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  • Alex Haseldine

Fire and Ice

Over the past year global industrial production has been remarkably flat: no boom, no bust. Looking just at China and the US, the facts are as follows: US IP declined by 0.7% on the year to October; China grew 4.2% YoY, comfortably below its pre-Covid trend of 6% per annum. Look under the hood of these rather boring statistics, there is much wider dispersion than usual.

Booming: most things to do with the transformation are booming, especially EVs, Batteries, Advanced Chips, Robots, Solar and Wind Energy. For the US you can add to that building new factories (on-shoring) where spending has soared even as office vacancy rates trend higher. Oil and gas production is up a 8% this year to a new all time record high.

Struggling: those parts of the economy or financial system most affected by rising interest rates or structural debt problems. That includes things like start-up funding in Silicon Valley (it's collapsed) and new commercial real estate loans in cities like Atlanta. In China, it is anything to do with housing, where the developers (not the buyers) are wildly leveraged and the public has lost confidence in future prospects for price appreciation. Cement production would have been down a lot more than 2% had the government not commissioned some significant infrastructure spending.


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