20 April 2019
China's consumption dropped in August. End-user demand was not strong enough to support higher consumer prices. Photo: China Daily
China's consumption dropped in August. End-user demand was not strong enough to support higher consumer prices. Photo: China Daily

Slower China growth could lead to lower short-term rates

In the 18th party congress in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that “the people’s longing for a good life is what we are fighting for”.

Over the past five years, China has made a lot of efforts in improving people’s livelihood, and there are notable achievements.

China’s grain output exceeded 600 million tons for four consecutive years.

The retention ratio of nine-year compulsory education reached 93.4 percent. Also, the nation is working on the world’s largest basic healthcare network.

In the meantime, average life expectancy has reached 76 years, five years longer than the world’s average. And China has increased the pension fund for 12 straight years.

China has also spent 5 billion yuan to build 100,000 nursing homes in rural areas and 110,000 home-based care service centers.

The nation’s per capita income jumped 44.3 percent over past five years. And more than 13 million new jobs have been created in Chinese cities.

Chinese authorities have built 28.79 million units of public housing. And gross floor area per person has reached 40.8 square meters.

All these projects for people’s well-being are essential. Continued investment in such projects, centering around food, education, healthcare, nursing, housing and social security is crucial, also because the overall economic situation still faces challenges.

The nation’s credit data looked good in August, and overall credit expansion has kept a robust growth pace. Nevertheless, medium to long-term loans, which better reflect underlying investment needs, are actually falling.

Corporates are unwilling to make investment amid an economic slowdown, and they tend to shift to short-term loans, too.

Medium to long-term loan growth has moderated for a fourth straight month year-on-year, slowing home sales as authorities tightened mortgage loans.

China’s investment, consumption and output all dropped in August. The nation’s value-added industrial output growth moderated during the month.

Tight market liquidity has kept short-term interest rates at high levels, which in turn limits the downside for long-term rates.

But if the economic growth slows further, Chinese authorities might give a second thought to its monetary policy and pump more liquidity into the market.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 25

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Senior investment banker

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