china_1.jpg

China

The leader out of the covid bottom has fallen towards the back of the pack and the prospects for a sustainable reversal have been slow to develop. China is facing threats of destabilization in the real estate market, its key positioning in the global supply chain, and government intervention in many of its fastest growing industries. Growth is likely to remain below target this year as China keeps its "covid zero" policies in place leading to reduced consumer activity and mobility in major metropolitan areas. The central bank shifted back to easing policies late last year to backstop growth, but any signs of additional financial instabilities like the Evergrande default will hinder their plans. Further default scenarios would lead to a reduction in credit growth which has been vital to China's recent expansion. China does enter the year as one of the most unloved investments, which typically means things won't be as bad as expected. This could lead to strong counter-rallies during risk-on periods. That said, in a global growth environment where the rest of the world is also moderating, any areas growing below trend will be easy candidates for an underweight recommendation.