Recovery slows, but continues

IMG 8547

Industrial output rose 4.8% y/y in July, the same rate as in June, down 1.1 pps from Q4 2019. Investment grew 8.3% y/y, up 2.7 pps from June, and up 2.9 pps from Q4, and is still mainly driven by state investment, with a growth rate of 12.7% y/y. The best performer among fixed asset investments is real estate, with a growth rate of 11.6% y/y in July, up 3.7 pps from Q2.

Consumption is still weak, and was down -1.1% y/y, and up 0.7 pps from June, showing customers’ caution over COVID-19. In July, exports grew 10.4% y/y, up 6.1 pps from June, and up 6.4 pps from H2 2019, possibly due to the halt of overseas production. Imports are fluctuating significantly, and aren’t showing any trend. They rose 1.6% y/y, down 4.6 pps from June.

Producer price growth is trending up. The ex-factory price index of industrial goods rose 0.4% m/m and fell -2.4% y/y. PPI rose 0.9% m/m, and fell -3.3% y/y. Growth of the two indices is down 0.6 and 1.1 pps from June. But we expect future producer prices to at most rebound to their pre-pandemic growth rate levels. CPI rose 2.7% y/y, up 0.2 pps from June. We expect its rise to be temporary. 

Major financial indicators have been falling, or flat. M2 rose 10.7% y/y, down 0.4 pps from June. Loans rose 13% y/y, down 0.2 pps from the end of June. M1 grew 6.9% y/y, up just slightly, by 0.4 pps.

On August 14th, a pioneering digital currency initiative initiated by the People’s Bank of China stated that that it would expand the trail program to a number of large cities, with the involvement of the big four state banks. China’s Alibaba has already entered into a “strategic partnership” with the Central Bank over the sovereign digital currency plan. We view digital currency reform as part of the Chinese government’s grand Fintech plan. It will make financial transactions easier, by reducing the intermediary role of commercial banks, directly benefiting small and medium-sized firms.