The focus in markets so far today has been the terrible set of economic data releases from China earlier in Asia trading. In case you missed it, you can check out Eamonn's posts earlier here:
- China's jobless rate for 16 to 24 year olds has hit its highest ever recorded
- Lack of demand for loans in China is bringing recession fears
As much as it looks bad, things could very well be much worse beyond the surface. The solution that China has been sticking to mostly in the pandemic recovery is to look towards the PBOC. However, what the data is telling us is that monetary policy alone just isn't enough to bolster the economy - at least in a meaningful manner.
The rate cuts and liquidity injections look spent at this point and there is no point in that if domestic demand just isn't there. The collapse in loan demand conditions underscores that sentiment (I mean do rate cuts or borrowing supply mean anything when there isn't any demand for loans?) and that points to some serious cracks within the foundations of the Chinese economy.
Beyond subsidies and tax cuts, the government needs to do more. There needs to be proper fiscal help to accompany monetary policy, otherwise there isn't much else that the PBOC can really do.
The stop-start policy by the government with regards to COVID-19 handling is arguably a bigger problem than it is made out to be. Not only is it causing some form of social resonance, it also looks to be simultaneously keeping the economy in a stop-start kind of mood as well. If domestic demand doesn't improve, that's a big hole that needs to be filled for both the local and global economy.
And when China sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. So, keep that in mind for the outlook everywhere else.