China anguish is piling up.
Nvidia again cut its revenue guidance for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2019, which runs through January, this time by 18.5% from its previously cut guidance, down to $2.2 billion. Last time it had blamed the crypto collapse. This time it blamed weak demand for its gaming chips “particularly in China,” and for its datacenter chips. The new forecast indicates a year-over-year plunge in revenues of 24%.
It also expects to write off $120 million for inventory adjustments due to “current market conditions.” Shares dropped 15% intraday and are down 52% from the peak at the beginning of October (data via Investing.com):
“It was a challenging quarter with several extraordinary dynamics,” Nvidia said in its letter to shareholders. And then it spelled out some of those dynamics.
When Nvidia cut its guidance for Q4 last time (in November), it blamed the crypto collapse that entailed the collapse of demand for crypto-mining equipment, for which Nvidia makes specialized chips. OK, so that was a bubble, it was fun while it lasted, and it imploded.
But that was then, and this is now. And now the culprits are gaming, data centers, and China. These are some of the “extraordinary dynamics” Nvidia spelled out in its letter to shareholders and in its news release:
The crucial gaming Chips in crucial China:
In Q4, “the global economy decelerated sharply, particularly in China,” and these “deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly in China,” hit “consumer demand” for its gaming GPUs, particularly “certain high-end GPUs” using its new Turing architecture. Sales of these chips were “lower than expected.”
Alas, after the crypto collapse, these newest and greatest chips were supposed to be the saviors. Instead, Chinese consumers aren’t buying them as hoped. Nvidia speculates that “some customers may have delayed their purchase….”
Datacenter customers “became increasingly cautious.”
Datacenter customers are big, and the purchases “can be large and are not always periodic or predictable,” it said. So, “As the quarter progressed, customers around the world became increasingly cautious due to economic uncertainties.” And some of these large deals that were already baked into the forecast “did not close in the last month of the quarter.”
“Q4 was an extraordinary, unusually turbulent, and disappointing quarter,” Nvidia summed it up.
And a slew of others chimed in about China.
The datacenter and cloud computing concerns echo what Intel said on Thursday, when its forecast for 2019, citing a slowdown in spending by its large datacenter customers and weakness in China, sent its shares skidding.
These chipmakers are adding to a broad and increasingly loud chorus of warnings about the Chinese economy.
Chinese consumers have already sent global automakers for a spin. In the fourth quarter, sales of new vehicles in China – most of them manufactured in China – plunged by 13% from a year earlier. This deterioration had started in July and accelerated toward the end of the year. It dragged down new-vehicle sales for the whole year by 4%, the first annual decline in the data going back to 1990. China is GM’s largest market, but sales dropped sharply at the end of the year. And Ford sales in China, already weak going into 2018, essentially collapsed in December.
Smartphone makers and their supplies have been singing the China consumer blues since late last year with a series of revenue warnings including from Apple suppliers.
On January 2, Apple finally confirmed these warnings, saying that revenues would be a lot worse in the quarter ended December 29 than its guidance two months ago, that iPhone revenues have dropped year-over-year, and that China’s economic problems are deeper than expected.
In mid-January, there was a hail of warnings about demand from manufacturing companies in China. This included Nidec, a $14 billion Japanese company that makes a wide range of electric motors, supplying disk-drive makers, automakers, appliance makers, robotics makers, and industrial companies. The company is a key supplier of advanced parts to Chinese factories.
It said it had slashed production at the end of 2018 for Chinese automakers and appliance makers by over 30% because of weak demand. And it cut its revenue forecast for the quarter and now expects its first year-over-year revenue decline in nine years.
“I’ve been a manager for almost half a century, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a large single-month drop in orders for us,” lamented Nidec CEO Shigenobu Nagamori. “What we witnessed in November and December was just extraordinary.”
Yaskawa Electric Corp., a Japanese manufacturer of industrial robots, cut its earnings forecast for the second time in three months, blaming weak demand from China and the semiconductor industry.
Kuka Group, the German industrial robots manufacturer that was acquired by a Chinese company in a hostile takeover, issued its second profit warning two weeks ago, blaming “primarily” the “stronger slowdown in the automotive and electronic industry in the fourth quarter 2018” and “ongoing uncertainties in the Chinese automation market.”
