China Factory Sector Weighs on Global Markets

Bloomberg reports that a key measure of Chinese manufacturing output fell to a six-month low in January, which, combined with poor data out of the United States, painted a bleak picture of the global recovery. From Reuters:

That could increase worries that weaker growth in Asia’s economic powerhouse could spell trouble for markets and the world economy. Worries about Chinese growth were factors behind the recent selloff in emerging market assets, as many countries depend on Chinese demand for exported goods.

U.S. manufacturing grew at a substantially slower pace last month as new order growth plunged the most in 33 years, although some economists said extremely cold winter weather was partly responsible.

“The data was very weak across the board. It’s hard to find any good news in there. It looks like a general slowdown, though you don’t know how much of this is weather related,” said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York. [Source]

Despite strong data out of Europe, where factories enjoyed their best month since 2011, The Telegraph reported that China’s struggling manufacturing sector could continue to drag on financial markets:

Marcelo Ribeiro, a strategist at Pentágono Asset Management, is worried that China may not be able to escape the sell-off in emerging markets.

“What worries me more is that people still think that China is different, that it can maintain strong growth when all around her is imploding. This is impossible,” he said.

“The four most dangerous words in financial markets is ‘this time is different’. Unfortunately the wealth built in emerging markets in the last 10 years will be shaved by between 50pc and 60pc. That’s how a bubble ends.” [Source]

China last week reported 7.7% GDP growth for 2013, narrowly missing estimates of a 14-year low growth rate.