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Weekly Comic: China's precarious reopening

06 Tháng Giêng 2023
Weekly Comic: China's precarious reopening © Investing.com

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- China’s dash for herd immunity from COVID-19 may not be the miracle cure for its economic ills that markets seem to think.

Global markets have owed their bright start to the year largely to hopes that the world’s second-largest economy will quickly reap the benefits of dropping the harsh public health restrictions that slowed the country’s growth to a crawl over the last two years. Hong Kong stocks, the gateway to China for many foreign investors, have rallied strongly this week, while the offshore yuan has strengthened by a full 1% against the dollar. 

That seems logical, given that the western countries that abandoned their own restrictions over the last year have experienced a generally smooth transition to ‘living with’ COVID, rather than dying from it.

However, the risk in China is the same as it was in the West when debates were still raging about the wisdom of letting COVID rip: left uncontrolled in a population largely without effective vaccination, the disease could swamp the country’s public health system and cause millions of deaths, in turn causing a much deeper economic contraction with a life of its own.

As Paul Donovan, chief economist with UBS Global Wealth Management, never tires of pointing out - it is fear of the virus, rather than the virus itself, that causes the most economic disruption. And a number of factors in China have prepared a fertile ground for such fear.

For three years, the government has used all the power of the state media machine to justify its harsh measures with stern lectures about the dangers of COVID-19. Suddenly, in an abrupt reversal worthy of Orwell’s 1984, the message is that ‘Eastasia has always been at peace with the virus.’

That message is reaching an audience that has no reliable data to tell it how bad things are. The World Health Organization criticized Beijing this week for under-reporting case numbers and deaths, saying that “the current numbers being published from China underrepresent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of [intensive care unit] admissions, particularly in terms of death.”

Beijing has so far admitted to around five deaths a day over the last couple of weeks, but had earlier said it would change the way it counts COVID cases and deaths, adopting a definition so tight that most of its victims are filtered out of the statistics. Anecdotal reports, by contrast, have cited lengthy queues outside hospitals for treatment, and crematoria and funeral parlors working at or beyond capacity.

Fear is likely to be amplified by the knowledge that China’s vaccines are not as effective against the dominant Omicron strain as western ones based on messenger RNA. That makes transmission easier, notably in the labor-intensive Chinese factories where laborers work cheek-by-jowl to make the world’s gadgets and clothes (as well as to process China’s own food supply).  It also makes longer-lasting, serious illness more likely, storing up trouble for factories that are already starting to run out of workers as China’s demographics start to work against it.

All these factors were clearly at work in the Caixin business surveys released this week, which showed both manufacturing and services in contraction under the virus’ influence. Yet despite falls in new orders and employment, both surveys were notable for showing a sharp rise in optimism among businesses, which are looking through the near-term disruptions.

That confidence faces a stiff test in the coming weeks. The Lunar New Year, due on January 22nd, should see a wave of travel that will – on past experience – inevitably cause a spike in infections. After that, most analysts expect the country to turn a corner, and for the economy to pick up again. At which point it seems safe to assume a second wind for the global commodities rally that petered out last year as western central banks tightened global financial conditions. In as much as higher prices for commodities - especially oil and food - keeps the Federal Reserve and others fearful about inflation, that will also cap demand for Chinese exports, damping any recovery.

Even so, the Chinese economy looks likely to hit its low point in the current quarter. It may never return to the heady growth rates seen in the past: NatWest analysts predict a "mild dose of economic long Covid" for the country, aggravated by the squeeze on technology transfers now being applied by the U.S. and others. And in any event, COVID is only half the battle for Chinese economic planners. Conquering it will almost certainly be easier than ending a grinding property crisis well into its third year.

But after the last couple of months, when lockdowns generated riots at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant and angry demonstrations against Communist Party rule, any improvement in public health will feel like a major victory to Beijing, while for the rest of the world, it should signal the real start of the post-pandemic era.

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27-01-2023 22:51:41 (UTC+7)

EUR/USD

1.0843

-0.0046 (-0.42%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (8)

EUR/USD

1.0843

-0.0046 (-0.42%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (8)

GBP/USD

1.2354

-0.0052 (-0.42%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (10)

USD/JPY

129.90

-0.32 (-0.24%)

Summary

↑ Buy

Moving Avg:

Buy (11)

Sell (1)

Indicators:

Buy (8)

Sell (1)

AUD/USD

0.7089

-0.0025 (-0.35%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (0)

Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (10)

USD/CAD

1.3326

+0.0006 (+0.05%)

Summary

↑ Buy

Moving Avg:

Buy (10)

Sell (2)

Indicators:

Buy (9)

Sell (1)

EUR/JPY

140.86

-0.93 (-0.66%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (2)

Sell (10)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (9)

EUR/CHF

1.0013

-0.0007 (-0.07%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

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Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (1)

Sell (8)

Gold Futures

1,918.40

-11.60 (-0.60%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (0)

Sell (12)

Indicators:

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Silver Futures

23.392

-0.628 (-2.61%)

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↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

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Sell (12)

Indicators:

