Sunday, May 13, 2012

"World edges closer to deflationary slump as money contracts in China"

One of  our favorite gloomsters, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (I once said his writing "runs the gamut from despondent to suicidal'), does his "Little ray of sunshine" bit by using the word 'slump' in place of  apocalypse or catastrophe or...
From the Telegraph:

All key indicators of China's money supply are flashing warning signs. The broader measures have slumped to stagnation levels not seen since the late 1990s. 
Narrow M1 data for April is the weakest since modern records began. Real M1 deposits – a leading indicator of economic growth six months or so ahead – have contracted since November.
They are shrinking faster that at any time during the 2008-2009 crisis, and faster than in Spain right now, according to Simon Ward at Henderson Global Investors.
If China were a normal country, it would be hurtling into a brick wall. A "hard-landing" later this year would already be baked into the pie.
Whether this hybrid system of market Leninism – with banks run by Party bosses – conforms to Western monetary theory is a hotly contested point. The issue will be settled one way or the other soon.
What seems clear is that China's economy did not bottom out as expected in the first quarter. It is flirting with real trouble. Yao Wei from Societe Generale says a blizzard of awful data "screams out for easing"

China's electricity output – watched religiously by bears – slumped in April. It is up just 0.7pc over the last year. State investment in railways has fallen 44pc, with an accelerating downward lurch over recent months. Highway construction has dropped 2.7pc. "The data shows extreme weakness in the Chinese economy," said Alistair Thornton from IHS Global Insight in Beijing....MORE
It's probably better that Chinese rail investment is down, their high speed trains seem to have a problem with crashing.
The People's Bank of China cut their reserve requirements on Saturday.
That "faster than Spain" line does focus one's attention though.