Austrian Economics and the Debate

Source:

张维迎:林毅夫思想和50年代计划经济思想完全一脉相承

林毅夫再系统回应产业政策之争:成功有药方 前提之一就是政府因势利导

“假设的真实性”:科斯与弗里德曼的”和而不同”之处——兼谈社会学研究中的”理性人”假设

Debating Government’s Role in Boosting Growth: Cowen and Smith

Austrian Economics Might Explain China’s Turmoil

 

A renewed topic around government and free market

1. 上世纪20和30年代经济学界有关社会主义计划经济可行性的大争论

先来看张维迎的文章

“兰格用新古典主义范式证明,通过引入一般均衡的“瓦尔拉斯拍卖机制”,计划当局可以模拟出价格,解决经济计算问题。”

“米塞斯认为,市场是一个过程,没有生产资料私有制基础上的要素市场,没有自由价格,计划当局根本没有办法解决经济核算问题,也就不能有效地分配资源于不同的部门。”

“哈耶克进一步讲,为什么计划经济不可行?因为经济计算所需要的知识、信息都分散在每个人脑子里,尤其许多知识是主观的、默性的, 只可意会不可言传,除了当事人自己实际运用或通过价格机制传递,其他人根本不可能获得。”

-> 哈耶克这个论调等于是说 每个人的效用曲线是无法发现的 价格均衡是自我论证的偏颇的 并且无数人的效用曲线形成的整体形状也是无法模糊发现的。参考弗里德曼的说法,关键不是假定的真否,而是结果是否符合实际。哈耶克是在结果上否定了这种可能。

张维迎继续说这是范式问题

“按照新古典理论,市场就是一个资源配置的机制,就是给定资源、偏好和技术情况下,如何使得资源得到最佳配置。”

-> 市场的有效性依赖于信息的对称和完全,如果现实中信息不完全、不对称,市场有效的提前就不成立了,结论自然是市场失灵了,需要政府干预。

“但按照米塞斯和哈耶克发展的奥地利学派的理论,市场首先是一个认知机制,其主要功能是发现和传递信息,使得每个人的创造力得到充分发挥。”

-> 正是因为信息不对称,我们才不得不依赖于市场解决问题,才需要市场价格作为信息发现机制和信息交流机制。

你看本质上还是我上面说的,效用曲线和价格均衡的发现问题。奥地利学派认为政府没有办法发现价格,只能由市场发现。

张维迎还自己补充了一点

“市场的优越性正来自信息不对称,因为市场以分工为基础,没有分工就不会有交易,而分工意味着每个人只知道一些与自己所从事专业直接相关的专业知识,并且对任何产品,生产者总是比消费者知道的更多…分工和专业化之所以能提高生产率,正是因为每个人只需要少量的专业知识,但交换使得整个社会的知识数倍于任何单个人拥有的知识,这就是市场的优越性。”

这是说信息不对称甚至是产生市场的一种原动力。

关于主观发现的问题,张维迎解释

“在真实市场上,决策是决策者的一种主观判断,判断意味着即使同样的数据,不同的人结论会不一样…因为有一些重要的知识不在可利用的数据里,特别是有关未来不确定性的判断永远不在数据里。正因为如此,我们才需要企业家,才需要企业家精神,企业家就是面临着一个不确定的世界要做出自己的判断,这些判断是没有办法完全基于现有数据的”

这是说企业家的效应和价格的发现方式会与常人很不一样,和过去的市场很不一样。

“市场是一个发现和传递信息的过程,主要是通过企业家的警觉和判断来协调供给和需求,使得市场趋于均衡,没有分散的企业家活动,市场就不可能趋于均衡。进一步讲,按照熊彼特的观点,经济发展来自企业家的创新(事实也如此),创新同样是不可预测的,充满了一系列的不确定性。”

所以企业家会比原来的市场更有效地发现效应和价格。

“如果每个人有90%的可能性犯错误,10个人分别决策的话,同时犯错误的概率只有34.9%,至少一个人成功的概率是65.1%,只要有一个人成功了社会就有了这个产品。相反,如果集中做一个决策,成功的概率就只有10%。”

交给分散化决策还有概率上的优势。

当然其实新古典范式的经济学家也有反对产业政策的。比如上世纪70年代在新古典范式基础上发展出来的公共选择学派提出了“政府失灵”理论。一会我们通过Cowen和Smith的讨论也可以看到一些现代古典经济学家对。

 

2. 林毅夫关于新结构经济学和经济增长的观点

“经济增长表面上看是收入水平不断提高,但它从本质上讲它的决定因素是各种技术、产业不断创新,劳动生产率水平提高,各种软硬基础设施不断完善,从而降低交易费用的过程——这是一个结构变迁的过程。”

“我们现在能够变成中等偏上收入国家,一个很重要的原因是我们完成了从传统农业向现代化制造业的转型,不断攀登产业阶梯,慢慢进入到后工业化的、以工业为主的阶段。发展中国家的技术创新、产业升级以及软硬基础设施的完善,可以以发达国家走过的道路作为参考,这在经济学上叫“后发优势”。”

“罗伯特·索洛和迈克尔·斯宾塞发现二战后,有13个经济体实现了每年7%或者更高的经济增长速度,维持了25年或者更长的时间,大大缩小与发达国家的差距。五个特征:开放经济利用后发优势,实现了宏观经济的稳定,高储蓄率和高投资率,市场经济或走向市场经济,积极的、有为的政府。”

“原始的结构经济学是政府克服市场失灵,直接动员资源、资金,直接配置资源、资金到现代化的大产业,进口替代战略。结果并不如意,这也是70年代出现新自由主义政府失灵休克疗法的原因。不过后者结果也不好。
而看50、60年代东亚这些成功国家的政策,不是结构主义,而是出口导向先去发展劳动密集型的小规模产业。80年代转型成功的国家,推行的是渐进的、双轨的政策,一方面继续保持政府对经济的干预、扭曲,给原来政府优先发展产业当中的国有企业保护补贴,另一方面放开传统上受到压制的劳动密集型加工业的准入,而且因势利导,积极招商引资,建立经济特区、工业园等,来帮助劳动密集型的加工产业发展。”

“新结构经济学说决定一个经济体的结构内生于这个国家的要素禀赋结构,而要素禀赋在每个时点上是给定的,并且随着时间变化。这种变化会带来产业结构的变化。要素禀赋就是总预算,各种要素的相对稀缺性决定相对价格,也就决定了生产成本最低最有竞争力的产业。
而产业技术升级的前提是根本的要素禀赋结构必须不断升级。劳动者所拥有的资源越来越多的话,自然比较优势就变成资本更密集的产业。当然,在市场上竞争的时候不光是生产成本,还包括交易成本。因此在这个过程当中,也必须相应地完善交通基础设施和制度环境,来降低交易成本。”

“对于企业家来讲不关心要素优势,只有利润最大化,自发地按照禀赋优势来选择产业技术,需要一个竞争性的市场来准确敏锐地反映价格信号。而也需要政府来给第一个吃螃蟹的企业家激励,给外部性补偿。有效的市场,和能够因势利导的有为的政府,产生的结果就是开放、宏观稳定,储蓄率、投资率都会高。”

“渐进双轨的改革就是对于不符合比较优势的旧的产业继续给保护补贴,但是放开对符合比较优势的劳动密集型产业的准入,而且因势利导。而随着资本的积累,原来违反比较优势的大型资本密集型产业,逐渐变得符合比较优势。”

我们可以看到其实林的新结构首先是承认市场的信号作用的。而政府的作用主要是起到降低交易成本和找市场做出选择部分里提供激励。本质上新制度经济学的讲法。这是奥地利学派所缺少的(至少据上文所能看到的)。市场本身的发现仍然有效率之分,一些降低交易成本公共性商品在过去只能由政府提供。(在现在或许可以由货币超发和科技泡沫来提供)。

但我们也发现事实上并没有想象的那么好。政府在提供减低交易成本的设施和激励的时候,通常会干扰市场价格。事实上我们曾经讨论过企业家精神对政府的干预基本上都带有大程度的抵触。

所以我们总结一下,林的新结构经济学的禀赋理论其实本质上是依靠奥地利的市场发现的。而市场发现也可以被政策来提高效率,但是维持良性少负面影响的政策很难。

 

3. 难得讲到奥地利,我们借Noah Smith的文章来看一下西方主流对其的看法

“The Austrian school, for the uninitiated, is a hodgepodge of beliefs, usually holding that fiat currencies are doomed to fail, that a return to the gold standard is inevitable and that central banks are responsible for bubbles, market crashes and recessions.”

A.

There was the dramatic failure of the Federal Reserve’s program of quantitative easing to cause even a hint, even the slightest whiff, of inflation.

B.

Gold, as the hedge against the end of the modern economy, hasn’t worked out too well.
(North wrote this article in 2015)

スクリーンショット 2016-09-30 1.30.24.png

What’s interesting to me, however, is that events in China are actually bearing out some of the classic predictions of Austrian thinking.

Mises contend that recessions happen because too many resources are funneled into assets that won’t actually be productive in the future.

-> Businesses might make big, systematic mistakes.
(Though It has never been very clear exactly why malinvestment causes an economic hangover.)

(对的也就是说和理性人假设相反,正是因为不可发现的价格发现所以会导致一些系统性大错误最后崩盘。我不知道这算不算对奥地利学派的一个反讽。有些人可能会问,如果没有任何政府歪曲价格,真的会有错误投资吗。不妨想想老百姓种庄稼以及一些产能过剩的化工行业。)

China’s housing and stock bubble also bring us to another interesting Austrian notion — the instability of financial markets.
(Mainstream macroeconomics is only just barely starting to deal with the idea that financial markets may have a natural tendency to boom and bust.)

 

4. 其实前段日子在bloomberg上Cowen和Smith正好有一场关于美国是否需要财政政策的讨论

Cowen: My view is pretty simple: at this point the economy is fairly close to full employment and the momentum is positive. So right now I don’t see a significant role for demand-side arguments for government stimulus.

Smith: There’s also a possibility there’s still some demand gap left. (prime-age employment-to-population, wage, price) If we see inflation start to spike we can always put on the brakes. Meanwhile, because infrastructure repair is probably something we should be doing anyway, it makes for good fiscal policy; if there’s a demand gap, it’ll help with that too. If not, at least we have some nice roads.

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Cowen: If we go beyond cost-benefit test on the supply-side, there is by definition a potential harm in choosing inefficient policies that destroy some wealth and worsen resource allocation.Keep also in mind that the decline in labor force participation probably comes from structural factors.We should address those, but let’s do it by making the economy more efficient, not less efficient.

Smith: We don’t live in a world of certainty, where costs and benefits are known. If there happens to be a lingering demand shortage, we get an added benefit from infrastructure spending. If there’s not, then infrastructure spending will raise interest rates (crowding out private investment) and/or inflation. But we have the option to dial back spending if we see that happening. Of course, I think we should avoid letting our transportation networks decay even if there is NO demand gap.

你看,所以其实可能奥地利和有些新古典并没有太大范式差异,而是操作准则的差异。

 

 

Buy-side Reports

A response to request.

The following are the sources of buy-side reports that I gathered for study.  At first I aimed on all fund management firms in Japan as I am recently looking for a job here. Soon I found that the firms with qualified reports are often multinational ones and thus changed my focus.

And this is also partly the origin of this blog.

Rates are absolutely subjective.

Number with <m <y indicates the frequency of update.

And, of course, they are incomplete.

 

English part

AM G R rate status URL
Aberdeen *** Thinkaloud(20<m), insights (10<y) http://thinkingaloud.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/thinkingaloud/ http://institutional.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/en/ukinstitutional/insights/articles-and-thought-pieces
Western Asset **** White papers(4m), the economy(4m), etc http://www.westernasset.com/us/en/research/whitepapers.cfm
AB ***** Economic Commentaries (4m), Insights blog(<30m) https://www.abglobal.com/institutions/americas/home.htm#/
PICTET *** Latest news, comment and analysis(<5m) https://www.group.pictet/corporate/en/home/institutional_investors/news.p.1.html
LEGG MASON **** Market outlook + Investment insights (<10m), Chart of the week https://www.leggmason.com/en-us/insights.html
Fidelity ** Investment outlook (1q), articles https://www.fidelity.co.uk/investor/markets-insights.page
PICMO **** Insights (<30m) https://www.pimco.com/insights
AXA IM **** Research news(10<m) https://www.axa-im.com/en/research
Russell Investment *** Insights for institutional investors (<5m) http://fiduciary-matters.russell.com/
Princial Global Investors ** Insights exept rountine (<3m) https://www.principalglobal.com/knowledge/insights
BNY MELLON *** Investment Insight(<5m) https://www.bnymellon.com/us/en/our-thinking/search.jsp?type=investment-insight
PINEBRIDGE Investment ***** Commentary (10<m), Thought papers (10<y) https://www.pinebridge.com/insights/commentary/
CAPITAL GROUP **** Macro/market views (7<m) https://server.capgroup.com/capgroup/action/getContent/GIG/Europe/Intermediaries/Investment_insights/Entry_Page/II
Invesco ** Insights (2m) https://www.invesco.com/portal/site/us/investors/insights/
Amundi **** research news (<50m) http://research-center.amundi.com/recherche/All-articles
Schroders ** Insights (<5m) http://www.schroders.com/en/insights/
Barings * Investment update(<2m), Thought pieces (<5y) http://www.barings.com/us/InstitutionalAdvisers/NewsViews/InvestmentUpdates/index.htm
Henderson Global Investor * report(<10m) https://www.henderson.com/ukii/posts
State Street ** ideas(1w) http://www.statestreet.com/ideas/publications.html
PGIM *** insights(<3m) https://www.pgim.com/insights
East Spring ** market insights (<2m), macro briefing (1m) http://www.eastspring.com/our-perspectives/Insights
Franklin Templeton Investments * Investment insight (<2m) http://www.ftinstitutional.com/ftinstitutional/institutional/insights/investment-insights
W AM
Deutsche Asset Management *** CIO views (<3m) https://institutional.deutscheam.com/globalResearch/cio_office.jsp
Goldman Sachs AM *** Insights (<5m) https://www.gsam.com/content/gsam/global/en/market-insights/market-strategy/allFilterTopic.html
Blackrock **** Insights (<20m) https://www.blackrock.com/investing/insights
Barclays * Insights (<10m) http://www.investmentbank.barclays.com/our-insights.html
W HF
AQR AM *** Cliff’s Perspective(<2m), library https://www.aqr.com/library
Two sigma ** Insights(<2m) https://www.twosigma.com/insights
Winton Capital ** RESEARCH BRIEFS(<1m) https://www.wintoncapital.com/en/research-and-insights/research-papers-briefs
Man group ** Knowledge(<5y) https://www.man.com/3/thought-leadership
GAM * Insights(<10m) https://www.gam.com/en/insights/
GMO **** Recent research (<2m) https://www.gmo.com/

 

