On the recommendation of a loyal reader, I just listened to Jing Ulrich talk about China’s economy over at China Money Podcast.  Ms. Ulrich heads up Global Markets at J.P. Morgan and I definitely put her on the very short list of those discussing China’s economy who actually know whereof they speak.

If you want an update on where China’s economy is today and where it is likely to be going in the future, I recommend you listen to this podcast.  If you want me to partially spoil it for you, read on.

In very brief summary, Ms. Ulrich noted the following:

  • China’s economy is rebounding, due at least in part to the government pumping large amounts of money into the system.
  • China real estate is in danger of overheating and so we should expect more government measures seeking to prevent this. Expect stricter enforcement of  existing laws and more cities rolling out a property tax.
  • Expect future infrastructure investment to focus on urban subways, light rail and the environment.

What do you think?

UPDATE:  While on the subject of China’s economy, just saw an excellent and informative interview of Michael Pettis by Tom Orlik (two people I put on the same “very short list” mentioned above — see my later post, entitled, Who To Read On China’s Economy?) over at China Real Time Report, entitled, “Eight Questions: Michael Pettis, ‘The Great Rebalancing.’”  Definitely well worth a read as well.

Interesting article today in the China Economic Review, entitled “Environmental Crackdown Could Raise Prices.”  According to the article, the Chinese government’s increasingly tough environmental standards likely will soon cause price increases:

Stringent new environmental laws affecting the petrochemicals sector could result in price rises for clothes, household goods and other plastic products.  The [Chinese] State Environmental Protection Agency is expected to introduce a more stringent approval process for new industrial projects after it last week outlined the results of a two-month nationwide audit of 127 chemical producers in which it rejected or suspended approval for 44 projects across a range of heavy industries, and published a “name-and-shame” list of 20 projects that fell short of environmental standards.  Analysts said the crackdown has effectively frozen new petrochemical projects and would limit capacity in a sector already squeezed by record oil prices and widespread over-investment. As a result, petrochemical firms may start charging more for the raw materials they sell to manufacturers of everything from toys to textiles, which would likely be passed on to consumers.

Bottom Line:  The Chinese government strongly favors environmentally sound companies, even if that means prices will rise.