Friday, March 20, 2009


From the March 19, 2009 issue of The Gartman Letter

Speaking at the People’s Congress in Beijing recently, Premier Wen Jiabo made it quite clear that China intends fully to achieve 8% growth in GDP this year. Not next year; not two years hence, but this year...’09; the year of the Ox... this year.

Interestingly, Mr. Wen made it clear that not only was the government intent upon force feeding liquidity into the nation’s banks, but was also prepared to make material cuts in income taxes, across the board to sponsor such growth.

Wen made it clear that the only way he can see Chinese economic growth returning to the not-so-long-ago-lost halcyon days of 9% growth almost relentlessly shall require more than simple reserve injections.

Mr. Wen said that it is his intention to turn China from an export driven society to a consumer driven one instead. He know that liquidity alone will not suffice to do what Beijing needs the economy to do; hence Mr. Wen will begin this new era of growing consumer demand by cutting corporate and personal income taxes. According to The China Daily, Mr. Wen said, in the simplest of terms, that it is Beijing’s intention to spur the economy forward by “boosting domestic demand through residential tax cuts, in addition to the levy reduction for companies.”

The latter has already been put into effect; the former is coming. Mr. Wen’s proposed “residential” tax cuts include tax cuts on securities transactions; tax cuts on property sales; smaller taxes on exports and an end to a number of “administrative charges” on various goods and services. At a time when American law makers on the Left are debating the possibilities of taxing stock transactions, the Chinese are moving to end them!

Further, China is moving swiftly ahead with very real “infrastructure” spending. The new term here in the US is “shovel ready.” Our stimulus program is manifestly un-shovel ready; in China, the shovels are already at hand and the programs are being put into effect, with workers being hired and ground being broken.

Mr. Wen has the calendar working for him too, for this year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. As is always the case, China will have myriad numbers of building programs in place to commemorate that event. Too... and this is hard for us to believe, for time passes so quickly... this is the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Uprising. Mr. Wen and Mr. Hu will want to make certain that things are on the economic mend in order to keep dissidents wrong-footed throughout the years.

This is a strange era in which we live then. We live at a time when ex-Communists are taking the more free market route toward a consumer led society. We are living in an era when Beijing reads Atlas Shrugged and Washington reads The Manchester Guardian. We are living in an era when tax cuts of all sorts are effected by Beijing, while Washington talks about and effects tax increases of all sorts. We live in an era when Beijing gets out of the way of entrepreneurs, and Washington throws rocks and rubble in their way instead.

As was said in Ecclesiastes, “To everything, turn, turn, turn...”

Good Luck and Good Trading,

Dennis Gartman


The Gartman Letter is a daily commentary on the global capital markets subscribed to by leading banks, broking firms, hedge funds, mutual funds, energy and grain trading companies around the world.

The Letter each day deals with political, economic and technical circumstances from both a long and short term perspective, and is available to clients and prospects at approximately 10:30 - 10:45 GMT each business day of the year. Mr. Gartman has been producing his commentary on a continuous basis since 1987, and has taught courses on capital markets creation and derivatives for banks, broking firms, governments and central banks all the while.

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