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- Japanese headline inflation picked up in December, but core measures lost momentum.
- Early Korean trade data point to a weak start to 2022 for global trade, thanks in part to Omicron.
- External demand should rebound swiftly, but the bigger risk is disruption to Chinese production.
- Japanese December export data are better than they look, along with the rest of the region.
- External demand still looks robust, despite Omicron, but supply challenges loom large.
- Omicron is in fact more worrying from a supply perspective, given its implications for China.
- The biggest change from the latest BoJ meeting was a reappraisal of the inflation outlook.
- Risks to inflation are now seen as balanced, rather than to the downside, the first change since 2014.
- Still, there will be no change in key policy settings for the next two years, with the target not in sight.
- Growth was stronger than expected at the end of 2021, but still slowed...
- The outsized contribution from both consumption and exports will now fade...
- ...as the central government takes centre stage, supported from the wings by the PBoC.
- China posted a new record-high trade surplus in December, boosting the renminbi.
- Behind the headline, however, lurks a troubling weakness of imports and domestic demand.
- Korea's central bank hiked rates to 1.25%, and signalled more to come this year.
- China's money and credit growth improved in December, but this isn't a stimulus surge.
- The authorities are laying down the groundwork to bail out swathes of the economy.
- We expect the Q4 GDP reading to be the weakest since the start of the pandemic.
- China's CPI inflation surge was short-lived, and is set to be followed by a sharp reversal, soon.
- Producer prices are also rolling over rapidly, relieving inflation pressure at home and abroad.
- Omicron is now spreading in China, which will hit activity and inflation, but disrupt supply chains.
In one line: Stronger money growth chiefly driven by fiscal efforts, as banks pull back
- China's service sector PMIs are surprisingly strong, given the Covid outbreaks in December.
- We think financial activity is distorting the readings, which are unlikely to be followed by real growth.
- Inflation pressures are receding, leaving policy free to focus on the growth challenge this year.
- Manufacturing PMIs point to an inflection in inflation pressure, despite stretched supply chains.
- External demand has weakened, but we think it will prove to be short lived.
- Recent Covid outbreaks in China threaten renewed tightening of global bottlenecks.
- Despite some apparent good news, early data point to marginal weakening in growth in December.
- Policymakers are delivering more initiatives, but they will only cushion the fall.
- Bad news on Sinovac efficacy versus Omicron means reopening is pushed back a year, at least.
- Slower Korean export growth in December rounds off a quarter of deceleration.
- Supply constraints remain an issue, but demand is also fading from the post-lockdown boom.
- Rising Covid cases globally have added to head- winds, and risk a bleak midwinter.
- The BoJ kept its main policy tools unchanged in December, but tinkered around the edges.
- An announced reduction in corporate debt purchases had already begun in practice.
- The taper is offset by an extension of SME lending, which has been a bigger balance sheet driver.
Japanese exports jumped in November, amidst signs of reduced supply chain pressures.
Unfortunately, the outlook for December is dimming, thanks in part to Chinese Covid policy.
Omicron is set to renew supply disruptions, just as they were easing, but it will also weaken demand.
November's data are a mixed bag, but investment weakness, led by property, is the main concern.
Infrastructure should begin to offset property soon, but manufacturing faces its own challenges.
Omicron has entered China, and will intensify the cycle of zero-Covid lockdowns.
Japan's Tankan survey points to an improvement in Q4, particularly outside manufacturing.
Success in containing Covid, for now, has boosted the services sector, and smaller firms are reviving.
Inflationary pressures continued to build in Q4, but will not disturb BoJ policy yet.
- Early Chinese data point to a stabilisation—at low levels— of economic activity.
- Infrastructure investment likely rose in November, partially offsetting the property slowdown.
- Prepare for a harsher crackdown on the private sec- tor in 2022, and more infrastructure spending.
- Chinese consumer price inflation accelerated in November, driven by food prices...
- ...but base effects will soon weigh on the index, such that November marks the near-term peak.
- Producer price inflation has already begun to rollover, as energy prices start to fall.
In one line: Some stabilisation, but we still think it’s an infrastructure story
- Evergrande, and a nudge from upstairs, seem to have forced the PBoC's hand.
- A 50 bps cut to the RRR frees up funds to deal with the clean-up operation, not supercharge growth.
- More cuts will be needed, with growth likely to remain soft in Q1 of next year.