China’s 10% Growth Threatens Inflation of 10%: William Pesek
By William Pesek – Mar 7, 2011 2:00 PM PT
If any generalization can be made about China-watchers, it’s that they are an optimistic bunch. They scour government data, energy-use tables and factory output, finding loads to smile about. China can grow 10 percent a year forever.
Events on the streets of Beijing offer a timely reality check. There, economists can find ample evidence that China may be approaching the limits of its ability to grow sustainably. Inflation is among the forces unnerving the masses, a phenomenon not unlike the one inspiring uprisings in the Middle East.
China is plenty spooked by a smattering of domestic protests. Clampdowns on the Internet and the foreign media have been relentless. Yet it’s the increasing focus of Premier Wen Jiabao on inflation that serves as a warning to those used to nothing but good news from China. Overheating risks are rising before our eyes.
The economy may be at a dangerous turning point, one where jumps in asset and consumer prices derail an impressive run. It doesn’t mean China is about to crash. It does mean that the time for taking its boom for granted is over.
China is run by some talented policy makers. The question is whether the side effects of years of explosive growth are mounting too fast to count. Among the challenges China must juggle: slowing growth, surging oil and food costs, hot money zooming its way from the West, a widening gap between rich and poor and demands for greater openness.
Inflation is the most immediate concern. Wen pledges to tackle it as surging food and housing prices spark public anger. China’s 4 percent inflation target for this year was probably exceeded by almost a percentage point in February, and a growing number of China’s 1.3 billion people aren’t happy about it.
For a Communist Party obsessed with social stability, inflation is a clear and present danger. And it’s not obvious that Chinese officials get that point. If they did, they would be telegraphing big increases in China’s currency at least to get a handle on inflation expectations.
Such a move isn’t afoot, at least not yet. Neither did Wen, in a speech last week, set any lending target for banks. That leaves officials rummaging through their administrative toolbox for options, of which there are few. More interest-rate increases are a given, yet China lacks a functional bond market to bring about the multiplier effect that makes monetary policy so potent at containing inflation.
China is in a tough and unprecedented place. It must balance the need to slow overheating risks, keep growth as close to 8 percent as possible to create jobs and rein in pollution.
For all the talk of five-year plans, China is making things up as it goes along. Its rise differs from Europe’s and the U.S.’s. Aside from scale, the internationalization of finance creates control problems with which western powers don’t have to contend. Easy-money policies from Washington to Frankfurt to Tokyo are boosting Chinese real-estate values. As they climb, slums are emerging in cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Migrant workers and cash-strapped urban youth are hard-pressed to find affordable places to live.
An undervalued yuan doesn’t help. China’s $2.8 trillion of currency reserves is the most striking side effect of its state- capitalism model. It amasses ever-growing piles of U.S. debt to maintain a competitive exchange rate. While successful for now, the policy has three negatives: it inflates the money supply, creates trade tensions and prolongs an addiction to exports.
Rebalancing the domestic economy would be easier if the world economy were sound. A financial crisis prompted China to open the fiscal floodgates, starting in 2008 with a 4 trillion yuan ($609 billion) stimulus plan. In 2010, new loans exceeded a 7.5 trillion yuan ceiling.
What worries China skeptics is how things will play out when the proverbial music stops. The quality of growth matters as much as the pace. Massive investment is needed to sustain economic expansion, yet all too much of it is going to national champions whose returns might never materialize. Is China setting itself up for a bad-loan crisis?
No one can say for sure. Yet China’s growing inflation challenge complicates things. It means the gradualist approach favored in Beijing won’t work this time. The danger, say economists such as Glenn Maguire of Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong, is that inflation may rise as high as 10 percent by, say, the third quarter. That would cause households tremendous pain and fuel social discontent.
China has made it clear that it won’t tolerate the smallest of protests. It also is warning foreign journalists about covering these gatherings and blames reporters for causing trouble, not unlike leaders from Egypt to Libya. The latest chapter of the so-called Jasmine Revolution involves people showing their frustration by taking strolls in major Chinese cities on Sundays.
