The two most profound changes our generation has been witness to is the advent of the Internet and the explosive growth of the Chinese economy.
Before the Chinese government introduced economic growth reforms in 1979, the average annual real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in China was estimated at 5.3% (from 1960 to 1978). Since then, the Chinese economy has maintained consistent and rapid development, with its annual GDP growth averaging 9.3% between 1978 and 2001. (Source: “China’s Contribution to Global Economy,” China Consulate web site, May 22, 2004.)
According to the World Bank, in terms of stabilized prices, the rate of China’s contribution to global economic growth was 14.0% between 1980 and 2000, versus 20.7% for the United States and seven percent for Japan. During the same period, the rate of China’s contribution to global trade growth reached 4.7%, ranking third in the world, following the United States (14.4%) and Japan (6.9%).
Since 2000, China’s economy has fluctuated in step with the global economy. In 2008, when the recession circled the globe, China’s GDP dropped to 9.6%, versus 14.2% in 2007. (Source: ”China GDP: how it has changed since 1980,” The Guardian, last accessed December 19, 2012.)
In spite of the slow recovery of the global economy, China’s economy has continued in its robust ways, attracting increasing attention from the international community. While the U.S. and nations of the eurozone are worried about slipping into recession, the Chinese economy is expected to grow at a slow, but still healthy, 7.4%.
Today, China’s GDP is equal to about one-half that of the U.S. Only 15 years ago, China’s GDP was only one-tenth that of the U.S. With the rapidly shrinking divide, China’s economy could surpass that of the U.S. sooner than previously thought. If the economic growth gap is six percent per year and real appreciation is 2.5% per year, then that would be sufficient for China’s economy to become bigger by 2020. According to economist Stefan Karlsson, “If the growth gap and/or real appreciation is closer to the average rate for the last decade, it could happen even sooner.” (Source: ”China economy may surpass US before 2020,” The Christian Science Monitor, January 26, 2012.)
What does the future hold for the Chinese economy?
China’s phenomenal economic growth has significantly increased living standards, and helped give rise to a burgeoning middle class. Over the coming decades, economic mobility means more and more Chinese will enter the middle class, creating one of the most important and influential social and economic groups on the planet.
With increased global prosperity come shifts in influence and power. Some estimate that by 2030, Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based on GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment. China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030.
A powerful Chinese economy means the economic fortunes of the U.S. and European countries will have a diminishing impact on the global economy. As such, the health of the global economy will be linked to, and contingent upon, how well the developing world does.
In Profit Confidential, we regularly comment on the Chinese economy, where we believe it’s headed, and how an average investor in North American can partake in, and even profit on, the unprecedented transfer of economic power from the U.S. to China.
Oil plays a critical role in economic growth as oil is used in a variety of industries. In times of economic growth, oil prices rise. When the economy is soft, or getting soft, oil prices fall as demand for oil wanes.
Over the past two months, oil prices have collapsed for the simple reason that the global economy is getting weak.
The chart below shows the steep sell-off in oil prices that started in mid-June.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
What’s interesting to note is that oil prices are falling at a time when we have numerous troubling events in the Middle East and Russia. In normal circumstances, these developments would have caused oil prices to soar.
One more chart I want to show you today (which continues to spell trouble ahead for the global economy) is the Baltic Dry Index (BDI). Since the beginning of the year, this indicator of global economic activity has been collapsing.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Since January, the BDI has fallen 45%. The BDI is an indicator of trade in the global economy; the less trade in the world, the weaker the global economy.
Over the past few months, the chances of the global economy witnessing an economic slowdown have risen significantly.
As I have been writing, the eurozone is in very deep economic trouble again. Japan, the third-biggest hub in the global economy, is begging for growth. And the manufacturing and real estate sectors in the Chinese economy are slowing at a staggering rate.
The continued growth of the global economy is critical for the U.S. economy. In 2012, 46.6% of the S&P 500 … Read More
The Chinese economy is showing signs of stalling, but there are numerous areas that continue to show decent growth metrics, including automobiles and mobile phones.
