China und das Virus – am Ende geht es um die Wirtschaft

China kann sich schlichtweg keine Wirtschaftskrise leisten. Und deshalb dürfte schon recht bald die politische Führung mehr Wert auf die Rückkehr zur wirtschaftlichen Normalität legen als auf die Bekämpfung des Virus. Vermutlich sogar zu Recht, egal, dass die Krankheit damit global wird. Denn – relativ gesehen – sind es ja nicht so viele Opfer. So zumindest die ökonomische Logik, wenn man Ambroise Evans-Pritchard folgt:

  • “A normal country would eventually conclude that the more rational course is to accept that the disease can no longer be contained (given the three lost weeks of the Wuhan cover-up), treat it as a form of turbo-charged winter flu, and direct all efforts instead at managing care more coherently.” – bto: eben, weil es ökonomisch billiger ist. Ich werte das jetzt nicht moralisch und vor allem nicht aus Sicht eines Bewohners einer der Regionen, die es noch richtig bekommen werden.
  • “(…) the Communist Party (…) has almost certainly gone beyond the point of no return by declaring a ‘people’s war’ and imposing lockdowns of different sorts on more than 400 million people, and by implicitly making defeat of the contagion a test of its ruling legitimacy. It seems condemned to doubling down (…) This political choice has big global economic consequences.” – bto: Das wäre der Gesichtsverlust, den es um jeden Preis zu verhindern gilt. Nur sind die wirtschaftlichen Folgen zu groß. Auch für China!
  • “Regions making up two-thirds of Chinese GDP have been closed since late January. It appears that few people have actually returned to work this week. There are a number of proxy measures to keep track of this. One is traffic congestion across 100 cities published daily with a slight delay by AMAP, China’s version of Google maps. So far there is no visible rebound.” – bto: Ich hatte CNBC zitiert mit einem Wert von 80 Prozent des chinesischen BIP.
  • “Another is property sales in 30 big cities released every day (amazingly). Sales have collapsed to zero and have yet to show a flicker of life. (…) Property is a slow-burn issue compared to ruptured manufacturing supply chains, but by March it will start to bite for developers with dollar debts on Hong Kong’s funding market. Companies deemed “stressed” (borrowing costs above 15pc) have to repay $2.1bn of offshore dollar notes next month. Standard & Poor’s says they rely on a constant flow of sales to cover past debts.” – bto: Das ist ein Margin Call aus anderer Richtung. Die Einnahmen brechen weg, wenn niemand kauft.
  • Global angst is for now largely focused on the car industry, commodities, and shipping. Hyundai, Kia, and Ssangyong have had to shut their car plants in Korea for lack of components. Nissan has closed two assembly lines in Japan. This will spread to Europe within a couple of weeks if the crisis drags on. VW, BMW, Honda, Toyota, PSA, and parts-maker Valeo have all announced further delays before opening their plants in China.” – bto: Und der Markt schrumpfte in China schon vor der Epidemie. Das macht es besonders problematisch.
  • “Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank’s oil guru, said it is becoming a commodity massacre. ‘The world is facing the biggest demand shock since the 2009 global financial crisis’. West Texas crude has broken down to $49.80. Clearly the OPEC/Russia chatter in Vienna of cutting output by another 600,000 barrels a day (b/d) has failed to do the trick.” – bto: Die Wirkung ist interessant. Einerseits ist es gut: mehr Geld für Konsum im Westen. Andererseits ist es schlecht: weniger Nachfrage aus den ölexportierenden Ländern.
  • “Hedge funds and ‘spec longs’ cut their bullish bets on crude by $20bn last week but there is still an overhang of liquidation yet to come. Why did they not grasp the magnitude of this earlier? My hunch: they were misled by the glacial SARS template from 2003, when China was in any case a much smaller tranche of global GDP. They ignored emphatic warnings from top virologists that the fast-spreading pandemic of 1918 was the more relevant model.” – bto: Ich kann mir das nicht denken.
  • “Shipping has buckled. Lloyd’s List says tanker rates have crashed. (…) This from Richard Meade at Lloyd’s List: ‘This health emergency has paralysed ports, it has disrupted schedules across all sectors, led to serious challenges for crew management, and prompted a round of container services to be withdrawn, with lines now forecasting issues well into the second quarter of the year. It has thrown the global gas market into turmoil,’ he said.” – bto: was nur bedeutet, dass die Wirkung größer ist und länger anhält.
  • Und nun zum Dilemma der chinesischen Führung: “If Xi Jinping sticks to his ‘total war’ against the coronavirus, his government cannot at the same time launch the meaningful fiscal stimulus (…)  The spending channels are blocked by the health controls. All it can do is to keep injecting liquidity through central bank reverse repos, keep ordering state lenders to extend debt forbearance, and further wind down Liu He’s campaign against the shadow banking industry – and kiss goodbye to financial discipline yet again.” – bto: Na gut, damit folgt er dem westlichen Vorbild.
  • “At some point the Communist Party leadership will switch tack after much agonising, conclude that it is less disruptive to manage the disease, and shift to total economic mobilisation instead – as the lesser of evils. If this is correct we must therefore all brace for a global pandemic. It may already be too late to stop it. The task will then be to tame the virus and hope to buy enough time for warmer weather to slow the spread. It is not the end of the world.” – bto: wobei ich schon Rechnungen gelesen habe, die für diesen Fall von über 50 Millionen Toten sprechen. Ob zu Recht, weiß ich nicht. Männer – so die FT kürzlich – sind übrigens deutlich gefährdeter als Frauen.

AEP zum Schluss: “What does this mean for equities, bonds, and global recession risk? I defer to Fed chairman Jay Powell. It is hard enough to understand China’s economy and its global ramifications at the best of times. ‘The outbreak of the coronavirus has made that exponentially more difficult,’ he said.” – bto: Das mag sein. Ich denke, es ist eine weitere Begründung für die Helikopter und damit für perspektivisch steigende Sachwertpreise in der Welt.

→ “China cannot fight coronavirus and avert economic crisis at the same time”, 11. Februar 2020