Posted by on October 16, 2017 2:57 am
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Categories: bank Banking in China BRIC Business case 15 Central Banks China Communist Party Congress CPI Deutsche Bank Economy Economy of China goldman sachs Inflation M2 Macroeconomics Monetary Policy money Money creation Money Supply PBOC Reality Recession Shadow Banking Shenzhen Yuan

Despite a disappointing US CPI report on Friday, which saw core inflation miss once again despite an expected spike due to the “hurricane effect”, moments ago China reported that in September, its CPI printed at 1.6% Y/Y, in line with expectations, and down from, 1.8% in August largely due to high year-over-year base effects, but it was PPI to come in smoking hot, jumping from 6.3% last month to 6.9% Y/Y, slamming expectations of a 6.4% print and just shy of the highest forecast, driven by the recent surge in commodity costs and strong PMI surveys.

While there has been no reaction in the Yuan, either on shore or off, the stronger than expected PPI has pushed China’s 10Y yield to the highest in 30 months, or since April of 2015.

Adding fuel to the flame was PBOC head Zhou Xiaochuan who said earlier that China’s GDP would pick up from the 6.9%  figure recorded in the first six months of the year “thanks to a boost from household spending”, according to a synopsis of his comments at the G30 International Banking Seminar posted to the People’s Bank of China website on Monday.” The reason why his comments have impacted the long-end is that the reported, and completely fabricated number, is higher than the previous consensus forecast of a goalseeked Q3 Chinese GDP of 6.8%.

And while spiking Chinese yields wouldn’t be concerned if China was indeed deleveraging as the Communist Party and the PBOC claim it is doing, the reality is, of course, that China continues to add more and more debt as the latest weekend credit numbers out of the PBOC revealed. As Bloomberg reported earlier, China’s broadest credit aggregated, Total Social Financing, jumped to 1.82 trillion yuan, or over a quarter trillion dollars in September ($276BN to be precise), vs a Wall Street estimate of 1.57 trillion yuan and 1.48 trillion yuan the prior month. New yuan loans also beat expectations, at 1.27 trillion yuan, versus a projected 1.2 trillion yuan, while for the first time in months, the broader M2 money supply did not hit fresh fresh record lows, and instead beat expectations, rising to 9.2% from an all time low of 8.9%.

Just as notable, after China’s shadow banking credit appeared to have finally been tamed after several months of contraction, shadow banking finance saw a pick-up in Sept (trust loans, entrusted loans and undiscounted bills), which accounted for 22% of Sept TSF vs. 18% in August. This was due mostly to milder deleveraging pace post the completion of self-checking of CBRC regs.

Commenting on the latest burst of credit creation by China, Kenneth Courtis, chairman of Starfort Investment Holdings and a former Asia vice chairman for Goldman Sachs Group, said that “Momentum continues to be very strong. Loan demand of the private sector has finally turned up in recent months.”

It also means that just two weeks after the PBOC cuts its RRR for most banks in an unexpected monetary easing on Sept 30, “there is little hope of further policy easing in the fourth quarter as the monetary policy is very accommodative,” said Zhou Hao, an economist at Commerzbank AG in Singapore. “There could be even a tightening bias.”

Of course, confirming what we have been saying for years, Christopher Balding who is an associated professor in Peking Univeristy in Shenzhen said that “deleveraging is not happening if we look at any measure of credit growth” and that “lending in 2017 has actually accelerated significantly from 2016.” This is shown in the chart below, which confirms that to keep its GDP at 6.9% or some other goalseeked number, China has to inject more than double that amount in credit every single month, in this case 15%. The biggest question is what happens to China’s credit impulse after the 19th Party Congress which begins on Wednesday.

When looking at the boost in household spending noted above by Zhou Xiaochuan, all of this is the result of a surge in household lending: “Household short-term loans have increased too rapidly, with some funds being invested in stock and property markets,” said Wen Bin, a researcher at China Minsheng Banking Corp. in Beijing. “Regulators have started to pay attention to the sector and required banks to strengthen credit review. I think the momentum will show signs of slowing in the fourth quarter.”

Commenting on the recent burst in Chinese household leverage, where short-term household loans soared to 1.53 trillion yuan, versus 524.7 billion yuan this time one year ago, Deutsche Bank’s Hans Fan writes that “noticeably China households are levering up quickly. We welcome the personal loans driven by genuine consumption growth, but there may be a notable portion of short-term consumer loans that were used to finance property purchases, which in our view contains higher risks.” 

Some more details:

A breakdown by borrower suggests household and corporate sectors continued to lever up, making up 31%/41% of new system credit in Sept (35%/38% in Aug). For households, while mortgage growth had slowed, s/t retail loan growth accelerated to 17.6% yoy in Sept (vs. 15.8% in Aug or 7.3% in 1Q17) to make up c.10% of credit creation. We attribute this to both decent consumption growth with rising credit penetration and property-related lending. We estimate 1/3 of new consumption loans may be used to finance purchases of second homes. However, PBOC and local CBRC offices have started to crack down on property-related consumer loans in September and we expect consumer loan growth momentum to moderate in the coming months.

However, as so often happens in China, this surging leverage “sugar high” will not last, as “regulatory crackdown on property-related consumer loans together with monetary policy staying neutral lead us to expect slower credit growth in 4Q17.” The implications for China’s economy and the global credit impulse will be adverse, and will lead to a global economic slowdown just as all central banks enter tightening moment together.

Finally, for those wondering what the biggest timebomb in the global financial system was, is and will be until such time as it finally blows up, here is a lovely up close schematic courtesy of Deutsche Bank.

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