China’s volatile stock market has been front and center over the last few months.
But although the stocks grabbed everyone’s attention, it’s also important to look at what’s going on in the rest of China’s economy.
In a recent note to clients, Societe Generale’s Wei Yao noted that beneath 2015’s insane stock surge and its effect on the financial economy, the rest of China’s economy actually looks pretty ugly.
Over the last few years, the industrial sector dropped significantly, with nominal growth around 1.2% year over year in the first half of the year. Furthermore, construction decelerated “substantially” from over 10% in mid-2014 down to 4.1% year-over-year in Q2, according to Yao’s data.
Meanwhile, the financial sector shot up like crazy thanks mostly to the stock market rally. Over the past three quarters financials were up 17.9%, 20.1%, and 26.6% respectively in year-over-year terms, according to Yao.
In light of those numbers, if you take financials out of GDP growth, things don’t look so great after all.
Or as Yao writes in her note, “Actually, excluding financial services, even real GDP growth would have dropped to 6.1% yoy in H1.“
As a side note, some could argue — if you look at the situation from a more positive angle — that financials actually helped to offset some of the weakness in the rest of the economy.
However, “with the increase in financial sector output tied to surging equity market valuations and turnover, it will be tough to sustain in the face of the market correction,” Bloomberg’s chief Asia economist Tom Orlik noted earlier.
And then, things could get really ugly.