Posts Tagged inflation
The current disparities between growth (+1.3%), deposit rates (zero!), inflation (5%) and property prices (20%) in Hong Kong its like watching a race between a hamster, tortoise, horse and cheetah! As mentioned in part 1 of this topic, the reason why there is inflation and upward pressure in monetary value of certain services and assets in Hong Kong is largely due to the demand from external factors. Similar to my analogy of Hong Kong resembling a shopping mall, most of the key products and services are targeted at serving/providing to foreigners (in a good way) The 3 key areas of growth for Hong Kong in this decade comes from the financial, property and luxury consumer sector which is largely targeted at foreigners (foreigner buying up luxury apartments, foreign companies raising IPO, foreign tourist buying up luxury products etc.)
Ok then you must be thinking what is different this time compare to 10 years ago? It is the HKD peg. Chinese Yuan and other Asian currencies have appreciated over 20% against HKD in the past 5 years and this trend is likely to continue with the quantitative easing in the west. The HKMA and Financial Secretary have denied the peg has brought about inflation? Look at 10 years Hong Kong Government Bond Yields 0.46%?! This is largely due to inflow of money and the result of increase in monetary base from defending the peg. 10 yrs yield at 0.46 while inflation is 10x of that??
Why are they in denial?They are just afraid to say it because given how well the peg has served Hong Kong, no one is going to change the peg, be it someone in HKMA, government or even the PBOC and the Chinese Government. One must also know this the HKD peg served as a good indicator for China on liquidity flow so why remove that….But something has to be done if we were to see a fairer race among the people in Hong Kong than the one we currently have. The peg can stay but for the sake of Hong Kong people who is reading, you should take your money out of the bank and move it into RMB, buy some equities or fixed income investments and last YOU mustn’t sell your property. If you don’t own a property in Hong Kong means you are short and the peg will kill you…If one decide not to do anything of such, they better make sure he/she gets a work in this mall or else you would be poorer even though the country continues to prosper….
Hong Kong announced on Friday its Gross Domestic Product grew 1.3% year-on-year in the third quarter, similar to the 1.2% growth seen in the second quarter. The data also unveiled the underlying consumer price inflation stands at 4% in the third quarter. Residential Flat prices from June to September rose by over 6% (in just 3 months!).
These data must look rather bizarre for general public as well as economists and financial professionals. Here is another observation, China Daily reported this “Hong Kong‘s Causeway Bay has dethroned New York‘s Fifth Avenue as the world‘s most expensive retail area, as luxury brands retailers such as Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci compete for limited prime space in the city to court big spenders, particularly mainland tourists.
The average annual rent at Causeway Bay, the prime retail district on Hong Kong Island, surged 34.9 percent to $2,630 per square foot at the end of June from a year ago, beating the $2,500 price tag of Fifth Avenue in New York‘s Manhattan district, which has occupied the top spot for 11 consecutive years, according to estimates by commercial real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield Inc.”
So why is this happening? This is because the economy has become more dependent on China and Global Spending (just imagine Hong Kong as a large Shopping Mall) hence even though growth been rather weak, inflation continue to rise especially in areas which supply goods and services to this large global shopping mall. In this shopping mall, you have bankers that provide credits, salesperson to serve customers, lawyers to document/advise the process and doctors to cure those that gotten sick while shopping,
This is the state of the Hong Kong’s economy. It is debateable whether it is good or bad but one thing is for such we need a good mall management team (the government!) to guide the people of Hong Kong to equip themselves to work in this mall. No shopping mall survive without makeover and enhancement and quality control. It is time for the government to start working on these or else it would turn into an unloved mall with little patrons just like those malls in Hong Kong which none of us patronise anymore…
Running up to the US election and Chinese leadership change and now Hurricane Sandy, risk assets have pulled back last few days. I believe this week would be the best time to add risk assets to your portolio if you have miss the boat earlier. Global inflation have started to pick up and fund flows have move out of money market funds in search of yields and returns as US and China economic data points to further recovery. Right now many global investors has parked cash in low yielding fixed income instruments such as government bonds. Once global economy picks up slighlty and QE being withdrew from the system money will chase for higher return assets and given low valuation in the equity and credit space, we will see a long and sustain run up in the Risk assets in 2013.