Chinese factories are losing pricing power in the worst wholesale-cost deflation since 2009, signaling corporate earnings may deteriorate further and putting a damper on global inflation pressures.
Steelmaker China Oriental Group Co. (581) says falling prices are wiping out profits, while Yunnan Copper Industry Co. (000878) cited the declines for a third-quarter loss. The producer-price index (SHCOMP) fell 3.6 percent in September from a year earlier and may stay negative until the second half of 2013 without large stimulus, according to Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd.
With the U.S. reporting the longest stretch in three years that Chinese imports have gone without a price increase, the trend also gives policy makers around the world more room for easing to support faltering global growth. Sluggish earnings growth may prompt the government to reduce corporate taxes to aid earnings and help boost spending after Chinaâ€™s expansion slowed for a seventh quarter.
â€œReduced inflation pressure should expand the space for policy makers to take pro-growth actions in their countries,â€ said Shen Jianguang, chief Asia economist at Mizuho in Hong Kong. Chinese officials are likely to reduce banksâ€™ reserve requirements ahead of a Communist Party congress next month, said Shen, who formerly worked at the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.