These companies are among the barometers of consumer and industrial demand in China, and they have issued some extraordinarily gloomy tidbits about what they’re seeing in China – and it all started fairly suddenly late last year.
A painful moment of truth for banks and investors. “Uncertainty over the accuracy of the companies’ books and disclosure of pertinent information,” Fitch Ratings finds. Read… Record Defaults by Chinese Companies: Fake “Cash” & Fake Accounting
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It’s interesting how a company like Nvidia that is facing a year-over-year revenue declines of 24% can have a market cap of over 10x revenues, even after a 50% stock price fall. If that’s a deal then what is a scam?
Well, they do make some very nice high tech products that will become increasingly important over a range of industries. However, their estimates of take up were wildly optimistic.
Sure they do, until someone starts making the same thing for half the price.
Don’t just look at the last year’s revenue and profit trends. Their actual growth (not just the stock market price) was extraordinary for a company their size the last 5 years or so.
For what it’s worth, another key negative factor in the coming quarter is that their new chips have support hardware ray tracing. It’s great new technology, but not yet supported in practically any games . . . so people don’t want to pay for it.
That’s a margin hit, even without China. I say this to point out that Nvidia may even exaggerate the “China effect” if one tries to think the whole downside surprise is for that reason.
How much of the slowdown in china is just due to market saturation, diminishing returns on investment and a lack of wage growth?
Which great, new and affordable product is everyone clamoring for that’s also going to create millions of new, high paying jobs? Um, uh, none? Anything in the pipeline? Uber cheeseburger delivery service? Blockchain underwear?
All of the above.
One of the classic flaws of capitalism is the ability, and tendency, to produce more than can be consumed. Valid arguments have been made that it’s a fatal flaw. Supply-side capitalism only compounds the problem. Demand-driven capitalism could be made sustainable but limits profit and is a taboo subject anyway.
Consumer tech is maxed out, and no new valid paradigms have presented themselves. Hence the resort to increasingly risky techniques for wealth extraction, particularly unsustainable debt. By its nature, capitalism is driven to build ever higher card houses on increasingly flimsy bases. Naturally this will end in tears.
Now that China has joined the big boys it’s their turn to lead the next global depression.
Yes those are all good points.
Not to seem crazy, but I’m thinking that all the recent screeching in the news about Hauwei and 5G, among other headline items, etc. is really just a smokescreen to cover up fundamental problems like you describe. (i.e. the claim that “5G, IOT, etc., would have fulfilled so much of it’s promise if only Hauwei didn’t do this, or someone else didn’t do that”… and so on)
Brexit… is this a potential new paradigm? Exit date March 29, 2019, 11:00 pm London.
Unamused: ‘One of the classic flaws of capitalism is the ability, and tendency, to produce more than can be consumed.’
No, this is a consequence of artificially-cheap credit provided by central-bank money creation and fractional-reserve banking. Artificially low interest rates fool investors into investing in longer-term markets for which there are no actual customers (because their customers don’t actually have any money because the credit the investors used wasn’t provided by genuine savings).
And this is not the result of “capitalism?” Rearranging the word order does not change the actual situation.
I worked on a farm. We always over produced. Nothing to do with cheap credit.
The sign of commodities: over production.
Central-bank fiat currency is, by definition, not free-market capitalism.
Markets will always overproduce some goods and underproduce others. Information is imperfect and the future is unknown. What marks a bubble is the systemic investment in the over-production of goods and services that otherwise wouldn’t have happened were it not for artificially-cheap credit.
The part I’m still trying to wrap my head around is the reflex with which people will defend the exclusive privilege of creating money out of nothing that a tiny political and financial elite enjoy.
Nope. Capitalism does not produce more than it can consume. In capitalism if a company makes more than it can sell, it usually goes broke and stockpiles of the overproduced or overpriced goods get liquidated. Checks and balances. We do not have capitalism, hence why the Russian farmer had cheap concrete but no diesel for his tractor. The wheat rots.
Agreed. If anything producing more than that can be consumed is a feature of government takeover of means of production.
In capitalism, companies that can’t predict the consumer demand or trends get wiped out. Only efficient ones remain and thrive.
