Just remember, there’s always someone that’s worse off. And in the case of the global economy, that someone is Russia. The latest news from the country of the Bear is simply awful.
Meanwhile, the news out of China is more promising. But there’s a snag.
In Russia GDP fell by a simply dreadful 11 per cent in the year to May. So far this year the economy has contracted by 10.2 per cent. Investment has contracted over the last year by 23.1 per cent.
Inevitably, all this is putting pressure on Russian banks. Maybe this is why Fitch Ratings has now said that Russian banks may need to raise $60bn in new capital.
It seems the only bankers that are set to see bigger losses in proportion to size are banks in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Latvia.
The good news for Russia: she still has plenty in reserve, but boy does she need it. And in times like these foreign reserves can disappear faster than you can say: “Look, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, there’s a tiger coming this way, you better shoot it.”
By contrast, it seems the happy days are back in China.
Just like the UK, China has its own Purchasing Managers Index, and just like in the UK any score over 50 indicates expansion. Unlike in the UK, manufacturing accounts for 40 per cent of China’s GDP.
The latest reading shows that the PMI index for Chinese manufacturing has now been over the 50 mark for four months in a row.
The Chinese recovery seems to be charged by a rise in bank lending. The snag seems to be twofold. According to Capital Economics, around one-fifth of loans have been invested in stock markets, leading to fears another bubble could be in the making.
It also seems much of the boom in lending is passing many private sector firms by.
As for the Chinese consumer, consumer confidence fell fast earlier this year, and now appears to be running along bottom.
China can not rely on the public sector to boost growth indefinitely. It has to find a way of getting consumers to spend more of the money they earn.
© Investment & Business News 2013