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Finance & Economy

China’s economic turmoil a major concern for US companies


Beijing CBD

Beijing CBD

It’s official. China’s slowdown is starting to hurt corporate America.

As the world’s second-largest economy – and still growing – China is seen as a primary source of revenue growth by the largest U.S. companies. But a country that once boasted double-digit growth is now growing at a more modest 7.5 percent rate, its credit markets are overheated and fears of a housing bubble remain.

The slowing has occurred as major U.S. names garner more revenue from Asia. Among 18 S&P companies with large exposure to China, 12 of them were underperforming the broader S&P 500 index year-to-date, including Yum Brands Inc and Intel, which noted the slower growth in China as a headwind.

“The China impact is becoming more and more significant because the (U.S.) companies’ exposure has grown so much over the years,” said Robbert van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge in New York.

Those concerns have caused investors to reduce their global emerging-markets equity exposure to its lowest in 12 years, according to a Merrill Lynch survey.

Industrials, luxury goods makers and companies in the commodities and consumer businesses have built up huge exposure to China.

On Wednesday, hedge fund guru Jim Chanos said he was shorting Caterpillar, sending shares down nearly 2 percent. Chanos has long argued that China’s economy is headed for a crash, saying the company is “tied to the wrong products at the wrong part of the cycle.” About 25 percent of Caterpillar’s revenue comes from the Asia/Pacific region, though it does not break out revenues by country.

GLOOMY OUTLOOK

A Merrill Lynch fund manager survey from June pegs China’s problems as the most worrisome factor.

The survey said the prospect of a hard landing in China stands out as a major tail risk identified by fund managers, with 56 percent ranking it first on this measure, compared with just one-third of respondents giving it that ranking a month ago.

“China has gone from a very difficult transition as they try to spur internal consumption. That has produced inflation and a big credit crunch,” said Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer for equities at Charles Schwab Corp in San Francisco.

“I think a lot of people underestimated the effect of China and Brazil. (Going forward) they will probably be very conservative on their estimates. They’re going to scale down,” Aguilar said.

Yum Brands, the operator of the KFC and Taco Bell chains, reported a 15 percent drop in quarterly earnings last week as KFC sales in China, a crucial market for Yum, have been falling since December. Nearly 51 percent of Yum’s revenue is from China, up from just 34 percent two years ago.

Intel, which has about 16 percent of its revenue from China, also cut its full-year revenue forecast and said it is scaling back capital spending as it adjusts to a painful contraction of personal computer sales and economic weakness in China.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices derives 58 percent of its revenue from China, up from 45 percent in 2010. The company’s quarterly loss was 9 cents a share, ahead of the forecast for a 12-cent loss. It did not mention China in its press release.

Analysts content that without the People’s Bank of China injecting liquidity into its financial system, growth will keep declining. Societe Generale now projects GDP growth in the world’s second-largest economy at as low as four to five percent by the end of this decade.

TARGET THE MIDDLE CLASS

Some analysts say companies can withstand China’s slowdown by shifting their focus to programs funded by the central government, which are designed to lift the middle class segment of the population to 45 percent or more later this decade from about 40 to 41 percent currently.

If the companies target the middle class, they can enjoy steady growth in their sales in China, but if they continue to focus on export-oriented projects funded by cash-strapped local governments, they will be disappointed, according to Nicholas Heymann, analyst at William Blair & Co in New York.

He noted that United Technologies’ Otis elevator unit has been successfully growing in China as demand for elevators outpaces supply in the country.

Beverage companies also are counting on a growing middle class to boost sales. Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said earlier this week that China is a great consumer market with a very robust new middle class.

“We’re very bullish on the long-term prospects in China,” Kent told reporters.

Still, the slowdown in China comes at an especially bad time for U.S. industrials, given persistent weakness in the Eurozone and the lackluster recovery in the U.S.

“China affects all of the industrials, some more than others. Machinery names tend to be more economically sensitive, more volatile, more leveraged,” said Brian Langenberg, founder of research firm Langenberg & Co in Chicago.

“Caterpillar would say inventories are coming back into line. But your outlook on a stock depends on what implicit growth rate you are expecting from China,” he said.

Caterpillar’s revised outlook for 2013, which it may update next week when it reports earnings, reflects an expected 50 percent decline in sales of its traditional mining trucks and loaders as well as a 15 percent decline in sales of draglines made by Bucyrus, the Milwaukee-based company it bought in 2010.

“Some of the companies that have been hit, a lot of it was in infrastructure, the Caterpillars of the world, Joy Global and some others. Is there likely to be some spillover? There could be. This probably will be the quarter where it will rear its head,” said Perry Adams, vice president at Northwestern Bank in Traverse City, Michigan.

Source: Reuters “China, U.S. companies’ great hope, now a drag”
 
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About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

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4 thoughts on “China’s economic turmoil a major concern for US companies

  1. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™.

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    Posted by Jueseppi B. | July 22, 2013, 7:50 pm

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