Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hard landing for China as factory prices fall and deflation looms

Profits for China's exporters have been squeezed 5pc a year since 2004 as wages rise faster than productivity. Photo: EPA


Factory gate prices in China fell at an accelerating rate of 2.9pc in July as the economy flirted with industrial recession, prompting calls for further stimulus to head off Japanese-style deflation. 

 “Severe deflation pressures are rippling across the country,” said Alistair Thornton and Xianfeng Ren from IHS Global Insight. “Deflation, not inflation, is the greatest short-term threat to the Chinese economy.” 

“The hard landing has happened,” said Charles Dumas from Lombard Street Research. “We don’t believe official data. We think GDP slowed to a 1pc rate in the second quarter.”
A blizzard of weak data has caught policy-makers off guard, though shares rallied in Shanghai on hopes for monetary loosening from China’s central bank after consumer price inflation (CPI) fell to 1.8pc.
New property starts fell 27pc in July. Industrial output growth fell to 9.2pc for a year ago but has been flat over recent months.
“This was the moment when stimulus was supposed to bite. It didn’t,” said Global Insight. Critics say Beijing let the property boom go too far and then hit the brakes too hard last year. Monetary tightening led to a contraction in real M1 money. The delayed effects kicked in this year just as Europe fell back into recession and the US slowed abruptly.
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