Blaming the media is rarely a promising sign. It suggests a government more concerned with spin than substance. China should redouble efforts to treat the underlying cause of the turmoil, not the symptoms.
China’s people want less inflation, more government accountability and greater egalitarianism. Its leaders want to blame the messengers. Not a good omen, as economic indicators go.
China’s budget should calm investors in three ways
MAR 7, 2011 16:43 EST
By Wei Gu
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
HONG KONG — Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s weekend “state of the union” speech should calm investors in three ways. Wen pledged that growth would become more sustainable thanks to a focus on social welfare.
Liquidity should be boosted by higher government spending. And if both fail to impress, record expenses on police and domestic surveillance should help contain the risks of dissatisfaction.
Investors’ worries about inflation, tightening and social tensions have left the Shanghai Composite Index flat for three months. Wen’s speech gave it a 2 percent boost on March 7. His 2011 budget targeted a few key numbers: 4 percent inflation, 7 percent income growth, and 10 million new affordable homes, all clearly aimed at keeping the masses happy.
The focus on welfare is sensible. Inequality adds to China’s political risks. Income disparity, as measured by the Gini Index, surpassed the warning level in 2007 and is worse than any developed economy, according to the World Bank. Income growth should also help China move from investment-dependency to consumption, a more stable form of economic growth.
Expansionary fiscal policy to finance social projects should keep GDP growth above 8 percent, and ensure enough liquidity to shore up asset prices. Central government fiscal expenditure in 2011 will rise by almost $1 trillion, or 13 percent, from 2010, versus a 10 percent increase in 2010. The Shanghai Composite tends to do well when public expenditure picks up.
Wen’s targets won’t be easy to hit. Income growth has persistently lagged GDP, trailing by 1.9 percentage points during 2006-2010, according to official data. Even if authorities turn that around, higher minimum wages may add to inflation and hurt employment. Meanwhile, the social housing plan looks too ambitious. China aims to start almost as many affordable homes in 2011 as in the previous five years put together.
That’s where security spending comes in. Spawned by unrest in Egypt and Libya, spending on police and domestic surveillance is set to jump 14 percent to new heights this year, outstripping the defence budget for the first time. That’s by no means good for those who would hope for democracy in China, but should soothe the nerves of those who just want a more stable financial return.
Ekonomi Dunia Tahun Ini Diperkirakan Bakal Lebih Sulit
SELASA, 18 JANUARI 2011 | 15:45 WIB
TEMPO Interaktif, Jakarta -Ekonomi dunia tahun ini diperkirakan lebih berisiko dibandingkan tahun sebelumnya. “Ekonomi Indonesia mendapat tantangan untuk mengatur arus dana masuk dan mengendalikan inflasi yang terus meningkat,” kata ekonom senior Deutsche Bank Taimur Baig di Jakarta, 18 Januari 2011.
Dunia akan disibukkan dengan harga komoditas seperti pangan dan minyak yang akan terus merangkak naik. Aliran dana dari negara asing yang keluar masuk negara berkembang serta menguatnya nilai tukar mata uang beberapa negara dunia akan menjadi tantangan baru.
Bank Indonesia dinilai akan kesulitan melakukan penyesuaian cadangan devisa dengan nilai tukar rupiah. Menguatnya rupiah justru akan menurunkan nilai cadangan devisa. BI juga harus mempertimbangkan kenaikan suku bunga acuan yang telah dipertahankan sebesar 6,5 persen dalam setahun terakhir. Taimur memperkirakan suku bunga acuan akan naik pada semester kedua 2011. Kenaikan diperkirakan mencapai 100 bps yang akan dilakukan dalam empat bulan, masing-masing 25 bps.
Adapun pemerintah diharapkan meningkatkan penyerapan anggaran dan meningkatkan belanja. Defisit anggaran tahun 2010 dinilai terlalu rendah, padahal Indonesia seharusnya bisa menggunakan dana untuk belanja lebih banyak. “Itu bukan kabar baik, karena pembangunan infrastruktur butuh banyak dana,” kata Taimur. Terutama, pembangunan infrastruktur daerah. Sebab penyerapan dana di daerah akan lebih rendah daripada di pusat.
