Economy 3 MIN READ

Global market outlook bright but China’s clouds darken

July 17, 2023By Reuters

July 18 (Reuters) – Another day, another whoosh higher on Wall Street, but the double whammy of gloomy news from China on Monday is spoiling the party in Asia, and regional markets could struggle again on Tuesday.

Data on Monday showed that the world’s second-largest economy grew at a frail pace in the second quarter while China’s Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted property developer, said it lost an eye-watering USD 81 billion over 2021 and 2022.

Chinese stocks fell almost 1% on Monday, their biggest loss in three weeks and dragging the broader MSCI Asia ex-Japan index into the red for the first time in six sessions.

No such issues on Wall Street as a near 1% rally in the tech-centric Nasdaq lifted stocks while the US earnings season goes up a gear this week. There was barely any change in the dollar or Treasury yields on Monday as investors brace for US retail sales figures on Tuesday.

The shadow over local markets cast by China’s second-quarter GDP data on Monday is unlikely to lift completely by Tuesday, and the pressure on policymakers in Beijing to deliver more stimulus to shore up activity will surely increase.

Chinese GDP grew 0.8% in April-June from the previous quarter, beating the consensus forecast of 0.5%. But on a year-on-year basis, GDP expanded 6.3%, well below the 7.3% forecast.

JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup trimmed China’s growth forecast for 2023 to as low as 5%, with Morgan Stanley also trimming its 2024 GDP forecast by 40 basis points to 4.5%.

On the corporate front, Evergrande’s losses were compounded by a rise in total liabilities. There is no quick fix, especially when growth momentum is decelerating. Real estate, once the source of extraordinary growth and investment, is a drag on the overall economy.

The Chinese mainland real estate index fell on Monday to its lowest level in nine years. It has lost 50% of its value in the last three years.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday said slower growth in China could spill over to other countries, but she does not expect the US economy to enter a recession.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:

– G20 finance officials meeting in India

– Reserve Bank of Australia minutes of the last policy meeting

– US retail sales (June)

(By Jamie McGeever; Editing by Josie Kao)


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