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Fri, 26th May 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “developed country” Tag

India ranks 131 on Human Development Index, Norway No.1

India’s human development index (HDI) ranking for 2015 puts Asia’s third largest economy among a group of countries classed as “medium” in the list, as opposed to “low” in the 1990s, thanks to factors such as an increase in life expectancy and mean years of schooling in the past 25 years.

But the bad news from the report released on Tuesday in Stockholm is that regional disparities in education, health and living standards within India—or inequality in human development—shave off 27 % from India’s HDI score.

As it stands, India is ranked 131 out of 188 countries in a list that is topped by Norway.

Yuri Afanasiev, UN resident coordinator for India, noted India’s progress in its HDI score between 1990 and 2015. “The success of national development programmes like Skill India, Digital India, Make in India and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, aimed at bridging gaps in human development, will be crucial in ensuring the success of Agenda 2030,” Afanasiev said, referring to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals unveiled in 2015.

“These programmes, and the long-running affirmative action measures, illustrate the government’s commitment to identifying and mapping human development deficits, as well as taking action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

WSJ: Investors in Asia turned cautious Friday ahead of a G20

Huh, the Wall Street Journal got that right …

A quiet one … I shoulda let them write the Wrap
Meeting of finance chiefs from the Group of 20
Traders are monitoring how China and Japan will react to pressure from Mr. Mnuchin to strengthen their currencies against the U.S. dollar, said Khoon Goh, head of research for Asia at ANZ. “There is a lot of interest if there will be any material changes out of the G-20,” he said.
US Treasury Sec. Mnuchin is expected to urge China, Japan, Germany and other G-20 members to keep their promise to not use their exchange rates for competitive gains
Link to the Journal, may be gated, but you get the gist.

OECD Warns There Is A “Disconnect” Between Markets And The Global Economy

In a report released this morning by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development titled “Will risks derail the modest recovery? Financial vulnerabilities and policy risks” the OECD warns the global economy may not be strong enough to withstand risks from increased trade barriers, overblown stock markets or potential currency volatility, and adds that the “disconnect between financial markets and fundamentals, potential market volatility, financial vulnerabilities and policy uncertainties could derail the modest recovery.

The OECD projects global GDP growth to pick up modestly to 3½ per cent in 2018, from just under 3% in 2016, boosted by fiscal initiatives in the major economies, a forecast which is broadly unchanged since November 2016 and notes that while confidence has improved, “consumption, investment, trade and productivity are far from strong, with growth slow by past norms and higher inequality.

China press (Xinhua): “China collapse” would be good for no one

A commentary piece in Xinhua that outloines current challenges facing the Chinese economy:

  • Such as a weak global recovery, rising trade protectionism, domestic debt overhang & excess capacity
But still, it says:
  • China’s contribution to world growth in 2016 is again poised to top that of all other countries, exceeding the figure for all developed economies combined
  • The IMF has projected China’s growth to be 6.6 percent with global growth at 3.1 percent in 2016
  • However, China’s growth last year appears set to hit 6.7 percent
It concludes with a projection on growth at 6.5%
( Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of China, it is a ministry-level institution subordinate to the central government and its head is a member of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party.)

World Bank latest reports says global growth to accelerate slightly

World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report … headlines:

 
  • Forecasts global real GDP growth at 2.7% in 2017 vs 2.3% in 2016
  • Forecasts advanced economies’ growth at 1.8% in 2017 (vs 1.6% in 2016)
  • Emerging/developing economies’ growth at 4.2% in 2017 (3.4% in 2016)
  • Forecasts US growth at 2.2% in 2017 (vs 1.6% in 2016) … they say their forecast excludes effects of any policy proposals from trump administration

More:

  • Challenges for emerging market commodity exporters are receding, while domestic demand solid in emerging market commodity importers
  • Fiscal stimulus in US could generate faster domestic and global growth, but extended uncertainty over policy could keep global investment growth slow
  • Forecasts China’s growth slowing to 6.5% in 2017 (from 6.7% in 2016)
(Headlines via Reuters)
 
The World Bank looking at the recovering oil and commodity prices, noting this eases the pressures on emerging-market commodity exporters. Expects the recessions in Brazil and Russia to end.
As always the Bank notes uncertainties in its forecasts (all forecasters should), with upside uncertainty (in the short term at least) on US potential increased fiscal stimulus, tax cuts, infrastructure spending.  Looking further out, though, a surge in debt load, higher interest rates & tighter financial conditions would have adverse effects.
Also downside potential on a more protectionist trade stance.

The Big Theme for 2017: Global Cash Bans

The big theme for 2017 will be Cash… not a pro-deflationary “time to own cash” theme… but a “let’s ban it as quickly as possible” theme.

Let’s review.

In 2016:

1)   Former Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers, called for the US to do away with the $100 bill.

2)   Former Chief Economist for the IMF, Ken Rogoff, published his book The Curse of Cash.

3)   The New York Times and Financial Times publicly endorse a ban on cash.

4)   Fed Chair Janet Yellen, during a Q&A session said cash is “not a convenient store of value.”

Of course the above items are simply propaganda and words. But 2016 also featured major actions as far as the War on Cash is concerned…

The 7th largest country in the world by GDP (India) banned physical cash in denominations that comprise over 80% of all outstanding bills.