Indonesia juga masih berisiko terkena krisis dari luar. “Indonesia lebih berisiko terkena daripada Cina dan India,” kata dia. Rasio utang Indonesia terhadap PDB yang relatif lebih rendah membuat risiko ini lebih dapat diatasi.
Asian stocks will next year offer “substantial” returns given the outlook for a recovery in the global economy and earnings growth, and as the U.S. takes steps to stimulate growth, according to Deutsche Bank AG.
The shares may rise 20 percent to 30 percent next year, Deutsche Bank strategists led by Ajay Kapur said in a report dated yesterday. They upgraded China to “market weight” from “underweight” and raised Thailand to “overweight” from “market weight.” The analysts cut Malaysia to “market weight” from “overweight.”
The U.S. central bank is meeting today after announcing last month a second round of debt buying through June under a policy known as quantitative easing to spur job growth and avoid deflation. Federal Reserve policy makers may signal that they are open to boosting debt purchases beyond the amount already announced.
“Don’t fight the Fed,” the Deutsche Bank strategists wrote. “The economic cycle is inflecting up.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index rose 0.4 percent to 470.64 as of 9:38 a.m. in Shanghai, extending its gains for the year to 13 percent.
The Deutsche strategists recommended cyclical industries in Asia including auto, retail, capital goods and transport, while saying investors should “underweight” technology hardware, utilities and food and beverage companies.
The U.S., Japanese and European central banks are relying on asset purchases to revive demand and are keeping their interest rates close to record lows.
Sumber : BLOOMBERG.COM
ADB Prediksi Ekonomi Asia Tumbuh 7,3% pada 2011
Oleh: Agustina Melani
Pasar Modal – Selasa, 7 Desember 2010 | 16:49 WIB
INILAH.COM, Hong Kong -Bank Pembangunan Asia memperkirakan pertumbuhan ekonomi 45 negara berkembang Asia pada 2011 tetap di level 7,3%, dari estimasi tahun ini di 8,6%.
Dalam sebuah laporan yang dirilis Selasa (7/12), lembaga Manila menaikkan perkiraan pertumbuhan untuk 45 negara berkembangan di Asia dan Pasific dari perkiraan 8,2% yang dibuat pada September.
Namun ADB menyatakan, tingkat ekspansi akan mudah pada 2011. Prospek ekonomi global melemah ditambah stimulus fiskal dan moneter yang keluar di kawasan ini berarti pertumbuhan ekonomi di daerah harus moderat tahun depan.
Sekitar 67 anggota ADB menggambarkan dirinya sebagai yang didedikasikan untuk mengurangi kemiskinan di Asia dan Pasifik melalui pertumbuhan ekonomi yang inklusif ramah lingkungan dan integrasi regional. ADB menyetujui dana US$16,10 miliar untuk operasi pembiayaan pada 2009.
ADB menyatakan, peningkatan pada 2010 sebagian besar karena pertumbuhan yang lebih cepat dari yang diperkirakan di RRC yang sekarang melihat ADB sebesar 10,1% pada 2010. Yang lebih tinggi dari perkiraan sebelumnya sebesar 9,6% pada September. ADB masih mengharapkan ekonomi RRC untuk naik 9,1% pada 2011.
Selain itu, pertumbuhan rata-rata di negara berkembang Asia Timur kemungkinan 7,3% pada 2011 setelah wilayah ini diperkirakan akan tumbuh 8,8% pada 2010. Head of ADB’s Office of Regional Economic Integration Iwan Aziz mengatakan, pemulihan berbentuk V telah menjalankan program di negara berkembang Asia Timur dan tantangan bagi wilayah ini untuk menempatkan kebijakan nasional yang akan menerjemahkan pemulihan cepat ke pertumbuhan jangka panjang. [ast]
November 29, 2010
The Age of Possibility
By ROGER COHEN
The fall of the Berlin Wall freed Europe, but its broader impact only became clear in the first decade of the 21st century. We didn’t see, in our giddiness, the other walls crumbling: say between Turkey, a NATO member, and Syria, then a Soviet ally, where at least 60,000 land mines once sealed the 540-mile border. Some $2 billion in trade now flows annually across a visa-free frontier. Satellites or former republics of the Soviet Union, like Bulgaria and Georgia, similarly discovered the Turkey next door. No longer the edge of the West, Turkey quietly turned itself into the hub of Eurasia.