On the other hand bureaucracies that can’t predict consumer demand, don’t go extinct – they get more resources to predict it right the next time. Consumers suffer, bureaucracy thrives.
The crazy thing is that with Just-In-Time processes, ya’d think demand- driven capitalism would be a thang. Gods know we have the IT end done to support that model.
“One of the classic flaws of capitalism is the ability, and tendency, to produce more than can be consumed.”
Firstly that is not nescessarily a flaw. Anyone with sense will store more than is thought needed if production is cheap/plentiful, a circumstance that is often product of capital investment. If demand does not consume that surplus, then it is thrown or recycled.
On the other hand just in time capitalist cost cutting has flaws, due to a supply chain that is vulnerable to disruption.
Overall this does not change the tendency of mankind to be vain and wasteful. This is also a capitalist trait, where self reward is primed with wider disregard. In fact it could be said that EVERYTHING in economic terms is capitalism. Socialism can be described as society capitalising via political force by extracting the wealth of others. Fiat and “crony capitalism” can be viewed as capitalist enterprise run and to the profit of fewer. War can be viewed as capitalist enterprise, even self defense a means to maintain own capital.
So when people talk of garden variety capitalism, they are actually talking of a social system of property rights that gives reward to those that earn it, within the guarantee of voluntary agreement . That can be argued on deeper philosophical grounds even, for example the conquest of the territory of say the US did not occur under those terms and so the resulting ideal is hypocritical in its basis, as in founded on forceful extraction. John Locke was pioneer in the philosophy of ownership in his day, and yes it capitalised on the needs of “his people” even if in a more reconciliatory way.
“Real capitalism” is the good making use of of what you “own”, that starts with your hands and intelligence. Even there plunder is an invitation, and many of the quick witted will use the ability and effort of others to maximise own profits.
If you look at nature, most creatures do not spend energy on what is not worth their while, nature is very efficient. Only mankind has obtained the proficiency needed to become an aberration to this rule, but I am not certain he will ever escape it.
Capitalism (free markets) is the
Only system under which the consumer is actually able to express their desires / needs in a enviroment
In which prices for all things move relative to supply and demand.
Remember the only purpose of an economic system is to serve the actual needs / desires of free acting people as efficiently as possible.
All other systems have “others” controlling various aspects of the market, and thus distorting / getting in the way of buyers / sellers best expressing Their desires and needs.
Its a good thing China Housing Bubble didnt POP or we’ll be in BIG TROUBLE!!
This is the most obvious thing ever. Graphics cards are super overpriced because of mining farms. Crypto party is over for now, so everything supporting crypto is also falling.
This is like the pickaxe seller who went out of business when the Cali goldrush ended. Hopefully graphics card prices come back down to reality.
I could imagine that the unused crypto-mining machines could be re-used for data-mining, i.e., finding correlations in terabytes of raw data .. if anybody starts to believe that there’s money to be found in new correlations. Could happen.
They can be, and are. They are also extremely useful in bioinformatics and computational molecular biology.
I think the problem is just market saturation. There is more high powered hardware out there than people have the capability of programming and putting to use.
I just wish I could find a machine that screams. I spent $4K on a machine that basically isn’t much faster than the last one.
It’s my view that hardware technology hasn’t gone much further for well over a decade. Fastest machine I ever had was a Pentium 33/mhz that I set up a ram disk with and I loaded everything I was working on…..program and project…….and that thing just blinked. Regenerations were no longer an issue. I used to amaze my customers.
Interesting: what was your last hard drive set up? If you are already rocking SSD’s in raid or an m.2 NVMe drive you won’t notice much of a speed increase. Faster RAM might help a bit, but the speed of the memory storage is the bottleneck.
Okay, back to the money talk. Yay cheap graphics cards are coming!!
=>There is more high powered hardware out there than people have the capability of programming and putting to use.
Digital video reprocessing can use all you can get, especially blu-ray m2ts and 4k-8k formats. Personal use only, no fair pirating. Also useful for economic modeling, climate modeling, quantum-level physics, and cosmology. Don’t ask. You can’t afford me.
=>I just wish I could find a machine that screams.
