Moody’s Investors Service has today downgraded China’s long-term local currency and foreign currency issuer ratings to A1 from Aa3 and changed the outlook to stable from negative.
The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectation that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows. While ongoing progress on reforms is likely to transform the economy and financial system over time, it is not likely to prevent a further material rise in economy-wide debt, and the consequent increase in contingent liabilities for the government.
The stable outlook reflects our assessment that, at the A1 rating level, risks are balanced. The erosion in China’s credit profile will be gradual and, we expect, eventually contained as reforms deepen. The strengths of its credit profile will allow the sovereign to remain resilient to negative shocks, with GDP growth likely to stay strong compared to other sovereigns, still considerable scope for policy to adapt to support the economy, and a largely closed capital account.
China’s local currency and foreign currency senior unsecured debt ratings are downgraded to A1 from Aa3. The senior unsecured foreign currency shelf rating is also downgraded to (P)A1 from (P)Aa3.
China’s local currency bond and deposit ceilings remain at Aa3. The foreign currency bond ceiling remains at Aa3. The foreign currency deposit ceiling is lowered to A1 from Aa3. China’s short-term foreign currency bond and bank deposit ceilings remain Prime-1 (P-1).
Despite the rise in US shale oil production, the expected extension of the OPEC oil extraction caps will provide a moderate support to global oil prices in the near-term, with boom or bust scenarios almost ruled out as the global energy market balances gradually.
Kristian Rouz – OPEC member-states and other oil-producing nations are meeting on May 25 to discuss, among other things, the extension and deepening of oil extraction caps in order to support crude prices and ease the supply-side glut issue.
An oversupply of oil has been affecting the global oil producers since the second half of 2014, when US shale production skyrocketed, proving disruptive to the existing structure of global oil trading.
Even though, according to the Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, all oil producers have agreed to extend oil caps by nine months, also possibly decreasing the current levels of extraction, global oil prices are not expected to post a significant rally in the near-term. The main reason is that the OPEC and non-OPEC oil cuts might be effectively offset by an increase in US shale oil production.
Last year, the US lifted a 40-year oil export embargo, and this February, the US shipped record-high volumes of crude overseas. While OPEC oil cuts have resulted in a decrease in the global market share occupied by members of the energy cartel (most notably Saudi Arabia), US oil started to fill this niche.
The biggest highlight in today’s latest monthly OPEC oil market report for the month of May was OPEC finally capitulating to the “shale threat” and raising estimates for for non-OPEC supply growth in 2017 to 950Kbpd from the year prior, 64% or 370k higher than in the April estimate, amid a surge in U.S. output. In context, the outlook for non-OPEC growth is now 4 times higher than when OPEC announced cuts in November.
As shown in the table below, OPEC raised its 2017 U.S. supply growth outlook by 282kbpd in the past month, to 820k bpd.
The OPEC report also noted that OECD Inventories remains 276MM bbl above the five-year average. It also showed OPEC crude output declining by 2k bpd in April to 31.732m b/d according to secondary sources as 7 out of 13 members reduced output, however offset by a rebound in Saudi production to 9.954mmbpd, the highest since January. The biggest m/m changes:
Angola +97k b/d;
UAE, Libya -62k each
Saudi +49.2k b/d m/m to 9.954m b/d: OPEC secondary sources
Saudi +46.4k b/d to 9.946m b/d: Saudi direct comms to OPEC
Having largely disappeared from the market’s scope for the past 6 months, ever since Europe “bent” its rule allowing the bailout of Monte Paschi and several smaller banks despite Italy having the greatest amount of disclosed NPLs of any European nation, moments ago Fitch decided to drag Italy right back in the spotlight when it downgraded Italy to BBB from BBB+, citing “Italy’s persistent track record of fiscal slippage, back-loading of consolidation, weak economic growth, and resulting failure to bring down the very high level of general government debt has left it more exposed to potential adverse shocks. This is compounded by an increase in political risk, and ongoing weakness in the banking sector which has required planned public intervention in three banks since December.“
And some more:
Italy has missed successive targets for general government debt/GDP, which increased by 0.5pp in 2016 to 132.6%. This is 11.2% of GDP higher than the target in the Stability Programme of 2013, the year Fitch downgraded Italy’s Long-Term IDRs to ‘BBB+’, and compares with the current ‘BBB’ range median of 41.5% of GDP. Fitch forecasts general government debt to peak at 132.7% of GDP in 2017, falling only gradually to 129.3% in 2020 in our debt sensitivity projections.
Fitch’s rating Outlook for the Italian banking sector is Negative, primarily reflecting the challenge of reducing the high level of un-provisioned non-performing loans (NPLs), alongside weak profitability and capital generation. The rate of new NPLs edged down to 2.3% in 4Q16, and there is some greater impetus for disposals and write-downs, which has slightly reduced total NPLs. However, sofferenze, the worst category of loans, increased to EUR203 billion in February, from EUR199 billion in October. Total NPLs amount to close to 17.5% of loans and 20% of GDP, and just over half are provided against.
In our view, political risks have increased since Fitch’s previous rating review. Current polls point to a further hollowing out of support for more centrist parties and to a fragmented political landscape that could result in minority government. Risks of weak or unstable government have increased, as has the possibility of populist and eurosceptic parties influencing policy. Greater populism may dampen political appetite for reform, increase the pressure for fiscal loosening, and weigh on investor sentiment.
With France – and much of Europe – already on edge due to populist tensions, is Italian sovereign – and bank – risk about to make a grand reapparance? For the answer, check in when Europe opens on Monday.
