Even Wall Street's China bulls are worried

HSBC just cut its forecasts for China.

In a recent note, HSBC economists revised China’s 2015 GDP growth forecast to 7.1% down from 7.3%.

According to a survey of 54 economists conducted by Bloomerg earlier this month, the consensus on Wall Street was already low at 7.0% growth. This is a deceleration from the 7.4% growth rate the world’s second largest economy experienced in 2014.

“While Q1 2015 will likely be the trough in terms of sequential growth, we now forecast a softer rebound in Q2 2015, with a year-on-year growth slipping below policy maker’s comfort level during the quarter, prompting more aggressive easing. We expect GDP to bottom out in Q3 2015,” according to HSBC’s Chief Economist for Greater China Qu Hongbin.

Furthermore, HSBC cut their export growth forecast for China to 4.2% down from 7.1%.

“Export growth has been weaker than expected so far in 2015, a reflection of soft external demand and the RMB’s strength in relation to its trade partners,” he continued. “Weaker exports will weigh on corporate spending and sentiment.”

And on top of all that, domestic demand is still pretty sluggish, which analysts attribute to policy makers’ belated easing.

China’s slowdown has been a big story for some time now — and Beijing has been actively trying to combat it.

But so far, it looks like nothing policy makers have done has really worked.

Consequently, analysts expect China to do even more to fight its economic problems:

“As economic activity continues to weaken, we believe growth will slip below policymakers’ bottom line in Q2 2015 (our Q2 2015 y-o-y forecast is 6.8%), prompting more aggressive easing measures in 2H 2015,” writes Hongbin. “We now expect 50bp of reserve ratio cuts to take place towards the end of Q2 2015 (vs. none previously). We also expect the PBoC to deliver another 50bp policy rate cut and 200bp reserve ratio cuts in 2H 2015.”

“…we also expect the PBoC to conduct short as well as long term liquidity injections in order to neutralise the impact of slower FX inflows on base money growth,” writes Hongbin. Additionally, “we expect the start of municipal bond issuance to reduce the financing bottleneck for longer-term infrastructure investment projects.”

Despite the downgrade, HSBC’s forecast for 2015 is still more bullish than the 7.0% growth targeted by China’s policymakers.

Things may get better after China doubles down on easing. But for now it’s not looking too great.

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