An Africa consumed in Cold War days by the battle between U.S. and Soviet surrogates learned to look beyond those ideological walls, allowing not only some neighborly discoveries — South Africa and Mozambique — but also the development of China-Africa trade that has risen from $10 billion in 2000 to well over $100 billion today. Africa is expected to grow 5.2 percent in 2011, more than double the predicted U.S. or European performances. Coca-Cola’s chief executive has identified the continent as one of the company’s top investment priorities.
Such changes are part of the deeper and slower, but now visible, currents that flowed out from Berlin.
If the West was thrilled two decades ago to welcome a Europe whole and free, it’s much less happy today about a world where it’s more easily bypassed. The dour set menu of Cold War relationships has morphed into an extravagant à la carte offering. How about Peruvian-Indian fusion? America’s centrality has eroded; Europe has become politically marginal; Japan, the West’s honorary member, is just plain gloomy. “Where’s our leverage?” Western diplomats complain. Often, as in Iran, they have little.
Elsewhere, however, there’s excitement. Latin America, overcoming old reflexes and resentments, now trades with China and India, explores new opportunities in Africa, and hardly cares that the United States is too consumed by war and uncertainty to pay it much attention. “A more self-confident Latin America is not unhappy about U.S. distraction,” Luis Alberto Moreno, the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, told me. “It’s looking instead to Asia, whose interest in the region is huge. South-to-south cooperation thrives while Colombian and Panamanian free trade agreements with the United States are denied ratification.”
The essential global divide today is between a worried, depressed and disoriented West (where free trade is framed as loss of jobs) and the buoyant, questing and increasingly confident emergent world of nations like Brazil and Turkey and South Africa. The West suffers from a nagging feeling its time has passed; outside it many countries believe their time is now — or near.
Although there’s talk in the West of a new Age of Anxiety, the neurosis is in fact fairly narrowly confined. True, the unease lies in what is still by far the world’s largest economy — the United States — and is shared by the European Union. The problems there — of soaring deficits, high unemployment, aging baby-boomers and sporadic anti-immigrant anger — are intractable. Excess has given way to distress. Yummy money has dried up. But the vast bulk of the world’s population lives outside these enervated and overextended enclaves. For billions of human beings opportunity is expanding rather than contracting, if very unevenly. This is in fact the new Age of Possibility.
Times of such dramatic shift are dangerous. Consider Germany’s late 19th-century burst onto the European stage as a unified nation-state and the century of bloodshed and confrontation it took to resolve the German question. Consider the global upheavals that cemented America’s 20th-century rise and Britain’s imperial decline.
I don’t believe the power transition in progress today is any less dramatic. China is one vast construction site targeting full development by mid-century and dominance by 2100. It has already created phenom enal wealth. I was chatting last autumn with Eric de Rothschild, who runs Château Lafite-Rothschild, the superb Bordeaux winery. “I know people who bought cases of the 1982 and were looking forward to drinking it,” he told me. “Now, thanks to what the Chinese are ready to pay for it, they’re looking forward to buying an apartment with the proceeds.”
Call that global churn: new wealth replacing old. But churn is of course unsettling.