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Sell (8)

Copper Futures

4.1898

-0.0777 (-1.82%)

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↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

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Sell (12)

Indicators:

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Sell (8)

Crude Oil WTI Futures

80.79

-0.22 (-0.27%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

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Brent Oil Futures

87.38

-0.09 (-0.10%)

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↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

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Sell (11)

Indicators:

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Natural Gas Futures

2.823

-0.025 (-0.88%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

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Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (9)

US Coffee C Futures

168.28

+1.13 (+0.68%)

Summary

Neutral

Moving Avg:

Buy (8)

Sell (4)

Indicators:

Buy (3)

Sell (5)

Euro Stoxx 50

4,168.85

-5.13 (-0.12%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (9)

S&P 500

4,054.20

-6.23 (-0.15%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (0)

Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (8)

DAX

15,121.85

-11.00 (-0.07%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

Buy (1)

Sell (7)

FTSE 100

7,746.03

-15.08 (-0.19%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (0)

Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (7)

Hang Seng

22,688.90

+122.12 (+0.54%)

Summary

Buy

Moving Avg:

Buy (12)

Sell (0)

Indicators:

Buy (2)

Sell (2)

US Small Cap 2000

1,895.45

-2.51 (-0.13%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (0)

Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (7)

IBEX 35

9,037.27

+1.67 (+0.02%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (1)

Sell (11)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (9)

BASF SE NA O.N.

52.590

-0.030 (-0.06%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (0)

Sell (12)

Indicators:

Buy (0)

Sell (8)

Bayer AG NA

56.28

+0.24 (+0.43%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (2)

Sell (10)

Indicators:

Buy (3)

Sell (5)

Allianz SE VNA O.N.

221.23

-0.37 (-0.17%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (4)

Sell (8)

Indicators:

Buy (1)

Sell (9)

Adidas AG

148.00

+2.72 (+1.87%)

Summary

Neutral

Moving Avg:

Buy (10)

Sell (2)

Indicators:

Buy (3)

Sell (5)

Deutsche Lufthansa AG

9.739

+0.012 (+0.12%)

Summary

Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (2)

Sell (10)

Indicators:

Buy (2)

Sell (4)

Siemens AG Class N

144.05

-0.01 (-0.01%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (5)

Sell (7)

Indicators:

Buy (1)

Sell (9)

Deutsche Bank AG

12.285

+0.153 (+1.26%)

Summary

↑ Sell

Moving Avg:

Buy (2)

Sell (10)

Indicators:

Buy (1)

Sell (9)

 EUR/USD1.0843↑ Sell
 GBP/USD1.2354↑ Sell
 USD/JPY129.90↑ Buy
 AUD/USD0.7089↑ Sell
 USD/CAD1.3326↑ Buy
 EUR/JPY140.86↑ Sell
 EUR/CHF1.0013↑ Sell
 Gold1,918.40↑ Sell
 Silver23.392↑ Sell
 Copper4.1898↑ Sell
 Crude Oil WTI80.79↑ Sell
 Brent Oil87.38↑ Sell
 Natural Gas2.823↑ Sell
 US Coffee C168.28Neutral
 Euro Stoxx 504,168.85↑ Sell
 S&P 5004,054.20↑ Sell
 DAX15,121.85↑ Sell
 FTSE 1007,746.03↑ Sell
 Hang Seng22,688.90Buy
 Small Cap 20001,895.45↑ Sell
 IBEX 359,037.27↑ Sell
 BASF52.590↑ Sell
 Bayer56.28↑ Sell
 Allianz221.23↑ Sell
 Adidas148.00Neutral
 Lufthansa9.739Sell
 Siemens AG144.05↑ Sell
 Deutsche Bank AG12.285↑ Sell
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,720/ 6,820
(30/ 30) # 1,331
SJC HCM6,750/ 6,850
(60/ 60) # 1,361
SJC Hanoi6,750/ 6,852
(60/ 60) # 1,363
SJC Danang6,750/ 6,852
(60/ 60) # 1,363
SJC Nhatrang6,750/ 6,852
(60/ 60) # 1,363
SJC Cantho6,750/ 6,852
(60/ 60) # 1,363
Cập nhật 27-01-2023 22:51:44
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ↀ Giá vàng thế giới
$1,924.05-6.53-0.34%
Live 24 hour Gold Chart
ʘ Giá bán lẻ xăng dầu
Sản phẩmVùng 1Vùng 2
RON 95-V23.01023.470
RON 95-III22.15022.590
E5 RON 92-II21.35021.770
DO 0.05S21.63022.060
DO 0,001S-V23.39023.850
Dầu hỏa 2-K21.80022.230
ↂ Giá dầu thô thế giới
WTI$80.88+0.360.44%
Brent$87.19+0.180.21%
$ Tỷ giá Vietcombank
Ngoại tệMua vàoBán ra
USD23.260,0023.630,00
EUR24.857,5526.249,47
GBP28.270,1829.475,66
JPY175,71186,02
KRW16,4320,02
Cập nhật lúc 18:54:25 27/01/2023
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