|Screengrab from The Financial Times documentary|
This started with Black Monday on 24th August 2015, which wiped billions off global stock markets. The event was initiated by China, where its Shanghai Composite index of stocks fell by over 8% i.e. the biggest single-day collapse not seen since 2007.
|Credits: The Straits Times|
On hindsight, I can only regret my lack of action (once more). But hey, on Black Monday I was concerned that prices would continue slipping, and decided to stay out of the game, so I have only myself to blame.
Emotionless investing is easier said than done.
So anyway, back to the topic at hand - why should Singapore investors be concerned about what's happening in China?
The answer is simple - China's slowdown will hit Singapore the hardest in the region.
Our stock market may be an indication, but the real pain will be felt as Singapore will have to look for new buyers of our products and services. Companies who supply to China will now have to look elsewhere if they wish to maintain, or even increase, their business growth.
China's growth to become the world's powerhouse has been nothing short of spectacular. In its upward climb, it had also helped to lift the economies of other countries who supply China with the raw materials it needed as it filled the manufacturing orders of brands all around the globe. Singapore was one of them.
Today, across China, worker expectations are growing. There are more and more rich Chinese, and worker salaries have more than doubled since. Thus, the factories that have powered China's growth for decades are being squeezed by a shortage of workers, rising wages and falling prices. We used to see majority of labels as "Made in China", but today "Made in Vietnam" and "Made in Thailand" variations are becoming more common.
Given China's significant contribution to the global demand for commodities, a falling demand will naturally lead to a fall in commodity prices.
To understand why China's slowdown is happening, take a look at this short video - The End of the Chinese Miracle - which examines how one of the world's most powerful and populous country has finally reached a critical new chapter in its history.
Still think the impact of China is exaggerated? Consider the fact that earlier this month, the price of iron ore soared by nearly 20% overnight after China said it planned to boost growth with higher deficit spending. How did this happen? Simple - because China is the world's largest user.
Given that so many countries have significant stock in China's growth, China's economic health is exceedingly crucial to the global economy. This is one country we cannot afford to neglect as there is a very real risk that China's slowdown could drag global markets into a recession. Should this happen, Singapore will not be spared, so I'm monitoring this closely lest I get burnt by my investments.
Many companies in China also have huge debts. Imagine how Singapore will be implicated when these companies no longer have the financial means to repay what they owe.
I used to work with chief executives who were looking at shifting their operations to lower-cost countries, and I can tell you that China has not been a popular choice in the past 2 years. Instead, interest is gearing more towards Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.
What are your thoughts on China, and how do you reckon they will affect Singapore's stock market?