MARKET BIGGEST RISK FOR NOW
Economists believe the greatest near-term risk for China is a possible correction in the high-flying property market, which accounts for about 15% of GDP.
Real estate investment accelerated in September and home sales soared, highlighting persistent investor demand even as more cities tighten measures to curb prices.
Property investment growth ticked up to 7.8% in September on-year, and property sales surged 34%, though new construction starts fell 19.4%, suggesting sentiment among builders may be shifting as the government looks to cool the buying frenzy.
A wave of restrictions imposed on buyers in major cities since early October has resulted in a sharp drop in sales and authorities are stepping up pressure on speculators.
Shanghai said on Tuesday it had punished some property agencies for falsifying contracts and had launched probes into some developers suspected of raising prices without authorization.
Most economists do not expect house prices to collapse, arguing the market is supported by steady migration to bigger cities, but memories are still fresh of authorities’ heavy-handed attempt to cool surging stock markets last year, which triggered a crash and an unprecedented government rescue.
The property craze has also heightened concerns about China‘s growing debt and the risks to its financial system, as much of the record loan growth has been driven by mortgages.
China‘s debt has soared to 250% of GDP and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned in September that a banking crisis was looming in the next three years.
“We think that the cooling measures in property market will weigh on China‘s economy over the coming quarters,” Commerzbank economist Zhou Hao in Hong Kong said in a note.
But statistics bureau spokesman Sheng Laiyun said “the impact (of property adjustment measures) on the economy will not be very big” in the short-term.
Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.
According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.
The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.
It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.
“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”
Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.
Crude Oil Rises to $43.1 Per Barrel on Production Cuts Extension
Crude Oil Hits $43.1 Per Barrel Following OPEC’s Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, rose by 1.25 percent on Monday during the Asian trading session following OPEC and allies’ agreement to extend crude oil cuts to the end of July.
OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to extend production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day reached in April to July on Saturday.
In the virtual conference, delegates agreed that members, including Nigeria and Iraq presently struggling to attain a 100 percent compliance level must keep to the agreement or be forced to do so in subsequent months.
Nigeria, Iraq and others failed to keep to the cartel’s agreement in May after reports show that Nigeria only managed to attain a 19 percent compliance level during the month while Iraq struggled to attain just 38 percent in the same month.
Russia and Saudi Arabia, the two largest producers of the group, warned members to stick to the agreed quota if they want to rebalance the global oil market.
“While the errant producers such as Iraq and Nigeria have vowed to reach 100% conformity and compensate for prior underperformance, we still think they will likely continue to have some commitment issues over the course of the summer,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
“The potential return of Libyan output could also cause considerable challenges for the OPEC leadership.”
Earlier on Monday, Brent crude oil hits $43.1 per barrel, more than a month record-high, before pulling back slightly to $42.83 per barrel.
Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report
- Gold Dips by 2 Percent on Better Than Expected Job Report
Gold prices declined by 2 percent on Friday following a better than expected US non-farm payroll report.
The report showed an increase of 2.5 million payroll numbers against a decline of 7.5 million predicted by many experts.
The surprise number boosted investors’ confidence in US recovery as many dumped their haven investment (gold) for the stock market.
“We had significantly stronger-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers – an increase of 2.5 million versus an expectation of a decline of 7.5 million – that 10-million swing has brought forward expectations of the economic recovery in the United States,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.
Spot gold immediately declined by 1.9 percent per ounce to $1,678.81 while the U.S. gold futures slid 2.6 percent to settle at $1,683.
Gold was also being pressured by stronger yields and a slightly firmer dollar, “meaning the opportunity cost to hold gold in the portfolio has gone up,” Melek added.
The surprise didn’t stop there, US Dow Jones was up 614 points despite the protest going on the US and US-China tension.
Also, NASDAQ rose by 29 points while the S&P index added 50 points increase.
Note: Investors generally increase their investments in gold and other haven assets during a crisis to avert risk exposure and do the opposite once they sense a better economy.
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