Japanese part

J fund report status address
Aberdeen ** Monthly aisan debt market report and topic report (<5y) http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.jp/aam.nsf/japanaimkk/marketreport
Western Asset ***** White papers(4m), the economy(4m), etc http://www.westernasset.co.jp/ja/research/whitepapers.cfm
GCI AM ** Product report http://www.gci.jp/jp/news/
AB Japan ***** Knowledge & market perspective (<10m), report(<5y) http://www.abglobal.co.jp/knowledge/
岡三アセマネ ** ファンドマネージャーの眼 (1m), market report(<5m) http://www.okasan-am.jp/colum/fundmanager/
Simplex AM
さわかみ投信
PICTET **** various market news (>30m), news columns (>10m) https://www.pictet.co.jp/archives/category/news/markets?num=100
LEGG MASON * US AU market news http://www.leggmason.co.jp/market_info/index.html
MU投資顧問 ** research manager report (1m), global outlook (<5m) http://www.mu-iv.co.jp/reports/index.html
TOUCHSTONE
レオス・キャピタルワークス * monthly report (1m) http://123.rheos.jp/investment/monthly_report.jsp
PORTFOLIA
Fidelity * market report (15<m) http://www.fidelity.co.jp/fij/news/index.html?check=MR
PICMO *** Insights overview(5<m) https://japan.pimco.com/JP/Insights/Pages/InsightsOverview.aspx
AXA IM *** Research news(10<m) https://www.axa-im.com/en/research
Russell Investment *** Report (1q) https://russellinvestments.com/jp/research/research-overview/research-overview/russell-communique
Princial Global Investors ** Research report (1y), market report (5<m) http://www.principalglobal.jp/news01.html#report
BNY MELLON *** Market report (5<m) http://www.bnymellonam.jp/market
SPARX ** Japanese stock report (1m), asia report (5<y) http://www.sparx.co.jp/report/
PINEBRIDGE Investment ** market memo (10<y) http://www.pinebridge.co.jp/news/market_backnumber.php
CAPITAL GROUP *** market view (5<m) http://www.capitalinternational.co.jp/insights/archive.html
Invesco
Amundi * market report (<30m) http://www.amundi.co.jp/report/list/
Schroders ** Insights (<5m) http://www.schroders.com/ja-jp/jp/asset-management/insights/
鎌倉投信 運用報告書 (1m) http://www.kamakuraim.jp/yuidayori/
Barings * ファンドマネージャー・コメント(1m) http://www.barings.com/jp/InvestmentTrusts/investmentinformation/fmcomments/index.htm
Henderson Global Investor * レポート (<5m) https://www.henderson.com/jpii/posts-nohgi
しんきんアセマネ レポート (<20m) http://www.skam.co.jp/newest_report/
State Street
PGIM * outlook(<2m) http://www.pru.co.jp/
MFS ** insights(<10y) https://www.mfs.com/content/ja_jp/insights.html
East Spring
Franklin Templeton Investments * 市場見通し(<3m) http://www.franklintempleton.co.jp/ja_JP/investor/commentary/market-perspectives
J Research
Nomura Research Insitution * Financial Research Paper(<2m) http://www.nri.com/global/opinion/lakyara/index.html
日本総研 * 経済・政策レポート、経営コラム・レポート https://www.jri.co.jp/column/
大和総研 ** レポート http://www.dir.co.jp/research/
富士通総研 ** 研究レポート http://www.fujitsu.com/jp/group/fri/report/research/
PWC *** Reports (<3y) http://www.pwc.com/jp/en/japan-knowledge/thoughtleadership.html
日本ベル研究所 ** リサーチメモ、 http://belletk.com/

Observation, Induction and Deduction

杂谈系列之三 (逻辑混乱系列)

第一篇杂谈里我谈到了我自己认为的三个研究的概念,观察、发现、和架构。在第二篇杂谈里我说了一些当时对于稳定度这个概念的想法。我认为观察发现乃至于架构应该着重于一些稳定度高的客观世界的表现。而在于稳定性的判断和定义上,我思考能不能用可能对其产生影响的力的大小和多少所构成的环境来表现。这种方法的问题可能在于主观性仍然太强,并且无法照顾到复杂系统中反身性,蝴蝶效应,黑天鹅等一些概念。这个问题后面再讲。

观察、发现、和架构的三个概念是我从自己糟糕的低劣的不足一谈的关于投资和学术研究的学习经验,以及对于正统经济学和社会经济学之争以及对于两者的一些原始假设方法的粗浅思考中感受到的东西。之后对于稳定性的思考也是如此。我发现现实的投资研究可能更注重于观察和一些简单的发现,这样做的结果是迷乱于糟糕的信号和个体间的不一致,并且无法构筑高效而低维的核心。有些社会经济学研究有类似的问题。而许多正统经济学研究沉迷于数学所带来的优美的架构之中,并甚至以毫不实用为荣

虽然可能十分无知和浅学,但是我认为这是一种比较可行而且应该是比较正统(可能不是唯一的)的对世界的贴近方式。事实上,它和一些正统的学术想法接近。比如Andrew Abbott的最近一个演讲

Abbott把理论(theory)与实质(substance)作为他研究生涯中无法脱离的五个根本中最关键的部分。Abbott认为理论有三重意义,抽象性与实际性相对、理论性与经验性相对、一般性与特定性相对。[1] 但是在强调相对的同时,Abbott也承认他可以是一种induction也可以是一种deduction,并且要从研究对象的实质出发的理解。并且强调是对于不同事物的相互关联,来“超越了“收纳”的孤立方式,而使理论成为了纯粹的相互关联。”。最后强调“理论不断地在重新建构它自身,没有一个最终的结果,而是始终处于不断地分析和接受经验性内容的过程当中。” [2]

借用以上概念,简单地来讲的话,观察发现架构实际指一种从实际到抽象,从经验到理论,超越孤立,但仍需要反映实际,并且可以形成一些纯粹的关联,从而得以扩张提高。

发现和架构是对世界的提炼和重新组建。发现的难点在信息的降噪和抽象的提炼。这就是为什么现有的机器学习在量化投资上并没有什么颠覆性的成功的原因。这里的问题其实有两个。一是信息本身的噪音程度。也是我为什么要强调稳定性的概念。二是降噪和抽象提炼包括简单的逻辑归纳,但并不止于此。我在第一篇的杂谈里就谈到了爱因斯坦所说的直觉问题。现有的机器学习很大程度上并没有在学习人类的思维方式,而是一种注重于结果正确率的黑箱模式。这样就导致在高程度的发现和更高一层的架构上几乎是很难有所作为的。alphago也许能远超任何人类棋手,但是我怀疑他能不能提供一种可以的流传的风格门派。但是即便我们见过人类历史中一些伟大的巨人的智慧,我们必须承认对“直觉”也就是高阶段的发现并没有一种成熟可说明的方法,也许这种是初阶的发现上的进一步降维,而我们对不能体感的维度总是觉得难以触摸的。

至于架构的另一个问题,提炼之后架构会不会导致逐渐对实际的偏离(比如宏观经济学的DSGE,以及作为前者的基础的微观经济学的Consumption Euler Equation,凸显出一种复制系统的特殊性),或者说太过注重于实际的贴合会不会导致无法深层次组建架构的问题。也许真正贴近physical law的话可以避免,也许只能不断地重新修正构筑。层次太高,现在不谈也罢。

再来看稳定性。虽然我们一定程度上说明了稳定性的意义,也给出了对稳定性的可能的观测方式,但是问题是,在实际操作层面,稳定性容易变成想当然地使用中期趋势长期趋势来观测,或者说也并没有其他太好的方法(事实上我自己也把长期趋势当成比较给力方法 )。但是这实际上可能带来一些问题,包括对pattern的偏爱,拒绝进一步思考和对复杂系统的特性的估计不足。我们借用最近比较火热的房地产泡沫当做例子来看。

我们曾经看过一些国内卖方的房地产研究。得出的最关键的一个结论是:房地产的周期本质是信贷周期,和货币政策关联最大

“2008年以来,中国经历了三轮房价上涨周期,2009、2012、2014-2016年,都跟降息和货币供应增速加快有关。这三轮房价上涨周期,政策都试图通过放松货币金融环境刺激房地产以稳增长。”

“低利率和货币超发推动房价上涨,所有房价大周期见顶以及房市泡沫崩盘都跟货币紧缩和加息有关,比如2007年的美国、1991年的日本。”

“住房贷款利率与新增个人购房贷款额呈明显的负相关,显示居民住房贷款需求对利率的变化非常敏感。”

“房地产本质是货币现象,是社会财富在不同资产之间重新配置的最终体现,更多的可能不是增量概念,是存量重新配置概念。”

而卖方给出的结论集中在争议政策和需求两方面看法偏空

“利率的下行空间也已经有限,宏观审慎政策已经明显转向。”

“房地产价格目前已处高位,居民购房杠杆被迫继续提升。对经济下行和未来收入增长放缓的预期也不支持居民部门继续大幅加杠杆。”

同样借助于卖方的数字和研究,这篇文章提供了一些不一样的观点

“1997年的东南亚,工业化刚刚进入青春期,因为在与中国的资源竞争中败北而盈利恶化,危机加深,再加上索罗斯的攻击,国家储备枯竭导致流动性短缺,意外崩盘;
1929年的美国和1991年的日本,都已经是世界上最发达的国家,城市化完成,工业化结束,需求停滞,再遇上加息、加税等一系列的政策叠加,最终泡沫刺破。”
“我们今天的社会发展阶段,只是1970年代中期的日本。1974年的能源危机过后,日本也经历了一段时间的转型低迷,汇率贬值。但是此后,随着转型的成功,产业竞争力提升之后,企业利润大涨,社会财富剧增,房价的泡沫就得到了缓解,继续维持着又涨了十几年。”

“中国仍然可以享有技术转移所带来的“生产力提升红利”。这就确保了中国有极大的机会走出转型陷阱,全产业的平均收益率不会跌到负数。于是房价,高高在上的房价,就得到了支撑,虽泡沫而仍不至于破裂。”

“在如今这个市道环境下,超过一半的行业都在萧条,政府不可能加息。中国3万亿美元的外汇储备面前,也不可能有哪个对冲基金敢飞蛾扑火。”

“对于大国来说,房价的崩盘通常来自其国家走向世界巅峰之后。1929年的美国,1990年的日本,都已经是当时世界大国中最发达的一员,产业竞争力强大,看似无坚不摧。但危机往往就此而孕育。这个时候的社会生产力提升将不再能够依靠“转移”来获得,于是增速逐渐停滞,再也无力追上膨胀的泡沫,在惯性作用下将泡沫吹向了无穷大。”

我们并不深入讨论谁错谁对,这里要看的是观察和发现的使用的方法和稳定性的对照。上述研究发现房地产周期和货币政策信贷周期有关,或者发现后进大国的房地产危机来自于需求停滞加上政策转向,由此在这些发现上做出线性类推。这里自然会产生问题就是能不能这么类推,哪种类推会更准确更有意义。换句话来说,哪个是建立在更高稳定度上的推论。

首先时间能增加稳定度吗?

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好像不能。所以我们不能单纯地从房价在过去五十年中一直上涨来推导出房价不会跌。也似乎无法预测政策的变动。长期的结果也只是结果,并不是背后真正的依凭。

但是似乎大城市始终会相对高速上涨的论断就显得靠谱一些?也许是因为我们抵消了一部分共同的力的影响,增加了稳定度?

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也许相信中期的惯性会更稳定?虽然我们无法判断自己身是否处于临界点,但是我们似乎总是会站在了大概率的一边?

其次,能靠判断最大的受力,也就是抓住主要逻辑来判断吗?。

上述两种说法一把货币信贷,二外加国家发展情况来视为判断房地产泡沫的中心依据。这时候我们要考虑的也许是这两者是否是决定房地产泡沫和破裂的关键力。仅仅使用计量方法得出的相关系数也许是不够的。这也许需要我们把房地产的泡沫建立成一种微观的模型来包括消费品属性需求模型,和投资品属性的预期模型,以及其中的转换,货币政策的影响来考察房地产市场的受力情况,并由此来判断。

然而在做个别案例判断的时候会发现,美国有衍生品泡沫,日本失去的十年有社会制度层面更深刻的问题。缺了这些因素,我们的发现还会一样吗?所以也许用类似发展的日本美国等大国来判断并不是一个稳定的好方法。

 

Continue reading “Observation, Induction and Deduction”

Big Data Lens on China’s Economy

Source:

Big Data Lens on China’s Economy (Mostly) Affirms Official Stats

Hedge Funds Look to Space With New China Economy Gauge

8 月万事达卡财新 BBD 中国新经济指数

陈沁、沈明高、沈艳:财智BBD中国新经济指数技术报告

 

The SpaceKnow Satellite Manufacturing Index 

1x-16

The San Francisco-based startup uses algorithms to track signs of manufacturing activity in satellite images of 6,000 industrial sites across China.

800x-1

SpaceKnow calculates the index with an algorithm that compares photos of industrial sites and assigns values for visual changes over time that indicate activity, such as visible inventory or new construction.

1x-12

UnionPay’s Card Transactions

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A unit of China UnionPay Co., operator of the country’s largest payments network, developed an index of card transactions to track real estate sales and other key aspects of the economy.

Baidu Consumption Indexes

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Baidu Inc. gauges consumption by tracking visitors to thousands of shopping centers and other destinations.

Baidu Industrial Employment Indexes

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Baidu’s employment indexes, based on foot traffic in 2,000 industrial parks around the country, offer a more dynamic reading than the government’s incomplete labor market statistics.

Alibaba Internet Shopping Price Index

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The Core Internet Shopping Price Index by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. tracks prices of about 100,000 goods and services sold across its platforms, which show average prices down 1 percent in July from a year earlier.

 

New Economy Index

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财新智库数联铭品的「新经济指数」衡量「一个经济体中的新经济占比」。出发点是PMI的不足。[1]

 

“统计局和制造业PMI,和我们的新经济指数存在明显的此消彼长。这恰好反映了传统制造业的萎缩和新经济部门占比的扩张同时进行,这张图也同时说明,经济衰退并没有遍及所有行业,一些行业不仅没有萎缩,反而可能在扩张。”

NEI包括1.高端劳动力投入、2.优质资本投入和3.科技与创新一级指标,它们在NEI中的权重分别是40%、35%和25%。

20160304114526600

 

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新经济工资主要来自应 届生、51job以及智联招聘等数个招聘网站的招聘信息,即对劳动力的需求工资。

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NEI 中的投资二级指标更多反映民间投资、生产性投资,从投资指数的变化中我们也能观察到类 似相关性。总体而言,NEI 投资指数和民间投资累计值同比增速走势较为接近,与除房地产和基 础设施投资之外的固定资产投资增速更为接近.

 

[1]

1.PMI这个数字来自3000-4000家固定样本框中的企业。但是,在国家的经济禀赋发生根本变化时,固定样本框对我们了解真实情况会有阻碍作用。想象一下,如果一个传统行业普遍衰退,新企业快速生长,出现了「创造性破坏」,而固定样本框调查始终只统计了增速下降的传统部门,无法囊括快速成长的新增企业

2.PMI指数的计算不需要企业给予每个问题量化的回答,只需要回答“改善”、“持平”、“恶化”三项之一即可,由调查者根据三个回答的分布来决定指数数值。但是,这种方案实际上假定了不同回答企业的同质性,当不同回答的企业的各种真实财务指标来自不同的分布时,PMI的数值和整个经济量化的繁荣或衰退会产生一定的偏差。

3.PMI询问的问题包括产量、订单、存货、出口、库存等12个方面。但是,这些问题大部分为了制造业企业的生产情况而设计,服务业企业对这一系列问题存在着大量漏报的现象。无效的指标被纳入统计,其他有效的指标却不被考虑,这意味着PMI也许并不适合度量制造业行业以外的发展情况。

Market Macro Myths

Source:

Market Macro Myths: Debts, Deficits, and Delusions

Hyperinflations, Hysteria, and False Memories

The Idolatry of Interest Rates Part I: Chasing Will-o’-the-Wisp

 

I always think that the ratio of deficit/GDP may not be as danger as people believe. We might see 200% or 300% deficit/GDP as insane just like a thousand years ago people would feel government deficit was unforgivable sin. James Montier holds a similar view and verify it from some simple macroeconomic perspectives.

