Quick quiz. What is common to Suzlon, Moser Baer, Indo Solar, Websol Energy systems and Orient Green Power? All these stocks had successful runs on the stock market and hyped as the next game changers in wind energy, semi conductors, solar power and hydel/geo thermal power. Valuations were more on growth stories than through an hard nosed DCF spreadsheet. But now, they trade at record lows(like other stocks but what is different is the pressing fundamental concerns in each case). Is this a bubble finally bursting, or are investors panicking?
China has reported the first decrease in its forex reserves in a qtr since the 1998 crisis. The Chinese Foreign Exchange Reserves which are humongous at over $4 trillion has shown a $100 billion decrease in Nov and Dec 2012 .While the sharp decrease in the Euro may account for some change , there is also anecdotal evidence that the hot money is flowing out of China . Note earlier Hot Money was pouring into China given the potential of yuan appreciation but with the potential of a Chinese Hard Landing ,the opposite may be happening . China has a distorted economy heavily dependent on exports and investment for growth . However changed macro economic conditions make this model unsustainable . How China manages to transition out of this investment export fueled condition is an open question . That they must is in no doubt nor the fact that China’s 10% GDP growth days are definitely over.
China faces multiple challenges
1) Slowdown in Europe and USA means that their exports are sputtering and manufacturing has already started contracting
2) Protests in cities and villages grows against rampant corruption and land grabbing by Communist officies.Lack of democracy means violent protests at times.
3) Debt is becoming a huge problem with local government vehicles facing trouble as they can no longer raise money from real estate sales which has fallen by 20-25%
4) Massive industrial overcapacity is being exported outside.This has made the other trading nations put duties and curbs.A big trade war with USA cannot be ruled out.Chinese solar and wind products faced countervailing duties and dumping charges.China has already imposed high duties on US car imports.
Greece Referendum is set to become the hottest media topic related to the European Debt Crisis in the coming months.In a totally surprising move Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called a referendum and a parliamentary confidence vote on 31st October just a week after the European leaders had agreed on a package to .Papandreou’s personal and government popularity have plunged amid fresh austerity measures that sparked a wave of social unrest.The PM is calling this vote probably to bolster his government as it loses support of the masses
According to reports coming from Europe where the summit of major European leaders took place to resolve the growing debt crisis,a deal has been reached on Greek debt.The Euro 350 billion debt which dwarfs the size of the negatively growing Greek economy has been a major source of instability in the last 2 years.The private holders of the Greek government bonds have agreed to take a 50% writeoff on their holdings.This means that if they hold Euro 100 of bonds they have become Euro 50 now as the rest has been written off as bad debt.Not that it was not apparent as Greek CDS and Greek bonds were touching all times lows in the secondary market.In fact the only buyers of Greece bonds were the European Central Bank and the Greek banks.The capital markets had been going up in the last month in the hope of some sort of resolution.The deal does not look like a win win as there will be some big losers in this deal (though they were already losing for some time).Nicolas Sarkozy announced the deal which would be voluntary in nature so that the CDS would not be invoked.Here are the winners and losers from this deal
Spain has started cracking down on Solar Power Plants which are making huge profits through illegal Feed in Tariffs which they should not get.Note Spain had seen a massive boom in solar installations in 2008 due to unusually large ROI driven by high Feed in Tariffs.FIT are electricity rates which are higher than wholesale electricity rates paid to renewable energy power plants in order to make them competitive with cheaper fossil fuel power plants.Seeing a huge increase in the subsidy burden Spain has pretty much killed the solar market in 2009,however the problems of Fiscal Deficit has made Spain reconsider the tariffs being given to even older solar power plants.After a lot of controversy,Spain changed the FIT rules in the middle of the game through a retroactive FIT Law drawing howls of protest from solar investors like pension funds which have sued the government