China Car Sales Tumble For Second Month In A Row, As Goldman Sees Spike In China Inflation To Multi-Year Highs

Tyler Durden's picture

More bad news for China's stagflating economy: according to an industry group, China automobile sales dropped for the second month in a row in May, pointing to slowing demand after Beijing stopped offering incentives and
introduced new limits on car purchases earlier this year. "Vehicle sales in China shed 13.95 percent on-month to 1.19 million
last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM)
said. It was a 29.74 percent increase compared to the same month last
year. Auto output fell 14.36 percent from a month earlier to about 1.31 million units in May. The industry group attributed the continued decline in May sales to
the end of the tax breaks and incentive policies in the country. The Chinese government ended tax breaks for purchases of small cars at
the end of 2010 and reimposed a 10 percent tax at the beginning of this
year. The tax breaks, introduced in 2009 to buoy domestic
demand amid the economic slowdown, had boosted China's auto market and
helped it overtake the United States as the world's largest in 2009 and
2010." This is yet another piece of bad news for GM, for whom China has recently become the dominant market (even as it stuff US dealers with record amount of inventory), and since the company has been unable to take advantage of the supply disruptions that have crippled Japanese car makers, expect to see GM stock take its current post-IPO low stock price even lower. "Wang Qingtao, analyst at China's Sealand Securities Co., expected the
downward trend in the Chinese auto industry would likely continue for a
while, saying "the market fundamentals are not likely to change
drastically." And in the meantime, Goldman now anticipates China's May inflation to hit 5.5% Y/Y, the highest such increase in years, and the Stagflationary economy continues overheating, this time due to surging food prices as a result of the record drought previously discussed.

From Goldman:

China is scheduled to release May economic data from June 10 onwards (Exhibit 1 has the preliminary release schedule). Here are our estimates and thoughts on these upcoming releases:

CPI inflation to rebound amid higher food prices

Food prices have been getting higher in recent weeks as a result of the continued rise in meat (especially pork) prices and the drought in Southern China which pushed up vegetable and seafood prices. We expect non-food CPI inflation to remain subdued amid the slow money and activity growth over the past several months. While commodities such as coal and cement saw higher domestic prices in recent weeks, the impact on PPI inflation will likely lag and show up more visibly in the June PPI data.

We expect May yoy CPI inflation to rise to 5.5%, up from 5.3% in April. This would imply a mom growth of around 5.7% mom s.a. ann., up from 3.5% mom s.a. ann. in April. We expect CPI: food inflation to rise to 12.1% yoy, up from 11.5% yoy in April. Non-food CPI inflation is likely to inch down slightly to 2.6% yoy from 2.7% yoy in April.

PPI inflation is likely to moderate to 6.4% yoy in May, down from 6.8% yoy in April. This implies a sequential growth of 0.1% mom s.a. ann.

Industrial activity growth to rebound

The official and HSBC PMI indices both suggested a stabilization of industrial activities in May (the official readings both went down but after adjusting for seasonality both went up). We believe the driver of the rebound (from a very low level in April) probably came from the supply side as supposed to demand side. Anecdotal evidence suggests there were much fewer cases of power cuts throughout May compared with April and supply-chain disruptions because of the Japan earthquake have been disappearing quickly as well. On the other hand, we do not see any major rebound on the demand side as there has been continued domestic policy tightening which restricts domestic demand growth and was the main driver of the significant slowdown in activity growth since the start of the year including April and further evidence of softening external demand growth, especially in the US.

Specifically, we expect May industrial production (IP) growth to rise to 13.9% yoy, up from 13.4% yoy in April. This would imply a  sequential growth of 7.1% mom s.a. ann., up from the -7.7% mom s.a. ann. growth in April.

We expect fixed asset investment (FAI) growth to soften to 25.3% yoy in January-May from 25.4% yoy in January-April. The implied May FAI growth is 25.1% yoy, down from 26.1% yoy in April.

We expect May retail sales growth to rise to 17.3% yoy, up from 17.1% yoy in April amid higher consumer price inflation.

Export growth to moderate

We expect May export growth to moderate to 20.0% yoy, down from 29.9% yoy in April. This would imply a mom s.a. ann. growth of around 25.5% in May, down from 26.9% in April. While this is still a high level of growth, it is significantly lower than the 40%+ average sequential growth over the previous 6 months.

Meanwhile, we expect May import growth to rise to 26.0% yoy, up from 21.8% yoy in April. This would imply a sequential growth of around -1.2% mom s.a. ann. in May, up from -25.0% mom s.a. ann. in April.

The implied trade surplus is US$16.6 billion, up from US$11.4 billion in April.

Broad money supply growth to remain low

Our channel checks with commercial banks suggest there have been continued restrictions on credit expansion and probably stricter than they were in April. We view this as the most important biding constraint on credit growth as loan demand remains beyond the comfort level of the government.