 

“Sound finance”

Governments should seek to balance their budgets. Or simply not having deficits of more than X% of GDP.

“Functional finance”

government deficits should be judged only by the degree to which they help us reach the goals of macroeconomic policy (generally held to be full employment and price stability)

“The central idea is that government fiscal policy, its spending and taxing, its borrowing and repayment of loans, its issue of new money and its withdrawal of money, shall be undertaken with an eye only to the results of these actions on the economy and not to any established traditional doctrine about what is sound or unsound. This principle of judging only by effects has been applied in many other fields of human activity, where it is known as the method of science… The principle of judging fiscal measures by the way they work or function in the economy we may call Functional Finance.” by Abba Lerner1943 

Why people holds sound finance?

Myth 1: Governments are like households

Over-accumulation of private sector debt is a problem. But this may not apply to governments and their deficits. 

For either nations with monetary sovereign status or nations without, public debt is different from private debt.  [1]

expenditure model of GDP:

Y = C + I + G + (X – M)

income model of GDP:

Y = C + S +T

-> (S – I) = (G – T) + (X – M)

-> if the private sector wishes to save in excess of its investment, then there must be a government deficit and/or a current account surplus.

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1.The private sector generally runs surpluses with the counterpart coming from the government’s fiscal deficits.

2. wherein the private sector has run significant deficits with neither experience ending well.
1st was the TMT bubble, when firms drove the private sector into deficit.
2nd was the housing bubble with households driving the private sector into deficit.

-> The dangers of debt seem accumulated by the private sector rather than the government sector

–> mind-bogglingly large national debt won’t be repaid, given the counterpart nature of the government deficit, the national debt could easily be relabled as national saving.

Myth 2: Printing money to finance budget deficits is inflationary

 

MV = PY

If one is willing to make rather unrealistic assumptions such as velocity and output being fixed, changes in money must cause changes in prices.

PY = C + I + G + (X – M).

-> It is certainly possible that running government deficits can create inflation (if doing so pushes the economy beyond its limits), but so could any other element of GDP (e.g., consumption or investment).

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In neither case of US or Japan, there is any evidence of a strong link between fiscal deficits and inflation. [2]

Myth 3: Budget deficits/high debt lead to high interest rates

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The biggest issue is that the model assumes that savings must precede investment.

“This is a reasonable assumption if you are living in a onecommodity, corn-based economy. If you want to invest in more corn, you must save some corn first. However, when we move to monetary-based economies this ordering is no longer true. Investment can (and does) precede savings in such a system. When you want to invest, you go to the bank and ask for a loan. The bank decides whether or not to grant such a loan, but it isn’t constrained by deposits or reserves. It will make the loan, and then worry about how to ensure regulatory compliance with reserve requirements, etc., afterward.”

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The real world model acknowledges that when a government runs a fiscal deficit, it creates excess reserves at the bank. [3]
-> No bank willingly sits on excess reserves, and so money is lent out in the interbank market.
–> This has the effect of lowering the interest rates towards zero (or to the level that the central bank pays on reserves).

—-> So the prediction from the real world model is that interest rates get driven down by budget deficits, not up as per the loanable funds framework.

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Budget deficits and high debt levels don’t seem to be associated with higher interest rates at all. 
<- weak economic growth is likely to cause both high deficits and low interest rates

Myth 4: Budget deficits are unsustainable

In essence this comes down to whether the real interest rate (r) is higher or lower than the real growth rate (g).

∆d=-s+d*[(r-g)/(1+g)]

s is the primary surplus (the budget position before interest payments), d is the initial level of debt to GDP

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The biggest problem: Is it reasonable to assume that real rates and real growth will be the same for the next 750 years?

And,
because the central bank sets the interest rate, they should pretty much always be able to ensure that the real interest rate is below the real growth rate.

<- The obvious issue for Greece (in the chart above) is that it isn’t monetarily sovereign, and also not fiscally sovereign

Myth 5: Debt is a burden on future generations

“There may well be distributional issues if all of those bonds are owned by, say, the grandchildren of Bill Gates, but these will be intragenerational issues, not intergenerational ones.”

How this matters

1. Given monetary policy is largely impotent with regard to the real economy,  fiscal policy offers a real alternative, if we understand the nature of government debts and deficits.

2. A greater reliance upon fiscal policy rather than monetary policy could also be good news for value investors. 

Reliance on monetary policy as an effective stabilising device would involve…a high degree of instability …in the capital market…The capital market would become far more speculative… longer run considerations of … profitability would play a subordinate role. As Keynes said, when the capital investment of a country “becomes the by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.” — Kaldor, 1958

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Why “business” doesn’t like the idea of fiscal policy?

“The reasons for the opposition of the “industrial leaders” to full employment achieved by government spending may be subdivided into three categories: (i) dislike of government interference in the problem of employment as such; (ii) dislike of the direction of government spending (public investment and subsidizing consumption); (iii) dislike of the social and political changes resulting from the maintenance of full employment.” by Kalecki 1943 [4]

 

 

[1]

Monetarily sovereign are those that issue their own currencies, have floating exchange rates, and issue debt in their own currency, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. While the Eurozone is a prime example of those that lack such sovereign status.

Those nations that enjoy monetary sovereign status can, in effect, borrow from themselves. They have the ability to create money and spend it – essentially ex nihilo. Thus they can’t ever be forced into insolvency.

[2]

The only evidence of any linkage that I could find in the U.S. data was around the time of World War II, when the U.S. was running major deficits due to the war, and then seeing inflation as a result of the shutdown in trade and eventually the return to a peacetime economy with the unleashing of pent-up demand.

[3]

When a government spends it simply tells the central bank to credit the government’s account with funds (created by keystrokes).5 Similarly, when a government taxes, these funds eventually end up as a credit to the government in their account at the central bank.

[4]

Kalecki notes that in a system without significant active fiscal policy, business is in the driver’s seat, and their animal spirits may determine the state of the economy.

On the “dislike of the direction of government spending,” Kalecki notes that industrial leaders hold a “moral principle of the highest importance” to be at stake.

“Under a regime of permanent full employment, the ‘sack’ would cease to play its role as a ‘disciplinary’ measure… ‘discipline in the factories’ and ‘political stability’ are more appreciated than profits by business leaders. ”

 

Globalisation: History and Now

 

Source:

Trade globalisation in the last two centuries

Globalization Hits a Wall

Sinking Ships

What Happens When Global Trade Goes Virtual

Maybe This Global Slowdown Is Different

Should Slowing Trade Growth Worry Us?

Global trade plateaus

 

In last post we touched a little bit about the recent cycle of globalisation, and reached some popular reasons for the turing of globalisation, including but not limiting to

“The reorientation of Chinese growth to the domestic market should reduce its dependence on international trade.
Growing inequalities in western countries generate opposition to globalisation.
Renewable energies may reduce trade in hydrocarbons.
The development of foreign direct investment substitutes local production for international trade.”

Today’s post is going to read something further on two sub-topics.

 

History: Two trade globalisation cycle

Most studies based on trade statistics date the emergence of the First Globalisation around 1870.

But Michel Fouquin and Jules Hugot argue that

These studies, however, generally rely on data that begins in 1870.
The most comprehensive bilateral trade dataset to date tells us that the First Globalisation began in Europe in the 1840s, before expanding to other continents later in the 19th century.

If it goes ture, it means some statement can’t be the case

“Technological innovations (oceangoing steamships, transcontinental telegraph) and pro-trade policies (bilateral free trade treaties, the gold standard) of the second half of the 19th century are considered the sparks for globalisation. ”

There data shows some different pictures than we used to think

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1.Export openness ratios (total exports/GDP) doubled between 1827 and 1870 but then stagnated until WWI 

2. The real rally in post-war period did not begin until late 1960s and it is only in the late 1970s that openness returns to the levels already reached a century before.

However trade openness is a crude measure of globalisation.

<- In a world of scattered economic activity, countries are naturally more interdependent.
<- What we call ‘globalisation’ is the convergence between observed world trade and a theoretical situation in which international trade barriers would be equally as constraining as domestic ones.

Therefore the degree of globalisation can be divided to two dimensions

  1. the degree of concentration of the world economy
  2. the degree of international trade barriers

We first deal with the second one

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Aggregate international relative trade costs [1] shows that trade barriers have fallen by more than 70% since 1840.

1. The First Globalisation had therefore already begun in the 1840s, before steamships, the telegraph or the gold standard, and before the wave of bilateral trade treaties signed by Western European countries in the 1860s. This was, however, a period of political stability in Europe after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. [2]

2. In the first cycle, it was shocked since 1914 as we used to believe, but in the second one high protectionism lasted until 1970s [3]

The indication here is that the degree of concentration of the world economy should be increased since 1870s, which impairs globalisation naturally. While the post-war time shows no divergence until very recently.

3. Globalisations are also regionalisations. The more trade grows, the more distance matters.

Globalisation spreads:
the decline of intra-European trade barriers after 1840 preceded the reduction of transatlantic trade barriers that happened around 1890. In Europe, the fall of trade costs in the northwest preceded the fall in the south.

But distance also matters:
In 1830, a 10% difference in the distance between two countries would have reduced bilateral trade on average by 3%. On the eve of WWI, it would have reduced trade by 13%; and in 2010, the reduction would have been 19%.

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The major role of regionalisation is surprising given during both periods of globalisation, nations focused on long-distance trade.
(The First Globalisation was built on colonial trade, and the Second was inspired by European-American and Asian-American trade.)

[4]

Several hypotheses may explain this phenomenon:

  1. pro-trade policies have been primarily adopted between neighbouring partners.
    The post-war integration of Europe is the most obvious example.
  2. regionalisation may also be due to the increased complexity of the goods that are traded. Language and cultural barriers, which are highly correlated to distance, may have become more important.
  3. the fixed costs associated with trade (e.g. information gathering on local preferences, loading and unloading) may also have decreased relative to the actual cost of carrying goods from one country to another, which is strongly linked with distance.

 

 

Now: Globalization hits a wall

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There was a big leap in trade’s share of global GDP in the 1970s when oil prices rose, but otherwise long periods of relative stability.
Then, from 1987 onward, came the era of seemingly unstoppable globalization.
Since the initial bounceback from the last recession, this has no longer been true.

The shipping business suffers most directly recently:

“Of the top 15 container lines that were in operation nine months ago, four have gone out of business or are in the process of doing so.” while “The global container fleet is still getting bigger.” [5]

 

A puzzle

The lack of overall trade growth since 2010 is more of a puzzle, though, and lots of economists have been writing lots of words:
the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Canada, plus a 349-page e-book from the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London.

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Two explanations show up again and again:

  1. The global economy is still really weak, and for a variety of reasons slow-growing economies are less trade-intensive than fast-growing ones. So the trade slowdown is cyclical.
  2. After years of building globe-spanning supply chains with a heavy reliance on China, multinational manufacturers have changed direction and begun moving production closer to consumers.

 

Yes, China is a big reason: 
China, which drove the last decade of globalization, is running out its demographic bonus and trying to rebalance its economy toward services and domestic consumption.

So is a changing of traditional business model:
Automation is reducing the importance of labor-cost differences between countries, and manufacturers are rediscovering that it can be better to make products near customers rather than across the world.

<- Building global supply chains became so fashionable for Western manufacturers that they built them even when it made sense to keep production closer to customers; now they’re retrenching and revising their approach.

And new economy:
Flows of data and information are supplanting flows of goods and money.

 

Let’s check the latter two a bit further, it’s related to the statement like

Maybe people just don’t need as much stuff as they used to. And trade is going virtual. 

“we’re seeing might also be the beginnings of a plateauing in the world’s demand for things — and, even more, the resources needed to make those things.”   [8]

We’d have to see already-affluent people buying fewer things and consuming fewer resources to create shift

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There are signs of a plateau on people buying more physical stuff. And the car sales might peak soon. And China is expected to follow the fall in energy consumption .

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Accordingly, as the McKinseyites say, global economic interaction,  is going virtual:

“Flows of physical goods and finance were the hallmarks of the 20th-century global economy, but today those flows have flattened or declined. Twenty-first-century globalization is increasingly defined by flows of data and information.”

So globalization isn’t done for. It’s just going to look different going forward.

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a. “Now, you would expect some of that cross-border Internet use to show up as trade in services, and some of it clearly does.”

b. “914 million people around the world have at least one international connection on social media.” That could have economic significance – and maybe political significance, too – but it doesn’t amount to a trade flow.

c. Silicon Valley boosters argue that the value of the free services provided by tech companies is being ignored by productivity statistics

Trade in services has kept growing even during the overall trade slowdown, and McKinsey cites an estimate that about 50 percent of services trade is enabled by digital technology  and small companies. [6]

 

The overarching message of  McKinsey Global Institute publications:

1. This is a really really really big deal.

2. It’s going to create lots of new opportunities and new wealth around the world.

3. It’s going to force big, established, deep-pocketed companies to drastically change how they do business  [7].

 

Perhaps we shouldn’t worry about it at all

So, there may have a reasonable limit to how globalized the global economy needs to be, which are not necessarily bad news for the global economy.

Paul Krugman agued early in 2013 that
“Ever-growing trade relative to GDP isn’t a natural law, it’s just something that happened to result from the policies and technologies of the past few generations.”

To him, rapid trade growth since World War II was driven by two great waves of trade liberalization and one major technological innovation.

The first wave of trade liberalization involved industrial countries, and was largely over by 1980:

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The second wave involved the great opening of developing countries:

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Finally, there’s The Box — containerization, which made the vertical disintegration of production, with separate stages carried out in far-distant nations, possible.

The point is that it’s entirely reasonable to believe that the big factors driving globalization were one-time changes, so that we should expect the share of trade in GDP to plateau — and that this doesn’t represent any kind of problem.

 

But things get worse themselves

However, the problem here is that
even if the trade plateau has been brought on by relatively benign natural causes, it could lead to increasingly trade-unfriendly government policies around the world that keep trade down and make things worse. 

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“If global trade has plateaued, then net gains by one nation’s exporters must come at the expense of another nation’s. A global trade plateau enhances the risk of trade tensions, especially in an era when governments of the major trading powers are putting in place so many incentives and financing to promote exports. The risk is that a negative feedback loop could develop: policy may have contributed to the global trade plateau — and we cannot discount that future policy will be shaped by it.”

 

2016/09/19 update

Globalization can also go national:

Many nations lack integrated economic relations within their borders, and thus they could reap high gains from trade by opening up internally.

In China, for instance, there has been a long history of geographical fragmentation.

a) Many barriers to trade across regions still remain in China. For instance state-owned firms, many controlled by provincial authorities, often favor local contractors.

b) Some of these barriers are legal and regulatory, while others stem from lack of trust, physical distance, regional rivalries and missing social networks across regions.

But these days the internet is bringing the whole country’s economy together through Alibaba, WeChat, and other services that ease the online purchase, shipping, and advertising of goods at the national level.

<- Domestic integration is lowering costs, smoothing out price differences and allowing differing cultures and linguistic areas to exchange ideas.

-> The more economically integrated China becomes, the more it may retreat from some kinds of global trade.That will register statistically as a decline in globalization, but actually it is an increase in efficient economic integration.

India also is seeing its different states and regions being tied together through migration, trade, and investment.

