Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Stories out this morning (GMT)

Last day of the an associated fashion this cartoon from today's Financial Times made me laugh:

So what news today before we flip over into 2015?  Well the Chinese manufacturing PMI numbers were not the greatest with new orders contracting for the first time since April 2014...

I note too that report authors Markit and HSBC call for 'further monetary easing in the coming months'.

Still, with the Chinese markets posting a 50%+ increase in 2014 another reminder that equities and GDP are rarely directly correlated.

A couple of other stories from China include the reasons for these crowds below in Shenzhen. As the People's Daily website noted that the city 'Starting from 6 pm Monday, only 100,000 new car plates will be allocated per year, a number which includes 20,000 electric cars.Upon hearing the sudden announcement, local residents made good use of the window of 20 minutes to rush to dealerships to buy a car'

Interesting to read what the China Daily website thought of this: 'the city of Shenzhen could have done a much better job when introducing its own quota system'.  Ouch!

One of my macro themes for 2015 was an observation that social stability/the anti-corruption crackdown and - to some extent - a growing cult of personality around President Xi may well be more influential than the growth numbers to the nearest decimal point per se. Along this theme I thought this graphic was interesting: the rising footprint of "mainland" firms in Hong Kong: 

 One other story of note in Asia and that is this editorial about the recent Japanese corporate tax changes from the normally relatively docile Nikkei Asian Review:

'The fiscal 2015 tax reform plan adopted by Japan's ruling bloc failed to address the difficult changes needed to mend the country's fiscal health, leaving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's vision for change in the tax regime further from becoming reality'.

I would agree with that analysis.  

Anything else...well three broader charts for the US economy showing some good news via lower gas prices...

...but higher rents...

...and wage-busting house price rises too:

 The US economy may be headline doing well but the struggles of the masses continue...unfortunately I think this continues in 2015.

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