Now, if you think AT&T Inc. (NYSE/T) or Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE/VZ) are big, take a look at China Mobile Limited (NYSE/CHL). China Mobile is the largest mobile phone operator in China, with about 790 million subscribers as of June 30—that’s more than the entire population of Europe! The company’s growth is even expected to expand as 3G and 4G networks grow in popularity.
You cannot ignore the fact that China is the top mobile market in the world with more than one billion users. Plus, you not only have the urban dwellers using these services, but we are seeing massive demand in the rural areas as well, especially when rural workers migrate to the cities, looking for jobs.
And with the mobile sector in the country being heavily regulated by the Chinese government as far as licenses and the landscape, there are currently only three major mobile operators in the country.
What’s most intriguing is the development of advanced mobile technologies. China Mobile only introduced its 4G network six months ago and already it has coverage in 300 cities and approximately 6.5 million users.
China is a key global growth market for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL), too, which is searching for growth in the emerging markets. Apple’s deal with China Mobile will definitely help.
China Mobile is regarded as the top brand in BusinessWeek’s “20 Best China Brands.” The stock pays an annual dividend of $1.88, for a current dividend yield of 3.8% based … Read More
A few years ago, investors couldn’t get enough of Chinese stocks. This led to numerous frauds committed by crooks in China that has since tarnished the reputation and reliability of all Chinese companies, whether they’re legitimate or not, despite their operating in one of the top growth areas in the world.
While I’m not focused on Chinese stocks at this moment due to better trading opportunities in the domestic stock market, I monitor the country and remain convinced it’s still a key place to have some risk capital invested in. When the broader market understands this, I would expect renewed buying in Chinese stocks sometime in the future.
My view is that the country’s current leadership under President Xi Jinping, who assumed power in March 2013, has a vision to create a country of consumers, just like the United States; albeit, I doubt it will come close to what we see here with consumer spending driving 70% of gross domestic product (GDP) growth. In China, consumer spending drives about 30% of GDP so there’s work to do. In the second quarter, retail sales continued at a double-digit growth of 12.4% year-over-year.
The objective to cut the country’s dependence on exports and foreign investment makes sense. With a potential market in excess of one billion people, it’s the right move.
China may not be in the spotlight for investors now, but you cannot ignore the country. With the recent years of underperformance, I see great longer-term upside in Chinese stocks.
The Chinese economy is growing at well below the double-digit growth of the past, but comparatively, the growth is far superior … Read More
There are two important charts I want my readers to see this morning.
The first is a chart that is an indirect measure of demand in the global economy. Right now, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) sits at its lowest level of the year. Since the beginning of 2014, the BDI has fallen 60%.
The BDI measures the cost of moving major raw materials by sea in the global economy. The thinking is that the lower the cost to move goods by ship, the lesser the amount of goods to move (a strict demand/supply price situation).
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
What’s happening with the steep drop in the BDI can be seen in a corresponding slowdown in the global economy.
Germany, the fourth-biggest economy in the world, saw its industrial production decline by 1.8% in May after falling 0.3% in April. (Source: Destatis, July 7, 2014.)
Great Britain, the sixth-biggest market in the global economy, saw its production decline 0.7% in May, while its manufacturing decreased 1.3%. (Source: Office for National Statistics, July 8, 2014.)
France, the fifth-biggest economy, reports no gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the country in the first quarter of 2014. (Source: MarketWatch, July 8, 2014.)
In 2014, the Chinese economy will grow at its slowest pace in years. In Japan, the Bank of Japan (its equivalent to our Federal Reserve) has announced it will start buying exchange-traded funds (in specific, the Nikkei 400 ETF) to “boost the impact of (its) unprecedented easing.” (Source: “Bank of Japan Seen Buying Nikkei 400 ETF,” Financial Post, July 10, 2014.) Yes, the central bank of Japan is buying … Read More
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