 

[1]

The difference between observed trade and a counterfactual in which there would be no international trade barriers then reveals the aggregate cost that is specifically associated with international trade. These costs come from transportation and protectionist policies, but also factors like communication and exchange rate volatility (Jacks et al. 2008).

[2]

In the mid-19th century there were also unilateral reductions of trade protection, for example the repeal of the British Corn Laws in 1846. We found similar examples in other European countries. In the 1870s the Russian and American ‘grain invasion’ prompted higher tariffs in most of continental Europe. Trade costs, however, kept falling during this protectionist backlash, which suggests that it was compensated by the decline of other trade barriers.

[3]

After 1918, totalitarian regimes emerged in the USSR, Italy and Germany, and the protectionist measures that were adopted after the Great Depression condemned any possibility of returning to the liberal golden age.

High protectionism lasted until after WWII and the adoption of the GATT in 1947, which created multilateral liberalisation among developed economies. The Treaty of Rome (1957) began European integration, and internal customs barriers were abolished altogether in 1968. Finally, the generalisation of containerisation in the 1970s reduced transport costs.

[4]

The rise of international trade during the 19th century was supported by European liberal trade policies and, later, by technological improvements in transportation and communication. The Great Depression and the two world wars challenged this trend, while trade was partly reallocated to more distant partners due to geostrategic reasons and European colonialism. Both globalisation and regionalisation resumed in the 1960s.

But regionalisation has recently been fading, as the WTO has grown to include almost all countries in the world. The conversion of emerging and former socialist countries to free trade in the 2000s has stimulated long-distance trade.

[5]

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Container shipping is certainly getting more concentrated than it was. That shift to a less competitive market ought to provide some help in lifting container rates.

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The problem for lines is that reduced competition hasn’t been enough to juice container rates back into positive territory.

There’s simply not enough trade going on to fill all the ships on the ocean. The value of global goods exports touched its lowest level in six years in February and has been running at subdued levels all year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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Shipping lines have two main options to survive this hurricane.

1.They can sit tight, hope their debts don’t overwhelm them in the way that Hanjin’s and Hyundai Merchant’s have done, and trust that trade will eventually recover and start filling their holds again.

2.The shorter route back to profitability will be to reduce the size of the fleet by turning some of those excess ships into scrap metal — but that will take a while.

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[6]

And cross-border connectivity is changing the composition of the global goods trade, with e-commerce allowing smaller companies to go global:

“The increasing globalization of small businesses is starting to show up in national statistics. It is most clearly seen in the United States, where the share of exports by large multinational corporations dropped from 84 percent in 1977 to 50 percent in 2013.”

[7]

meaning that they should probably hire a bunch of management consultants to help them figure it out.

“The convergence of globalization and digitization means that the world is changing rapidly—and business leaders will need to reassess their organization, strategy, assets, and operations accordingly. The approaches that worked for going global even ten years ago may no longer be relevant.”

[8]

After all, the latest United Nations population projections, released in July, do indicate that we may be nearing a plateauing of the number of people on the planet.

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Still, in the median forecast, the plateauing won’t happen till the end of the century. It’s possible that it won’t happen at all. Also, there are still billions of people around the world hoping to emerge from poverty and consume more things and resources.

[9]

The decline in Chinese demand for natural resources during 2014 has been one of the main things prompting observers to wonder if the country is undergoing a much-sharper economic slowdown than the official numbers indicate. It may well be.

-> But this also could be evidence of the Chinese economy’s shift away from resource-intensive manufacturing and infrastructure-building and toward providing services for Chinese consumers.

In general, developing countries are making the switch from goods to services much earlier in their development than the U.S. and Europe did. This may not be all good news; economist Dani Rodrik worries that it might make it harder for them to catch up with wealthy countries.

 

The globalization is dying

Source:

THE DYING BIRD OF GLOBALIZATION

The tide of globalisation is turning

Why Has Trade Stopped Growing? Not Much Liberalization and Lots of Micro-Protection

The global economy will never be the same again

高柏:新发展主义与古典发展主义——中国模式与日本模式的比较分析

 

First, let’s agree with this:

Trade – free exchange between individuals – is mutually beneficial.
It’s not a competition between nations, it’s not a ‘global race’, and it’s not a winner-take-all game of international treaty poker. The whole bloody point is that both participants gain.

But, rather than overstating the threat to free markets that come from politics, we might better regard globalisation as a century-long cycle and the turning tide as nothing but a natural process just like live and death.

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A simple History Review

For six decades after the WWII (1945 to 2005), unprecedented growth of trade in goods and services and spectacular expansion of foreign direct investment (FDI) were powerful drivers of the best half-century in human history.

Global trade maintained an annual growth rate of 6 percent in real terms, while the global stock of FDI grew at 15 percent annually in nominal terms between 1980 and 2005.

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It looks like the impetus towards further economic integration has stalled and in some respects gone into reverse.
Globalisation is no longer driving world growth.

 

A simple answer to: Why have global trade and investment not rebounded as they did after past recessions?

less liberalization & more micro-protection

Reductions in trade barriers is lagged

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And imposition of local content requirement measures affects global trade in goods and services, reducing global exports.

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Above all, important segments of the western public no longer believe increased trade benefits them.

 

But as we have argued at very first, the reverse (if true) would not be the first time since the industrial revolution.

A (if not the first) period of globalisation, in an era of empires, occurred in the late 19th century.
The first world war ended this and the Great Depression destroyed it.

A principal focus of US economic and foreign policy after 1945 was to recreate the global economy, but this time among sovereign states and guided by international economic institutions.

Let’s see the picture again, and think again

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A. Part of the reason for the slowdown can be that many opportunities are radically diminished.

When, for example, the production of essentially all labour-intensive manufactures has moved out of the rich countries, the growth of trade in such products must fall.

Just review what we have learned here about new pattern of labour growth 

B. Maybe we have just produced too much

We have China, the biggest investment boom in the history of the world, to blame for, which affects the demand for many commodities.

See herehere and the whole business model is changing, see here and here.

C. the end of once-in-a-lifetime global credit boom is sure to lead to a decline in the cross-border holdings of financial assets.

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D. after decades of FDI, a host of companies with something to gain from it will have taken their opportunity and succeeded or, in important cases, failed.

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There are just nothing lucrative

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E. The world has reached a demographic peak.

“In the modern era it seems that ever since the beginning of the 1980s the global economy has been dominated by globalisation and also a complimentary and massive change in demographics … We will argue that this era is close to being over and the economic, political, policy and asset trends that accompanied it could soon start to reverse.”

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A surge in high earning, high spending workers to dramatically increase the global productivity ratio is a base of globalisation since 1980.

China – cheap labour force – is an one-off factor for globalization and yet no substitution appears.

 

Anyway,

At a time of poor economic performance in leading countries, aging, rising inequality and big shifts in the balance of global power, another collapse must be a possibility.

Recently, even tech giants begin to suffer this 

 

Despite we have just discussed, a way simple answer may be behind the history

During the turning of globalisation from 1910s, there were governments relentlessly printing currency in order to gathering money.

History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. 

And still referring to the history, some would argue the resurgence always requires a hegemonic power: the UK before 1914 and the US after 1945, or even China after 1980s.

It may take long times.

 

 

Infrastructure investments in China

Source:

China infrastructure investment model under fire

Does infrastructure investment lead to economic growth or economic fragility? Evidence from China

About that China infrastructure paper that is making the rounds

 

A research at Oxford university finds:

More than half of Chinese infrastructure investments have “destroyed, not generated” economic value as the costs have been larger than the benefits

One argument has always been that infrastructure investment has been a major driver of Chinese economic growth over the past 35 years, 

especially given the fact that recently China relies on state enterprises as policy tool to stimulate economic but been seen as thwarts effort to boost efficiency [1]

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The aim is surely to prevent a sharp slowdown.

This time differs from the stimulus launched in 2008, which focused on using credit expansion to fund construction of new factories -> that included an investment boom by private companies, which account for 88 per cent of all manufacturing investment.

By contrast, 72 per cent of infrastructure investment comes from SOEs.

And this is all because currency policy no longer works

see “They are turning Japanese”

But there are also some defenses:

“Strong state-led infrastructure investment does not aggravate overcapacity,” “By creating final demand, it helps digest the inventory of industrial goods, as well as buffering overall investment and GDP growth. “

while “sliding private and manufacturing investment suggests the country has been on the right track of cutting excess capacity”

 

Therefore a debate is needed over the viability of China’s infrastructure-led growth model. 

The favorite criticize for westerns has always been the debt:

China debt load reaches record high as risk to economy mounts

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Although some still insist “At the current rate of expansion, it is only a matter of time before some banks find themselves unable to fund all their assets safely,”

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But over long years many have given up an acute financial crisis, rather predict a chronic, Japan-style malaise in which growth slows for years or even decades. [2]

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Case of Japan seems somehow convincible

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“The most obvious example is Japan after 1990. It had too much debt, all of which was domestic, and as a consequence its growth collapsed.”

Thus, many are now concerned that China’s debt could lead to a so-called balance-sheet recession — a term coined by Richard Koo of Nomura to describe Japan’s stagnation in the 1990s and 2000s.

When corporate debt reaches very high levels, conventional monetary policy loses its effectiveness because companies focus on paying down debt and refuse to borrow even at rock-bottom interest rates.

 

Let’s turn back to the paper

The core of the paper is an examination of the performance of individual infrastructure projects in China, which the authors compare to projects undertaken in other countries.

They find that infrastructure projects in China often cost more and take longer to complete than expected, and that planners often do not accurately forecast demand for the completed projects.

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The basic ideas are:

“Far from being an engine of economic growth, the typical infrastructure investment fails to deliver a positive risk-adjusted return”

Hypothesis 1. Due to a propensity to cost overruns and benefit shortfalls, the typical infrastructure investment destroys economic value.

“Poorly managed infrastructure investments are a main explanation of surfacing economic and financial problems in China. We predict that, unless China shifts to a lower level of higher-quality infrastructure investments, the country is headed for an infrastructure-led national financial and economic crisis.” 

“It is a myth that China grew thanks largely to heavy infrastructure investment. It grew due to bold economic liberalisation and institutional reforms, and this growth is now threatened by over-investment in low-grade infrastructure” [3]

Three quarters of all projects suffered a cost overrun, which has exacerbated the debt problem

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They estimate three quarters of all projects suffered a cost overrun, which has exacerbated the debt problem ->  a third of China’s $28.2tn debt load is attributable to such overruns.

And,

“China’s relatively low official government debt-to-GDP ratio understates the actual debt burden the government carries for the following two reasons: corporate borrowing (125 per cent of China’s GDP) and financial institution borrowing (65 per cent of China’s GDP) are dominated by state-owned or state-controlled entities. The liabilities of these state-linked entities are ultimately governmental in nature if a liquidity crisis were to manifest.”

Ok no more debt, let’s check the infra itself

“The study is based on a sample of 95 road and rail infrastructure projects in China between 1984 and 2008. “

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Here’s a big but basic problem that one could dissent: they are roads and rails!

“Even if an infrastructure project does not directly generate enough cash flow to cover its financing costs, they argue, positive externalities can spur enough economic activity that makes the project worthwhile.

“For most of the past few decades, the bulk of Chinese infrastructure investment has served the overall economy reasonably well. If you compare China with most other developing countries, they would love to be in China’s shoes in terms of having all that infrastructure”

But one can still accuse for diminishing returns from additional infrastructure, as well as problems with excessive and wasteful infrastructure investment, 

though a crisis looks less likely

“The authors’ data on individual infrastructure projects tell us that China is basically no worse and no better than the rest of the world in terms of managing infrastructure projects — just like everywhere else, they often run behind schedule and over budget”

 

And we actually have more attacks to this paper from economists:

“if China is no better and no worse than the rest of the world at planning and executing infrastructure projects, it is hard to see how this would lead it into an infrastructure-driven financial crisis. The problem must therefore surely be that China is spending far too much on infrastructure”

“But they don’t. In fact they present absolutely no statistical information about the level or growth rate of infrastructure spending in China. Instead they present the usual numbers about the rapid growth of total investment and debt in China, such as the figures on gross fixed capital formation in the national accounts. It should hardly need pointing out that gross fixed capital formation is not the same thing as infrastructure spending; infrastructure is only one component of gross fixed capital formation, most of which is housing and business capital expenditure.” [4]

Rather, a real issue should be:

Chinese infrastructure projects generate low financial returns, but have to repay debts at interest rates that are far too high. 

the average return on assets of state-owned enterprises in infrastructure sectors is around 2%
the average interest rate that state-owned enterprises pay on their debt is around 5%.
the magnitude is sizable: 6-7 trillion yuan a year

soe-roa

By channeling a lot of essentially public-sector borrowing through financing channels normally used by private companies, China has created a large financial problem.

-> if the government does not want the projects to default then it needs to restructure the debt into lower-cost government obligations [5]

 

[1]

Many analysts now believe the best hope for dealing with inefficient SOEs is not to change them from the inside but to shrink their relative share of the economy. That means opening up protected industries to competition from private business and reducing the many advantages SOEs enjoy, especially access to finance.

“I don’t think SOEs can be ‘reformed’. They can only be downsized,” “Within China’s system of state capitalism, you can have less ‘state’ and more ‘capitalism’.”

[2]

They believe the People’s Bank of China will retain its ability to ward off crisis. By flooding the banking system with cash, the PBoC can ensure that banks remain liquid, even if non-performing loans rise sharply.

The greater risk from excess debt, they argue, is the Japan scenario: a “lost decade” of slow growth and deflation.

[3]

This is [a] ‘China myth’—that the country grew thanks largely to its heavy investment in infrastructure.

<- In the 1980s, China had poor infrastructure but turned in a superb economic performance. China built its infrastructure after—rather than before— many years of economic growth and accumulation of financial resources. The ‘China miracle’ happened not because it had glittering skyscrapers and modern highways but because bold economic liberalization and institutional reforms— especially agricultural reforms in the early 1980s—created competition and nurtured private entrepreneurship.

[4]

According to estimates by the former OECD economist Richard Herd, government and infrastructure sectors have usually accounted for 20-30% of gross fixed capital formation over the past couple of decades.

