Thursday, 21 April 2016

US stocks up with oil but China's credit growth a warning sign

US stocks closed at 2016 highs on Wednesday as oil continued to rally.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent, its third consecutive day of gains, to hit its highest level since 1 December.

Oil futures also settled at a 2016 high on Wednesday, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil gaining 3.8 percent after US government data showed a fall in weekly domestic crude production for a sixth consecutive week.

“If the oil sector continues to rally and banks can hold most of their gains from the February lows, don’t discount the possibility of new highs on the S&P 500,” said Tim Anderson, managing director at MND Partners.

In contrast, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.3 percent on Wednesday. It is now down 16 percent since the beginning of the year.

China's debt-fueled growth worries many.

George Soros said at an Asia Society event in New York on Wednesday that China’s March credit-growth figures should be viewed as a warning sign, saying that it “eerily resembles what happened during the financial crisis in the U.S. in 2007-08, which was similarly fueled by credit growth”.

Andrew Colquhoun, the head of Asia Pacific sovereigns at Fitch Ratings, is similarly concerned.

“From a credit perspective, we’d be more comfortable with China slowing more than it is,” he told Bloomberg. “We are getting less confident in the government’s commitment to structural reforms.”

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