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China’s Trade Balance Barely Rises as Import Growth Overtakes Export Growth
China's GDP rebound stronger than expected
Industrial output boosted by unblocking of supply chains
Consumption continues to struggle under zero-Covid policy
Property drags down fixed asset investment
Home prices fall more quickly in existing home market
China trade balance remains large despite slowing export growth
Japan flash manufacturing PMI points to a gloomy outlook
The global slowdown catches up with China
Japan’s trade deficit widened again in July, thanks to a surging import bill.
Energy costs are a big part of the problem, but recent yen weakness is more curse than blessing.
Exports are yet to benefit from the currency’s fall, and key imports are insensitive to price changes.
Chinese trade continues to surprise to the upside
China's FX reserves recover slightly, but have further to fall
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.
China’s current account balance fell in Q2, despite strong trade balance figures.
The hit from the income account is unlikely to be repeated, but tailwinds are fading.
Export growth must slow, and compression of demand can’t go much further.
China’s PMIs fell in July, reversing the June bounce, as the gains from reopening were exhausted.
Other sources of demand are few and far between, with stimulus efforts limited in scope and ambition...
...and global demand on the wane amidst multiple headwinds, as clearly shown by Korean export data.
Japan’s Tokyo CPI inflation was marginally stronger than expected, but still driven by cost-push factors.
Yen weakness should relieve pressure on the BoJ, and confirms an outlook of policy stability into 2024.
China’s Politburo has emphasised zero-Covid over growth, with few signals of significant stimulus.
Thursday’s BoJ meeting followed the usual script, with added emphasis from Governor Kuroda.
The central bank’s current forecasts imply no change in policy until 2024, at least.
Early Korean export data suggest global demand is still waning, and China’s reopening boost is over.
The BoK hiked by 50bp, but managed to sound dovish about the path ahead.
China’s trade balance hit a record surplus in June, driven by ongoing reopening dynamics.
Domestic demand is falling, with fiscal stimulus still too limited to provide a boost, rather than a floor.
Chinese CPI inflation is set to rise until Q4, but it’s still a very different story to the West.
Inflation is unlikely to spend any time above target, and will retreat in 2023, with PPI entering deflation.
The PBoC will not need to tighten policy, but other constraints prevent aggressive easing.
Chinese exports rebounded in May on the back of the country’s reopening, post-Omicron.
A more muted recovery of import growth meant that the trade balance rose further into surplus.
We still expect a decline in the surplus this year, but policy is working hard to mitigate this.
China’s reopening sequencing favours exporters
Japanese exports slowed more than expected in April, thanks to China’s lockdowns.
The disruption to regional supply chains, stemming from factory closures in China, was also visible.
It is getting harder to argue that the yen’s weakness is a net positive, as imports ex-China climb higher.
Chinese CPI inflation jumped in April, due to soaring food prices, but that will not worry the PBoC.
Zero-Covid has pushed up food prices, even as it depresses core inflation.
The PBoC has joined fiscal policymakers in making announcements with no new information.
Zero-Covid caught up with Chinese exports in April, as inventories were exhausted...
...But demand played a role too, with higher energy prices dragging down trade with Japan and Europe.
The fundamental backdrop for the renminbi is deteriorating, highlighted by plunging FX reserves.
Zero-Covid supports China’s trade balance for a little longer
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