[5]

since infrastructure investment is still growing by around 20% annually, and returns on infrastructure investment could plausibly fall even further (capacity utilization at thermal power plants is already at a 20-year low due to excess capacity)

 

China SanJiang Fine Chemicals Company and China Chemical Industry

Source:

从中国三江化工谈企业本质和页岩气革命带来的套利机会

关于中国三江化工

申万宏源(香港)-中国三江化工-2198.HK-大底反转-160829

 

公司的发展历史是中国大部分的企业家的一个写照,主要靠公司老板胆子大,再加上一些关系,瞅准了一些缝隙市场钻进去了。而不是像国外企业一样很多时候是谋定而后动,更多的时候纯粹就是靠运气,靠机遇。

三江化工就是从中石油中石化的缝隙中钻出了一条生路,依靠海外的进口乙烯,加工环氧乙烷。但是仍然没有掌握原料这个源头,依赖进口原料,风险很大,这导致企业发展过程当中也险象环生,危机重重。例如原来乙烯长协进口,2008年价格暴跌,公司也陷入困境,靠低价卖货起死回生 [8]。现在做甲醇制烯烃,虽然可以解决乙烯的进口,但又带来甲醇的进口问题。

但三江化工一直就是试图解决原料依赖这个生意上的致命缺陷,但是每一次都会带来新原料的依赖,问题根本无法彻底解决。所以,我们也可以看到,为什么全世界能源巨头都是垄断的,上下游一体化的。

说大部分化工企业缺乏像国企那样的上游资源,天生带有缺陷的商业模式,永远是短时间内套利。

 

“三江化工成立于2009 年,是中国最大的民营环氧乙烷及AEO 表面活性剂生厂商和供应商,公司于2010 年在港交所主板上市。
公司的传统主营产品为环氧乙烷EO、乙二醇和表面活性剂(以AEO为主,非离子表面活性剂中的一种)。公司的表面活性剂广泛应用于生产洗涤液、化妆品及软膏等家居清洁产品。

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1. 公司最开始从事上图中最下游表面活性剂的生产,挖到了第一桶金。
表面活性剂的下游是当时浙江火热的纺织印染行业,再下游是浙江最早也是最重要的经济支柱,纺织服装企业。

表面活性剂在中国市场上的主要客户为家居及工业用清洁剂、工业用表面活性剂及AES(脂肪醇醚硫酸钠)生产商,其中工业用表面活性剂客户比如纺织业、造纸、金属、农业、建筑材料、石化产品及皮革加工等。

表面活性剂按分子结构中亲水基团的带电性分为阴离子、阳离子、非离子和两性表面活性剂四大类,其中阴离子用量最多占55%非离子排名第二为32%AEO(脂肪醇聚氧乙烯醚)是非离子表面活性剂中的重要品种,用量占所有表面活性剂市场的16%。据招股书中资料,三江2009年的AEO产量在行业中位列第二,占13%市场份额。

但是表面活性剂产业有个致命缺陷:原料垄断。

A.环氧乙烷是表面活性剂的主要原料

B.环氧乙烷的供应商清一色为中石化、中石油旗下企业。随着我国表面活性剂企业扎堆入市,环氧乙烷需求不断上升,一货难求

<- 环氧乙烷市场前景很好,但是国内只有中石油石化等巨头生产,且它只能存放几天,所以有销售半径,也无法海外进口,不像其他很多化工产品面临海外的低价进口冲击。

C.  原料供应的垄断,成为表面活性剂生产企业最大的问题

-> “价格多少、给不给货完全由供方说了算。谁也不敢得罪他们,还得想尽办法搞好关系才行。”

-> “这种垄断还带来了另一重恶果——表面活性剂行业的“侏儒症”。由于原料供应无法保证,国内表面活性剂生产厂家做到一定规模后,就无法扩大了。”

 

2. 下一步公司沿上图从下游表面活性剂往上游环氧乙烷延伸产业链,试图解决原料问题。

注意,化工产业链中每一段的供求特性可能都是有差异的。 公司进军环氧乙烷的问题是,乙烯的原料供应如何获取?

-> “生产环氧乙烷,要用大量乙烯,国内能生产乙烯的还是只有中石油、中石化,他们会把原料提供给自己的竞争对手吗?再说了,就算你真的建起来了,一个小小的民营企业,能和中石油、中石化这样的庞然大物竞争吗?”

最后主要是通过海外进口乙烯来解决的。

-> 本来原料乙烯无法解决,因为国内巨头都是自产自销,但恰好中东等大力发展化工,提供了多余的乙烯供出口,所以三江化工的投机取巧就成功了,依靠国外的原料,在中石油石化等巨头的垄断中杀出了一条血路。

“由于国内乙烯产量基本被生产商自我消化,而周边包括韩国、日本、东南亚国家中能够运输乙烯的船只主要为日本拥有,故三江90%的乙烯原料得从日本进口。据介绍,货源经海路运抵浙江乍浦港后,首先会低温存储进公司自有的2.2万立方米乙烯罐(相当于1.2万吨的存数量),然后再通过自有管道运输到厂区。(2010年)”

“企业发展过程中有一个小插曲,可以证明缺乏原料的痛苦。嘉兴政府承诺在公司环氧乙烷项目建成之前,会提供港口化工码头用于进口乙烯。结果码头的进展大大低于预期,环氧乙烷项目完工了,海外乙烯却由于码头问题无法进口。公司即将倒闭。公司求助石油石化两巨头,试图获取乙烯原料供应,被拒绝。后来在贷款银行帮助下,以保护贷款的名义说服了石化巨头,开始提供乙烯原料。后来码头建成,就可以进口海外乙烯了。”

[6]

 

3. 环氧乙烷的下游成品的销售和蓝海变红海

环氧乙烷的商品贸易特性非常差,环氧乙烷只能存放5天,否则就变质无用, 所以产品基本都是0库存,现金交收, 主要只能覆盖距周边200公里的范围。主要覆蓋華東地區, 中石化和中石油也同樣面對这個問題, 因此產品的區域性很強 +++ 同时环氧乙烷也无法进口,不会面临成本更低的中东等过供应商的进口威胁。

-> 也就是说,上游乙烯的供应壁垒加上下游销售的区域壁垒,给环氧乙烷生产企业提供了一个很好的壁垒。这个壁垒使得它有定价权并这几年很少受到行业产能过剩的影响。

“环氧乙烷这个市场算是寡头垄断市场,中石油、中石化旗下企业和中国三江化工三分天下,三江化工是唯一的民营企业,所以只要宏观环境稳定,公司对下游客户具有很强的议价能力,这从客户要先付款再发货可见一斑。”

“公司出产品无论原材料升或跌, 都可以保持每顿2000元的毛利;年底扩产由180000吨增至330000吨,计划到2014年初增至53W吨, 而且产品供不应求,现在开机运行率110%,只能满足30%的市场需求, 客戶要买全部付现金,由於求過於供,現在有钱都不一定买得到;产品毛利达20%。產能到2014年就超过中石油了,产能达53W吨。”

“当人们谈及化工行业仅存的仍能给企业带来"合理利润"的品种时,一般都不会忘记环氧乙烷。此品种以其与乙烯強烈的共生性和非常差的商品贸易特性在市场上展现出一道十分亮丽的特色,中国环氧乙烷市场基本上是国产货的天下,因为进口货根本进不来。如果要谈及什么深刻地影响着今年环氧乙烷市场,业內人士一定会异口同声地告诉你:产能的急速扩张。毕竟能为企业带来"合理利润"的好东西在化工领域已越来越少。”

-> 环氧乙烷是过去几年里化工领域的一个小蓝海,很可惜,马上就变红了。

在大宗化工产品纷纷产能过剩的时候,环氧乙烷这个蓝海吸引了众多厂家纷纷杀入。过剩的产能正逼着环氧乙烷企业向下游发展,同时也倒逼下游企业配套上马环氧乙烷,徳纳集团等就是榜样。2013年虽然预期市场产能再增加约75万吨/年,但还可以拼,只是"见血"而已;2014年产能的继续急剧增加才会恐怖,环氧乙烷基本上无法出口,众多企业在国内市场的打拼可能就要"见肉"。[11]

“尽管国内多套环氧乙烷装置加速建设和投产,普遍担忧,未来环氧乙烷产业很可能步PTA后尘,产能过剩,效益下滑,竞争更加激烈。三江处于国内环氧乙烷的主产区和消费区–华东地区仍有多套环氧乙烷装置在加速建设。其中包括德纳国际南京公司10万吨/年环氧乙烷装置、仪征地区辽宁奥克公司20万吨/年环氧乙烷装置、远东联石化(扬州)公司60万吨/年环氧乙烷项目、泰兴丹天化工公司26万吨/年环氧乙烷项目,而且这些装置大多正在设想或将要施工,也许两三年内产能就将集中释放。”

“哪又怎样?要知道国内环氧乙烷产业,个人清洗等日用行业,可以替代很多产品,下游产业链广阔。环氧乙烷下游产品多达几千种(多种家居和工业产品,如药品及香料中的杀菌剂、熏剂及杀真菌剂,以及防冻剂、合成洗涤剂、乳化剂、增塑剂、润滑剂、橡胶和合成树脂等五千多种产品),在规模和产品结构上三江极具灵活性。”

“专业人士也知道未来中国环氧乙烷产能扩张,国内会激烈竞争价格战,可哪个化工行业不是这个结局?从07年草甘膦,10年氟化工品,09年氯碱,11年钛白粉,08年黄磷,10年PTA,这些化工子行业暴利的时候,细分龙头公司股价一路狂飙,怎么就没有机构跳出来说未来产能大增,股价最多按多少算云云”

-> “环氧乙烷过剩风险加大,而过剩产能还将冲击乙二醇产业。由于70%以上的环氧乙烷用于生产乙二醇,一旦环氧乙烷效益不好,企业就会转产乙二醇。同时中东地区大量廉价的乙二醇产品进口国内,而国内多套煤制乙二醇装置建成投产,三面夹击下,国内乙二醇产业或将遭受重创。”

然而,当今日本等发达国家环氧乙烷下游产品已达5000多种,而我国仅有300多种,所以我国环氧乙烷市场潜力非常大。尤其是环氧乙烷在香料、染料、涂料和特种化纤油剂等方面的开发和应用还处于成长期,因此,环氧乙烷衍生精细化工新产品、新材料的发展空间巨大。未来将有更多的环氧乙烷进入精深加工领域。而环氧乙烷生产企业要想保证利润空间,必须向下游深加工领域拓展,因此企业要密切跟踪市场发展,细分下游市场,生产急需产品,进一步扩大太阳能多晶硅切割液、高性能混凝土减水剂等下游高附加值产品的市场份额。

 

4. 再下一步,自然继续往上游延伸,甲醇制烯烃

三江化工可以通过进口甲醇,生产乙烯,解决乙烯这个原料供应问题。

-> 甲醇制烯烃项目建成后,乙烯就能实现自给,环氧乙烷的原料供应更加稳定,有利于该产业进一步做大做强。这一方面也可说公司老板还是有远见的,另外一方面也是无奈之举,毕竟环氧乙烷市场快做烂了,需要新增长点。

*但是会带来甲醇的供应这个新问题。

-> 这一次,情况又有所不同。 乙烯和甲醇的供需情况完全是两回事。 国内企业都能获得海外乙烯的长协合约,但是却难以获得海外甲醇的长协合约。

我们可以看看三江的临近兄弟宁波禾元化学有限公司的例子。

目前国内计划利用进口甲醇制取烯烃的项目有:浙江宁波禾元化学有限公司180万吨甲醇制60万吨烯烃项目正在建设之中;浙江兴兴新能源科技有限公司在嘉兴投资建设的180万吨甲醇制60万吨烯烃项目正在进行设计

“2012-9-14 当前的华东甲醇和烯烃价格并不能让MTO项目有很好的经济性,而禾元的开工也迟迟未到来。问题是:老外不原意给大陆提供甲醇长协。 人家要求大陆政府提供担保。 禾元就是个例子,把王子,总统和中方的高高官都活动了。 人家就是不提供长协。 ”

-> 看来跟乙烯相比,甲醇进口就是另外一回事了,中东不提供长协供应。

“当时为什么外购甲醇做MTO MTP听上去是那么的动听,完全是因为需要考虑和担忧的因素被有目的性地缩小的。资本家说什么完全取决于他需要什么,他(技术及工程服务商)需要推销项目的时候,就会把风险说得很低,让你感觉前景一片大好,项目做成之后盈利强劲。但是一旦等你投资了,开始花心思寻找可靠原料供应商的时候,另一批资本家肯定是不会跟你签长协的,为什么太简单了,历史地看,能源价格从来都没稳定过,如果原料价格不能稳定,你怎么可能指望原料供应商能跟你签长协呢??禾元也好,天津大化也好,远的例子不知道就算了,至少中国跟俄罗斯的能源(包括石油和天然气)进口协议总是个活生生的例子吧,国家层面上的长协善且那么困难,企业又如何能实现呢?”

在能源领域的长协,是极其困难的,能源领域的长协,能实现的是也仅限于区域内,而非跨国例如一个中国的企业跟国内某省份之间原材料供给的长协是可实现的,在美国也一样,最近美国也在做MTG,那个项目要能做下去的前提就是公司和地方原料煤的长期协议能签下来。

 

5.那么甲醇的进口问题能够得到解决吗?即使甲醇进口解决了,甲醇制取烯烃项目可以盈利吗?

要解答这个问题,就更加复杂了,我们要考虑如下因素的影响。

i) 甲醇可以从哪里进口,进口甲醇制取烯烃的成本跟国内自有原料生产(煤炭巨头)的成本相比有优势吗?

甲醇的进口国外不给长协,难以长期保障原料。这是最大的一个风险。

另外,成本也没有优势。

“如果进口甲醇到岸价格平均能在2000元/吨,用其制烯烃的生产成本约为7000元/吨,算上还贷、销售费用,完全成本为8000~8500元/吨。国内中石化、中石油系统产品众多,他们的成本算综合账,石脑油制烯烃分摊的成本是8000元/吨。因此,用进口甲醇制烯烃的成本与他们持平或略高。”“这几个项目不是在初期意向阶段就是基本黄了,现在甲醇的市场价格将近3000,制取乙丙烯基本没有价格上的竞争力。另外就是甲醇拿不到有长期保证的量。(2012年情况)”

初步的研究就会发现,这两个问题是一个问题,而且解决办法只有一个,美国页岩气革命。 [7]

->  因为美国页岩气革命,可能带来美国的化工行业产品的成本比中东还低。如果可以从美国进口比中东价格还低的甲醇,那么三江化工的原料成本比国内煤炭巨头和石油巨头成本低,不又可以赚大钱了吗?

