Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015-08 Interest Rate Trends

In August, both the short-term, interbank rate and private lending rate increased, despite looser monetary policy throughout the summer.

The Shanghai Interbank Offer Rate (Shibor) ended August at 1.80%, which was a 33 basis point increase from July. However, that is still 45 basis points lower than the trailing average for August. That gap has been declining from 156 basis points in June, to 108 basis points in July, and now 45 basis points in August. Despite central bank intervention, the cost of borrowing is increasing for the state-owned banks.

The Wenzhou Comprehensive Index shot up to 19.21% at the end of August, up 113 basis points from July. That rate is still lower than the trailing average for August, which stood at 19.79%. August’s number told us two things. First, the collapse in real estate and equity prices may not have explained the fall in July’s interest rate. Second, even though the Wenzhou Comprehensive Index is declining, volatility is increasing.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015-08 Relative Price Trends

Consumer prices in China increased 2.0% in August from a year earlier. Purchaser prices declined -6.6% over the same period. The divergent trends in China’s structure of production that began at the beginning of 2015 accelerated in August. Two additional surprises came out of August’s numbers. First, although the Consumer Price Index is at the highest point it has been at in a year, because of the devaluation against the U.S. dollar in August, consumer prices have dropped for overseas Chinese. Additionally, although the devaluation should have hit producer prices harder than consumer prices, the drop in producer prices was the largest since the Global Financial Crisis. The devaluation itself spooked commodity markets into lower territory.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

2015-08 Stock Market Valuation

In August, the gold price of the Shenzhen Composite fell for a third straight month. Despite tumbling from 0.38 gold ounces at the end of May to 0.25 gold ounces in August, the gold price of the index is still up 62.4% over a 12 month period. August was especially brutal for international investors in Chinese equities. The valuation of the stock market fell, the renminbi depreciated against the dollar, and the dollar price of gold went up. Any central bank activity to halt the first trend will only accelerate the latter two trends.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015-08 Relative Equity Performance

In August, CHIQ, an exchange traded fund that follows the consumer goods industry in China, fell -20.19% over the last twelve months. It was the largest drop seen since August, 2012. The materials sector equivalent, CHIM, also fell -15.42% over the same period. It was the largest drop seen since March, 2014.