Supermicro has multiprocessor atx system boards. It’s perfectly feasible to put one or two dozen gpu cores, on a single board, into a pretty standard PC box for a couple of thousand. Serious people use clusters. You can build an pretty impressive one yourself for relatively cheap if you can get together enough discarded iphones and such.
For high-frequency trading the limiting factor is dedicated access to high-speed busses to the exchanges and to proprietary software, not processing power, really. You’re unlikely to have those kinds of connections or that kind of capital or that kind of business model, and this is the wrong forum for this sort of thing anyway.
One of the boxen in one of my Linux clusters has something like 2000 NVidia CUDA cores across two cards set up in SLI mode. It is stinking fast. It transcodes a full length 4K movie in less time than it takes to fetch a cup of tea. It can generate photo-realistic video renderings at movie rates (near real-time).
NVidia keeps sending me special offers for newer faster hardware. The specs are impressive, the prices quite reasonable. Unfortunately, my company can’t use it yet: no point in generating more material even more quickly when we already produce more than we can sell. Likewise our programmers struggle to think of uses for all the cheap computing power out there. In any event, even when we think up something, implementing the software takes a while, and by then the computing power has at least doubled again.
You mean kind of like the fiber optics boom in the late 90s. Then all of a sudden, everybody and their cousins realized that most of the fibers are dark, and OMG, nobody needs fiber right now.
Absolutely true: I have started to see some decent discounts on both Nvidia- and Radeon-powered cards, meaning stocks are building up. It may still not be the best time to buy yet but prices have started to normalize on brand new products. .
But used prices are in a parallel universe. It seems owners of used video cards either think cryptomining isn’t blowing up or are holding onto some treasure of the greatest rarity.
In the meantime stocks of used video cards (often in “as is” conditions) are building up as “crypto operations” get dismantled. Same as with real estate, classic vehicles, precious metals etc: supply is starting to outpace demand but sellers stick to their asking prices.
That’s good, because it means they have no need for the money.
One thing for sure when it’s cripto:
If it’s pictured as GOLD:
If some visualize it as GOLD:
IF it’s hyped as GOLD:
It’s bitcoin PYRITE
China’s Debt/GDP of 300%, with a large piece of the debt in non-productive real estate, is the largely responsible factor for the global sharp economic decline coming our way. Apple, Nvidia, auto production unexpected declines, is just the beginning. Draghi’s comments last week, and Powell indicating an impending end to QT, were probably topics of discussion at the annual Davos get together by its worried oligarchs.
The US/China trade talks resuming this week will have the US seeing the writing on the wall, and getting tough with their counterparts from Beijing. But this will certainly impact US growth prospects going into next year with a presidential election coming up.
What few are thinking about are the geopolitical repercussions of an economically weakened China, that may lead to a more militarily aggressive China. Taiwan should be prepared.
What you say at the end might make sense, except that the US is actually the one encouraging Taiwan to be more military aggressive toward China. Not to say it couldn’t move in the other direction as well, but this would be after the US has been pushing Taiwan toward confrontation as a strategic choice.
All allied countries in South and South East Asia are buying more weapons systems from EU/US, this is good for democracy, and good for business.
Leaving aside all the foolish political babble, is there any chance the administration’s hardline approach to the Chinese trade surplus has something to do with Invedia’s (for example) declining fortunes and U.S manufacturing advances?
The price of bitcoin has dropped below the cost of production for some miners. China has a much lower cost of production (who knows really?) Bitcoin mining isn’t a legitimate business is it? If I ran China I would be setting up state run businesses in all the vital industries and cut foreign investment loose. The real question for them is can they successfully run a stimulus program for Belt and Road, with the economy they would like to have, without foreign subsidy. But hey they are growing vegetables on the dark side of the moon.
I posted this on another thread, but the growth of “domestic” manufacturing in my state (South Carolina) is almost all foreign-driven. Between tax incentives and automation, the labor differential costs have decreased where manufacturing is viable in the US (e.g. Foxconn in Wisconsin). But at the same time, is it really benefiting the US worker?
Its sure not benefiting the taxpayers.
Asset markets are now well into the process of regressing to their mean.
This regression to the mean will prove to be a long painful experience, with much higher levels of financial pain to come. As Wolf has exponded, “nothing goes to hell in a straight line”. Regression to the mean often overshoots to a much lower level before stabilizing.