We expect the amount of CNY loans made in May to fall to around Rmb600 billion, from Rmb739.6 billion in April. The yoy growth of CNY loans should likely fall to 17.1%, down from 17.5% in April. The implied sequential growth is 17.0% mom s.a. ann., up from to the
10.6% mom s.a. ann. in April.

We believe yoy M2 growth is likely to fall to 15.0% yoy, down from 15.3% yoy in April. Sequential growth should rise to 13.1% mom s.a. ann., up from 3.6% mom s.a. ann. in April.

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Imminent Collapse's picture

Only 1.31 million cars sold in China in May.  How will they survive?


achmachat's picture

I used to rollerblade on beijing bicycle lanes. The danger came from CARS using those lanes...

Ahmeexnal's picture

They might be buying less cars, but they keep piling up gold.

They just added 4 more tons of gold:

Archaeologists in China are about to uncover an odd treasure: ten thousand tons of 2000 year old Engelhard gold bars.

Long-John-Silver's picture

If you don't fix the leaks in the boat that lead to bailing it out, more bailing will not solve the problem.

Sudden Debt's picture

Unless you steer your ship to the cliffs, and if you are lucky the ship will stay above water for a while.



Caviar Emptor's picture

The 5 year auto plan has likely ended. When government programs end in China, they really end. GM rode the wave. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Keep in mind that our government auto plan ended too (cash for clunkers) . Gradually the two economic models are converging. 

Caviar Emptor's picture

German-grown beansprouts likely cause of deadly E. coli outbreak, officials say - AP

Spanish are angry because the Germans blamed their cucumbers for killing Germans!

Food fight!

Ahmeexnal's picture

History repeats again and again:

Zapatero, caudillo de España por la gracia de Dios (german puppet)

civil war

Spanish Royal family restored (english puppets)

Seasmoke's picture

this is great news for SCHWINN

SilverShortage's picture

Jim Rogers still ultra bullish on China although he admits that there is a bubble in urban coastal real estate in China


More jim rogers interviews at

Bam_Man's picture

You mean that not everyone on Earth will eventually be a car owner?

Village Idiot's picture

"Does have a little Wang in it - can I have some more?"  (comedy gold)


Bam_Man's picture

Someone needs to develop a "Fred Flintstone" model and soon.

laomei's picture

I actually live here, in Beijing China.  This article was obviously written by someone who really has no clue.


Time to tear some shit apart...


CPI: Basic foods are highly regulated in terms of pricing, attempting to manipulate the market will get you locked up for a long long time.  Staples are price-controlled and while other increases are taking more money away from city dwellers, farmers are making a killing.


Gas prices: We used to pay approximately $Jack.shit for gas, that has obviously changed.  Now 97# is 8.4 a liter and 93# is 7.8 in Beijing, cheaper in the countryside obviously though.  Thing is that we have endless other public transit options, so the only real concern is "where the hell can I park?"  Rates have been raised to 15 RMB an hour in much of the downtown city.


Other car stuff: There has NEVER been an incentive here to purchase a car.  The only "tax break" is the fact that taxes were raised in January.  In order to purchase a car now, you have to enter the lottery to get a plate AND you have to be able to provide documentation that you have a place to park it AND you have to have lived here with a steady job for 5 years if you are not a local resident. 


Housing prices: Are being deflated in a rather controlled way and it's nice to see (despite my 47w apartment climbing to 300w and now falling back to 250w).  Beijing residents are highly restricted on how many properties that can purchase, loan requirements for everything past the first apartment are through the roof and non-residents get to do that whole 5 years with a steady job thing before they are allowedto purchase.  Sale prices will be further regulated in order to kill all major speculation before the end of the year.


I would hardly call this a stagflation situation.  Wages are going through the roof and quickly.  The minimum wage has been raised significantly and income taxes have been revised to remove tax liability entirely from those who earn under 3000 a month.  For those earning over 19,000 RMB a month they are seeing an increase in their taxes every month.


Produce prices have gone up some, sure, but it's all still cheap outside the cities (and albeit some prices have doubled in the last year, paying 30 cents a kilo versus 15 cents a kilo is hardly a ball buster).  The situation is not even close to as dire as the idiots in the west would love you to believe (hint, it's orchestrated propaganda.. easier to ignore domestic issues when you claim it's worse overseas... and it's easy to do that because it's not like anyone fact checks)

Slash's picture

" AND you have to have lived here with a steady job for 5 years if you are not a local resident."


 Beijing residents are highly restricted on how many properties that can purchase, loan requirements for everything past the first apartment are through the roof and non-residents get to do that whole 5 years with a steady job thing before they are allowedto purchase. 


