Category Archive: China

Main Author Michael Pettis
Michael Pettis
Wall Street veteran, merchant banker, equities trader, economist, finance professor, entrepreneur — iconoclast — Michael Pettis is a unique individual living and working in China, at the heart of the world’s most exciting and vibrant economy. Having learned firsthand how markets operate during his years on Wall Street, Michael has taken his knowledge and insight and applied them to the Asian financial markets as an expert analyst, commentator, and participant. His work and research focuses on monetary policy, trade policy, and the development of the banking and financial markets in China.

Bi-Weekly Economic Review:

Is the rate hiking cycle almost done? Not the question on everyone’s minds right now so a good time to ask it, I think. A couple of items caught my attention recently that made me at least think about the possibility.  There has been for some time now a large short position held by speculators in the futures market for Treasuries.

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Global Asset Allocation Update

The risk budget is unchanged this month. For the moderate risk investor the allocation to bonds and risk assets is evenly split. There are changes this month within the asset classes. How far are we from the end of this cycle? When will the next recession arrive and more importantly when will stocks and other markets start to anticipate a slowdown?

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Chinese Inflation And Money Contributions To EM’s

The People’s Bank of China won’t update its balance sheet numbers for May until later this month. Last month, as expected, the Chinese central bank allowed bank reserves to contract for the first time in nearly two years. It is, I believe, all part of the reprioritization of monetary policy goals toward CNY. How well it works in practice remains to be seen. Authorities are not simply contracting one important form of base money in China (bank...

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review – VIDEO

Interview with Joe Calhoun about BiWeekly Economic Review 15/06/2018.

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A Slight Hint Of A 2011 Feel

Whenever a big bank is rumored to be in unexpected merger talks, that’s always a good sign, right? The name Deutsche Bank keeps popping up as it has for several years now, this is merely representative of what’s wrong inside of a global system that can’t ever get fixed. In this one case, we have a couple of perpetuated conventional myths colliding into what is still potentially grave misfortune.

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US Trade Settles Down Again

US trade is further leveling off after several months of artificial intrusions. On the import side, in particular, first was a very large and obvious boost following last year’s big hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Starting in September 2017, for four months the value of imported goods jumped by an enormous 8.3% (revised, seasonally-adjusted). Most of the bump related to consumer and capital goods.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review: As Good As It Gets?

In the last update I wondered if growth expectations – and growth – were breaking out to the upside. 10 year Treasury yields were well over the 3% threshold that seemed so ominous and TIPS yields were nearing 1%, a level not seen since early 2011. It looked like we might finally move to a new higher level of growth. Or maybe not.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review – VIDEO

Interview with Joe Calhoun about BiWeekly Economic Review 01/06/2018.

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The Currency of PMI’s

Markit Economics released the flash results from several of its key surveys. Included is manufacturing in Japan (lower), as well as composites (manufacturing plus services) for the United States and Europe. Within the EU, Markit offers details for France and Germany.

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Anchoring Globally Synchronized Growth, Or We Gave Up Long Ago?

January was the last month in which China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) specifically mentioned Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) of state holding enterprises (or SOE’s). For the month of December 2017, the NBS reported accumulated growth (meaning for all of 2017) in this channel of 10.1%. Through FAI of SOE’s, Chinese authorities in early 2016 had panicked themselves into unleashing considerable “stimulus.”

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All The World’s A (Imagined) Labor Shortage

Last year’s infatuation with globally synchronized growth was at least understandable. From a certain, narrow point of view, Europe’s economy had accelerated. So, too, it seemed later in the year for the US economy. The Bank of Japan was actually talking about ending QQE with inflation in sight, and the PBOC was purportedly tightening as China’s economy appeared to many ready for its rebound.

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What China’s Trade Conditions Say About The Right Side Of ‘L’

Chinese exports rose 12.9% year-over-year in April 2018. Imports were up 20.9%. As always, both numbers sound impressive but they are far short of rates consistent with a growing global economy. China’s participation in global growth, synchronized or not, is a must. The lack of acceleration on the export side tells us a lot about what to expect on the import side.

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China’s Exports Are Interesting, But It’s Their Imports Where Reflation Lives or Dies

Last month Chinese trade statistics left us with several key questions. Export growth was a clear outlier, with outbound trade rising nearly 45% year-over-year in February 2018. There were the usual Golden Week distortions to consider, made more disruptive by the timing of it this year as different from last year. And then we have to consider possible effects of tariffs and restrictions at the start of what is called a trade war (but isn’t really,...

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Just A Few More Pips

On Page 1, Chapter 1 of the Central Banker Crisis Handbook it states very clearly, “do not make it worse.” It’s something like the Hippocratic oath where monetary authorities must first assess what their actions might do to an already fragile system. It’s why they take great pains to try and maintain composure, appearing calm and orderly while conflagration rages all around. The last thing you want to do is confirm the run.

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The Boom Reality of Uncle He’s Globally Synchronized L

Top Chinese leadership is taking further shape. With Xi Jinping’s continuing consolidation of power going on right this minute, most of the changes aren’t really changes, at least not internally. To the West, and to the mainstream, what the Chinese are doing seems odd, if not more than a little off. Unlike in the West, however, there is determined purpose that is in many ways right out in the open. Many here had been expecting that outgoing PBOC...

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China’s Questionable Start to 2018

The Chinese government reported estimates for Industrial Production, Retail Sales, and Fixed Asset Investment (FAI) for both January and February 2018. The National Bureau of Statistics prepares and calculates China’s major economic statistics in this manner at the beginning of each year due to the difficulties created by calendar effects (New Year Golden Week).

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China Prices Include Lots of Base Effect, Still Undershoots

By far, the easiest to answer for today’s inflation/boom trifecta is China’s CPI. At 2.9% in February 2018, that’s the closest it has come to the government’s definition of price stability (3%) since October 2013. That, in the mainstream, demands the description “hot” if not “sizzling” even though it still undershoots. The primary reason behind the seeming acceleration was a more intense move in food prices.

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China Exports: Trump Tariffs, Booming Growth, or Tainted Trade?

China’s General Administration of Customs reported that Chinese exports to all other countries were in February 2018 an incredible 44.5% more than they were in February 2017. Such a massive growth rate coming now has served to intensify the economic boom narrative.

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China: February PMIs point to deceleration in industrial activity

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) for February, compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics of China and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, came in at 50.3, down from 51.3 in January and 51.6 in December 2017. This is the lowest reading of this gauge since October 2016. The Markit PMI (also known as the Caixin PMI), however, edged up slightly to 51.6 in February from 51.5 in the previous month

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Data Distortions One Way Or Another

Back in October, we noted the likely coming of two important distortions in global economic data. The first was here at home in the form of Mother Nature. The other was over in China where Communist officials were gathering as they always do in their five-year intervals. That meant, potentially. In the US our economic data for a few months at least will be on shaky ground due to the lingering economic impacts of severe hurricanes.

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