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忘掉那些唱衰论,中國没有泡沫化(Forget the naysayers, China isn’t broken)

03/05/2013 |Philip Ehrmann|Financial Times
China just can’t seem to catch a break these days. For the country’s perennial naysayers, the issues facing the world’s second-largest economy are coming home to roost: slowing growth as China shifts from an export-dependent economy to a consumer-driven one, a boom in shadow banking prompting fears of a credit bubble, an overheating housing market and a flabby underbelly of inefficient state-owned companies that survive only thanks to cheap finance.

It’s a take on China that is, in my view, both fashionable and largely inaccurate, scaring investors away from a market that has the potential to offer a level of investment return that is increasingly difficult to find elsewhere.

Much of the latest concern about China revolves around recent GDP data showing the economy grew by “only” 7.7 per cent in the first three months of the year. Yes, the consensus expectation among economists was for growth of 8 per cent, but the economy is still ticking along at a pace that currently exceeds the Chinese government’s own 2013 GDP forecast of 7.5 per cent growth. Meanwhile, inflation, last year’s main source of worry, also looks to have been tamed. It slowed sharply in March, with consumer prices rising just 2.1 per cent from a year earlier.

All these figures point to a more benign economic climate compared to 12 months ago when the economy was in a process of slowing. Companies have been the main beneficiaries of this stabilisation of the economy. On a trip to China in early March, senior executives at several firms I visited were more positive about the outlook for their business, telling us inventories were returning to more normal levels, while customers were being more judicious about paying promptly for goods and services. The consensus forecast is for Chinese companies to achieve earnings growth in the region of 12-14 per cent for 2013, which in my view is achievable given the low point of comparison with the previous year.

There is, however, some legitimate concern over the growth of “shadow banking” in China, which refers to a variety of types of credit from trust loans, bank acceptance bills and underground lending, that don’t appear on banks’ balance sheets. The new administration has made it clear that it will continue to apply regulatory pressure to prevent a situation where the country might face the sort of financial crisis experienced by western nations in 2007-08.

The growth of shadow banking also points to the need for further deregulation and development of China’s capital markets to ensure appropriate sources of funding are available. The pace of reform should pick up as the new Chinese administration settles in. We expect to see measures taken to boost the development of a functioning corporate and municipal bond market as well as steps involving the liberalisation of interest rates and the creation of a deposit insurance scheme.

What becomes increasingly clear is that the Chinese authorities remain very attentive to any pinch points that may be developing in the economy. The property market is another case in point. Worrying signs of a housing bubble have prompted the authorities to make it more difficult for individuals, for instance, looking to obtain a loan to buy a third home.

The same proactive approach is now being taken with the country’s ailing state-owned companies. In March, the Chinese administration appointed Jiang Jiemin, the former chairman of the country’s biggest state-owned oil and gas producer, to head the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (Sasac). He is widely expected to launch reforms that will see state-owned firms in energy, transport and finance face more private competition.

Investors should always remember that China remains the land of the five year plan. It is a command economy. Both the new president, Xi Jinping, and premier Li Keqiang played key roles in formulating the country’s 12th five-year plan that runs until 2015. In a fast-developing nation like China, this highly structured approach to managing economic growth should be viewed as a reliable safety net for those seeking to invest in the country.

Philip Ehrmann is a director at Jupiter Asset Management

菲利普•埃爾曼(Philip Ehrmann)是木星資產管理公司(Jupiter Asset Management)董事

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路透透朗塞斯顿5月6日 - 各项中国制造业指数回落几乎全被市场认定为是一件“坏事”,让各项商品价格进一步承压


Market News先前报导指出,新任中国国务院总理李克强希望进行有关调降成长目标的研究,这则没有引起太大注意的新闻让人可以略为洞悉投资人与中国当局间想法差异。


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