Market liquidity continues to wane. eg: Taxable US based bond funds suffered their largest withdrawals on record, just for the month of October at $53 billion. As liquidity continues to dry up, there is a collateral crisis to contend with. The assets supporting the debt are no longer worth the loan balances.
China can maintain their money market rates, given the depth of reserves held and if need be, by further lowering of reserve requirements. The western CB’s are caught between a rock and a hard place.
The fly in the ointment is the Chinese consumer. The consumerism drastically slowing in the Chinese marketplace, has a global knock-on effect that is making itself felt. As Chinese exports fall, their economy suffers and the workers become even more economically conservative. A feed back loop. However, the sheer size of China’s market provides great depth. Consider that there are 10 cities in the US with a population of 1 million or more. In China there are 160 such cities!
Last word on cryptos – IMHO
Crypto coins are nothing more nor less than electronic tulip bulbs, and thus a purely fictitious form of wealth, relying upon a computer system for their survival.
Sounds like 2000 when everybody overbooked/overordered/forecasted too high and when the market softened, the effect was amplified when the double and triple orders were cancelled or forecasts were revised.
Bingo, only this time the cancellations cover housing, automotive, tech, and possibly freight if the cycle drops hard enough on the new truck orders.
Nvidia just completed a huge new headquarters building here in Santa Clara. It looks like they’re headed for the Silicon Valley “Edifice Complex” curse. ie: Borland, 3com, Sun Microsystems, etc.
A cardboard dragon indeed.
So things are not looking good in China, Europe refuses to raise rates and so risks debt drowing them, the USA economy is having a slowdown, but have no fear because online sales are growing!
I ordered something online today. Too cold to go outside. But not from Bezos as his politics make me ill.
What are thr chances that this is a covert way of causing pain by china for the trade war. I.e. are there local ptoducts that they are being encouraged to buy instead to “fight back”?
You can’t print your way to prosperity… The amount of consumer and business debt levels is highest among any nation since WW2, people have loans on loans, the entire growth is built on there central bank ” loaning ” money, there organic growth is minimal it seems, it’s been almost entirely debt driven growth on useless projects. They have been at it since early 2000s, but since 2010 they have pedal to the metal QE, shadow loans on top of one another… The term Greed Kills come to mind when you look at the country, baffling how money and lack of self esteem can drive human’s insane
China is heading towards Japan lost decade… From companies mass leaving China since 2017 ( Job Offshoring ) , Automation, 3D Printing, high inflation and very fast rising cost of life due to excess money printed, estimates of 6-8 Trillions in shadow loans and on top of everything, a 1.4 billion population as the world is about to enter Jobless Era where predictions have 30-40 % unemployment in countries within 15 years… Social servicing 1.4 billion people on top of a mountain of debt, while there account surplus will be eroded within few years, makes it very sad to see what is coming there way, some are aware and trying to leave, but most are clueless to the extent of problems
China is becoming a financial apocalypse in the making, all due to insane greed and crazy debt fuelled growth, that must achieve ultimate control at all cost in CPP’s words… Now it’s gonna be default central left and right for next two years
The wealth of the creditor is only as solid as the wealth of the debtor. If the debtor’s wealth is fake, so is the creditor’s. Someone has to take the loss when loans aren’t repaid – maybe both parties.
Who takes the worst hit is decided by politicians and central bankers but neither can resolve the ultimate macroeconomic consequences of bad debt, which is reduced consumption somewhere in the economy.
And I can’t think of a worse case of fake wealth of debtors than China.
We are social primates: money buys an awful lot of esteem from others, and if not esteem, status and their services, so none of this is at all surprising.
An Ancient Greek observed: ‘when money came into the world, men went mad’.
But I think he was being a bit generous.
For machine learning Nvidia is still the best, with their CUDA arch, its the preferred computational environment for scientists all over the earth,
I think we all saw this coming, with the collapse of mining revenue back in summer of 2018.
I bought a lot GPUS in 2012 for research, finished that work in 2014 and they sat, recommissioned dozens of gpu racks for ‘mining’ in 2016, and unplugged it all last summer. Before that I was buying nvidia cards weekly, not caring about the price, cuz they always paid for themselves ( mining ), now mining doesn’t even cover the power cost, let alone hardware payback.
