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Daily roundup of research and analysis from The Globe and Mail’s market strategist Scott Barlow

Morgan Stanley chief Asia economist Chetan Ahya believes the Chinese government is attempting to stickhandle a reorientation of economic growth from investment and construction to consumer spending, a move that is not good news for global commodity prices,

“A profound policy shift is under way in China … Broadly speaking, we believe that policy-makers’ goal of ‘common prosperity’ focuses on the challenges of rising income inequality … the speed, scale and intensity of the measures we are seeing in China today are unexpected… from a macroeconomic perspective, ‘common prosperity’ is consistent with rebalancing China’s economy towards consumption. … Economic development has now reached a critical juncture. Per capita income is on the cusp of crossing the high income threshold, but the distribution of household incomes has become markedly uneven. The most pressing need today is to address income inequality and raise the share of wages in GDP to support the long-standing goal of rebalancing the economy towards consumption. With a wage share of 52% and high levels of precautionary saving given limited access to healthcare, education and housing (especially for migrant workers), the proportion of private consumption in GDP is naturally limited. Raising the share of household incomes in GDP and reducing inequality while tackling the ‘three big mountains’ – escalating healthcare, education and housing costs – should support a higher share of private consumption … Rebalancing towards consumption comes at a price. A higher wage share helps households but affects the owners of capital.”

The key issue here for Canadian investors is that China, as a general rule, has formed the demand for half of global commodity demand. The shift away from investment will decrease commodity demand.

“@SBarlow_ROB MS: “[China’s] Economic development has now reached a critical juncture”' – (research excerpt) Twitter

“China’s tech crackdown, slowing growth add up to a troubling outlook” – Report on Business (August 7)


Citi commodity analyst Ephrem Ravi appeared unconcerned about Chinese demand in a Monday research report,

“Commodities and equities tend to have a pullback during 12-18 month period in the cycle from the trough. The pullbacks were subsequently followed by acceleration in prices during 18-24 month period in the cycle from trough. Unless this time it’s different, we would likely see a similar acceleration over the next six months and with equities already underperforming the commodity price rally, we think the next leg of equity rally could come from a rise in commodity prices as well as catch-up of previous underperformance. The current sector position in the cycle indicates similar trajectory to that of 2008-11 and 2015-18 cycles; and if history is any guide, there could be 40% upside from current levels over the next 6-9 months, assuming the duration and magnitude of the current rally is similar to past cycles.’

“@SBarlow_ROB Citi on commodity prices; “if history is any guide, there could be 40% upside from current levels over the next 6-9 months’” – (research excerpt) Twitter


BofA Securities U.S. quantitative strategist Savita Subramanian summarizes a positive earnings season but notes come important, and much less bullish, caveats,

“Q EPS is now tracking $52.29 (15% above consensus/5% above us), +90% YoY or +27% vs. 2Q19, slightly better than last quarter’s +25% 2-yr growth rate … 80%/86%/72% of companies beat on EPS/sales/both, the highest in post-reg FD [fair disclosure] history … Beats have seen muted reactions (+32bps the following day vs. +150bps on historical average), suggesting good news was largely priced in, while misses have been penalized in-line with average (-232bps)… Our sentiment analysis shows that companies are not as enthused about the outlook vs. the recent quarters. Companies’ mentions of optimism fell to the lowest level since COVID from record levels in the prior two quarters. Moreover, corporate sentiment scores (based on NLP analysis) dipped from last quarter’s record high, potentially indicating peak sentiment amid inflation concerns and the Delta variant.”

“@SBarlow_ROB BofA on U.S. earnings season: ‘Beats have seen muted reactions (+32bps the following day vs. +150bps on historical average), suggesting good news was largely priced in”” – (research excerpt) Twitter


Diversion: “Other People’s Mistakes” – Collaborative Fund

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