China has had everyone worried this year.
Official third-quarter GDP figures put growth at 6.9%, beating analysts’ expectations.
But people either don’t believe it — even Premier Li Keqiang recommended looking at better measures such as electricity output — or are worried that the huge wave of corporate debt built up in the post-2008 boom times will come crashing down soon.
The concerns are hitting corporate executives’ confidence, as shown in a survey of 60 top managers of European companies.
The survey, compiled by Credit Suisse research analysts led by Richard Kersley, found that companies looking to increase spending fell from 29% to 19% in October from June, as the outlook for global growth darkened.
Here’s what Credit Suisse said (emphasis ours):
When asked to rank a range of prevailing macro risks, China as a concern is through the roof. In fact, 47% of respondents say they have already postponed related projects. Concerns about price competition are written all over the qualitative remarks. At the same time, the proportion of companies saying they will invest in Europe versus outside has trended up sharply.
And here’s what that looks like:
Perhaps the most worrying impact on corporate behaviour from the China slowdown, is the high level of postponed projects. The rate has steadily increased this year to 42% claiming they have delayed:
But, while China is the big worry for the world’s outlook, France has got to be one of the biggest concerns in the Eurozone.
Companies in France are slashing jobs and spending, while a recovery is underway in other major economies in the region, even Spain and Italy.
Here’s what that chart looks like:
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