Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Ukraine Preface, the Emerging Dynamics Of Petro-Yuan Standard - Jim_Willie_CB
2. Speculations Reversed - Gold Price Stealth Rally 2014 - Peter_Schiff
3.Bubbleberg News Drivel Masquerading as Financial Reporting - David A. Stockman
4.Nationwide UK House Prices 9.5% Inflation, Housing Market on Steroids, Help to Buy Anniversary - Nadeem_Walayat
5.How to Profit from Palladium Huge Price Surge… - Peter Krauth
6.UK Home Solar Panel Installations Good or Bad for House Buying and Selling? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Global Gold Manipulation Update - MAP Wave Analysis - Marc_Horn
8.Ukraine Capital Controls and 200% Inflation But Still In Better Shape Than US! - Jeff_Berwick
9.The Rise of a Euro-Chino-Russian Superpower - Stephan Bogner
10.Across Europe Secession Movements Intensify - BATR
Last 72 Hrs
10 Ways to Screw up Your Retirement - 17th Apr - 14
One of Harry Dent’s Three Keys to Market Prediction is Cycles - 17th Apr - 14
Obamacare Proof Stocks - 17th Apr - 14
Gold, Silver And The Mining Sector: Prepare For A Severe Fall - 17th Apr - 14
Hidden Australian Life Sciences Bio-tech Growth Stocks - 17th Apr - 14
Disrupting Big Data Status Quo - 17th Apr - 14
What the Stock Market Bears Have Been Waiting for... - 17th Apr - 14
Copper Is Pathological and Suffers from SAD, but It Has Value - 17th Apr - 14
Old World Order New World Order, Chaos And Change - 17th Apr - 14
Even The US Government Will Abandon the U.S. Dollar - 17th Apr - 14
Gold - Coming Super Bubble - 17th Apr - 14
Glaring Q.E. Failure Spotted - Money Velocity Is Falling Rapidly - 16th Apr 14
High-Frequency Insider Trading - 16th Apr 14
Gold Prices 2014: Do What Goldman Does, Not What It Says - 16th Apr 14
These CEOs Will Make Investors Rich - 16th Apr 14
Climate Change, Central Banking And The Faustian Bargain - 16th Apr 14
Every Central Bank for Itself - 16th Apr 14
Social Security, U.S. Treasury Stealing Every Last Penny From Americans - 16th Apr 14
Ukraine Falling to Economic Warfare and Its Own Missteps - 16th Apr 14
Silver and Gold Miners Still Disappoint - 16th Apr 14
Silver, Gold, and What Could Go Wrong - 15th Apr 14
How I Intend to Survive the Meltdown of America - 15th Apr 14
France Wakes Up To The Multicultural Multi-Threat - 15th Apr 14
The Real Purpose Of QE - It’s Not Employment - 15th Apr 14
Peak Coal - 15th Apr 14
Flash Crash, Rigged Markets - What’s the Frequency Zenith? - 15th Apr 14
Forecasting U.S. GDP Growth: A Look at WSJ Economists’ Collective Crystal Ball - 15th Apr 14
Stock Market - Is Something Nasty About to Happen? - 15th Apr 14
How to Trade Your Way To Freedom - 15th Apr 14
Understanding (and Ignoring) the Media Bandwagon Against Gold - 15th Apr 14
When Stock Market Bubble Crashes, Take Refuge in Gold Stocks - 15th Apr 14
Bitcoin Price Strong Appreciation to Be Followed by Declines? - 14th Apr 14
Greece, Turkey, We're Shuffling The Cards on Our Europe Investing Play - 14th Apr 14
Silver Price Ultimate Rally: When Paper Assets Collapse - 14th Apr 14
Get Your Share of an Extra Trillion Euros Money Printing - 14th Apr 14
Fourth Reversals in The Gold and Silver Charts - 14th Apr 14
Stock Market Nearing Rally in a Downtrend - 14th Apr 14
London House Prices Bubble, Debt Slavery, Crimea 2.0 - Russia Ukraine Annexation - 14th Apr 14
Four Horsemen - Top Economists Explain the Source of Our Economic Crisis - Video - 13th Apr 14
Peak Oil And Global Warming – A Question Of Culture - 13th Apr 14
The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing - 13th Apr 14
College Degree Earnings Propaganda - 13th Apr 14 - Andrew Syrios
Stock Market Potential Diagonal Triangle Pattern Forming - 12th Apr 14
Ukraine Crisis – Military Flash Drive Thinking - 12th Apr 14
Gold And Silver – 2014 Coud Be A Yawner; Be Prepared For A Surprise - 12th Apr 14
Gold Preparing to Launch as U.S. Dollar Drops to Key Support - 12th Apr 14
Manipulated Stocks Markets And The Empty Bag - 12th Apr 14
Stock Market - It’s Not Time to Panic… It’s Time to Buy - 12th Apr 14
Doctor Doom on the Fiat Money Empire Coming Financial Crisis - 12th Apr 14
Sheffield, Rotherham Roma Benefits Plague, Ch5 Documentary Gypsies on Benefits & Proud - 11th Apr 14
This Bitcoin Price Rally Might Be a Fake One - 11th Apr 14
GDX Gold Stocks Benchmark - 11th Apr 14
Silver Price Finally Outperforms – How Bullish Is That? - 11th Apr 14
Limits to Employment Participation, and Societal Change - 11th Apr 14
US Moves To Restrict Travelers Taking International Flights - 11th Apr 14
Bill Gross to El-Erian: 'Come on, Mohamed, Tell Us Why' You Resigned PIMCO - 11th Apr 14
British Pound GBP/USD - Double Top or Further Rally? - 11th Apr 14
Don't Miss the Boat on Big Biotech Catalysts: Keith Markey - 11th Apr 14
Russia Invaded Crimea and These US Energy Companies Made a Killing - 11th Apr 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

