Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
US House Prices Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021 - 20th July 19
MICROSOFT Cortana, Azure AI Platform Machine Intelligence Stock Investing Video - 20th July 19
Africa Rising – Population Explosion, Geopolitical and Economic Consquences - 20th July 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Results Analysis - 20th July 19
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

Central Banks’ Bank Warns That China Could Cause Global Crisis

Stock-Markets / Financial Crisis 2016 Oct 03, 2016 - 03:51 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Stock-Markets

I’ve been saying for the past couple of years that the next recession in the US will probably be triggered by an external macro event or cascade of events, coming out of Europe or China.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph sharpens the focus on China. He writes about the recently released quarterly report of the Bank for International Settlements (“the central banks’ bank”). The report repeats Michael Pettis's warning that China faces growing risk of a major debt and banking crisis.


The BIS is also rightly concerned about spillover from China to the global economy. Ambrose notes that outstanding loans in China have reached $28 trillion. This is as much as the commercial banking loan books of the US and Japan combined. Ambrose adds, “The scale is enough to threaten a worldwide shock if China ever loses control. Corporate debt alone has reached 171pc of GDP, and it is this that is keeping global regulators awake at night.”

Total Chinese debt reached 255% of GDP at the end of 2015. That’s a jump of 107% in the past eight years – and still rising fast. Every year, China's leadership promises to rein in debt growth, and every year the growth just keeps accelerating. That’s because China’s GDP growth is fueled by debt, and that debt is becoming increasingly inefficient in producing GDP.

Does China still have the resources to deal with this issue? The answer is a qualified yes – but then there may not be the resources to deal with the other items on China’s shopping list. The New Silk Road is estimated to cost $1 trillion, and that’s without cost overruns. Plus, the Chinese leadership has promised massive spending on the interior part of the country to bring up the quality of people’s lives.

One trillion here and one trillion there, and pretty soon you’ve run through your reserves and are getting into monetization problems. Then you have all sorts of currency issues, not to mention potential inflation, unemployment, the slowing of the economy, the associated public unrest, and so on.

No, I don’t think China will massively implode. But the world is really not ready for a China that is only growing at 2% or 3% a year. (Even though 2–3% growth would sound pretty good if it were happening in the US.) That will feel a lot like a hard landing as far as world growth is concerned. Plus, all of this is happening when there are unsettled political agendas in many countries (starting with the US) with regard to globalization and trade treaties.

China facing full-blown banking crisis, world's top financial watchdog warns

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

China has failed to curb excesses in its credit system and faces mounting risks of a full-blown banking crisis, according to early warning indicators released by the world’s top financial watchdog.

A key gauge of credit vulnerability is now three times over the danger threshold and has continued to deteriorate, despite pledges by Chinese premier Li Keqiang to wean the economy off debt-driven growth before it is too late.

The Bank for International Settlements warned in its quarterly report that China’s "credit to GDP gap" has reached 30.1, the highest to date and in a different league altogether from any other major country tracked by the institution. It is also significantly higher than the scores in East Asia's speculative boom on 1997 or in the US subprime bubble before the Lehman crisis.

Studies of earlier banking crises around the world over the last sixty years suggest that any score above ten requires careful monitoring.  The credit to GDP gap measures deviations from normal patterns within any one country and therefore strips out cultural differences.

It is based on work the US economist Hyman Minsky and has proved to be the best single gauge of banking risk, although the final denouement can often take longer than assumed. Indicators for what would happen to debt service costs if interest rates rose 250 basis points are also well over the safety line.

China’s total credit reached 255pc of GDP at the end of last year, a jump of 107 percentage points over eight years. This is an extremely high level for a developing economy and is still rising fast.

Outstanding loans have reached $28 trillion, as much as the commercial banking systems of the US and Japan combined. The scale is enough to threaten a worldwide shock if China ever loses control. Corporate debt alone has reached 171pc of GDP, and it is this that is keeping global regulators awake at night.

The BIS said there are ample reasons to worry about the health of world’s financial system. Zero interest rates and bond purchases by central banks have left markets acutely sensitive to the slightest shift in monetary policy, or even a hint of a shift.

“There has been a distinctly mixed feel to the recent rally – more stick than carrot, more push than pull,” said Claudio Borio, the BIS’s chief economist. “This explains the nagging question of whether market prices fully reflect the risks ahead.”

Bond yields in the major economies normally track the growth rate of nominal GDP, but they are now far lower. Roughly $10 trillion is trading at negative rates, and this has spread into corporate debt. This historical anomaly is underpinning richly-valued stock markets at time when profit growth has collapsed.

The risk is a violent spike in yields if the pattern should revert to norm, setting off a flight from global bourses. We have had a foretaste of this over recent days.  The other grim possibility is that ultra-low yields are instead pricing in a slump in nominal GDP for years to come - effectively a trade depression - and that would be even worse for equities.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that central banks have been overburdened for far too long,” said Mr. Borio. The BIS said one troubling development is a breakdown in the relationship between interest rates and currencies in global markets, what it describes as a violation of the iron law of “covered interest parity”.

The concern is that banks are displaying a highly defensive reflex, and could pull back abruptly as they did during the Lehman crisis once they smell fear. “The banking sector may become an amplifier of shocks rather than an absorber of shocks,” said Hyun Song Shin, the BIS's research chief.

This conflicts with what the Bank of England has been saying and suggests that recent assurances by Governor Mark Carney should be treated with caution.

Yet it is China that is emerging as the epicentre of risk. The International Monetary Fund warned in June that debt levels were alarming and “must be addressed immediately”, though it is far from clear how the authorities can extract themselves so late in the day.

The risks are well understood in Beijing. The state-owned People’s Daily published a front-page interview earlier this year from a “very authoritative person” warning that debt had been “growing like a tree in the air” and threatened to engulf China in a systemic financial crisis.

The mysterious figure – possibly President Xi Jinping – called for an assault on “zombie companies” and a halt to reflexive stimulus to keep the boom going every time growth slows. The article said it is time to accept that China cannot continue to "force economic growth by levering up" and that the country must take its punishment.

One bright spot is a repayment of foreign debt denominated in dollars. Cross-border bank credit to China has fallen by a third to $698bn since peaking in late 2014 as companies scramble to slash their liabilities before the US Federal Reserve raises rates. The tally for emerging markets as a whole has fallen by $137bn to $3.2 trillion.

China's problem is internal credit. The risk is that a fresh spate of capital outflows will force the central bank to sell foreign exchange reserves to defend the yuan, automatically tightening monetary policy. In extremis, this could feed a vicious circle as credit woes set off further outflows.

The Chinese banking system is an arm of the Communist Party so any denouement will probably take the form of perpetual roll-overs, sapping the vitality of economy gradually.

The country was able to weather a banking crisis in the late 1990s but the circumstances were different. China was still in the boom phase of catch-up industrialisation and enjoying a demographic dividend. 

Today it is no longer hyper-competitive and its work-force is shrinking, and time the scale is vastly greater.

Subscribe to John Mauldin’s Free Weekly Publication

Each week in Outside the Box, John Mauldin highlights a thoughtful, provocative essay from a fellow analyst or economic expert. Some will inspire you. Some will make you uncomfortable. All will challenge you to think outside the box. Subscribe now!

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2019 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

6 Critical Money Making Rules