China is Still Growing Says Auto Indicator

China is Still Growing Says Auto Indicator

China’s auto sales continued to increase in August, evidence of the steady growth of the world’s largest car market, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed Monday.

Some 2.19 million vehicles were sold last month, up 5.3 percent year on year, maintaining momentum in July that saw sales rise 6.2 percent.

Meanwhile, 2.09 million vehicles were produced in August, up 4.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the CAAM.

In the first eight months, total auto output and sales increased by 4.7 percent and 4.3 percent year on year to 17.68 million and 17.51 million vehicles, respectively.

The market share of domestic brands went up 5.3 percent year on year in August, said the CAAM.

Sales and production of new energy vehicles maintained fast growth. Some 72,000 new energy vehicles were produced in August, up 67.3 percent year on year, and 68,000 were sold, up 76.3 percent from the same period last year.

Earlier data from the China Passenger Car Association showed China sold 54,000 new energy passenger cars last month, surging 25 percent month on month.

The robust growth came as China has intensified efforts to encourage the use of new energy vehicles to ease pressure on the environment, by offering tax exemptions and discounts for car purchases, and ordering government organizations to buy more new energy cars.

China has been the world’s largest car market for eight consecutive years.

Those who worry about the state of the Chinese economy can relax, as recent economic indicators suggest the good times are back.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is scheduled to release its macro-economic indicators for August later this week. Market analysts say that good numbers should emerge as demand in the real economy recovers.

The value-added of industrial output is expected to rebound in August after extreme weather disrupted production in July, according to a Industrial Securities report.

The view is supported by high coal consumption, furnace use and industrial sales over the past few months, the report noted.

Zhu Jianfang, chief economist with Citic Securities, estimated the value-added of industrial output would increase 0.1 percentage points from July to 6.5 percent in August, citing a lower comparison basis.

Consumer spending, which contributes over 60 percent of China’s growth, is likely to have remained stable in August.

Consumption will grow 10.5 percent year on year in August driven by sales of home appliance and summer tourism, but tempered by falling sales of real estate and automobiles, according to Lian Ping, chief economist with the Bank of Communications.

A cooling property market will produce a chain effect in the consumer market, which is the major variable in the consumption data in the short term, Zhu Jianfang said.

Analysts diverged on the development of fixed-asset investment.

Zhu Jianfang expects investment to pick up by 0.1 percentage points to 8.4 percent on the back of a strong rebound in manufacturing investment.

However, Lian Ping expects investment growth to ease to 8 percent due to weakening investment momentum.

Although investment has lost steam in the short term, analysts say it has room to strengthen.

Liang Hong, chief economist with the China International Capital Corporation, said manufacturing investment would rise after more industrial capacity was released on recovering demand.

Progress in the upgrading of consumption and investment will need more manufacturing investment, she added.

China’s economic performance has been generally stable with better momentum, which will stay unchanged during the rest of the year, said NBS spokesperson Mao Shengyong in August.

The central parity rate of the Chinese currency, the yuan, strengthened for 11 consecutive working days until Monday, reinforcing optimism in the real economy.

James Daniel, assistant director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the International Monetary Fund, commended China’s reform agenda, noting that overcapacity had been reduced, and the local government borrowing framework improved.

China’s economy expanded 6.9 percent in the first half of the year, well above the government’s yearly target of 6.5 percent. The economy grew 6.7 percent in 2016.

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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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