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World Looking to China to Fire Up Its Economy

Companies / China Economy May 15, 2012 - 02:12 AM GMT

By: Frank_Holmes

Companies Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFollowing on the heels of renewed concern over Europe’s debt situation, China released its monthly economic data. Fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales all rose in April, yet growth was not as strong as analysts anticipated. “Weak” is the word to describe China’s April figures, says CLSA’s Andy Rothman in his Sinology Report.


While data were lower than expected, they weren’t disastrous, says Andy. According to CEBM Group, slower growth was the government’s intention. China wants the ability to manage a “stable decline” to “promote medium-to-long-term structural reforms” as well as avoid a hard landing, says CEBM.

Because they weren’t devastating results for the country, more fine-tuning, rather than a major stimulus plan, is likely to come from this emerging market if growth continues to stall. “The government should move forward to introduce accommodative policies stabilizing economic growth,” says CEBM.

Easing policy for China is only a matter of willingness. Unlike the developed countries of the West that have overworked their printing presses and are now strapped with a tremendous burden of debt, China is in good shape. According to BCA Research, the country’s overall gross debt is only 42 percent of GDP, significantly lower than all of the G-7 countries which have the most debt of the countries listed below. Of the E-7 countries, only Indonesia and Russia have less government debt compared to GDP.

To offset the country’s liabilities, BCA says China also has “a massive net asset position,” including owning interests in publicly listed firms, large companies and the country’s land mass. According to BCA, if you look at only state-owned enterprises, the net assets are nearly “as large as the total public (local and central combined) debt.” By these stats alone, it appears the emerging country does not have a solvency issue.

However, rather than serious stimulus, CLSA anticipates that China will make a move to ensure its two primary goals are met, which include new loan growth as well as M2-money supply growth of about 14 percent.  Andy says, to accomplish these goals, the government will likely boost its spending on infrastructure and low-income housing, ease restrictions on new home purchases by first-time buyers, and offer more credit to the private sector.

Hear Andy Rothman discuss a hard or soft landing China now

We believe government policy is a precursor to change, and when China feels the need to fire up its fiscal or monetary firepower, we believe the flow of money will send Chinese stocks—along with commodities—higher.

CEBM notes an interesting correlation between the A-Share market and economic growth, which points to a possible improvement. The research firm compares today’s economy with what we saw in late 2008. While the data is not as ominous and the government has grown comfortable with slower growth today, there is still a resemblance to the situation in 2008, where the market rebound led improved economic growth by four months. CEBM believes it may be seeing the same signs of bottoming of the market today, and if the 2008 trend holds, economic growth should now be in the bottoming process.

Fine-Tuning Your Portfolio to Potentially Benefit

As economic data is released over the next few months, China will be keeping a close eye to determine when to open the spigots. Before this happens, we believe investors should position their portfolios to potentially benefit. Here are two ways:

1. Invest in emerging markets companies and commodity equities. Emerging markets continue to offer the most potential for growth, and as you see below, over the past five years, as the Shanghai Composite Index rose, the S&P Global Natural Resources Index soon followed.

2. Get “paid to wait” with dividends. This week, investors fled any asset that was perceived as risky, including stocks of any country and commodities, including gold, in favor of “safe” government Treasuries. The 10-year note on U.S. Treasuries fell to 1.85 percent, which is lower than the dividend yield on numerous stocks. Currently, the annualized dividend rates on the S&P Global Natural Resources, MSCI Emerging Markets and the S&P 500 indices are nearly 2.9 percent, 2.8 percent, and 2.1 percent, respectively, all higher than a 10-year investment. Along with steady income provided by dividends, these stocks offer potential appreciation on your capital.

This week, I am presenting at the Hard Assets Conference in New York, sharing more investing insights about China, commodities and how to apply Super S-Curves in a portfolio. I’ll be in good company, as Pam Aden, Adrian Day, Ian McAvity, Jay Taylor and Gregory Weldon will be presenting as well. I hope to share some of their thoughts as well as my takeaways in the coming days.

For more updates on global investing from Frank and the rest of the U.S. Global Investors team, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/USFunds or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFunds. You can also watch exclusive videos on what our research overseas has turned up on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/USFunds.

By Frank Holmes
CEO and Chief Investment Officer

U.S. Global Investors

U.S. Global Investors, Inc. is an investment management firm specializing in gold, natural resources, emerging markets and global infrastructure opportunities around the world. The company, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, manages 13 no-load mutual funds in the U.S. Global Investors fund family, as well as funds for international clients.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

Standard deviation is a measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean. The more spread apart the data, the higher the deviation. Standard deviation is also known as historical volatility. All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The NYSE Arca Gold BUGS (Basket of Unhedged Gold Stocks) Index (HUI) is a modified equal dollar weighted index of companies involved in gold mining. The HUI Index was designed to provide significant exposure to near term movements in gold prices by including companies that do not hedge their gold production beyond 1.5 years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global emerging markets. The U.S. Trade Weighted Dollar Index provides a general indication of the international value of the U.S. dollar.

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