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China reported another record trade surplus in July, thanks to surprisingly strong export growth...
...but exports are starting to slow, at the margin, and still face structural headwinds this year.
Generous government subsidies cannot hold back the tide indefinitely, and risk political blowback.
Supply chains are recovering, with delivery times and shipping costs improving in East Asia.
Lower raw material costs are reducing cost-push inflation, and should feed through to output prices.
The main supply-side risks now are political, as China retaliates for Speaker Pelosi’s Taiwanese trip.
China’s loan prime rates were left unchanged on Wednesday, continuing the PBoC’s passive streak.
Monetary easing would have little effect at the moment, with loan demand falling.
Credit is increasingly being used to plug balance sheets, rather than support productive activity.
We think China entered a balance sheet recession in Q2, and policy needs recalibrating to fix it.
The combination of the property downturn, tech crackdown, and zero-Covid, have hit asset values.
Balance sheet repair takes time, and breaks monetary transmission; fiscal support is needed.
Chinese activity continued its reopening recovery in June, particularly outside manufacturing.
The surveys point to month-on-month growth, but not enough to save GDP from a quarterly decline.
More stimulus is needed to sustain this bounce, with households and SMEs still under pressure.
Japanese manufacturing slowed further in June, likely reflecting weakening global demand.
The service sector extended its recovery from the Omicron-induced lows, but will peak soon.
Price pressures rose further, but the labour market still looks soft, so no change likely from the BoJ.
Renewed yen weakness has drawn policymaker attention, with markets on alert for intervention.
Fighting currency weakness, however, is difficult, and Japan has few tools available.
Policymakers will likely be limited to fighting a rearguard action, reducing volatility on the way down.
Chinese PMIs rose in May, but are still sub-50, signalling month-on-month declines.
We expect a return to growth in June, as zero-Covid restrictions ease further, but it will be gradual.
The latest stimulus announcements provide a touch of new money, but still look lacklustre.
China+ Document Vault, Pantheon Macro, Pantheon Macroeconomics, independent macro research, independent research, ian shepherdson, economic intelligence