China growth loses momentum in blow to global expansion

Liquor Price

Bottles of Kweichow Moutai, China’s “most prestigious liquor,” sold for an average 1,300 yuan ($210) in March, down 28% from December, when military staff were banned from consuming alcohol during official functions, HSBC Holdings Plc said in an April 10 report.

The anti-extravagance policies “have achieved obvious results,” spokesman Sheng said today. Declining sales at high- end restaurants “showed that such consumption financed by public funds has been curtailed somewhat,” he said.

Government receipts and outlays are also slowing. Fiscal revenue growth slowed in March to 6.1% from a year earlier after an 18.7% gain in the same month in 2012. Fiscal spending rose 7.2%, slumping from a 34.7% increase the previous year.

Growth in real-estate investment slowed to 20.2% in the first quarter from 22.8% in the first two months combined and 23.5% in the same period last year, according to statistics bureau data.

Housing Starts

New residential-housing construction by area fell 0.8% from a year earlier, while residential-housing sales by area rose 41.2% and the value of sales rose 69%. Land purchases by property developers in the first quarter fell 22% by area.

Elsewhere today, Asia’s emerging economies should consider reining in monetary stimulus to curb risks of asset bubbles and inflation, the World Bank said in a report as it lowered its 2013 growth forecast for the region to 7.8% from 7.9%.

Australia reported home-loan approvals rose 2% in February from January, gaining for the first time since September. Japan said industrial production rose 0.6% in February from the previous month, while Singapore’s retail sales fell from a year earlier.

European Trade

In Europe, the euro-area’s trade surplus may have widened in February. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index may show manufacturing in the New York region expanded for a third month in April, according to a Bloomberg survey.

China’s March new local-currency loans were 1.06 trillion yuan, the most for that month since 2009, and aggregate financing, a broader measure of credit that includes bond and stock sales, was close to a record, aiding the nation’s recovery, central bank data last week showed. At the same time, the surge in lending stands to increase risks in the financial system that may spur the government to tighten credit.

Policy makers may have fewer concerns when it comes to inflation, as consumer-price gains in March eased more than forecast to 2.1% from a year earlier.

“The recovery will be a weak and short-lived one,” said Yao Wei, China economist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong. Fixed-asset investment growth, which trailed estimates, was the “biggest surprise,” especially given the quarter’s “fast” credit expansion, she said. “Now it seems some of the credit boost will only take effect later in the year.”

Bloomberg News

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