What If The China Bubble Bursts

Economics / China Economy Mar 03, 2011 - 11:42 AM GMT

By: Dian_L_Chu

Economics

Diamond Rated - Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleRuss Winter writes: “If the situation does not improve, we’ll definitely want to quit (production).  The sun is setting on the Christmas product industry (in China) right now.”   — Owner of arts and craft factory in Shantou


Here is another in a series of at-the-brink, sun-is-setting articles in the China Daily and other Chinese publications. All the familiar hallmarks: rising labor costs, inputs goods inflation, transportation disruption and other Mad Max conditions. The lights could actually go out and factories could be permanently shuttered all over China’s export sector after the Chinese New Year [Labor Shortage as Migrants Quit City].

International Economy offered a publication from thirty “experts” on the question: “If the Chinese bubble bursts.” In most cases these were treated as possibilities not predictions. In my case, these are predictions. I offer some of their pertinent comments, as well as point out the weaker offerings.

First, it’s amazing to me how  important and indeed well-educated economists fail to understand the true nature of serial bubble economics. While often acknowledging the on-steroids nature of what transpires, they then seem to frequently fall back on standard economic cycle theory, including promoting the role of government to play traditional Keynesian interventions “to smooth over the abuses and massive imbalances.”

Their theories are widely accepted even though the evidence is accumulating that Government will be hapless once major fiscal crises erupt in certain “too-big-to-fail governments.”

Case in point: Writer Steve Hanke (page 25) points out China’s “problem” of 64 million empty housing units and admits that the property bubble is a whopper. Supplying the big number himself, he goes on with counterintuitive and non-factual comments that the excess is contained to four first-tier cities and involved only 3% of total floor space constructed in 2009.

Let’s see if I have this straight: 97% of the floor space that led to 64 million vacant units is outside those four large cities, but those other localities are not suffering bubbles?

According to Morgan Stanley, GMO calculations, the nationwide average of property value divided by disposable income per urban household was 8.2x at the end of 2009. It was 9 times that in Tokyo at the peak of their property bubble. Other measures, such as price to rent, demonstrate that Hanke’s comments are complete nonsense.



He goes on to state that their “government” is in a strong fiscal condition to absorb the hit banks will take (8% of total bank assets in his view), and that “banks won’t be allowed to go to the wall.” This is the same argument made globally. Hanke completely failed to mention that debt taken on by local and state government for bubble projects. Analysis by key omission: If this is a professor of economics at a major university, no wonder modern economics has become such a joke.

Sasha Gong (pg. 18) explains how land has been perceived in China, and controlled and owned by local government. Control over local government speculation has been meet with resistance. In 2009, land sales accounted for 1.6-1.9 trillion RMB, or more than half of their revenue.  A reduction of land sales would greatly hamper China’s “growth.”