Middle-class Americans and Europeans watch fungible jobs disappearing to Guangzhou or Bangalore; they see the homes against which they borrowed vast sums declining in value; they work ever longer to maintain their living standards and offer their children the education the tech-friendly modern world demands; they perceive growing inequality and notice the rich alone getting richer; they wonder if basic social entitlements, like health care and pensions, will endure. They’re over-leveraged and, it seems, dispensable. In short they empathize with the figure in Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream.” And so the search for the scapegoat begins and the political movements that identify scapegoats get going. The thriving Tea Party is an American movement but plenty of its brew is being consumed in the Europe of Geert Wilders.
Still, I’m not too worried. This heady early 21st-century transformation is being played out with a handful of distinctive ingredients that make me hopeful the violence that has typically attended such sweeping change can be avoided.
The first is the web of social networks that now span the globe. Half a billion Facebook users constitute some sort of insurance against disaggregation. The insurance may be too intangible to satisfy underwriters but it’s not negligible. Being in touch in ways that dissolve national borders makes it more difficult to be in large-scale violent conflict across fault lines.
The second is the American garrisons in Asia that, in the area of most rapid change, offset China’s rise and reassure other powers. Pax Americana is not yet defunct.
The third is U.S. war-weariness almost a decade on from 9/11: The period of American retrenchment inaugurated by President Barack Obama will endure for some time.
The fourth is the Chinese obsession with global stability. It is seen in Beijing as the sine qua non of the 9 percent annual growth that in turn sustains Communist Party rule. And the fifth is the deep interdependency of U.S.-Chinese ties, a relationship so important to each party that breakdown is almost inconceivable.
Significant stabilizing forces therefore exist as a new world comes into being. That’s why possibility is the paradigm. But my sense, even under Obama, is of an America more inclined to preserve the make-believe of its former sway than embrace the adjustments demanded by the rebalancing of global power. This attitude fans tensions.
All the world’s major institutions, from the United Nations to the International Monetary Fund, are still in need of reform reflecting a changed world order. The G-20, unsupported by any meaningful professional structure, is a step but an inadequate one. Currency volatility is causing increasing concern without any sign of agreement on how to address it.
Conventional U.S. thinking about the Middle East — the kind of thinking that views the new Turkey as insufficiently beholden to the West; or imagines that double standards like the wink to Israel’s nuclear arsenal go unnoticed; or holds that no segment of the large political movements that are Hezbollah and Hamas might be usefully engaged; or imagines that the “option” of bombing Iran is not a recipe for almost unimaginable disaster — is still in need of a shake-up, particularly on Capitol Hill.
As a result, Obama has been much less of a change agent than his initial speeches suggested. The wall through the Holy Land rebuffs hope. The American president resembles more and more a man unsure of his core convictions onto whom misplaced idealism was projected in a moment when the United States craved renewal.
Elsewhere, renewal is real. In Turkey, where growth will reach 7 percent this year, it’s palpable. A battle between the ardent secularism of Ataturk, the founder of the modern republic, and the mild Islamism of the ruling AKP party still rages, but on the whole I find that gratifying: Turkey’s mix of the two ideological currents is bracing and a reminder of how much nonsense is mouthed about Islam’s supposed incompatibility with modernity. Istanbul is perhaps the world’s best rebuke to disciples of a clash-of-civilizations worldview.
Even as Turkey’s soul is fought over, the nation’s new outlook seems clear. “Turkey’s geography is such that it does not accept East-West or North-South compartmentalization,” Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister, told me in an interview. “We are in the West but also one of the main actors in Asia and the Middle East. We are trying for a normalization of history. The Cold War was an abnormality. The Iron Curtain was not only in Berlin but around us. So therefore we had no good relations with our neighbors.”
He continued: “And we see that in order to be influential in our region you have to have a new image and you have to speak from within, not impose anything.” Davutoglu is tired of what he sees as Western double standards: “When we are active in Afghanistan they are not saying that we are turning East. Afghanistan is further east than Iran. But in Afghanistan everyone is happy that we are in the East.”
The year 2011 will be the 10th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s devastating attack on the United States that left almost 3,000 people dead in New York and Washington. Contrary to fashionable opinion America did not invade Afghanistan — take up its “savage war of peace” — for nothing. Kipling’s lines, nearly 102 years after they were written, still resonate:
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.
