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ECONOMY: Economy Continues To Be Cool
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Economy Continues To Be Cool
By Anthony

BT 201710 ECONOMY 02      受美国政治不确定性可能引发的政策延迟,朝鲜半岛局势可能引发的区域性干扰以及中国去杠杆及金融监管收紧可能带来的经济进一步放缓形势影响,我国经济领域各项指标状况整体遇冷。据中国国家统计局统计数据显示,我国8月份工业总产值平均增长6%,低于7月份的6.4%。国民生产总值呈现18个月来最慢增长幅度。八月份零售额同比增长10.1%,而七月份则为10.4%,低了0.3个百分点。此外,还有多项其他数据表明中国经济持续遇冷。工业总产值似乎受到财政支出预算限制的影响,统计局数据显示8月份工业总产值仅同比上涨6.0%,是9个月来最低涨幅。零售市场销售额同比上涨10.1%,是过去六个月来最慢增幅,比七月份的10.4%的增长率略有下降。资本市场方面,“五月魔咒”并未出现,MSCI世界指数继续震荡上行。经济数据疲软的消息对市场产生了负面影响,港股等股票指数均有下滑。总体来看,中国经济增长相对放缓,整体在缓慢稳定中发展前进。

BT 201710 ECONOMY 03China's National Bureau of Statistics said the world's second-largest economy saw 6% annual growth in its industrial output in August, slower than 6.4% growth recorded in July. Gross domestic product growth was unexpectedly the slowest in 18 months. Retail sales expanded by 10.1% on year in August, as compared with 10.4% in July, it said. The figures missed expectations and suggested that China's economy continued to cool. The news of weak economic data had a negative impact on markets as well sending Chinese and Hong Kong equity indices down on the day when the data was released.

Analysts had widely expected China’s August data to show that industrial output and retail sales growth had accelerated after slowing a little bit in July. However, this was not the case. Also, this coincided with investment being marginally softer in the month as well. In spite of this, some analysts have speculated that financial risk to the Chinese economy will not rear its ugly head in the next upcoming months. Rather, it will likely come in the upcoming years in the aftermath of political transition occurring in the fall. “Progress on key structural reforms that really matter, such as boosting the performance of state-owned enterprises, has been quite slow and the structural drags on growth remain quite strong and are real risks,” said Capital Economics’ Julian Evans-Pritchard.

The year-long, government-led construction boom has raised demand and prices for everything from cement to steel to glass, helping to offset an expected drag from property cooling measures and regulatory crackdown on riskier types of financial instruments such as the ban on Bitcoin exchanges. But Augusts’ data suggested that the strong boost from Beijing’s infrastructure building spree may unfortunately be starting to fade.

BT 201710 ECONOMY 01Fixed-asset investment, a key growth driver for the world’s second-largest economy, grew to 7.8% in January-August from a year earlier, the weakest pace since December 1999 and cooling from 8.3% in January-July. The main drag appeared to be the result of a slowdown in infrastructure investment due to a significant drop-off in government fiscal spending over the past two months, analysts said. China frontloaded fiscal spending this year to produce rosy growth ahead of the once-in-five-years Communist Party Congress next month, Evans-Pritchard said. But local governments are constrained by annual budgets and have had to pare back spending in the second half of this year, he added. That likely had a knock-on effect on industrial output, which rose to 6.0% in August on-year, the weakest pace in nine months, statistics bureau data showed.

The statistics bureau said unusually hot and wet weather weighed on industrial output last month, adding that the economy remained on a steady, improving trend. On a monthly basis, output rose by nearly half a percent. China’s crackdown on pollution may have also dented industrial output, as Beijing looks to close older, smog-belching mines and factories, said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai. Still, economists and analysts from several sources maintained their view that the economy would expand 6.8% in the third quarter from a year earlier, easing only slightly from 6.9% in the first half. Retail sales also confounded market expectations, rising 10.1% in August on-year, the slowest pace in six months and cooling from 10.4% in July. Analysts had expected a slight pick-up in demand.

In short, this economic data could be the result of an even more serious slowdown of the Chinese economy, or the acceptance of an even lower level of growth over the upcoming years. It could be both, but either way there is little doubt that several factors are at play including North Korean geopolitical risk, financial risk from other major economies or a myriad of other points of contention and should be taken into consideration before coming to any hasty conclusions.


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