Morgan Stanley Explains One Big Reason Why Central Planners Can't Generate Any Inflation

As China continues to weaken the Yuan, it's important to note the impact that it has on the inflation expectations of other economies, namely the US, Japan, and Europe. As central planners aggressively try to boost inflation, and in the meantime have created a stunning $11.7 trillion in negative yielding debt, China could be hindering that effort quite a bit.

As Morgan Stanley points out, CNY has weakened over the last year or so versus the Euro, Yen, and Dollar and is helping to explain the continued undershoot of inflation in Japan and Europe - and we would add in the US.

From MS

The RMB decline has materialized mainly against the EUR and even more so against the JPY. This may explain the continued undershoot of inflation in Europe and Japan.

MS goes on to note that the overcapacity in Asia (something we have discussed often) and a weaker currency will continue to lead to lower export prices, and thus dampen future inflation expectations, which can be seen in the US 5y5y inflation expectations. MS also observes that developed market inflation behavior is led by movements in Chinese prices, and the rally in global bonds will continue to push the USD higher, putting further downward pressure on prices.

Moderate US growth together with overcapacity in Asia and a weaker RMB will likely result in lower export prices from Asia. Market-based US inflation expectations are now lower than April, supported by Michigan survey data, all despite commodity prices being generally higher. Post Brexit our rates strategy team remains long duration, which is further supported by this lacklustre inflation environment. Inflation expectations might be held back by falling import prices from economies that run spare capacity. Exhibit 23 shows that the recent DM inflation behaviour was actually led by the movements in Chinese prices. The rally in global bonds, particularly in the US, may actually push USD higher as foreign investors look for places with a relatively high yield.

MS concludes by saying that deflationary pressures are likely to remain in place as overcapacity persists.

Important for the outcome is the evaluation of global deflationary pressures, which may be primarily fed from Asia. Yes, China’s PPI has improved from -5.9%Y to -2.9%Y, but RMB has declined over the past couple of quarters at an annualized rate of 11%, suggesting that import price deliveries from China are currently falling by 5%. Importantly, deflationary pressures are likely to remain in place as overcapacity persists. Take for instance the steel sector, where production capacity has increased by 35 million tons as China progressed through its recent mini-cycle.

Within the G10, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are most likely to see the most import pressure to the downside.

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In summary, while Kyle Bass has the ultimate long-term endgame pegged, in the short-term, China will continue to systematically export deflation around the world, and continue to be a significant thorn in the side of central planners everywhere who are trying desperately to generate any type of meaningful inflation and salvage whatever is left  of their credibility.

Source: Morgan Stanley