GLOBAL VIEW. What Is China’s Strategy? Without having to worry about their banks, because China never got involved buying securitized, US subprime mortgages and other debt backed instruments, China’s now at a great advantage. Sure China is slumping fast economically like everyone else, their manufacturing industry shrinking rapidly, but China still has much greater leeway than other countries in lots of ways. First, luckily, because China has no developed bond market and is just starting to open up their financial markets, China missed the debt feast most other banks enjoyed. And are now regurgitating. So now it turns out, that’s a big, big plus. Also China still has its ‘Command Capitalism’ in place, meaning that when government decides on a path, boom, the country can start right off on it. No arguing back and forth like in big democracies like the United States and India. Next, China’s leaders are well educated, many with useful engineering backgrounds and have proven themselves. Finally, China is in a great spot financially. So what is China doing strategically, meaning their plans of long term significance?
Strategically, I’ve written previously how China is moving quickly to help their farms and farmers every which way because the farms were the first part of the Chinese economy to move to quasi free marketplace operations. After this move proved very successful, China then tried the same in manufacturing. Which, obviously, turned out to be a great and grand success. But now that Chinese manufacturing is downsizing rapidly, China has to keep the millions of Chinese workers forced back to the farms happy. Thus I see this government boost as making Chinese agriculture one of the few good buys around today as their farms consolidate, become larger and thus more efficient and productive, and have thus previously recommended Chinese agriculture strongly and offered up a list of stocks to consider buying.
Stockpiling Minerals & Mineral Producing Companies Too. Another, a second, strategic or long range move China has implemented is to stock up on raw minerals while their prices are down and also to take equity positions where allowed by other governments in mining companies themselves. The reason being that when China starts really growing again they are going to need adequate raw materials. China found this out quickly as it became the world’s manufacturing colossus. Even today with their new infrastructure program already in force, China needs cement, iron ore, steel, etc. So consider some recent Chinese moves:
· State-owned Zhongjin, China’s 3rd largest zinc producer, bought a 50.1% stake in Australian zinc miner Perilya Ltd.
· State-owned Jinchuan Group, Asia’s largest nickel producer, bought 18% of Albidon Ltd, a Perth, Australia based nickel producer and has a deal to take 100% of the nickel from Albidon mines in Zambia.
· China’s 3rd largest steelmaker bought a 50% interest in Australia’s Centrex Metals Ltd.
· Chinese interests bought a 40% stake in Australia’s Mount Gibson Iron.
· China’s 2nd largest steelmaker upped its stake in Australian Gindalbie Metals from 12% to 36%.
· Aluminum Corp of China (ACH) has just increased it’s stake in Rio Tinto Plc.
· China’s Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group just bought 13% of Canada Zinc Metals.
· China Mining Resources said it would up its stake in Canada’s Quadra Mining from 4% to 19.9%.
Schwartz View: My point being watch what China’s doing. You might want to even sign up for FREE www.moneymorning.com as this service tracks closely what’s happening in China, the news clips above coming from a recent article. Again, while other countries play defense, having no real answer to their economic slumps besides cutting interest rates and implementing various stimulus plans, China is on offense, planning for where they want to be when this economic slump is over. So, again, if you want to put your toe back in the water on general market weakness, I would do so in China. You should have a ready resource right in front of you to do so, as along with the list of Chinese ag stocks I ran here, I also detailed by category & sub category the USX China Index and published it here for you on February 5th.
* As soon as I wrote that along with China’s domestic-investor only stock markets, the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Indexes going up this year, the USX China Index (symbol HXC) and the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (symbol FXI), an ETF, were following suit and rising, that link ended. Schwartz View: Ok, I was surprised they were moving together anyway. Going forward, still scale in to China, just take it a little slower.