Thursday, July 9, 2009

Replacing the Old With the New

The changing of the guard in the world economy is easily seen on the 2009 Fortune 500 list.

From AFP:

Image from China Daily

WASHINGTON (AFP)--The number of U.S. businesses featured in the annual Fortune 500 list of top global companies fell to lowest level ever, the business magazine said, while more Chinese entries appeared than ever before.

Signaling the effects of the devastating financial crisis on the U.S. economy, a non-U.S. firm topped the list for the first time in over a decade, with Anglo- Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) coming in first.

The company brought in $15 billion more in sales than second-place oil rival Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) of the U.S.

China's fortunes rose across the board, with a Chinese company - oil giant Sinopec, or China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP) - appearing in the top 10 for the first time, the magazine reported.

Sinopec supplies about 80% of China's fuel.

Overall, China had an unprecedented total of 37 companies featured on the list, with nine new entries and the others climbing in the rankings.

Read On
This is no surprise. It is interesting to see this list of the top companies in the world on paper though. It's also incredible to think that as recently as the year 2000, General Motors was number one on this famous yearly list. But seeing that the company is still ranked number six makes me think that these rankings (based on gross revenues) don't really give a person a full picture of what is really going on in the business world. The list is still interesting to see nonetheless, I suppose.

Seeing all the Chinese companies on this list surely shows that the economy is moving and shaking and creating revenue. Seemingly unable to make a news post without pointing out bank lending (I know, I know), I have to wonder what's behind those moves and shakes though.

From Bloomberg:
July 8 (Bloomberg) -- China’s new lending surged almost fivefold in June from a year earlier, increasing concern that attempts to revive the world’s third-largest economy will lead to bad debts and asset bubbles.

New loans last month totaled 1.53 trillion yuan ($224 billion), the central bank said on its Web site today. First- half lending rose to a record 7.37 trillion yuan, more than three times the level in the same period a year earlier. The June number is a preliminary calculation, the central bank said.

Chinese banks have now extended 47 percent more loans this year than the central bank’s minimum target for 2009, after the government eased lending restrictions to counter an export collapse. The benchmark stock index rose 69 percent this year and property prices rebounded, while the banking regulator said yesterday that credit growth poses a risk to financial stability.

“There can be no question that China has now moved into dangerously over-stimulatory territory,” said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. “The quantity of lending has taken undeniable precedence over the quality of lending and that policy now needs to be reversed.”

Read On
The article goes on to say that China is, in fact, concerned about this trend and that it is trying to encourage banks to buy bonds as opposed to lending more money. We'll see how that goes once things, inevitably at that time, slow down.

My recommendation: If you're with a Chinese business that has a short-term cash-flow problem, get to a bank now because the come-as-you-go days of super-happy-fun lending are (supposedly) coming to an end!

1 comment:

Scott said...

And everyone in America keeps complaining about the unemployment rate, well when you ship all the jobs out of the us, giving our work to china and india there is certainly going to be a fall out. Do americans get a lower price point, sure, the tv is a little cheaper, the car is a bucks less, the clothes and shoes are more afordable but what is the real cost. Action, reaction, action being the give away of jobs to other countries and the reaction, well some thought it was a cheaper product but looks like a smaller work force is also part of the equation. Hmm, and we didnt see this coming, why not, are we that greedy, are we blind, can we not see past the bottom line, come on guys, think 5 years from now, dont just think about tomorrows sales, think about the company, think about who made it, how it was built, the work force is a vital piece of the puzzel, its everything, how can you over look that, kinda sad really.