The #1 player here is BITMAIN (ASCI, not GPU but you need to reference them in this context of ‘crypto’ ), that makes the antminers for mining bitcoin, and that company for the past two years shifted into human-recognition hw ( GPU clone of Nvidia ), and now there are millions of cameras in china that track every facet of humans in public, even 5+ years ago I never saw a cop on the street in China, no need camera see’s all, I think back to 1980’s when there were soldiers with assualt-rifles everywhere, now all policing in public is automated.
Nvidia has some incredible hardware ( their software is really their crown-jewel ) , and certainly the price will drop; Games aren’t going to go away ( sadly ) , as were just at the edge of human synthetic ‘sex’ virtual worlds ( think body suits ) and audio-vis-tactical feedback. Huge boom coming, for synthetic vacations, and gambling, and virtual prostitution holidays anywhere on earth. These sectors will create huge new demand for Nvidia/AMD tech in East & West.
Now I recommission my miners for ‘hacking bitcoin’, as its more profitable to crack the keys, than to ‘mine’; There there is also the huge area of stock market analysis with fractals ( mandlebrot ) to be done on GPU cards, these racks that were used for mining, when redeployed for pricing or any data analysis offer incredible power for the ‘little guy’ in some shack in India.
100X to 1000X faster computation with GPU racks over CPU is not uncommon, that means solving machine-learning problems taking seconds instead of days. While I see the crypto boom largely a ‘fad’ turned criminal ponzi, it did drive the creation of the gpu-rack, which is essentially a ‘home super computer’, the only problem is its very difficult to program Parallel computing, and thus those who can have the lead advantage here.
NVIDIA will issue say GTX-1090’s or better, drop the price, we’ll put them in racks and rival the computational power of some country’s, … not a bad deal for the kids in third world country’s trying to hack dying empires.
What open software libraries do you use for machine learning? Do you recommend Tensorflow, Pytorch, Keras? Thanks in advance.
Ohhhkay, but does all that justify a market cap of 10x revenue which is what the article is about.
When revenues come in at only a decrease of 17% it will be hailed as “beating expectations” and the price will soar.
All revenues have to do is be -22%, and it’ll be a “beat.”
But at some point, someone is going to catch on to the revenue decline :-]
Absolutely, but the length of time a dog like IBM can survive on financial engineering is a case study in how long it takes investors to catch on.
IMHO revenues are much harder to engineer than earnings.
In the case of NVDA, the single most important word in their statement was “challenging”. When a CEO or quarterly/annual report uses that word the company is in trouble.
I Just read that Pulte Homes’ CEO warned that 2019 will be a “challenging year” for homebuilders. You’ve been warned!
Very simple. NVDA was a story stock. A wallstreet pony to ride up. It’s float is under 500 million so easy to run up. There is no story now. No gaming chip story . No AI story For driverless cars and no crypto mining story. What goes up hard and fast. Comes down harder and faster
I can see NVDA returning to sub 60 dollars
NVDA is a tell what can and will happen to others
“What we have seen of late from a number of chip producers really might be interpreted as pre-recessionary.” : https://realmoney.thestreet.com/investing/sloppy-earnings-china-s-economy-amd-earnings-preview-market-recon-14848210?puc=yahoo&cm_ven=YAHOO&yptr=yahoo
“This time it blamed weak demand for its gaming chips ‘particularly in China'”
Since Chinese mining pools control more than 70% of the Bitcoin mining and since “gaming chips” on computer graphic cards are often used en masse in mining centers (although ASICs specifically designed for mining are much better), it’s no wonder there’s weak demand. It is estimated that $3000 is the break-even point for Bitcoin mining in China, so any drop below that could cause a cascade extinguishing of mining. You’ll note that in the heavily manipulated by a few players suckers market for Bitcoins that the price suddenly rose as it got close to to that $3000 point, $3,183 on 15 Dec 2018.
“Nvidia again cut its revenue guidance for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2019, which runs through January, this time by 18.5% from its previously cut guidance, down to $2.2 billion.”
Should this read “for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2018, which runs through January”?
SA AMD article mentions China as well. : https://seekingalpha.com/article/4235154-amd-forget-crypto-comes-china