The limits of U.S. power are now abundantly clear even as the way power will be shared, and to what end, in this still young century remains a matter unresolved; indeed a question scarcely broached by those — both apprehensive and ascendant — whom it will principally concern and involve.
Roger Cohen is The Globalist columnist for the International Herald Tribune. Cohen moved in August from New York to London.
Wells Fargo: Here Are Three Risks Heading Into 2011
The Pragmatic Capitalist | Nov. 18, 2010, 4:25 AM | 1,312 | comment 3
Like the majority of investors these days Wells Fargo is very bullish heading into the end of the year, however, they do see some risks developing as we move into the new year:
“We believe that real GDP growth will slowly strengthen over the course of 2011 in most major economies. Further deleveraging by households should continue to constrain growth in U.S. consumer spending, although the headwinds should become less intense as the year progresses. In Europe, fiscal tightening by many governments should keep overall rates of GDP growth in check next year. In contrast to their counterparts in the developing world, we project that most major central banks will maintain accommodative policy stances well into 2011. We do not foresee the Fed hiking rates until 2012, and most other major central banks likely will be on hold for the foreseeable future as well. Unless the euro area should flirt with outright recession again, which we do not expect, we believe that the European Central Bank will refrain from increasing the size of its modest QE program.
What could go wrong? In our view, there are a few credible downside risks to global GDP growth to keep in mind over the next year or so.
* First, central banks in developing economies could respond to higher inflation by excessive monetary tightening. Although we place a low probability on this eventuality, inflation rates in the developing world bear watching.
* Second, the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area has continued to simmer. Global credit conditions could tighten again if weaker-than-expected economic growth and/or higher-than-expected budget deficits in some affected economies unnerve investors.
* Finally, a “currency war” could turn into an outright trade war, which would be in no country’s interest.
Source: Wells Fargo
Selasa, 16 November 2010 | 07:01 oleh Barratut Taqiyyah, Bloomberg
OUTLOOK BURSA EROPA
Bursa saham Eropa diramal bullish oleh JPMorgan dan RBS
LONDON. Bursa saham Eropa diramal bakal bullish. Hal itu diungkapkan oleh JPMorgan Chase & Co, yang merekomendasikan beli saham-saham Eropa untuk 6 hingga 12 bulan ke depan. Sementara, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc memprediksi akan terjadi lonjakan pasar saham Eropa yang sangat kuat di 2011.
“Kami sangat bullish terhadap saham Eropa dalam jangka waktu 6-12 bulan ke depan,” jelas Mislav Matejka dan Emmanuel Cau, strategist JPMorgan dalam hasil riset yang dirilis kemarin. Sedangkan strategist RBS Ian Richards dan Graham Bishop di London meramal adanya kenaikan sebesar 20% pada bursa saham Eropa.
Asal tahu saja, indeks acuan Stoxx Europe 600 Index sudah naik sebesar 17% sejak Mei lalu. Kondisi ini terjadi seiring dengan langkah the Fed yang menggelontorkan stimulus untuk membeli aset-aset AS. Langkah tersebut bisa mengimbangi kecemasan akan kemampuan Yunani dan Irlandia dalam mengurangi defisit anggaran negaranya.
“Dalam jangka pendek, kita masih akan melihat bursa saham sebagai aset yang menawarkan reward paling baik. Bursa saham Eropa saat ini tengah berada di posisi perputaran naik, harga saham menanjak, dan relatif lebih murah ketimbang aset-aset lainnya,” jelas JPMorgan.
Selasa, 16 November 2010 | 08:01 oleh Barratut Taqiyyah, Bloomberg
OUTLOOK BURSA AS
Analis: Bursa AS berkemungkinan melonjak 15% dalam setahun ke depan
BOSTON. Kemarin malam, bursa AS ditutup terkoreksi. Kendati begitu, sejumlah analis memprediksi bakal ada lonjakan besar pada bursa AS ke depannya. Analis Legg Mason Inc Bill Miller, salah satunya.