And what's the ratio of resident to non resident again?

laomei's picture

it's around 1:9 beijinger:outsider.  However do keep in mind that this has absolutely zero effect on those who already purchased an apartment.  It's more or a restriction to cease the damned shanxi coal boss speculation and other speculation.


Another nice perk here is that homeowners pay exactly $0 in property taxes.  Businesses however get to pay 5-7% based either on rent or on value.  It's almost like it makes sense... 

robertocarlos's picture

That's not fair. Vancouver allows Chinese to buy cars without having worked here for 5 years. I was hoping to move to Beijing as a retired person.

laomei's picture

Foreigners, thankfully, they realized are not the problem.  You still have to wait 1 year after your first residency permit before you can buy anything however, and you are highly restricted in terms of mortgages and number of properties you can purchase (it's essentially 1, in all of China that you are entitled to.  And you down payment must be at least 50%).  Also, unless you have actual family here, yea, you are not going to really be allowed to "retire" in China as a foreigner.

huggy_in_london's picture

mate, if i were you i'd assume the "brace" position....this birds going down.

thefedisscam's picture

Glad to see some truth posted here.


bbtrader's picture

130,000 riots a year - is this true?  New unrest in Inner Mongolia.

And what's wrong with your stock market?

TGR's picture

You guys in Beijing have it easy when it comes to vehicles compared to Shanghai in respect to licensing. Anyone can buy a car in Shanghai, but the catch is getting a license: Beijing has the lottery, Shanghai auctions approx 5,000 (Shanghai-registered) plates a month.

That means license plates are now about RMB50,000 each (USD7,800), but these are resellable and considered an appreciating asset (like gold) so it does not put people off. I know some people who now have a plate worth more than their old car (Santanas). If you don't get a Shanghai plate, you are restricted from driving at key times and on key roads.

There is absolutely no let-up in the number of people seeking licences, thus the consistently rising plate costs since 1987.

People don't consider themselves to have 'made it' in China until they have 1) an apartment and 2) a car, and that still holds true today despite inflated prices.



laomei's picture

It's all honestly still rather tame.  Check out what Singapore does with CoEs, it now costs around $50,000 just to have the right to have a car for 10 years.  In Beijing, the plates cannot be transferred outside of a very few whacky circumstances which enabled some dealers the ability to make a nice pile of money... but alas that loophole is closed for good now.


In Beijing, if you get caught driving a non-jing plated car during the restricted times inside the city you get slapped with a 200 RMB fine... that's not a "per day" thing like getting caught driving on your off day used to be.  It's now per time captured, either by cop or by camera (there are cameras everywhere)

smlbizman's picture

it seems to me that it is now acceptable to use the al dunlap way to count if you are a car manufacture.....

falak pema's picture

I am sure that the export of good wine to China is going to explode in coming years! Just shows that the chinese are getting culture conscious...and their gourmet tradition will be a bonus for those who like to export quality food...that china doesn't make... Go long on Champagne!

bankonzhongguo's picture

Champagne tastes like Chinese medicine.


huggy_in_london's picture

You've missed that trade buddy, thats the reason why the 2009 bordeaux went for sky high prices (with the 2010 vintage set to do the same).  

Beats me why they pay £13k for a case of 95 Lafite when all they do is mix it with coca-cola.  But i guess thats what happens in bubble economies!

laomei's picture

Not really, Chinese simply don't know their wines.  China is essentially a dumping grounds for wine product that will never sell elsewhere.  Domestic Chinese wine has also made a LOT of progress and the major wineries here have recruited top talent from abroad to bring the wine to world class standards.  There are excellent grape growing regions in China.

robertocarlos's picture

In one thousand months everybody in China will own a car. Then what will they do?

falak pema's picture

drive down the silk route to Venice on holiday!

DosZap's picture

They are very industrious.

If I were them, I would make the Great Wall a four lane Tollway.

PulauHantu29's picture

Wait until a few hundred million there all try to sell their RE at the same time.

The panic rush to exit RE there will be worse then the USA subprime imho.

laomei's picture

Yea, here's the fun thing about RE here in China... it's regulated and Chinese are generally not in it for the fast buck, they purchase it in the same way they purchase gold.  As an inflation hedge.  After the second apartment, you don't get any loans, it's all up front in cash.  Furthermore, no one in their right mind here would go off and sell like that, and if it was attempted, the government would step in to stabilize the market... you know, like what a government is suppossed to do.

chistletoe's picture

no mention of government motors.

Weren't they counting on sales in China to save the day?

Channel-stuffing can't go on forever.

Well, thanks for the recommendation to short.  So far its working pretty good ....

Fox-Scully's picture

There goes GMs biggest growth market!

nathan1234's picture

Unlikely with war around the corner in the middle east this summer.. With the financial system broken the last chance would be to ensure the takeover of oil interests .

nathan1234's picture

Goldman & GM  

Both taxpayer handouts need to be closed down once and for all.