Chinese Inflation Data Confirms What We Should Already Know: QE2 Will Slow Global Growth

Conclusion: The latest Chinese economic data suggest China may continue with its latest round of tightening measures, as inflation and speculation continue to be a concern. Further, we are starting to see confirmation that QE2 will incrementally slow global growth.

 

Position: Long Chinese Yuan (CYB); Long the U.S. Dollar (UUP); Short U.S. Equities (SPY); Short Emerging Market Equities (FFD)

 

Chinese October inflation data came in hot this morning. CPI accelerated to a 25-month high of +4.4% YoY and PPI also quickened substantially to +5% YoY. In line with our call since late-August, we’re seeing more confirmation of accelerating inflation globally as a result of the Fed’s weak-dollar policy (QE2). Moreover, we’re seeing central bankers across the globe lash out against Quantitative Guessing, and judging by this morning’s data release, it’s no surprise that China has been the leader in anti-QE rhetoric of late.

 

Chinese Inflation Data Confirms What We Should Already Know: QE2 Will Slow Global Growth - 1

 

While economists could spend hours debating whether China’s “artificial devaluing” of the yuan is perpetuating inflation within its borders, the real truth that matters to market practitioners is that inflation is accelerating globally, across a spectrum of currency policies. Don’t take our word for it, however; pull up a chart of Brazilian, Indian, or Korean CPI (just to name a few countries).

 

Turning back to China specifically, we are inclined to suspect further tightening may be on the horizon. China has been varied in its efforts to combat inflation and speculation YTD, including raising bank reserve requirements (as recently as yesterday) , restricting home loans, forcing banks to hold more FX, and raising interest rates (10/19). Despite these measures, we feel China may be running out of room for further “cuteness” and that additional interest rate hikes are on the way.

 

Looking at real 1-year deposit rates, we see that inflation is consuming Chinese savings at an accelerating rate. In October, Chinese savers effectively paid a 1.9% tax on their 1Y savings deposits - even with the recent 25bps rate hike factored in.

 

Chinese Inflation Data Confirms What We Should Already Know: QE2 Will Slow Global Growth - 2

 

Considering that inflation has been, on the margin, eroding China’s high household and corporate savings (a combined 42.2% of GDP), it’s no surprise to see that China continues to struggle to rein in property prices as those savers turn to real estate investment on the margin. National Property Prices (70 cities) continued to grow in October, climbing +0.2% MoM. While the pace of YoY growth has been slowing lately (+8.6% YoY in October vs. +9.1% in September), the absolute level of YoY growth and the continued MoM gains continue to defy China’s efforts to dampen speculation in its real estate market. Further resiliency of property prices will likely necessitate incremental rate hikes or the implementation of the oft bandied about national property tax trial.

 

Chinese Inflation Data Confirms What We Should Already Know: QE2 Will Slow Global Growth - 3

 

Further compounding China’s inflation woes is the rate at which new loans are accelerating, gaining 587.7B yuan in October vs. advancing 595.5B yuan in September. While the second-derivative slowdown is welcomed by Chinese officials, the rate of growth in October far exceeds the average monthly growth needed throughout 4Q10 to achieve China’s official loan growth target of +7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) for full-year 2010 (+402B yuan). On a positive note, new loans do show a bit of seasonality and typically slow into year-end, so the +309B yuan average needed in November and December to meet the target is not as big of a stretch as the headlines make it appear to be.

 

Chinese Inflation Data Confirms What We Should Already Know: QE2 Will Slow Global Growth - 4

 

Nevertheless, we feel the confluence of inflation eroding savings (which causes Chinese savers to speculate with their assets on the margin) and robust loan demand will continue to put upward pressure on Chinese inflation data, absent any meaningful policy changes. Layer on the global commodity reflation brought on by Quantitative Guessing and it’s evident to us that further rate hikes may be on the horizon in China.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that China is not alone in its bout with inflation. As Bernanke and the Fed continue to pursue a weak-dollar policy via QE2, there’s no reason to expect commodity prices to come down meaningfully in the near term, which will put upward pressure on both core and headline CPI readings globally (COGS inflation will likely get passed through to citizens, lest firms suffer margin compression). In turn, that will continue to lead to further tightening globally, which will weigh on global growth going forward. Keep the equation below in mind as you ponder the real effects of QE2 vs. what the Fed would have you believe:

 

QG = inflation [globally] = monetary policy tightening [globally] = slower growth [globally]

 

No wonder Bernanke is playing one vs. nineteen at the G20 Summit.

 

Darius Dale

Analyst


GOLD: A Deep Dive on What’s Next with a Top Commodities Strategist

“If you saved in gold over the past 20 to 25 years rather than any currency anywhere in the world, gold has outperformed all these currencies,” says Stefan Wieler, Vice President of Goldmoney in this edition of Real Conversations.

read more

Exact Sciences Up +24% This Week... What's Next? | $EXAS

We remain long Exact Sciences in the Hedgeye Healthcare Position Monitor.

read more

Inside the Atlanta Fed's Flawed GDP Tracker

"The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNowcast model, while useful at amalgamating investor consensus on one singular GDP estimate for any given quarter, is certainly not the end-all-be-all of forecasting U.S. GDP," writes Hedgeye Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale.

read more

Cartoon of the Day: Acrophobia

"Most people who are making a ton of money right now are focused on growth companies seeing accelerations," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote in today's Early Look. "That’s what happens in Quad 1."

read more

People's Bank of China Spins China’s Bad-Loan Data

PBoC Deputy Governor Yi says China's non-performing loan problem has “pretty much stabilized." "Yi is spinning. China’s bad-debt problem remains serious," write Benn Steil and Emma Smith, Council on Foreign Relations.

read more

UnderArmour: 'I Am Much More Bearish Than I Was 3 Hours Ago'

“The consumer has a short memory.” Yes, Plank actually said this," writes Hedgeye Retail analyst Brian McGough. "Last time I heard such arrogance was Ron Johnson."

read more

Buffalo Wild Wings: Complacency & Lack of Leadership (by Howard Penney)

"Buffalo Wild Wings has been plagued by complacency and a continued lack of adequate leadership," writes Hedgeye Restaurants analyst Howard Penney.

read more

Todd Jordan on Las Vegas Sands Earnings

"The quarter actually beat lowered expectations. Overall, the mass segment performed well although base mass lagging is a concern," writes Hedgeye Gaming, Lodging & Leisure analyst Todd Jordan on Las Vegas Sands.

read more

An Update on Defense Spending by Lt. Gen Emo Gardner

"Congress' FY17 omnibus appropriation will fully fund the Pentagon's original budget request plus $15B of its $30B supplemental request," writes Hedgeye Potomac Defense Policy analyst Lt. Gen Emerson "Emo" Gardner USMC Ret.

read more

Got Process? Zero Hedge Sells Fear, Not Truth

Fear sells. Always has. Look no further than Zero Hedge.

read more

REPLAY: Review of $EXAS Earnings Call (A Hedgeye Best Idea Long)

Our Healthcare Team made a monster call to be long EXAS - hear their updated thoughts.

read more

Capital Brief: 5 Things to Watch Right Now In Washington

Here's a quick look at some key issues investors should keep an eye on from Hedgeye's JT Taylor and our team of Washington Policy analysts in D.C.

read more