For China’s stock markets, right now all news is bad news.
Take new data from a survey of purchasing managers for January released by HSBC and Markit Economics released on Monday, February 1. The index, roughly equivalent to the survey of purchasing managers conducted in the United States by the Institute for Supply Management, rose to a record 57.4 in January from 56.1 in December. A similar index from the semi-official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing climbed to 55.8 on January. That showed the country’s manufacturing sector expanding at its second fastest pace since 2008.
Good news, right?
Well, no. And why?
Because anything that smacks of record growth in China currently just ratchets up fear that Beijing will take tougher steps to rein in bank lending and to tighten the money supply in order to reduce the pace of economic growth.
It didn’t help ease those fears that the survey of purchasing managers showed the biggest gains in prices at what amounts of the wholesale level since July 2008.
So China’s stock markets fell again on Monday.
The CSI 300 Index dropped 1.6% and The Shanghai SSE Component Index was down 1.2%
For most of the last two weeks as Chinese stocks have dropped, they’ve taken other emerging markets with them. That’s not true so far this morning. India’s Sensex 30 Index is flat and Brazil’s Bovespa Index is actually up a whisker.
I wouldn’t read too much into one morning’s data, but it would be a sign of the return of market stability if worries about what the People’s Bank of China might do stop causing wholesale declines in all the world’s emerging markets.