China’s tech firm earnings to show trade war scars

The biggest firms in China are set to reveal a slowdown in revenue growth when they report earnings for the quarter ending in June, according to estimates collected by Refinitiv.

Chinese giants such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu are lining up to report earnings, chronicling the impact of the escalating US-China trade war. China’s two biggest companies, Alibaba and Tencent, have together lost nearly $100 billion in market capitalisation since the last time tensions notably escalated in May.

For months now the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing has hammered the Chinese economy and dented consumer spending. Q2 saw the Chinese economy expanded 6.2% – a 27 year low for the pace of growth. Consumer focused businesses are struggling to maintain their normal lightning pace of sales growth. Consumers are tightening their belts in the face of rising prices. Meanwhile, B2B outfits are seeing their clients cut back on advertising spend.

Alibaba 1-day chart, MARKETS.COM: 09.30 BST, August 13th, 2019

All this, according to the consensus estimates collected by Refinitiv, will see China’s top companies reporting an average annualised growth rate of 26%. This would be the slowest in a year and a half. Net income is predicted to clock in around 9% on average, versus average growth of 50% reported during Q2 of 2018.

Tencent 1-day chart, MARKETS.COM: 09.30 BST, August 13th, 2019

Could Q3 prove even worse for Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu?

Perhaps most distressing for investors is that the worst could still be to come; the latest reporting period ended before Donald Trump sent markets tumbling by announcing further tariffs and the People’s Bank of China responded by allowing the yuan to slip above 7 to the dollar for the first time in 10 years.

Even if these tech and e-commerce giants have proved to have weathered the storm over the second quarter, Q3 promises greater challenges, and yet more pain.