-> 但是恐怕这一点难以实现,因为直到现在美国一直都进口大量甲醇,虽然现在页岩气革命,很多甲醇产能在美国重新开放,但是不一定能导致出口。

2015年世界甲醇产能将达到约1.28亿吨/年,产能增长主要来自中国、智利、埃及、伊朗、俄罗斯等国。2015年世界甲醇需求为7800万吨,产能过剩达到5000万吨/年。中东地区成为世界甲醇的生产中心,产能将达到1800万吨/年,年需求约500万吨,年净出口量为1300万吨;中南美地区可出口1100万吨;非洲可出口200万吨。世界甲醇贸易量超过2600万吨。

-> 2015年世界主要甲醇消费地区和国家中,欧洲和北美需要输入甲醇量约1000万吨,大约有1600万吨的廉价甲醇可以输入中国。而同期国内甲醇制烯烃装置需要外购甲醇量为360万吨,届时市场可供应的甲醇资源较多。

尽管国内外甲醇产能大量剩余,中东、南美等地天然气原料丰富廉价,中国西部地区也有丰富的廉价煤炭可作为原料。但世界和中国的甲醇供需存在较大的布局不平衡,运输成本相对较高。因此市场上的甲醇价格均较高,用于甲醇制烯烃项目均难以保证项目的经济性。[5]

而且煤制烯烃项目的营利水平受油价和煤价波动影响较大。按德勤财务模型,石油价格降到每桶80美元以下时,煤制烯烃项目可能亏损。

 

ii) 进口甲醇制取烯烃会面临其他路径的威胁。

上图中没有标明,其实乙二醇而不是表面活性剂才是环氧乙烷最重要的下游,有约一半以上被用于生产制造乙二醇。[9]

世界上,乙二醇生产主要采用石油路线,即乙烯法(环氧乙烷水合技术),该技术基本由英荷Shell化学、美国科学设计公司(SD)和美国DOW三家公司垄断。由于中国乙二醇基本都有大型石化公司乙烯下游联产,技术受制于国外(装置全部引进,催化剂技术对国外依赖程度较强),其次,石脑油价格变化较快,成本控制难度较大,致使乙二醇产能增长缓慢。

除正式投入使用的煤制乙二醇装置之外,基于煤炭法乙二醇原料来源广泛,成本低廉、工艺流程短、技术经济性高等优势,未来五年间将吸引众多的投资者进入煤制乙二醇的队伍中来年。据不完全统计,2012-2015年间,煤制乙二醇新增产能预计710万吨,乙烯法届时产能估479万吨/年,仅供应一项煤炭法已经占据上风/(到2015年,我国甲醇制烯烃产能将达976万吨。加上天津等地建设的3套合计165万吨/年进口乙烷/丙烷制烯烃项目,届时国内非石油路线烯烃产能将达1141万吨。)

目前国内以煤为原料制备乙二醇,主要有三条工艺路线:

1、直接法:以煤气化制取合成气(CO+H2),再由合成气一步直接合成乙二醇。此技术的关键是催化剂的选择,在相当长的时期内难以实现工业化。
2、烯烃法:以煤为原料,通过气化、变换、净化后得到合成气,经甲醇合成,甲醇制烯烃(MTO)得到乙烯,再经乙烯环氧化、环氧乙烷水合及产品精致最终得到乙二醇。该过程将煤制烯烃与传统石油路线乙二醇相结合,技术较为成熟,但成本相对较高。
3、草酸酯法(DMO):以煤为原料,通过气化、变换、净化及分离提纯后分别得到CO和H2,其中CO通过催化偶联 合成及精制生产草酸酯,再经与H2进行加氢反应并通过精制后获得聚酯级乙二醇的过程。该工艺流程短,成本低,是目前国内受到关注最高的煤制乙二醇技术,通常所说的“煤制乙二醇”就是特指该工艺。 目前国内宣布掌握煤制乙二醇技术的集合体主要包括:福建物构所、丹化集团、河南煤业集合体;天津大学、惠生工程、华本能源集合体;华东理工大学、上海浦景、淮化集团集合体;华谊集团等。此外还包括由日本高化学代理的宇部兴产、东华工程集合体

所以,甲醇制烯烃是其中一条成本较高的路线。现在煤炭巨头还在实施其他方案,可以生产乙二醇。如果这些路线成熟了,它们成本更低,会抢占大部分乙二醇的市场,从而直接削减环氧乙烷的需求。 虽然煤制乙二醇来势凶凶,但由于技术原因,它目前暂时还达不到PET行业制造的要求。

<- 鉴于大部分乙二醇都被PET制造所吸收,乙烯(EO)法乙二醇品质上的暂时优势吸引着大批企业"冲进来 “生产环氧乙烷"。各乙二醇生产企业深知煤制乙二醇性价比所在,他们也承认一但技术瓶颈被突破(应该快啦),乙烯(EO)法制乙二醇很难在成本上去比拼

-> 所以,也许三江化工未来会进退维谷,老产品环氧乙烷红海搏杀,新产品甲醇制烯烃却难以复制环氧乙烷曾经的蓝海优势,甚至根本无法盈利。

当然,并不是说煤制乙二醇一旦规模化,三江化工就完蛋了,这里还有时间差和地域差。烯烃属于危险化学品,短途运输尚可通过管道,中长距离的运输就要通过压力设备,成本高昂且运力有限。三江化工的烯烃石化产品可以直接在当地消化,而由于运输限制,煤炭巨头的产能在中西部,一时无法给三江化工带来威胁。

 

 

6.回顾整个三江化工的发展历史,我们可以得出结论,化工行业很多时候只是一定时间期限内的套利机会

这个套利主要是利用两条:

A. 是利用工艺路线之间的成本差异,包括不同原料来源的成本差异。

例如同一个化工产品,往往可以有三条原料路径,煤炭,石油,天然气,每条的成本不一样。即使是同样一个原料,从中国,中东,美国不同地方生产,成本也不一样。

B. 时间限制和地域限制

时间限制指,一个东西从供求紧缺到产能过剩需要一段时间,这段时间内具有套利机会。

地域限制也一样,中国国内东西,南北之间的运输成本,比跨国海运的成本可能还高。所以西部资源东运,还不如直接沿海进口原料生产,便宜又省事。

*** 也就是说,化工企业往往无法持续盈利,它们顶多是一时性的投资机会。要想持续盈利,最好原料能自给自足,而且有低廉的原料,否则别人原料比你还低,你有自己的原料也白搭。

 

[1] 样本公司:大成生化科技

[2] 美国页岩气革命会带来什么样的投资机会?

[3] 美国页岩气革命一定能发生吗?

 

7. 三江也有一些经营上的优点

A.成本控制和灵活的销售能力。例如08年经济危机,三江化工也差点倒闭,靠灵活的销售生存下来。而2012年环氧乙烷也曾跌到历史新低,但是三江化工还有盈利,说明了其还是具有优势的。

“上半年正是环氧乙烷价格跌落到历史低谷时期,半年报显示公司的环氧乙烷出厂价下跌8.7%至每吨9693元,而公司毛利率不降反而上升1%至20.6%,这一方面是因为环氧乙烷原材料价格下降6%,也是由于公司控制成本得宜;在最差历史时期,收益因扩产增长26%。而且对两年内扩产的各方面都作了非常详尽的介绍(扩产产能、进度安排、资本开支和预期收益等)。”

“解析三江的报告绝大多数都忽略了销售策略的重要性。这里有两层结构:首先是根据利润率、客户培养等综合因素来调配EO的直接销售比例,比如说EO毛利率高于AEO则更多地销售EO而当AEO毛利率更高时则把更多自产EO分配到AEO生产部门。第二层结构是直销和代理的平衡:以EO来说,2008年底前收入主要是来自贸易中间商,而近期却变成了直接面对下游客户居多;而AEO这块,早些是直接面对下游客户而现在却是以贸易中间商为主。(2010年)”

“由于货品紧俏回款从来不是公司的问题。生产出来的EO需在三天内消化,客户(85%的销售额来自江浙企业)多数选择自己派车上门提货同时货到付款,若同样位于港区则通过管道直接供应。公司EO产品的客户包括金燕、抚嘉、华格等;AEO产品的客户有纳爱斯集团、丽水雕牌化工、浙江传化等;加工业务的客户有浙江赞宇。需要注意的是不管是EO客户还是AEO客户,下游企业的规模也在指数增长,这也意味着议价权正从之前的卖方单向渐变成为买卖双方协议。早些年量小,月用量几十吨的都算大户了,自然没什么话语权,但现在月用量几千吨的下游企业比比皆是,上游的话语权不断削弱也属正常。再就是必须留意下游企业跃跃欲试往上游投资的动向,三江第一大客户对外放风要在江苏开工40万吨EO生产线,也许并非谈判策略。(2010年)”

B.下游的应用广泛,其中有萎缩的,但也有前景看好的。特别是聚羧酸减水剂单体,这是一个与大规模基础建设息息相关的好产品,没有人怀疑它在今后5-10年需求的強劲增长。

“但是回顾世界级化工企业的成功道路,无论是Dow Chemical还是一些中型企业,研发可谓关键。但据走访了解,三江化工研究与开发中心的员工屈指可数且无人有海外留学背景。务实来说没有任何专利,务虚来说也没有任何研发管理的架构。起码短期来看,指望公司内生出可量产的高附加值新品并不符合实际情况。(2010年)”

 

8. 中国三江化工的情况有点类似信立泰

看空信立泰主要原因是后续产品都不如当前主流产品重磅。这样的话,很容易有青黄不接的危险。

当前产品A,很厉害,但是后边已经有一大堆公司在准备进来与公司竞争,公司还有下一个产品,下一个项目,它的盈利预期比A更强,这种情况下,可以比较看好。但是反过来,如果公司的下一个项目,下一个产品盈利能力看起来根本无法与当前的主流产品相媲美,那么就会尽量保守,毕竟还要考虑当前主流产品A万一比预期更早陷入产能过剩怎么办?

2012年信立泰竟然绝地反弹,业绩大幅超乎预期。这个主要是由于当前主流产品的销售超过预期,后续的竞争者还没有来得及形成威胁,也就是所担心的情况没有发生。但要考虑到最恶劣的情况:一旦主流产品的竞争恶化超过预期,后续的新产品新项目又明显不如当前产品盈利能力强,那么市场很可能立马开始大幅调低成长预期,股价进入双杀。

中国三江化工的情况有点类似,也许大家普遍担心的环氧乙烷的产能过剩还不会造成严重威胁,公司业绩持续保持增长。2013年环氧乙烷很可能还会以量补价,2014年就不知道了。但最关心的问题就是新项目,甲醛制取烯烃项目。这个项目一来主要担心原料,国外不提供长协,二来担心成本收益,还有煤制乙二醇等的替代威胁。我认为这个新项目的盈利能力肯定无法与原来的环氧乙烷相提并论,也有类似信立泰的青黄不接现象。

 

2015年研报申万研报视点

2015 年,公司通过建设甲醇制烯烃(MTO)生产设施,将主营产品种类扩大至5 类:环氧乙烷(EO)、聚丙烯、乙二醇(EG)、C4 和表面活性剂

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受经济下滑和2015 年天津港爆炸事件的影响,化工品的价格在2015 年跌至谷底,三江化工的毛利率被压至3%,造成公司2015 年净亏损。但伴随着需求的缓慢恢复和供给侧改革的逐步实施,销售价格开始显著回升,加上公司产能的提升,我们认为公司今年可扭亏为盈。

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环氧乙烷

环氧乙烷作为一种乙烯衍生物在国内主要用于制造表面活性剂、乙二醇、乙醇胺和乙二醇醚。环氧乙烷的下游应用涵盖家庭及工业应用,可用于制作防冻剂、合成洗涤剂、乳化剂、非离子表面活性剂、增塑剂、润滑剂、粘合剂、橡胶、合成树脂等。

2013  年,环氧乙烷业务收入占三江化工营业收入的87% ,2014  88%2015  年,公司推出甲醇制烯烃项目(MTO) 生产线,将其产品生产范围扩大至丙烃、丙烃衍生物和C4/C5  产品。环氧乙烷仍是公司的核心业务,2015  年贡献了50% 的营业收入,紧随其后的丙烃业务占收入的21% ,乙二醇业务占11.46% 。

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受益于需求恢复,环氧乙烷价格由去年每吨约6900  元的低位反弹32% 至每吨9100  元。70-80% 的环氧乙烷成本来自于甲醇成本,每单位乙烯通常需要3.15  单位甲醇公司已取得了高于行业平均的环氧乙烷生产率,每单位环氧乙烷仅需要0.76  单位甲醇,而行业平均水平为0.8  单位甲醇。值得注意的是,环氧乙烷毛利自2014  年下半年来已逐步改善,但由于2015  年价格持续下跌,绝对毛利仍处于低位。随着今年价格恢复和经济复苏,我们预计环氧乙烷毛利有望迎来一轮上涨。

乙二醇

一般情况下,乙二醇作为环氧乙烷的下游产品,是合成聚酯纤维和防冻剂产品的原料之一。就三江化工而言,乙二醇是公司生产环氧乙烷时产生的副产品,通常主要用作丙烯的衍生物。

通过与美国SD  公司合作,公司计划将工业级的乙二醇转化成可用于生产聚酯纤维的乙二醇,提高销售产品的质量。目前公司的乙二醇年产能约为20  万吨。乙二醇价格如今已恢复至5000  元/ 吨的水平,预计毛利率有望在2016  年达到14% 左右,显著高于2015  年的7% 。

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丙烯,聚丙烯

尽管丙烯仍是三江化工2015  年的主打产品之一,但公司计划2016  年将所有丙烯加工成聚丙烯以提振销售。作为丙烯衍生物的最大应用领域,聚丙烯可被进一步加工成聚丙烯无纺布,PP  塑料制品等。聚丙烯价格一般比丙烯高约1000  元/单位。

2015  年,公司丙烯业务亏损主要是天津港意外爆炸事件导致不可储存、易爆的进口丙烯被抛售,造成丙烯价格在去年下探至约3800  元/ 吨。随着该一次性影响的消除,毛利逐渐复苏,我们预计公司聚丙烯业务有望在2016  年有亏为盈,贡献利润。

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MTO 成本优势

乙烯是生产环氧乙烷最重要和必不可少的原料。乙烯的生产方法主要有两种,一种是使用原油生产石脑油进而制成乙烯,另一种是先将煤和天然气制成混合气生产甲醇用以加工生产成乙烯。

甲醇制烯烃(MTO) 是将甲醇催化转化为乙烯、丙烯的工艺。甲醇(化学式:CH3OH ,通常简称MeOH )被广泛认为是柴油和液化天然气的替代品,且价格比油价更具稳定性。选择生产乙烯不同工艺的关键因素在于上游原料的差别,一种依赖于原油,而另一种更多依赖于甲醇。多年走势表明,甲醇价格比原油价格更加稳定。如果原油价格超过天然气价格,那MTO  工艺将更具有竞争优势,而原油价格下降将损害MTO工艺的成本优势。

同时,伊朗正在建设年产能200  万吨(或日产能7000  吨)的世界上最大的甲醇生产厂。随着全球甲醇供应量的增加,MTO  生产工艺的成本长期有望走低。

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原油生产乙烯的方法对原油有很大的依赖性,而原油作为一种重要的大宗商品,其价格受诸多因素影响。因此,原油价格具有很高的波动性和不可预测性。此种方法下,乙烯价格与原油价格高度相关,采用该方法的公司也容易面临原油价格波动带来的风险。

MTO  工艺方法下,乙烯的主要上游原料是天然气和煤,价格远比原油稳定得多

估值

三江化工主要产品的需求变化跟经济增速和居民可支配收入情况具有相关性。随着今年需求的复苏,公司产品也实现了量价齐升。

除了宏观经济影响外,影响环氧乙烷需求的一个主要因素是聚羧酸减水剂对萘系减水剂的替代,而聚羧酸是一种环氧乙烷衍生物。我们预计化工产品需求的不断增加有望支撑上游生产商的利润率。

在香港上市的四家可比公司中,上海石油化工与三江化工在主业方面最为相似,不过上海石油化工的业务规模和业务种类都远超过三江化工,使其享有估值溢价。

 

 

[1]

我们上文提到了乙二醇,这也是一个非常重要的化工产品。 港股正好有一个公司,符合我们说的标准,原料自有,工艺路线独特,那就是大成生化科技。

公司拥有两个世界第一产业,一个是氨基酸,另一个是植物多元醇。

公司的多元醇于2005年小规模生产,08年9月经国家相关部门验收后大规模生产,产能达20万吨。主要的客户包括宝洁、美国最大的树脂公司等。

产品定价:
乙二醇价格:石油基乙二醇价格*1.5;
其他价格(丙二醇、丁二醇):石油基价格*1.2。

主要原料是玉米淀粉,公司基于粮食安全问题没有大幅生产。目前公司正开发新的原料(木薯、玉米秸秆、麦秸)生产化工醇。

转化率:2.5吨玉米秸杆出一吨糖,一吨糖出一吨化工醇。一吨玉米粒出1.6吨玉米秸秆。

计划兴建的100万吨化工醇项目将以玉米秸秆为原料生产。目前的玉米秸秆不是烧掉就是当废料堆放,因此未来周边地区玉米秸秆供应将不成问题。

大成生化科技的优点有几个:

