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Should We Worry About China's Economy?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Money and Markets
You can also access this issue on our website.
Should We Worry About China's Economy?

(Mike Larson is away this week. Larry Edelson, editor of Supercycle Trader, is providing a series of special afternoon reports this week.)

Market Roundup
Dow -68.25 to 17,851.04
S&P -5.06 to 2,114.15
NASDAQ -36.35 to 5,171.77
10-YR Yield -0.02 to 2.32%
Gold -$11.20 to $1,092.30
Oil -$1.68 to $49.18

By Larry Edelson

Everyone is so worried about China’s economy. True, it had a wicked stock market pullback — but China’s economy will not suffer, and quite to the contrary, it’s poised for much more growth.

Here’s why …

A. China’s economy is fine, growing at 7.0%. Latest figures for industrial production and retail sales show healthy growth as well, rising 6.1% and 10.1%, year over year, respectively in May.

Compare that with 1.3% and 1.4% for the U.S. economy!

Moreover …

B. China’s economy is likely to experience nothing but a temporary speed bump due to the recent market selloff.

Keep in mind …

— On a purchasing power basis, China’s economy is now larger than ours, at better than $19 trillion. Yet at the recent highs, China’s equity market capitalization was only $10 trillion.

Put another way, if China’s stock market capitalization were to roughly equal 1 to 1 as our market cap does with our GDP …

Then China’s stock markets would have to double from their recent highs, and from the recent crash low, gain more than 170 percent.

So is there long-term potential there? Absolutely.

In addition …

C. The Chinese are massively underinvested in stocks. The total number of stock brokerage accounts in China is less than 10% of the entire population.

Zhengzhou – home of 9.19 million.

Compare that to the U.S., where according to a 2014 Gallop survey, 52% of Americans say they personally, or jointly with a spouse, own stock outright or as part of a mutual fund or self-directed retirement account.

D. China’s national savings equals $21 trillion. That’s citizens’ savings on deposit in banks and financial firms. That’s more savings in a piggy bank than the entire Gross Domestic Product of our economy.

Compare that to total U.S. savings deposits at all U.S. depository institutions of $7.9 trillion. Put another way, Chinese save $2.6 for every $1 America saves.

So why all the doom and gloom on China? I’ll tell you why …

First, most analysts never even step foot in China, so they can’t possibly understand the economy. The Chinese are amongst the hardest working cultures on the planet, routinely working 18 hour days, six days a week.

Moreover, for most Chinese, failure is not an option. Entire families are deeply rooted in the family’s success, both as a family unit and also whatever enterprise they are involved in, whether that be farming, manufacturing, or what have you.

Second, the doom about China’s massive debt is totally misunderstood. Yes, there are big debts in the Chinese economy. But it is still a communist country with a largely closed economy where most industry is still state-owned.

That means it’s the state owing the state, the equivalent of two pockets on the same pair of pants. That is distinctly different from a fully open, fully capitalist economy.

Third, as I have said all along, stories of “ghost cities” in China is pure hogwash, tales told by inexperienced analysts, reporters, and tourists.

China builds for the future. The country builds in anticipation of migration. Case in point: A new metropolis in Zhengzhou, of Henan Province in east-central China.

When reporters from “60 Minutes” visited the city in 2013, they called it a “ghost city.”

Today, just over two years later, over 4.2 million Chinese reside in that “ghost city” … while Zhengzhou’s total population has mushroomed to 9.19 million.

That said, the recent shakeout in China’s stock markets is not yet over. Basis the Shanghai A shares index, I would look to establish long-term positions in top Chinese companies when the index falls back from its current 4,220 level to the 3,200 area.

Have views on China or any other issue? Click this link to visit the website and add your views.

Our Readers Speak

My columns Monday and Tuesday on gold and commodities continued to bring in a flood of reader comments. Let’s take a look at a few.

Reader David writes:

“With my half-vast understanding of economics and the theory of money and credit, I have come to the conclusion that probably the best possible monetary system would be gold-based.