Source: NBER

Bernard Connolly (pg. 14) says if there were a bailout financed monetarily, the RMB would be weakened sharply. This would trap the one-way traders betting on RMB appreciation. Chi Lo (pg. 22) mentioned that China has bars to capital flight. Administering this is quite another story.

An “anonymous senior Japanese official” (pg. 12) describes the local government’s role. So-called “loan platforms” were established as funding vehicles to obtain commercial loans. When Beijing mobilized a massive 4 trillion Yuan pump priming in 2008, it ordered local governments to bear one-third of the cost themselves, triggering a stampede. As of June 2010, there are 8,221 platforms and their outstanding loan balance was 7.7 trillion Yuan, of which 20% to 25% are deemed “problematic” by the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

The situation China faces was described well by Tadashi Nakamae (pg. 10), who suggests that a bubble in Chinese productive capacity is even more dangerous than its asset bubble. He defined the classic boom-bust process:  ”When capital investment is booming, say, when steel factories are being built, this itself creates extra demand for steel that cannot be sustained, especially once the factories become operational and become units of supply rather than demand.”

Source: Vitaliy Katsenelson

And now the kicker: “Expansion of investment is supported by exports. Once exports start deteriorating, economic growth halts.”

Nakamae then points out one of the policy responses by China to this mess: “China will be looking to scrap some of its excess capacity. They are unlikely to force domestic companies to make big sacrifices. Foreign companies on the other hand are easier targets.”

This Bloomberg article describes how QE2 in the US has fueled dead-end corporate investment outside the US, including China.

Nakamae nails it for the  banks: “The problem with regional governments using bank lending rather than tax revenues to finance public works projects is that those do not create a return on investment. Servicing the debt is all but impossible.”

Paul Alapat (pg. 16) suggested that ” the immediate impact of a collapse in economic activity in China is likely to be a jump in U.S. Treasury yields both due to repatriation of Chinese holdings and a rise in risk premia. Global supply chains, particularly those for electronics and a variety of consumer goods will be jeopardized.”

Hongyi Lai (pg. 17) suggests that under this scenario, “globally, as Chinese urban consumers tighten their belts, Chinese imports will shrink, especially commodities mostly related to construction such as iron and steel, timber, and certain energy inputs. Imports of non-essential consumer items such as personal luxury goods and high-end home appliances will decline. In addition, China’s purchase of overseas financial products and investments abroad may also decline”.

Analyst Maya Bhandari (pg. 10) chimes in by pointing out that China is nearly twice as powerful a global growth locomotive as the US. Unlike the other analysts, she states she sees “very little domestic demand growth” even now. Further, China has addressed overheating and inflation by top-down ordering of banks to cease lending. “This is symptomatic of a market economy operating under a communist political structure,” says Bhandari.

Gary Hufbauer (pg. 15) offers up the obvious, and what is essentially my conclusion: ” Manufacturing supply chains across Southeast Asia and commodity producers from Australia to Brazil would all take a drubbing.”


As a bust develops, many of these economists expect China to try and devalue the RMB to support their old mercantilist export model.  This would be met with fresh howls from the US, and might be easier said than done.

What China really needs is a large commodity and input goods price correction, and they needed it yesterday.  Without it, a RMB devaluation would be even more inflationary for China. Within China, there are those declaring the export, over-investment cycle is exhausted. Writing that China’s growth model has “exhausted its potential,” an influential former PBOC member warns the country faces a sudden economic slowdown. Yo Yongding lists rising social tensions, pollution, lack of social services and an over reliance on exports and investments as key threats.

Banning Garrett (pg. 21) writes a good, overall view of the impacts of a China Bust. The key takeaway is that almost the whole world is operating under the assumption that China’s model will continue indefinitely, and the shock effect won’t be pretty.

About The Author: Russ Winter has written a blog called Winter Watch for the last three years.  Russ also has a subscription service called Winter's Actionables. 

Dian L. Chu, M.B.A., C.P.M. and Chartered Economist, is a market analyst and financial writer regularly contributing to Seeking Alpha, Zero Hedge, and other major investment websites. Ms. Chu has been syndicated to Reuters, USA Today, NPR, and BusinessWeek. She blogs at http://econforecast.blogspot.com/.

© 2011 Copyright Dian L. Chu - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014