Towards the end of the XPeng article published recently, it was mentioned that Emerging Markets are rising in valuation relative to U.S. stocks. Added to this is a report from Goldman Sachs earlier this month stating that “weak US dollar cycles tend to bode positively for emerging-market assets” that supported this trajectory. The report also states: “Given the nature and sequencing of the Covid crisis and reopening aftershocks, the past few months can be characterized as falling EM growth forecasts with outperforming growth differentials” while promoting the attractiveness of the MSCI China Index and early-cycle emerging markets in Southeast Asia.
With regard to China, however, alternative data seems to suggest that this attractiveness might be overstated. In what could be considered as the first sign that China’s economic growth might not be a strong given, real estate data already indicates a steadily increasing dip in monthly sales over at China:
The second sign is hidden in travel statistics. Alternative datasets from satellite-driven observations lead specialists to estimate that both freight and travel have still not recovered:
The third sign was that retail sales aren’t exactly showing similar growth trajectories seen in 2020 (i.e. before the pandemic induced a slowdown):
The fourth sign was that steel stockpiles are at all-time highs relative to all of last year and this year. Steel stockpiles are a key feature for identifying if inventories of finished goods are being exhausted or not:
Another sign of Chinese citizens feeling the pinch has been recent reports suggesting that buyers in over 100 projects spread out across 50 cities in China have halted payments. Altogether, the property sector accounts for 25% of China’s GDP, with at least 4.5% of all outstanding mortgages in China expected to be affected.
Unsurprisingly, the median forecast for China’s growth for the year has been lowered by investment banks to a median of 3.4% – with Goldman Sachs holding the higher end of the estimate at 4%. The Chinese government had announced a growth of “around 5.5%” in the BRICS Summit in June.
Also unsurprisingly, China’s Ministry of Finance is considering allowing local governments to sell $220 billion worth of “special” local bonds in this year’s second half. The bond sales are reportedly being brought forward from next year’s quota since local governments typically don’t sell debt until January 1. Given the centrality of infrastructure spending to Chinese economic growth, local governments are being asked to propose and start new projects as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the US dollar is gaining strength, which is another sign of an expectation of US recession. Despite declines in U.S. dollar purchasing power (as indicated by high inflation), many traders and strategists are expecting the Euro to break past the psychological barrier of $1.00 and go down to $0.9850 on a short-term basis as more investors seek refuge in the US dollar rather than be invested in the market. In expectation of the Euro breaching the $1 barrier, shorts in Euro positions have substantially increased last week.
Now, while Brent prices have fallen to pre-“Ukraine invasion” levels last week, the extent of price increases in other non-energy items – which aren’t solely attributable to corporate price gouging – indicates that relief at the pump wouldn’t necessarily lead to relief for household savings. As it stands, figures released last Wednesday by the US Energy Information Administration suggested petrol demand had slipped to its lowest level for this time of year since 1996 which has many implications, some of them of a more fundamental nature on the economy (as opposed to just household savings).
Furthermore, given the high historical (and recent) correlation in inflation between the U.S. and Europe, it can be expected that similar trends will be seen in Europe as well.
The facts presented should drive home the idea that even holding high-conviction Chinese assets might not prove to be an effective countermeasure for any of the risk posed by the weaknesses in both U.S. and European economies. If anything, the facts presented along with ever-increasing US Dollar Index level indicates that the recessionary phase continues to loom larger than before.
While this doesn’t bode well for “core” investments, there are alternatives available for tactically capitalizing on short-term trends in “satellite” investments.
Learn more about Exchange Traded Products providing exposure to top Chinese stocks for the upside here and the downside here. Similarly, learn more about DAX-related products for the upside here and the downside here.
Sandeep joined Leverage Shares in September 2020. He leads research on existing and new product lines, asset classes, and strategies, with special emphasis on analysis of recent events and developments.
Sandeep has longstanding experience with financial markets. Starting with a Chicago-based hedge fund as a financial engineer, his career has spanned a variety of domains and organizations over a course of 8 years – from Barclays Capital’s Prime Services Division to (most recently) Nasdaq’s Index Research Team.
Sandeep holds an M.S. in Finance as well as an MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago.
Violeta joined Leverage Shares in September 2022. She is responsible for conducting technical analysis, macro and equity research, providing valuable insights to help shape investment strategies for clients.
Prior to joining LS, Violeta worked at several high-profile investment firms in Australia, such as Tollhurst and Morgans Financial where she spent the past 12 years of her career.
Violeta is a certified market technician from the Australian Technical Analysts Association and holds a Post Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment from Kaplan Professional (FINSIA), Australia, where she was a lecturer for a number of years.
Julian joined Leverage Shares in 2018 as part of the company’s premier expansion in Eastern Europe. He is responsible for web content and raising brand awareness.
Julian has been academically involved with economics, psychology, sociology, European politics & linguistics. He has experience in business development and marketing through business ventures of his own.
For Julian, Leverage Shares is an innovator in the field of finance & fintech, and he always looks forward with excitement to share the next big news with investors in the UK & Europe.
Oktay joined Leverage Shares in late 2019. He is responsible for driving business growth by maintaining key relationships and developing sales activity across English-speaking markets.
He joined LS from UniCredit, where he was a corporate relationship manager for multinationals. His previous experience is in corporate finance and fund administration at firms like IBM Bulgaria and DeGiro / FundShare.
Oktay holds a BA in Finance & Accounting and a post-graduate certificate in Entrepreneurship from Babson College. He is also a CFA charterholder.
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