A. 原料自给,而且很便宜,玉米秸秆目前都当废料,供应充足

B. 下游产品销售价更高,比石油基的乙二醇价格高,为什么?因为植物生产出来的产品,绿色,国际上可以给溢价。

所以,大成生化科技可能是一个不错的投资标的,当然,

i) 一切还有待于公司的工艺成熟,

ii) 同时,也要看石油和煤炭制造乙二醇与公司路线之间的成本差异,如果公司路线成本太高了,也有危险。

** 当然,如果从财务角度,这些公司都是不是太好的标的,资产负债率都很高,而现金流也不一定好。 环氧乙烷只能存放5天,否则就变质无用, 所以产品基本都系0库存,现金交收。这是个特例,一般产品肯定无法做到这么好的现金流。 [4]

[2]

一般人都会注意到页岩气对上游油服设备供应商的投资机会,但是页岩气革命更重要的是重构整个制造业的成本。因为页岩气可以生产钢铁,肥料,几乎所有的生产物资包括化纤等等,这些的成本都可以大幅降低。

但是,不同的细分市场,供求完全不一样,所以要case by case 分析。

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页岩气革命对另外一些公司的投资机会,我们可以摘录过来与三江化工进行对比。

海越的C4来源于LPG的气分设备(大概是100万吨,这个可以从与中石化签订的每年50-80万吨LPG的供应合同得到验证),除了异辛烷、正丁烷和甲乙酮外,气分装置还会分类出丙烷(估计分离出20万吨),但这点丙烷完全不够C3的60万吨丙烯的需求(通常,保守测算,要1.2吨丙烷生产一吨丙烯,所以,海越的丙烷缺口为50-55万吨)。

东华能源的一期60万吨和二期的66万吨(实际是75万吨)由于投产时间相差不大,为省力,就看做是一起的,共计126万吨,同样,保守测算, 1.2吨丙烷生产一吨丙烯,那么东华的丙烷缺口是150万吨。 那么如何解决这个缺口呢?这个,我就不罗嗦了,页岩气和中东的伴生气可以解决这个难题。(只是价格差距极大,这个后面说),也就是说,海越和东华都有“米”下锅(大家可以找相应的报告看)。

我们关心的第二个问题:产品销路。同样,大家可以找相应的报告看。

我们关心的第三个问题:盈利。

再谈这个问题前,我们看看美国的页岩气大量量产以后的丙烷价格以及中东的丙烷价格

(单位:美元/吨,,汇率6.25)
时间 2013-01-10 备注
中东(沙特) 955(季度定价) 现在国内最大的丙烷来源地
西北欧 810左右
美国堪萨斯 450左右 2015年以后,最主要的来源地(巴拿马运河改造工程竣工)
国内(山东) 1030左右 ”

这几个公司的故事,性质完全一样,只不过标的从乙烯,甲醇,环氧乙烷换成了丙烷,丙烯。注意原料丙烷的不同地区的价格,中东,欧洲,美国,中国,美国的价格低得离谱,这就是页岩气革命的影响。

这就是页岩气革命一个生动的例子。

美国生产的钢铁,肥料,化纤等等,成本都比世界上任何地方低,中国的人力成本优势被国产资源高价格(煤炭多石油少天然气更少)和高昂的体制成本(国内东西部物流成本比国际海运还高,商场的进场费,各种灰色费用)抵消了。

**主义美国页岩气革命带来的只是套利机会。因为这些项目都是有期限的,就是在产能过剩之前。

[3]

任何命题都要研究前提,条件,不能直接就引用一个命题当做结论。

页岩气革命一定能成功吗?不,不一定。

所以,前面所有一切,都跟页岩气革命能否成功这个前提有关。那么页岩气革命的风险在哪里?我不是专家,但我给可以给出一些分析线索,供参考。注意这些信息来源于不同渠道,请自行验证合理性。

“波兰就是草率下结论的一个例子:该国一度被认为是欧洲页岩气资源的“乐园”,而最近的勘探结果却令人十分失望:实际勘探的结果要远远低于2011年时的估算——当时的预测储量为5.3万亿立方米,相当于300年的消费量。”

“我去过美国德州鹰滩康菲公司的页岩气工作现场目前,只靠页岩气无法赢利,赢利靠页岩油。
结合我们国家的情况地质资源、保存条件、作业条件、工程地貌远不如美国的页岩气得天独厚的条件,页岩气的工业化可能路还远,但油田服务公司将会首先受益吧”

“下图是巴肯油田的油井与产油量统计值。2011年相较2009年,矿井数增加了3~4倍,可产油量一直平台整理,这是个可怕的统计结果”

“从2009年1月至2012年8月,巴肯矿区页岩气和油业务的经营性现金流一直是负数,总亏空已到14亿美元。也许只有美孚、康菲、雪佛龙这样的大牌才有实力主导一场如此耗费资本的赌局,或者说的更直白些,一场大骗局!”

[4]

三江化工

负债率很高,而且化工产品周期波动很大。波动还会不会打,现金流能不能支撑,是问题。

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不知不觉,02198.HK中国三江化工已经成为一个市值只有9.53亿港元的庞然大物了。

说是庞然大物,是指它的产能。43万吨的环氧乙烷,30万吨乙烯,39万吨乙烯,12.5万吨C4,和30万吨乙二醇。

根据2015年年报,公司收入由36.35亿增加到49.66亿,却亏损2.27亿, 其中外汇损失1.95亿,出售美福码头1.57亿,扣除外汇损失和出售美福码头一次性收益和损失外,亏损约为1.89亿。

其中,融资成本2.76亿,其他开支8.3亿,公司存货由2.9亿增加到5亿,关联方美福石化贷款由13.5亿减少到9.7亿,说明美福石化在盈利。可供出售投资4.22亿,现金7.92亿,贷款和债券为34.7+6.0+13.5=54.2亿,借款缺口42亿,对应的融资利息2.76亿左右,为正常水平。

2015年,新增产能甲醇制烯烃MTO项目,180万吨甲醇,产出30万吨乙烯和39万吨丙烯,C412.5万吨,第五期環氧乙烷╱乙二醇,环氧乙烷10万吨,乙二醇30万吨。

公司亏损的原因,是原油价格由2014年每桶110美元下跌到2015年底的35美元,并于2016年初下跌到最低30美元,开始反弹到40没有多。导致乙烯价格暴跌,而相应的甲醇价格,下降不大,导致MTO项目亏损。

根据年报,年中平均价格环氧乙烷6235元/吨,丙烯4949元/吨,乙二醇4655元/吨,C4产品4170元/吨,表面活性剂7230元/吨。
而2014年,环氧乙烷8786元/吨,表面活性剂9696元/吨。公司在2014年,并没有生产丙烯,乙二醇,和C4产品。

乙二醇的上马,可以降低环氧乙烷的库存压力。因为环氧乙烷不好存储,一般为3日期限,一旦环氧乙烷销售不畅,可以生产为乙二醇,存储就没有压力了。

由于目前经济下行,MTO项目普遍亏损,三江也降低了产能,以及国家对环保,安全问题的进一步提高要求,一些产能在几方面的压力下选择了停车,而一些新上,拟上的项目,选择缓建,停建。而以后在环保,安全的双重压力下,新建的门槛也是越来越高了。

现在,让我们来看看市场发生了一些什么变化吧。

首先看看原材料和成品的价格,
根据郑州交易所的甲醇期货价格,甲醇由2015年底的1733元,上涨到1925元;
根据微博及新闻,东北亚乙烯2015年底的1071元,上涨到1200元;
环氧乙烷价格,从2015年底的7500元,上涨到9000元; 丙烯PP价格,从2015年底的5825元,上涨到7408元;

环氧乙烷项目:毛利空间为9000-1200×6.49×1.17×0.8-1000=710元。目前产能为31万吨环氧乙烷,毛利为2.2亿。其中9000为环氧乙烷销售价格,1200为东北亚乙烯价格,6.49为美元汇率,1.17为增值税,0.8为乙烯转换率,1000为其他成本。0.8的转换率偏低,其实只有0.7多。
MTO项目:
乙烯1200×6.49×1.17-1925×2.6-1200=2906元/吨,30万吨,毛利7.8亿。
丙烯7408-1925×2.6-1200-500=703元/吨,39万吨,毛利2.74亿左右。
丙烯减去500元的含义是MTO生产的品质稍微低于石油产品。

美福石化利润占51%股份左右,比较稳定,大约有1亿左右。

以上毛利,已经算上一年的折旧费用,大约5亿左右。这样现金流可以增加5亿。
按照当前的价格,利润为13.7亿,现金流18.7亿,按照前面3个月亏损大约5千万左右, 今年算8个月,那么利润为13.7×8/12-0.5=8.6亿,现金流为13.6亿元。

以上价格,为根据市场公开资料计算。但是,产品及原材料的价格变化比较大,需要随时跟踪。 总体来看,三江最困难的时间已经过去。只要公司的现金流没有问题,希望在以后的经济复苏中,能够取得巨大的经济利益。 另外,根据2016.3.26 http://eto.100ppi.com/ 显示,三江化工率先将环氧乙烷提价,说明三江化工在市场上取得一定的话语权,也标明经济开始复苏,价格开始回升,销售景气。

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2016年半年报

从资产负债表和利润表,可以看到收入由23.3亿增加到27.8亿,利润由2.44亿下降到0.63亿。考虑到第一季度亏损4500万,第二季度利润有1.08亿。公司总资产95.5亿,净资产27.5亿。公司现金由5.7亿增加到7.0亿,短期借款有19.02亿减少到17.5亿,一年内到期债务由5.57亿减少到4亿,长期债务12.4亿保持不变。总债务由36.99亿减少到33.95亿。

债务减少,现金增加。加上美福石化的出售,债务减少,财务报表更加好转。

从各个网站,我们可以了解到各个产品价格:

环氧乙烷价格http://www.100ppi.com/price/plist-359-1.html:9000元/吨;
丙烯价格http://www.100ppi.com/forecast/detail-20160722-105443.html …:6200元/吨;
微博搜东北亚乙烯,价格为1134美元/吨;
甲醇期货行情:1860元/吨;
环氧乙烷项目:9000-1134×6.67×1.17×0.8-1000=920元毛利,其实转化率0.8偏大。目前产能每天1800吨,利润165万。按年为6亿。6.67为美元汇率,1.17为增值税率,0.8为转化率。
MTO项目:
乙烯:1134×6.67×1.17-1860×2.6-1200=2813元/吨,30万吨/年,年利润8.4亿;
丙烯:6200-1860×2.6-1200=164元/吨,39万吨/年,年利润0.6万。

按目前价格计算,年利润可以达到15亿,半年为7.5亿。考虑开工率,可以打8折。

当然,由于价格波动比较大,有时候会利润暴涨,有时候会非常少利润,甚至亏损。

不过像去年这种极端情况,石油从110美金跌到20多美金,比较罕见出现了。 按今日价格1.58元,扣除派息0.15元后,市值14.3亿,相当于人民币12亿,假设下半年能赚到5亿,也是非常好的投资标的。

 

大成生化科技

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%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-12-2-15-56

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[5]

美国原是全球领先的甲醇生产国和消费国,但进入21世纪以来,由于成本竞争力下降以及国内需求下滑,大批甲醇装置关闭,产能和需求均出现负增长。

目前美国甲醇需求大部分依靠进口满足,其中,从特立尼达进口量占总进口量的65%~75%。如今特立尼达天然气短缺已持续近20个月,使甲醇装置难以正常运行,甲醇产量逐年下滑,2010年下降了3%,2011年下降了1%,2012年上半年下降了9%。甲醇供应减少,市场恐慌性购买让价格坐上火箭。

不过这种局面正在悄然生变。 一方面,生产原料成本优势将吸引美国生产商将之前被关闭的多个甲醇厂重启,还有一些跨国生产商选择将生产装置转移至美国或新建装置。

据笔者了解,利安德巴塞尔将于2013年下半年重启其得克萨斯州的年产78万吨甲醇厂。梅塞尼斯计划2014年下半年将智利年产100万吨装置转移至路易斯安娜州,该公司还在酝酿对智利的另一装置进行类似搬迁。塞拉尼斯打算2015年在明湖新建甲醇厂。

我国进口甲醇来源以中东最多,2011年自中东进口甲醇为482万吨,占当年进口总量的84.1%,这些国家依次为伊朗、阿曼、沙特、卡塔尔等。伊朗是向我国出口甲醇数量最多的国家,为231万吨。

2011年我国进口甲醇平均价格约369美元/吨,美元汇率按1美元兑换6.3元人民币计算,2011年我国进口平均价格约2325元/吨,税后平均价格为2842元/吨。根据CMAI估算,2011年中东和南美出口到中国的甲醇毛利平均在150美元/吨,体现出较强的竞争力。

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甲醇运输要求使用专用槽车,空载返回的现象较多,造成运力浪费,运输成本偏高。目前,运输成本在甲醇价格中占有较大比重(15%—30%)

世界甲醇主要生产地区中,竞争力最强的是中东甲醇,其次是南美洲。未来北美页岩气为原料的甲醇装置也将具有较强的竞争力。

国内甲醇竞争力最强的地区是西部煤炭资源丰富的地区,国内大部分甲醇制烯烃项目都建在西部地区。中部和东部的甲醇由于原料价格相对较高,平均技术水平相对较低,这些地区的甲醇竞争力较弱,不适宜布局甲醇制烯烃项目。沿海地区可购买到相对便宜的进口甲醇,我国未来外购甲醇制烯烃的项目均建在沿海地区。

甲醇制烯烃技术成熟了,进口甲醇又便宜,国内烯烃需求又大,自然有企业想尝试生产。对于化工园区而言,乙烯和丙烯是不可或缺的基础原料。但是国内一些化工园区目前并没有炼油乙烯一体化装置,所需的烯烃必须依赖外购。而烯烃属于危险化学品,短途运输尚可通过管道,中长距离的运输就要通过压力设备,成本高昂且运力有限。沿海化工园区大多临近港口,拥有完善的液体化学品码头与仓储设施。通过接受海运的进口甲醇,建设单独的甲醇制烯烃装置,这是一种优势互补的选择。

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2015年,可向中国输送甲醇的产能约有1600万吨/年,主要来自中东、东南亚和南美。西北部地区的甲醇运输主要通过公路和铁路方式,运输成本较高,运到东部地区后竞争力较差。因此,未来几年内甲醇原料主要来源仍会是进口产品。

由于国内煤炭价格有上涨趋势,甲醇成本也有进一步上涨的可能。国内甲醇价格主要由国内甲醇成本决定,因此外购甲醇制烯烃的项目面临较大的成本上涨压力。近年来,中国进口甲醇价格上涨速度较快,2011年进口甲醇加上关税和增值税的价格超过2800元/吨。

由此可见,尽管国内外甲醇产能大量剩余,中东、南美等地天然气原料丰富廉价,中国西部地区也有丰富的廉价煤炭可作为原料。但世界和中国的甲醇供需存在较大的布局不平衡,运输成本相对较高。因此市场上的甲醇价格均较高,用于甲醇制烯烃项目均难以保证项目的经济性。要获得具有竞争力的甲醇,除了通过长期合同控制甲醇的采购成本,更重要的是控制国内外廉价的天然气和煤炭资源。建议在有廉价资源的地区建设甲醇装置,将甲醇运到国内;甚至可以将甲醇制烯烃项目布局到廉价资源地区。

 

[6]

2010年3月建成的德国TGE技术的乙烯存储罐,用于在价格较低时囤积原料。根据每0.65吨乙烯生产一吨EO的转化率,乙烯罐可置放生产1.8万吨EO所需的原料,以2011年预计EO产能16.5万吨来看,乙烯罐可保障三江1.375个月的原料需求。而截至2011年6月底第二个2.2万立方米的乙烯罐将建成投入使用,届时两个储蓄罐可置放公司2.7个月的原料需求。管理层的说法,这两个亚洲最大的乙烯存储罐将是三江在行业中成本领先的利器。

