IMF Warns Surge in U.S., China Debt Could Have ‘Profound’ Impact on Global Economy - Kanebridge News
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IMF Warns Surge in U.S., China Debt Could Have ‘Profound’ Impact on Global Economy

Says U.S. and China, which will continue to see a surge in borrowing if current policies remain in place.

By PAUL HANNON
Fri, Apr 19, 2024 11:39amGrey Clock 3 min

The U.S. and Chinese governments should take action to lower future borrowing, as a surge in their debts threatens to have “profound” effects on the global economy and the interest rates paid by other countries, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.

In its twice-yearly report on government borrowing, the Fund said many rich countries have adopted measures that will lead to a reduction in their debts relative to the size of their economies, although not to the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, that is not true of the U.S. and China, which will continue to see a surge in borrowing if current policies remain in place. The Fund projected that U.S. government debt relative to economic output will rise by 70% by 2053, while Chinese debt will more than double by the same year.

The Fund said both countries will lead a rise in global government debt to 98.8% of economic output in 2029 from 93.2% in 2023. The U.K. and Italy are among the other big contributors to that increase.

“The increase will be led by some large economies, for example, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which critically need to take policy action to address fundamental imbalances between spending and revenues,” the IMF said.

The IMF expects U.S. government debt to be 133.9% of annual gross domestic product in 2029, up from 122.1% in 2023. And it expects China’s debt to rise to 110.1% of GDP by the same year from 83.6%.

The Fund said there had been “large fiscal slippages” in the U.S. during 2023, with government spending exceeding revenues by 8.8% of GDP, up from 4.1% in the previous year. It expects the budget deficit to exceed 6% over the medium term.

That level of borrowing is slowing progress toward reducing inflation, the Fund said, and may also increase the interest rates paid by other governments.

“Loose US fiscal policy could make the last mile of disinflation harder to achieve while exacerbating the debt burden,” the Fund said. “Further, global interest rate spillovers could contribute to tighter financial conditions, increasing risks elsewhere.”

A series of weak auctions for U.S. Treasurys are stoking investors’ concerns that markets will struggle to absorb an incoming rush of government debt. The government is poised to sell another $386 billion or so of bonds in May—an onslaught that Wall Street expects to continue no matter who wins November’s presidential election.

While analysts don’t expect those sales to fail, a sharp rise in U.S. bond yields would likely have consequences for borrowers around the world. The IMF estimated that a rise of one percentage point in U.S. yields leads to a matching rise for developing economies and an increase of 90 basis points in other rich countries.

“Long-term government bond yields in the United States remain elevated and sensitive to inflation developments and monetary policy decisions,” the Fund said. “This could lead to volatile financing conditions in other economies.”

China’s budget deficit fell to 7.1% of GDP in 2023 from 7.5% the previous year, but the IMF projects a steady pickup from this year to 7.9% in 2029. It warned that a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy “exacerbated by unintended fiscal tightening” would likely weaken growth elsewhere, and reduce aid flows that have become a significant source of funding for governments in Africa and Latin America.

An unusually large number of elections is likely to push government borrowing higher this year, the Fund said. It estimates that 88 economies or economic areas are set for significant votes, and that budget deficits tend to be 0.3% of GDP higher in election years than in other years.

“What makes this year different is not only the confluence of elections, but the fact that they will happen amid higher demand for public spending,” the Fund said. “The bias toward higher spending is shared across the political spectrum, indicating substantial challenges in gathering support for consolidation in the years ahead, and particularly in a key election year like 2024.”



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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .