China’s Economy Cools in the 2nd Quarter

china-economy1Last week saw U.S. stock indexes climb to near record highs and the U.S. dollar fell to its largest decline in 5 weeks following the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve along with comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that suggests the Federal Reserve may not be in the mood to immediately pullback on its monetary stimulus program.

On Monday equity futures and the Aussie dollar are moving higher after the release of 2nd quarter Chinese Real GDP which revealed the Chinese economy cooled to 7.5 percent, down from 7.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013 which came as a relief for many economists amid market jitters that China’s credit problems may result in a slowdown for China’s real growth rate and could spiral out of control across their economy which is still dependent on export growth and outside investment.

Last week China’s export growth fell 3.1 percent in June compared with the same period in 2012, falling well below forecasts of 4 percent while imports decline 0.7 percent.

Slowing global demand for exports, the appreciation of China’s currency, and deliberate attempts of over-invoicing used to disguise money flows and avoid capital controls by government officials are the primary reasons for China’s weaker export growth in the month of June.

Beijing’s growth target for the Chinese economy in 2013 is 7.5 percent. If it remains at that level for the second half of 2013 it would represent the slowest growth rate in over 20 years for world’s second largest economy.

Some of the main concerns about the Chinese economy in 2013 revolve around the credit squeeze from the Central Bank of China and its impact on the economy as Beijing seeks to reign in its so called shadow banks and enact measures to prevent China’s housing market from becoming a bubble ready to burst.

Another concern is that China’s slowing growth could potentially lead to higher unemployment levels down the road and result in more social unrest in the future even though the unemployment level currently remains stable.

U.S. Economic Data

On Monday retail sales and Empire State manufacturing data will be released.

Later on Wednesday the focus will turn again to Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as he speaks before Congress about the Fed’s monetary policy. The last time Chairman Bernanke spoke on Capitol Hill in May during a question and answer session, he admitted that the rate of bond purchases could slow in the next few meetings which led to a market pullback and a spike in the yield on the 10 year Treasury.

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