公开资料显示,世界范围内主要的乙烯生产厂家包括PTT Chemical、埃克森美孚、昭和电工、东曹和LG化学等。出于风险控制三江的原料提供商超过5家,招股说明书中记录了2006-2009年前五大乙烯供应商占公司采购总额的比例,分别是79.3%、68%、68.9%、60.6%。不断降低的数字说明了三江对前五大供应商的依赖度在下降。同样,2006-209年公司最大供应商的采购占比也降幅明显,分别是47.7%,65.1%,40.3%,34.8%。

目前EO的生产工艺就“石油—乙烯—环氧乙烷”原料线路主要有三种专利,分别是美国Scientific Design的氧气-空气法、荷兰壳牌的氧气法以及美国联合碳化物公司的空气-氧气法,三江采用的是SD的工艺。我们一方面需要关注相关技术和设备升级对生产的影响,另一方面乙醇法制造环氧乙烷(酒精—乙烯—环氧乙烷)甚至煤炭法生产环氧乙烷(煤炭—乙烯—环氧乙烷)的技术也在不断突破。

高油价时代酒精法和煤化工路线是否会逐渐挽回成本劣势值得跟踪。可以关注的是, 2010年底三江招聘了3位熟悉甲醇制烯烃(MTO)及分离生产工艺技术的工程师。

[7]

获得稳定可靠且价格合理的甲醇供应,以及开发高附加值的烯烃下游衍生物产品,将是确保甲醇制烯烃项目成功的关键。

近年来,得益于技术的进步和持续的投资,美国页岩气产量高速增长,2007年为366.2亿立方米,到2011年已达1800亿立方米。充裕的页岩气供应,使美国燃气价格从2005年的9美元/mmBtu,降至2011年的4美元/mmBtu,而当前气价则仅为2.4美元/mmBtu(大致相当于0.6元/立方米,远低于中国的天然气价格)。业内预测,未来5年内,美国天然气价格将保持在4美元/mmBtu以下。

低廉的天然气价格,为发展天然气制甲醇打开了一个机遇窗口。亚化咨询预测,随着中国沿海多个项目的规划和开工建设,一条全新而完整的产业链将在未来3-5年内出现,即:海外天然气(页岩气)–甲醇—沿海港口MTO项目。

[8]

2008年9、10月份,乙烯价格出现跳水,环氧乙烷价格随之一路下调。国内仅有的几套环氧乙烷装置陆续停产,表面活性剂厂家亦纷纷陷入观望,停止了对环氧乙烷的采购。

由于乙烯是从国外进口,为确保原料供应稳定,三江化工一直都是采用长期合同的形式订购原料,原料价格骤然暴跌。公司将近1万吨乙烯原料库存,前后两个月间的价差达1个多亿;再加上下游厂家纷纷限产,原本车水马龙的仓库门前一时间变得门可罗雀。三江化工无可避免地被卷入危境之中。

2007年,三江化工曾投资1.2亿元上马了1套10万吨/年的表面活性剂装置。2008年装置已基本建成。突如其来的金融危机,打乱了管建忠的计划——在环氧乙烷面临亏损、市场销售遇阻的情况下,企业无法拿出多余精力来推广新开发的表面活性剂产品。但是装置已经建成,闲置无疑是一种损失。

管建忠找到了另一家表面活性剂生产企业——浙江赞宇科技有限公司,提议愿将这套新装置租给对方使用1年,并在原料供应上给予优惠。 赞宇公司欣然接受了管建忠这一能让双方都获利的提议。

这一系列应对之策,带来双赢。他的合作伙伴产品的市场占有率明显上升。而三江化工自身更是逆势飞扬:2008年12月,二期环氧乙烷项目如期开车,从9月到12月,全球经济一片萧条之时,三江化工的环氧乙烷产量达到历史最高点。这一年,三江化工实现销售收入近10亿元,平均每月上缴利税1500万元,较2007年非但没有下降,反而有所增长。到了2009年1月,乙烯价格跌到历史最低点,三江化工之前购入的高价原料全部消化完毕,从此进入高盈利时代。

[9]

(2009年情况)

在国内,大约75%的环氧乙烷用作生产乙二醇,一般为环氧乙烷乙二醇联产;剩下25%用于商品环氧乙烷生产非离子表面活性剂、聚醚/聚乙二醇、乙醇胺、胆碱和医药中间体等。

2007 年以来,中东地区为实施低成本战略,加速了以乙烷为原料的乙烯装置的建设,并把环氧乙烷和乙二醇作为其下游重点配套产品。2008 年中东地区有多套环氧乙烷/乙二醇联产装置建成投产,使中东地区的环氧乙烷产能由2007 年的317.6 万吨增加到2008 年的607.8 万吨,增长幅度高达91%。并且,中东的环氧乙烷无法出口,只能大量生产乙二醇,并低价进入中国市场。因此中国乙二醇进口量未来几年仍然较大。

环氧乙烷的其他生产路线:进口乙烯生产环氧乙烷;煤制甲醇制烯烃路线;生物法酒精制乙二醇等三条路线。目前还不对环氧乙烷价格构成冲击;进口乙二醇或者是国外生产聚乙二醇难以跟上国内快速扩张的步伐。

以几年的时间跨度来看,煤制烯烃有可能会造成冲击,国内巨头投巨资进行煤制烯烃项目工业化研究。煤制乙二醇如果能够取得突破的话,也将会带来行业的冲击。

环氧乙烷的价格决定在于大量的新的装置投产,并且超过需求的增长速度,即这也是一个周期性事件,目前的判断是下游需求量较大,环氧乙烷价格处于较高的位置,脱离了与乙二醇的1.25:1 的比价效应,并且在未来几年里环氧乙烷价格仍将维持一个相对偏紧的供应格局。长期来看,环氧乙烷价格与乙二醇价格相关,进而与下游纺织服装构成较大的关联关系。

[11]

与2011年同比,2012市场价格出现大幅下滑了,最低价曾下探到令人恐怖的9800元/吨,虽然时间不长,但给行业带来的震撼是有目共睹的。

图 1 2011-2012年环氧乙烷华东市场月均价

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当然,我们也知道,市场价格的下滑无外乎三个方面:其一,上游成本降低,企业良心发现主动降价(这一点在垄断企业身上很少闪现);其二,下游需求严重下滑(今年环氧乙烷下游需求正常,甚至有小幅增长);其三,产能急增。

将产能剧增这顶帽子扣在环氧乙烷头上绝对合适;2010年产能才约110万吨/年,2011也不过122万吨/年,而2012已落地的产能竟然高达约160万吨/年,年增幅达31%,下游需求增幅才个位数。 2011,你还看得到高达92%的开工率,2012开工率急降至约85%-。

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经过"几年大家共同的努力",中石化/中石油对环氧乙烷市场由绝对控制变成了相对控制,其他阵营对他们的挑战己经大规模展开。

下游客户在痛定思痛"垄断市场危害"后,纷纷选择自己上马环氧乙烷项目与自己产品"配套",毕竟上一套八万吨/年环氧乙烷装置投资不会超过四个亿:三江化工与湖石合资的10万吨/年环氧乙烷装置,配套有下游乙醇胺和聚羧酸减水剂单体;阿克苏宁波工厂7.5万吨/年EO装置基本上是为其下游胺类产品配套而建;南京徳纳集团一期6万吨/年EO装置为其下游乙二醇丁醚而设,而其南京工厂二期12万吨/年环氧乙烷新装置剑指下游配套的聚羧酸减水剂单体

图 3 2012年国内环氧乙烷需求结构分布图

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投资环氧乙烷"高烧不退"的原因:打破央企对这个产品的垄断是原因之一,更有吸引力的地方在他的应用领域。

作为主要的基本化工原料之一,有约一半的EO被用于生产制造乙二醇,虽然煤制乙二醇来势凶凶,但由于技术原因,它目前暂时还达不到PET制造的要求,鉴于大部分乙二醇都被PET制造所吸收,乙烯(EO)法乙二醇品质上的暂时优势吸引着大批企业"冲进来 “生产环氧乙烷",这一点从中国发疯似地投资PTA和PET领域也得到了傍证。各乙二醇生产企业深知煤制乙二醇性价比所在,他们也承认一但技术瓶颈被突破(应该快啦),乙烯(EO)法制乙二醇很难在成本上去比拼,开辟环氧乙烷其他应用领域成了他们不二的选择。

环氧乙烷第二大应用领域是非离子表面活性剂,一字排开的数十家生产企业己经让这个领域热闹非凡,我们意识到此类产品市场年需求增长基本上是个位数,并且今后五年也不过如此。

下一个应用领域聚羧酸减水剂单体,它们主要被用于铁路、轨道交通、核电站以及商品混凝土等。且就当下1300km京沪高铁来看,聚羧酸系减水剂用量高达24万吨,那么长远来看聚羧酸市场将有长远且强劲的需求表现。包括城市轨道交通获批新建城市37个,以及田湾核电站的扩建工程等构成减水剂聚醚单体强大的下游需求支撑。所以说基础设施的建设必将推动该行业的进程与发展,由此对环氧乙烷的消耗量也将会陆续增多。此类产品的需求增长迅速,也是环氧乙烷下游唯一亮点所在,预测市场需求増长不会低于二位数,今后二年对环氧乙烷需求量会直逼甚至超过非离子表面活性剂。

环氧乙烷第四大应用领域是乙醇胺,此类产品的好日子从2012年开始己渐行渐远,随着国际巨头们在中国工厂及一大批国内企业的投产,相关产品的进口量直线下降,2009年市场占有率达62%以上的进口货已永远成为过去,今年进口货市场占有率不会超过25%,而明年跌破20%可能不会有悬念。

在这个领域,上下游产业一体化,不断开拓新的应用领域一定是环氧乙烷发展的方向。

 

Continue reading “China SanJiang Fine Chemicals Company and China Chemical Industry”

Productivity puzzle and make-work

Source:

The great American make-work programme

Osborne’s unorthodox solution to the UK productivity puzzle

Banks, businesses or the bust? Deeper into the UK productivity puzzle

 

UK Productivity Puzzleuk-disposable-income

The UK has outperformed at creating jobs since the crisis, yet has done poorly at boosting living standards.

<- the problem is a combination of collapsing productivity and insufficient capital investment.

uk-gdp-decompositionquality-adjusted labour input” — hours worked adjusted by education and experience

More talented people are working more than ever — UK labour input has grown at an annual average rate of 2.5 per cent since the middle of 2011— yet the reported value of what all those people are doing has collapsed.

Possible theories:

1.After financial crisis the financial system cut lending, especially to upstart businesses  [1]

uk-productivity-vs-1993-2004-trend1

But the growth rate of underlying productivity plus the capital stock had begun slowing by mid-2004.

gs-uk-bank-funding-costs

And lending wasn’t expensive

Composition of corporate is also not a good explain, as all businesses experienced a big drop in underlying productivity since 2008. [2]

 

2. “general demand weakness coupled with flexible wages”

Businesses take advantage of low nominal wage growth and low interest rate to survive in a low-demand environment [3]

A solution:

Firing a bunch of low-wage workers raises the average pay of whoever is left and therefore raises measured productivity. [4]
In America, the savage cuts in employment during the crisis caused a temporary spike in measured productivity.

 

But American also suffers after 2010

fredgraphfredgraph-1chartMoreover, a more secular problem is
A staggering 96 per cent of America’s net job growth since 1990 has come from sectors known to have low productivity
(construction, retail, bars, restaurants, and other low-paying services were responsible for 46 percentage points of total growth)

and sectors where low productivity is merely suspected in the absence of competition and proper measurement techniques
(healthcare, education, government, and finance explain the remaining 50 percentage points)

Even given the fact that gap between low and high productivity industry is expanding

teicholzchartproductivity

It’s tempting to conclude

  1. many of these additional workers are doing little to boost real living standards
  2. their continued employment is effectively the product of subsidies extracted to provide make-work, rather than the result of competitive market conditions
  3. part of the slowdown in measured productivity to these shifts in the composition of the workforce

If we check changes in employment since 2000

us-employment-growth-since-2000-by-major-sector

94 per cent of the net jobs created were in education, healthcare, social assistance, bars, restaurants, and retail, even though those sectors only employed 36 per cent of America’s workforce at the start of the millennium

us-hourly-wages-by-sector

Average hourly pay in these sectors, weighted by their relative sizes, has consistently been about 30 per cent lower than in the rest of the economy. (even lower considering the less work time [5] )

One could argue these are things that can’t be done either by machines or, to a lesser extent, by far cheaper foreign labour.
And aging society implies somewhat greater spending on healthcare and more employment in the sector.

A simple conclusion:

Employment booms in 21 century are no longer caused by the rapid growth of the most-productive enterprises like it used to be.

 

BTW.

Is it something familiar? Yes, We’ve seen some picture about Japan that shows a high work participation but growth dominated by part-time labors. And don’t forget, Japan has the biggest aging problem in world and its labor productivity has been essentially flat for 20 years!

 

[1]

Economists at the Bank of England and the Institute of Fiscal Studies recently suggested that an impaired financial system since 2008 has prevented resources from being moved to their best uses, which in turn has dragged down output per hour by a significant amount.

Manufacturing firms in the US, Japan, and Western Europe are far more productive than firms in places like India and China because the gap between the best and worst manufacturing firms in poorer countries is much wider than in the rich world. That, in turn, is because the best firms in China and India often face constraints on their ability to expand. In theory, narrowing the gap could boost aggregate manufacturing productivity by around 40 to 50 per cent.

[2]

A fascinating new paper from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, which shows the UK productivity problems aren’t concentrated in any particular sector.

And businesses that died off in 2008 were of lower average quality than those that died off in previous years, which should also raise the overall productivity of the remaining companies.

According to the NIESR researchers, productivity growth within surviving manufacturing firms accelerated during the early 1990s.

[3]

The recent recession was different to the previous recession because productivity growth collapsed within firms. This is unlikely to be directly related to credit restrictions, which would not have prevented businesses from laying off workers. It is more likely to be associated with the lack of cost pressures, including low nominal wage growth, that allowed businesses to survive in a low-demand environment. High nominal interest rates, an overvalued exchange rate and continued wage growth in the earlier recession are likely to have incentivised surviving businesses to continue to boost productivity growth to a far greater extent than was the case in the most recent recession.

However, there is no intuitive connection between the rate of inflation (a nominal variable) and the propensity for businesses to boost productivity (a real variable) .
In fact, the 1990s consensus was price stability led to faster productivity growth because businesses could only boost profits by cutting costs with the help of technological and process improvements.

(QE might create a invisible inflation that matters for business decisions.)

[4]

If the labour on offer isn’t worth this minimum price, employers will prefer to substitute people with machines, or invest in other improvements to offset the declines in hours worked, or perhaps even endure lower sales if it means better earnings.

Hence a lot of economists are wary of raising the minimum wage too much because it would reduce employment among those who already have the lowest living standards and most volatile incomes.

oecd-min-wagescs-uk-min-wage

[5]

And since typical jobs in bars, restaurants, and retail involve far fewer hours than normal, weekly pay packets for workers in these growing industries were more than40 per cent lower than workers in the rest of the economy. Average weekly earnings are now 3 per cent lower than they would have been if the distribution of employment had stayed the same as in January, 2000:

us-weekly-wage-gap-vs-constant-sectoral-weights-as-of-jan-2000