Evergrande’s imminent default is rocking markets – but few believe the collapse of a Chinese property developer could trigger a global financial crisis. What if Evergrande is just a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Chinese economy and its political/business structures? Maybe there is more at stake than we realise? What if Emperor Xi decides he needs a distraction?
China’s clampdown on big tech is painted as the Party’s programme to engineer a more socially-equal economy. This puts China way ahead of the West where the consequences of monetary distortion and the pernicious effects of social and wealth-inequality are well understood, but no one seems able to address them.
Even as China’s markets wobble, they will view The Afghan Skedaddle as an opportunity to pressure the US.
China’s markets are under pressure from the widening Chinese Communist Party’s regulatory crackdown – which is likely as much about imposing party discipline and control as much as it was ever about consumer protection. But as investors fret about crashing China stocks, rising global uncertainty and the destabilisation caused by the Afghan debacle, the Chinese are likely to up the pressure and further test a distracted US administration. “Interesting times” lie ahead for global markets as the tension threatens to escalate.
Some of the heat was taken out the escalating China Syndrome yesterday when the Chinese regulator held a “secret” meeting with global firms, while Jay Powell took the pressure out of immediate taper fears. Both issues remain sources of massive future pressure on markets – they are sorted for now, but not resolved!
Yesterday’s events across Tech served to remind us it’s a fluid sector where what we believe one day may be false the next, but deep down there is bedrock. Crypto currencies saw a last-chance bubble pop, while Tesla genuinely surprised me by producing solid results – which don’t for one moment change my perspective its fatally overvalued. Meanwhile, the latest China clampdown on listed stocks shocked markets, but reminds us we need to think differently about the wakening Dragon.
The media is full of China noise – does the rising tension mean it may become un-investible? The Chinese economy is very different, but recognisably similar. Investment into China boils down to how effectively a capitalist economy can succeed in the face of government diktat, bureaucracy, and intervention – and on that basis it’s a proceed with caution market.
As the UK and Yoorp prepare for a set-to over Sausages, the real issue remains inflation vs deflation. Are rising PPIs in China due to speculation on commodities boosting prices, is inflation due to supply glitches, and are the longer-term threats of Central Bank taper, growing West-East tension, and the reality of pandemic debt likely to tip us back into a deflationary cycle?
Everyone loves a conspiracy theory, but what if the stories Covid escaped from a China virus lab take hold? We will never know the truth, but as the rumours multiply, they could trigger renewed trade-war. It could unravel China’s regional hegemony and trigger a dramatic reversal for the global economy -especially for China.
Across the Occidental Economy there seems a trend towards political failure as polarization, sleaze and opportunism takes hold, even as electorates suffer from increasing inequality and declining prospects. As the threat of post-pandemic inflation rises, the ingredients are all there for further instability and labour strife. It’s all happening as the geo-political spheres of influence between China and the West are being redrawn.
What’s really going on for Tesla in China? Global supply chains remain fragile as the Chinese flex their muscles and national buying power. That may prove problematic for western firms, and especially Tesla. But also it raises questions about investment imperatives on China growth vs flatline in the West.