As China grapples with a serious deflation threat, investors worldwide must prepare for the fallout and adjust their strategies accordingly, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations.
The warning from deVere Group’s Nigel Green comes as China reports July inflation on Wednesday, with markets looking for further signs of deflation.
The government has been actively playing down fears about deflation, with officials from the People’s Bank of China and National Bureau of Statistics, among other agencies, repeatedly saying there is no basis for long-term price declines.
Talking about the threat publicly is also off the agenda for many China-based analysts and economists, according to media reports.
Nigel Green comments: “China’s economic trajectory has been a focal point of global attention for decades, with its staggering growth and transformation capturing the world’s imagination.
“But the recent emergence of serious deflationary pressures in the world’s second-largest economy is triggering concerns that extend well beyond its borders.
“This economic phenomenon has the potential to set off a chain reaction of global repercussions that could reshape financial markets, trade dynamics and even international relations.”
Deflation – a persistent decline in prices of goods and services – can be as detrimental as rampant inflation, “if not more so”, states the deVere CEO.
In China’s case, the underlying factors driving deflation are complex and interconnected; rooted in weak consumer demand, declining exports and a highly subdued – but critical – property sector.
“China is a critical trade partner for many nations. As its exports become cheaper due to deflation, other economies might face increased competition, forcing them to lower their own prices or risk losing market share,” explains Green.
“Also, reduced demand for raw materials and commodities due to its economic slowdown is likely to lead to a decrease in global commodity prices. Those countries heavily reliant on commodity exports would then experience economic hardships as their revenues decline.
“The deflationary environment can put pressure on central banks to implement aggressive monetary policies, such as lowering interest rates or engaging in quantitative easing. This could distort global financial markets, affecting asset prices and investment strategies.”
This scenario is “worsened by the lack of transparency” as some leading academics, analysts and economists are reportedly being censored by Beijing, which is fearful of creating a doom cycle with negative news.
The interconnected nature of the global economy means that China’s deflation doesn’t remain confined within its borders.
As such, investors around the world should adopt strategies that “promote diversification, consider more defensive investments, and remain adaptable to changing economic conditions,” suggest the deVere boss.
“By staying informed and understanding the nuances of China’s deflation, investors can better position themselves to mitigate risks to their long-term wealth and capitalise on the significant opportunities that we expect to emerge amid the turmoil.”