Not a ‘gold-standard,’ but real true money being gold coins and bullion with fully-convertible money-substitutes (certificates) in a system of “Free-Banking” that permits laissez-faire FRB [Fractional Reserve Banking].

It seems to me that since the total stock of currency would be fixed at a known quantity, governments could not debase by inflation of the total stock of currency.

Now, why wouldn’t that work? And what’s your opinion of Bitcoin and the other “crypto-currencies? Do you think it is a viable concept?”

My response: It wouldn’t work for the simple reason that once you fix the price of something, or even the supply, you set up a deflationary cycle that would set the economy back decades.

As to crypto-currencies, they will keep popping up, but the governments of the world will merely learn from them, then squash them. They want to move to an electronic digital currency themselves, so they will not permit any competition. — Larry

Reader Alan writes:

“Hi Larry, your thoughts then are much like Martin Armstrong where we get a selloff maybe yet this Summer-Fall, then a rally to a top in 2016-2017 timeframe for the U.S. markets, while Europe sinks first and then Japan? All about money flow!”

My response: I know Martin well, we go back together to the early 1980s and I consider him my mentor on cycles. And yes, it’s all about capital flows and confidence, or the lack thereof. — Larry

Reader Robert writes:

“Hi Larry: Please elaborate, how are the Europeans transferring money to the U.S. or Americans transferring money to Asian investments?”

My response: Through investment. In equities, real estate, and more. — Larry

Reader Donald asks:

“You have not addressed oil lately. Your prediction on how low it will go, then when will it start back up and how far up will it go?”

My response: Oil will not bottom till it falls below $40 a barrel, possibly even below $30. It will then turn around to the upside, with a vengeance. Probably not till 2017. — Larry

Reader John writes:

“Does this recent China gold situation change your outlook for gold?”

My response: Not at all, to the contrary, it confirms gold is heading lower. — Larry

Reader Jerry points out:

“I’ve been following you for several years and have found your information to be fairly accurate. I too am very concerned about your Oct. 7 forecast, especially what we may face here in the U.S. According to all that I read, our country is in debt to the tune of more than 200 trillion dollars and climbing.

There are about 150 million people working here. If each one of us paid a one-time amount of $150, or 42 cents per day for 1 year, that would generate about 22.5 trillion dollars. A small price to pay and more than enough to pay the debt and give the U.S. a fresh start. Or is my math faulty?”

My response: The math is wrong. $150 times 150 million workers would be only $22.5 billion, not trillion. To pay it off in a year, each one of those 150 million U.S. workers would have to pay $1.33 million.

Spread it over, say 20 years, and you’re still talking over $66,000 a year. Spread it over 100 years and it would be $13,330 a year.

None of this includes the cost of interest expense. So as you can see, it’s patently unpayable, even if we were all super-patriotic. — Larry

Want to comment on any of the above matters? Or anything else? Use this link to go to the website to add your views.

Best wishes, as always …


Other Developments of the Day

BulletYesterday at a packed Ohio State University student union, Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced he would be the 16th candidate to enter the presidential field. That’s a perfect number for a new season of The Celebrity Apprentice, one side of a chess set, or each personality on The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, as The Guardian hilariously notes.

BulletThe Donald is back in the news again, leading his fellow GOP nominees by double digits according to the latest polls. But after his insanely personal attacks, including attacking Sen. John McCain’s POW status and, yesterday, giving out Lindsey Graham’s personal cell phone number, his campaign could be in serious trouble.

BulletIs the Apple Watch the failure that everyone thought it was? Apple said yesterday its third-quarter revenue had jumped 33%, and Tim Cook said the Watch was selling better in its initial sales period than both the iPhone and iPad had.

What are your thoughts? Does Kasich, with a strong record of bipartisanship and budget-balancing, stand a chance in the crowded GOP field? Do you own an Apple Watch? Let us know over at the website.

The Money and Markets team

The investment strategy and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of any other editor at Weiss Research or the company as a whole.

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