Meanwhile, Italian CDS trades at 190bps, wider than Russia, Croatia and almost as wide as South Africa.
There are sign of a somewhat brighter global recovery and increasing global trade
Cannot yet have confidence that a sustained rise in inflation will materialize in a sustainable manner
Underlying inflation has not shown a convincing upward trend
You could say he’s cautiously optimistic.
Earlier in the year, the market read the optimism as a sign of potential action to tighten but officials have fought back against that idea, and that’s what helped to cap the euro at 1.09.
“As underlying inflation remains subdued and the path of inflation crucially dependent on the prevailing very favourable financing conditions, we cannot yet have sufficient confidence that a sustained adjustment in inflation will materialize in a durable manner,” he wrote.
It’s a similar line to what he said after the March 9 ECB meeting. The next ECB meeting is April 27.
China’s State Council on Wednesday approved 380 billion yuan ($55.1 billion) in tax relief that will mainly favor farmers and small businesses in a move that is seen as both economic and political.
The second large-scale tax cut to follow last year’s comes as China’s economy is forecast to slow down in the latter half of 2017, during which the Communist Party will convene its 19th National Congress and reshuffle top leadership.
China will modify its value-added tax this July by removing the 13% bracket while retaining the 6%, 11% and 17% tiers. The 13% rate currently applies to farm products and natural gas, but they will move to the 11% category. Farmers as well as households that purchase rice and vegetables will likely benefit from this change.
For smaller companies, those that pay 300,000 yuan or less in annual taxable revenue qualify for preferential tax treatment. The ceiling will be lifted to 500,000 yuan. Furthermore, small businesses and startups will be allowed to deduct 75% of research and development costs, up from 50%. These tax breaks will remain in effect until the end of 2019.
The Chinese government enacted about 500 billion yuan worth of corporate tax cuts in 2016. Helped also by a surge in infrastructure spending, the real economy grew 6.9% during the January-March period this year, marking the second quarter of economic acceleration. However, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has been gradually raising market interest rates in order to rein in the real estate bubble.
Notwithstanding the impact of demonetisation, India returned to fiscal consolidation in the fiscal year 2016-17 largely due to the near-elimination of fuel subsidies and enhanced targeting of social benefits, the IMF said on Wednesday.
“India returned to fiscal consolidation in fiscal year 2016/17, supported by the near-elimination of fuel subsidies and enhanced targeting of social benefits, notwithstanding the deceleration in growth related to the country’s recent currency exchange initiative,” the IMF said in its report on Fiscal Monitor released on the sidelines of the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The IMF said, in India, the headline deficit is projected to decline modestly in fiscal year 2017/18, with continued delay in reaching the medium-term deficit target.
The budget envisages a growth-friendly fiscal adjustment underpinned by expenditure cuts that protect infrastructure investment, as well as more progressive income taxes for individuals combined with lower taxes on small and medium- sized enterprises.
“The expected rollout of the nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) this year will enhance the efficiency of the internal movement of goods and services and effectively create a common national market,” the IMF said.
The International Monetary Fund has delivered another hike to its UK growth forecast, reversing nearly all of the downgrade it pencilled in after last summer’s Brexit vote.
In its latest assessment of prospects for global growth, the Washington-based fund predicted the UK economy will grow this year by 2 per cent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the forecast it made in January. The IMF also upgraded its UK growth forecast for next year, from 1.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent.
The world economy will grow faster than previously expected this year thanks to increased trade, investment and manufacturing said the IMF, which also warned the threat of protectionist policies meant “the balance of risks remains tilted to the downside”.
In 2017, global growth was revised from 3.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent, marking the first time in six years the IMF has revised up previous expectations for short-term global growth.
The revision came primarily due to better than expected economic news from Europe, China and Japan and a broad-based recovery in global manufacturing since the middle of 2016.
Before the UK’s EU referendum last year, the IMF forecasted that the UK economy would grow 2.2 per cent in 2017. But it cut the forecast to 1.3 per cent last July, weeks after the Brexit vote, and downgraded its forecast further, to 1.1 per cent, in October.
Raghuram Rajan, Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago and former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, warns of more turmoil ahead if the developed world fails to adapt to the fundamental forces of global change.
It is a pivotal moment on the eve of the financial crisis. In the late summer of 2005, the world’s most influential central bankers and economists gather in Jackson Hole at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The atmosphere is carefree. Financial markets have nicely recovered from the bust of the dotcom bubble and the global economy is humming. Under the topic »Lessons for the Future» the presentations celebrate the era of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who has announced to resign in a few months. Since 1987 at the helm of the world’s most powerful central bank, he presided over a period of continuous growth and was one of the leading forces of deregulation in the financial sector.
But when Raghuram Rajan steps to the podium the mood suddenly turns icy. At that time the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, the native Indian warns that unpredictable risks are building up in the financial system and that the banks are not prepared for an emergency. His dry analysis draws spiteful remarks. »I exaggerate only a bit when I say I felt like an early Christian who had wandered into a convention of half-starved lions», he recollects.
Soon, however, his prediction turns out to be correct. Less than one year later, the US housing boom runs out of steam which triggers the worst recession since the Great Depression. Today, Mr. Rajan who governed the Reserve Bank of India until last fall and now teaches finance at the University of Chicago, is reputed as one of the most distinguished economic thinkers on the planet. So what prompted him to voice his concerns at that time in Jackson Hole? Where does he think the world stands in the spring of 2017? And what is his outlook for the coming years?