Signs of monetary and fiscal expansion at last


Because of the long Chinese New Year holiday, the statistics bureau only announced price, financial and PMI data in February. Producer prices grew more slowly. PPI rose 9.1% y/y, down another 1.2 pps from December. The ex-factory price index of industrial goods rose 8.85% y/y, while CPI growth also slowed. CPI rose 0.9% y/y in January, down 0.6 pps from December. In particular, food prices fell -3.8% y/y, down 2.6 pps from December, dragging CPI down 0.72 pps. That is the leading factor lowering CPI. The falling price levels offer ample room for further money expansion.

At the end of January, M2 rose 9.8% y/y, up 0.8 pps from the end of December, and up 0.4 pps from January 2020. M2 is not strongly affected by the Spring Festival effect. The significant trending upward reflects expansionary monetary policy. M1 fell -1.9% y/y. The adjusted growth rate after taking out the effect of the New Year’s holiday was around 2%. M0 rose 18.5% y/y, a major increase. 

The societal financing scale increased by 6.17 trillion yuan in January, much higher than in January 2020, and market expectations. The societal financing scale increased 10.5% y/y, up 0.2 pps from December. The structural composition of societal financing is also improving. PMI fell, but was still in the improvement zone in January. In particular, PMI was 51%, down 1.2 pps from December. This indicates that the overall economic situation is good, and in an expansion zone, but the trend is slowing.

The Ministry of Finance disclosed on February 14th that to that date, some 1.788 trillion yuan ($278 billion) of this year's newly-increased debt limit of local government bonds had been allocated in advance. Of the amount already allocated, 1.46 trillion yuan is for the local government special bond quota. We expect this expansionary fiscal policy to bolster local government financing needs and investment, to ensure growth stability. The early distribution will also have a larger spillover effect for the rest of the year. The government debt ratio in China is still much lower than it in the United States, so financial risk should be containable.