Can we shout Ã¢â‚¬Å“soft landingÃ¢â‚¬Â loud enough? That is what Europe et al. are praying for from the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Red Rocket,Ã¢â‚¬Â China. As their economy slows and key export partners struggle more than ever, the government must ensure a soft landing. The call must be fiscal stimulus driven with one priority, improve domestic consumption.
Policy makers seem to agree and are determined to push ahead with shifting the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s growth drivers away from exports and towards personal spending. The PBoC continues to gradually ease policy. The market should not expect to see a repeat of 2008 when authorities pumped the equivalent of $630b to shield their Ã¢â‚¬Å“empireÃ¢â‚¬Â from recession. This time around they are expected to be target selective.
Below are some other highlights of the week:
- EUR: The single currency is beginning to lose support from foreign Cbanks. Reserve data for the 4Q in 2011 reveals a weakening in reserve accumulation as compared to previous years. The Ã¢â‚¬Ëœbuild (buy EURÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s) to hold down local currencies was nearly Ã¢â‚¬Å“zeroÃ¢â‚¬Â-resulting in a change of global asset prices.
- CNY: China reported 4Q GDP growth of +8.9%, y/y, higher than the consensus forecast of +8.7%. For full year 2011, year-over-year, growth was +9.2%, down slightly from the +10.4% growth in 2010, supported by robust December macro-data. Retail sales growth rose to +18.1% in December, up from +17.3% in the prior month.
- JPY: Japan’s Finance Minister Azumi indicated that the BoJ is monitoring the EURJPY rate as it continues to print record lows.
- IDR: Bank of Indonesia widened the lower end of their inter-bank rate to +200bps, that is similar to a -50bps cut. With BI continuing to ease monetary conditions and the current account now balanced leaves the IDR more vulnerable to capital flow weakness.
- CNY: There have been reports from China indicate the RRR for banks in Guizhou has been lowered. It seems that authorities want to continue to ease selectively following the robust 4Q data.
- MYR: Malaysia’s inflation fell to +3.0%, y/y, in December from +3.3%. Analysts note that robust domestic demand points to Bank Negara Malaysia keeping policy rates on hold.
- IDR: Indonesia’s credit rating was raised by Moody’s to investment grade at Baa3. Along with FitchÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s support, this can potentially increase portfolio inflows going forward, a positive for the IDR in the medium term.
- AUD&NZD: Poor Aussie employment data (-29.3k in December, below consensus for a +10k gain) is supporting expectations of a further RBA cut (-25bps in February) and a weaker than expected CPI by the Kiwis (+1.8%, y/y, versus the +2.6% forecasted and down sharply from +4.6% in Q3) has put the antipodean currencies on the back foot medium term.
- PHP: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas cut policy rates -25bp to +4.25% as expected. Easing inflation has allowed the Cbank to commence easing to support growth. Ample liquidity allows the easing to have a minimal impact on the currency.
- CNY: China’s 2011 fiscal revenue rose +24.8%, while fiscal spending only rose +21.2%. The HSBC flash Chinese PMI was roughly flat in January at 48.8. The market believes the results to have been biased by the by the Lunar New Year.
- THB: Thailand’s export growth was better than expected at -2%, y/y in December vs. -10% expected. Import growth surged to +19.1%, y/y, from -2.1% in November. The trade deficit widened to a record high of +$2.1b. The market expects the floods to continue put pressure on the trade balance. This will obviously affect the THB