The Year of the Horse

Happy New Year!

I’m not late by 2+ months. We’re in the middle of the Chinese Spring Festival, that celebration of good fortune, wealth, and happiness that runs from the end of the last month of their year to the middle of the first month. Because the Chinese calendar is based on both the moon and the sun, the timing of their New Year shifts around, kind of like Easter.

The celebration is thousands of years old, and is marked by family reunions, parades, firecrackers, and other festivities. Every year hundreds of millions of people travel to their ancestral homes for the festival, straining China’s transportation system. Naturally all this travel affects their economy: people can’t work when they’re travelling, and factories reduce output. Capital spending tails off prior to the New Year, and reaccelerates afterwards.

Because China has a $9 trillion economy—more than half the size of the US—this has an impact on all of us. But the date changes every year, so it’s hard to model. Even so, this impact doesn’t mean their economy is slowing. Put it this way: we don’t think that our economy is taking off just because gift-buying ramps up in December; we shouldn’t forecast gloom-and-doom because Chinese spending slows in early winter.

I suspect that this may be behind some of this year’s emerging market angst. Slower output and rising loans should be expected right now. Yes, there are important underlying issues, but when the New Year’s dragon dance is taking place, it’s hard to hear the trends with all the firecrackers going off.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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By |2016-11-17T16:45:06+00:00February 10th, 2014|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Senior Editor for Money Basics. A prolific blogger, Doug is the author of the popular daily market commentary blog “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 26 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings.Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company. Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd •

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