BIS Warns OF Bouts Of Extreme Volatility, As Market Undergoes “Paradigm Shift”

The Bank of International Settlements is particularly good at two things in its periodic quarterly review update: i) stating the obvious, especially when it comes to summarizing the trader and market participants concerns at any given moment, and ii) having its constituent central bank members – after all the BIS is the “central banks’ central bank” – ignore all of its warnings.

In its just released, latest report, the BIS continues to excel in both, when it lays out what it dubs a “paradigm shift in markets” and points out that unlike previous VaR shock episodes, most notably the 2013 Taper Tantrum, financial markets have been remarkably resilient to rising bond yields and sudden shift in outlook following last month’s shock U.S. election result.

Indian wealth falls 0.8% to $3 trillion in 2016: Credit Suisse

Hit by adverse currency movements, India’s household wealth has fallen by $26 billion to $3 trillion in the current year, shows the latest report by global financial services major Credit Suisse.

According to the ‘Global Wealth Report’ compiled by Credit Suisse Research Institute, wealth in the country in dollar terms went down by 0.8% ($26 billion) to $3.099 trillion in 2016 compared to last year. The report noted that while wealth has been rising in India, not everyone has shared in this growth.

“There is still considerable wealth poverty, reflected in the fact that 96% of the adult population has wealth below $10,000,” the report said. “At the other extreme, a small fraction of the population (0.3% of adults) has a net worth over $1,00,000,” it added, noting that due to India’s large population, this translates into 2.4 million people.

As per the report, the country has 2,48,000 adults in the top 1% of global wealth holders, a 0.5% share. “By our estimates, 2,260 adults have wealth over $50 million, and 1,040 have more than $100 million,” it added. Overall, the Asia Pacific region in 2016 saw wealth increase by 4.5% to nearly $80 trillion. “China and India were hit by adverse currency movements and as a result, their household wealth fell by 2.8% and 0.8% to $23 trillion and $3 trillion, respectively,” the report noted.

Among other major economies in the region, wealth in Australia remained largely unchanged (decline of 0.2%) and South Korea saw an increase of 1%. Globally, the wealth stood at $256 trillion— a rise of 1.4% from a year ago. The report noted that rise in global wealth is in line with the increase in the world’s adult population with average wealth per adult remaining constant at $52,800.

According to Credit Suisse, while developing economies are likely to outpace the developed world in terms of wealth growth, they will still only account for just under a third of growth over the next five years. “They (developing nations) currently account for around 18% of global household wealth, against just 12% in 2000,” it added.

Goldman Sachs Top Ten Market Themes for 2017

Chief Credit Strategist Charles Himmelberg says 2017 will be “High growth, higher risk, slightly higher returns”

  1. Slightly higher returns relative to 2016. “Best improvement in the opportunity in global equities is in Asia ex-Japan.”
  2. Fiscal stimulus in the U.S. will help reflate the economy
  3. No imminent trade war on the horizon, any re-negotiation of agreements currently in place (like NAFTA) to focus on attempts to improve the prospects for the U.S. manufacturing
  4. The Emerging Markets risk ‘Trump tantrum’ is temporary
  5. Forecasts ($/CNY at 7.30 in 12 months) a depreciation for yuan well beyond forward market pricing
  6. Monetary policy will increasingly focus on credit creation
  7. 2017 will confirm that the U.S. corporate sector has emerged from its recent ‘revenue recession’
  8. Forecasting large boosts to public spending in Japan, China, the U.S., and Europe, which should fuel inflationary pressures in those economies
  9. Commodity-sensitive segments of the credit market have suffered pain in 2016, there hasn’t been much in the way of contagion… expect more of the same in 2017, with the credit cycle not making a turn for the worse
  10. Conditional on a large fiscal stimulus in 2017, the FOMC will be obliged to respond more aggressively to an easing of financial conditions, all else equal … cautions that it’s no sure bet that financial conditions will ease in the year ahead, noting the recent rise in bond yields and the U.S. dollar

“China’s Debt Has Grown $4.5 Trillion In Past 12 Months, More Than The US, Japan And Europe Combined”

While concerns about China’s debt load, capital flows, and depreciating currency have been pushed to the backburner in recent months, perhaps facilitated by a welcome rebound in global inflation – perceived by markets and global central bankers that monetary policy is finally working –  it is worth a quick reminder of how we got here.

First, a quick trip through memory lane to remind us how much has changed in just the past year.

In a note by Morgan Stanley’s Chetan Ahya released on Sunday, the strategist reminds us that a little more than a year ago, the global economy was facing intense disinflationary pressures. Global commodity prices were declining significantly and the slowdown in China and other major commodity-producing EMs had led to some concerns that it could pull developed markets into recession and drag inflation down along with it. At the same time, in China, producer prices fell by almost 6%Y and the regime change in its currency management approach meant that China was no longer absorbing disinflationary pressures from abroad.

And while this seems like a distant memory today, thanks to China which has played a pivotal role in driving the global inflation cycle – this time on the upside – as the cyclical recovery has both lifted China’s own inflation and transmitted it globally, here is how this happened: the recovery in China has been driven by yet another round of debt indulgence. Debt in China has grown by US$4.5 trillion over the past 12 months, by far the highest amount of debt creation globally as compared to US$2.2 trillion in the US, US$870 billion in Japan and US$550 billion in the euro area. Indeed, China on its own has added more debt than the US, Japan and the euro area combined.

While we have shown the IIF’s forecast of Chinese debt countless times in recent months, here it is once again to put China’s unprecedented debt expansion in context: