Three economies, three directions

Several major economies posted data this week, offering insights into the state of the global economy.

🇨🇳 In China:

  • Beijing says it’ll no longer post data on youth unemployment, which hit a record 21.3% in June (exports then plunged in July), so…
  • The central bank just cut interest rates to support China’s recovery.

🇷🇺 In Russia:

  • The ruble has nearly halved in value since its peak mid last year, as the world’s most sanctioned country loses export income, so…
  • Russia’s central bank has again raised rates to support the ruble.

🇯🇵 And in Japan:

  • The world’s third-largest economy grew at an annualised rate of 6% in Q2, double what most economists expected
  • This is partly due to post-COVID freight and travel conditions allowing Japan to sell more cars abroad, while welcoming more tourists at home.

Intrigue’s take: As always, there’s more to each story here:

  • China’s unique model was slowing well before US-China ties really deteriorated. So Western pressure isn’t the primary cause of China’s current woes, but it does narrow Beijing’s options to address them.
  • Russia’s economic survival is thanks in part to its competent central bank chief, Elvira Nabiullina. Once seen as a reformer, she dismayed international admirers by deciding to stay put after the invasion. The ruble’s fate is tied to hers, and Putin knows this.
  • And Japan’s net exports aside, most dash-lights (like consumption) are flashing orange right now. So don’t crack that saké just yet.

Also worth noting:

  • A spokesperson for China’s statistics bureau said authorities stopped posting youth unemployment data because their stats needed to be “advanced and optimised”.
  • Russians withdrew $1.1B in rubles from banks in a single weekend during June’s brief Wagner mutiny.
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