Happy hump day, readers. I’m Phil Rosen.
A lot of people like to monitor where billionaires are traveling (like the student who tracks the flights of Elon Musk’s private jet).
This week Musk and fellow mogul Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, are both visiting China on business trips, even as tensions between Washington and China remain high.
The Tesla chief will be visiting his car factory in Shanghai, while the Wall Street titan will be kicking off a 2,600-person conference in the same city.
While I personally won’t be flying internationally anytime soon, we’re diving into China’s lethargic economy for today’s newsletter.
1. The much-anticipated economic rebound hasn’t quite materialized for China in the way many had expected.
In the months following its strict COVID-19 lockdowns, experts anticipated resurgent demand and growth across the board.
So far that’s not been the case. The sluggish recovery has embedded itself in nearly every corner of the world’s second-largest economy, even in some of the most obscure commodities markets.
Futures prices for glass — China accounts for over half the world’s plate-glass production — have declined 20% in the past month.
And styrene, a key material in home goods plastics, has also seen sharp declines as demand for appliances falters.
Pulp, too, a packaging commodity, saw futures prices plunge in February after weak domestic demand couldn’t match a bounce in production.
The stalled rebound has left some on Wall Street bearish on what comes next for China and Chinese assets, with Rockefeller International’s Ruchir Sharma recently calling the rebound narrative a “charade.”
The CSI 300 index has slipped over recent weeks, and luxury brands reliant on China’s large consumer base have tumbled. The yuan, too, has weakened against the dollar.
In addition, private investment has collapsed over the last year in China, youth unemployment remains high, and heightened geopolitical risks could present access issues for foreign technology.
Still, some analysts have cautioned that there are shortcomings to being so near-sighted on the country.
Wall Street is so focused on immediate metrics that they’ve failed to take in the full picture, according to Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
“I feel sorry for these people in some ways,” Lardy told my colleague Filip De Mott, “because every time the Chinese release some data, they have to say something about it.”
What’s your outlook on China’s economy for the rest of 2023? Tweet me (@philrosenn) or email me (email@example.com) to let me know.
In other news:
2. US stock futures fall early Wednesday as investors await a debate in the House of Representatives on a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Check out the latest market moves.
3. Earnings on deck: Salesforce, Nordstrom, and more, all reporting.
4. Goldman Sachs strategists recommended buying into this batch of beaten-down stocks right now. Their list of 51 names is set to outperform if the US avoids a recession, and there’s still a chance of a soft-landing. Get the list.
5. A majority of global central banks now expect gold to grow as a reserve asset. That rise would coincide with a dip for the dollar, according to a survey by the World Gold Council. Nearly two-thirds of countries expect bullion to play a bigger role in the years ahead.
6. The US dollar is overbought and could weaken to recent lows, according to a currency strategist. The greenback looks vulnerable to a pullback ahead of the June Fed meeting, as investors are beginning to expect central banks to tighten policy once again. Get the full details.
7. Home prices are declining in western states while continuing to hit new highs in the rest of the country. Utah, Colorado, and other states are seeing annual declines for the first time in years, but that’s not a national trend.
8. Meet a 34-year-old property owner who achieved financial independence and quit his day job. He set up two bachelorette-themed Airbnbs in Scottsdale as a way to stand out. Here’s how he uses data to find “outsized opportunities.”
9. Stubbornly high inflation is leading to record rent prices. But there’s actually a swath of cities that are now more affordable today than they were last year. Renters can look to these 25 markets for relatively affordable housing.
10. Nvidia just joined the $1 trillion-valuation club. After this year’s 182% stock rally, the chip-maker joined Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Saudi Aramco in the elite 13-figure class. Read more.
Edited by Jason Ma in Los Angeles and Nathan Rennolds (@ncrennolds) in London.