Menurut Miller, bursa AS kemungkinan akan naik 15% dalam 12 bulan ke depan. Kondisi itu bisa terjadi seiring dengan upaya the Federal Reserve yang terus-terusan menggelontorkan stimulus untuk mendongkrak perekonomian.
“The Fed ingin pasar saham naik. Mereka akan melakukan apapun yang dibutuhkan untuk menstimulasi hal tersebut,” jelas Miller dalam hasil risetnya yang dikirimkan kepada sejumlah pemegang saham.
Sekadar mengingatkan, pada 3 November lalu, the Fed mengumumkan rencana pembelian surat utang negara oleh the Fed senilai US$ 600 miliar dalam aksi yang dikenal dengan quantitative easing. Kendati begitu, sejumlah investor dan ekonom juga mengkritisi langkah The Fed tersebut. Bahkan mereka meminta the Fed menunda penggelontoran stimulus karena dikhawatirkan akan memicu inflasi.
Owning Emerging Markets The Smart Way
Daniel Fisher, 12.06.10, 12:00 AM ET
Yum Brands is the quintessential American fast-food company, operating chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. It’s also a great emerging markets play. The Chinese love KFC–breakfast with the Colonel is a huge hit in Beijing. Pretax profits from the Louisville, Ky. firm’s Chinese operations exceeded those of the U.S. parent by 18% in the first nine months of this year. Yum’s Chinese profits are growing 30% annually. Restaurant margins hover around 24%, compared with 14.5% at home. China, in fact, is the engine that’s driven up Yum’s stock 44% this year.
Forget about buying shares in emerging markets companies and rolling the dice on their murky accounting and governance standards. Instead, consider tapping into the wealth being created abroad via big U.S. stocks like Yum (market cap: $24 billion), 3M ($62 billion) and Cummins ($19 billion).
“It’s a valid strategy and one we emphasize,” says UBS strategist Thomas Doerflinger.
At Cummins, international sales through September rose to 64% of the total, up ten points in a year. It’s seeing demand for mining gear and power plants in China, India and Brazil. President Thomas Linebarger noted on a recent analyst call that Cummins’ sales to China and Brazil each rose more than 70% in the third quarter, leading it to predict a 100% increase in earnings before interest and taxes to $1.6 billion.
Sales to Asia and Latin America have also surged at 3M to one-third of its 2010 total from 16% a dozen years ago. Sales in China have more than tripled since 2003 to $1.4 billion, and 3M expects them to hit $3.1 billion by 2014, driven by demand for auto and mobile phone parts and abrasives. The company has exceeded analyst estimates for four consecutive quarters.
“Emerging markets exposure is one of the main factors that is helping them beat their numbers,” says Doerflinger.
For the Standard & Poor’s 500 itself, emerging markets now account for 13% of earnings. (Europe adds another 17%.) Revenues at 28 of the largest S&P 500 multinationals rose at a 14% annual rate outside of North America in the six years through 2008, UBS estimates, versus 6.2% in North America.
Semiconductors are a leading U.S. export, but that can be misleading since chips often return home in cellphones and other gadgets. Qualcomm, for example, reports 94% of its sales are foreign; at Advanced Micro Devices it’s 87%.
“Semiconductor companies are shipping product to Asia, but it’s going into a box and coming back,” Doerflinger says.
In contrast, products of the basic-materials, industrial and technology companies in the table below are mostly consumed abroad. Corning glass for liquid crystal displays increasingly goes into TVs in India and China. At 9.4 times next year’s estimated earnings, Corning is cheaper than rivals like Sony (18 times) and Panasonic (16 times).
Tyco Electronics also reported 43% growth in Asian sales and 21% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the nine months through June, as sales in the U.S. fell. Even Google is increasingly international. Its U.S. revenue grew 5.2% to $11.2 billion last year, versus a 17% gain to $9.5 billion abroad (excluding the U.K.). Expect much more of the same as a new generation of consumers in places like Indonesia and Vietnam uses its smartphones to Google the nearest KFC for breakfast.