Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
AvidFan

State Failure: It Might Be China

Recommended Posts

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=agagn6YHRQiA&pos=7

China Seen Robbing Consumers With Low Interest Rates (Update1)

By Bloomberg News

Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Peking University professor Michael Pettis was discussing declining bank-deposit returns when a student interrupted with a story about her aunt that may stymie China’s plan to boost consumer spending.

“To send her son to university in six years it means she must replace each yuan in lost income with one from her wages,” the student said, according to Pettis.

The government’s policy of keeping interest rates low to reduce the burden of soaring municipal debt is costing savers as much as 1.6 trillion yuan ($236 billion) a year in lost income on bank deposits, according to Pettis, former head of emerging markets at Bear Stearns Cos. To make up the shortfall, savers have to set aside a larger proportion of wages, undermining China’s efforts to counter slower export growth with consumer spending at home.

“Consumption is already at a dangerously low level,” said Pettis, author of the “The Volatility Machine,” a 2001 book that examines financial crises in emerging markets. “If it doesn’t begin to rise very quickly, China has a problem because household consumption will continue to drop as a share of GDP.”

Emphasis on exports and investments have caused domestic consumption to fall to 35 percent of gross domestic product, the lowest of any major economy, from 45 percent a decade ago, Societe Generale AG says.

Pettis isn’t alone in being skeptical about a consumer boom in China. Yale University finance professor Chen Zhiwu and Huang Yasheng at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also predict constrained consumer spending.

State Controlled

Chen estimates the state controls 70 percent of the nation’s assets and says most of its profits don’t flow to consumers. On an inflation-adjusted basis government income surged more than tenfold in the past 15 years while disposable urban income increased less than three times, he said.

Pettis said the drag on consumer spending from depressed deposit rates may help slash China’s annual economic expansion to between 5 and 7 percent a year through 2020, from an average of about 10 percent in the past decade.

The Group of 20 nations has urged China to boost domestic consumer spending to help offset reduced consumption from debt- strapped consumers in the U.S. and Europe. If Chinese shoppers fail to take over that mantle as the government’s 4 trillion yuan in stimulus wanes, then the nation may have to fall back on exports for growth. That would revive trade disputes with the U.S., which is battling 9.5 percent unemployment, said Huang.

Trade Tensions

“I do not see how trade tensions can be avoided,” said Huang, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and author of “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State.” “Even in the best-case scenario I do not see household consumption replacing investment as a driver of growth in the foreseeable future.”

China’s leaders have vowed to boost consumption’s share of GDP since at least 2006 -- so far to no avail. The ratio of consumption in China’s economy is about half that of the U.S., and about 60 percent of both Europe and Japan, according to Credit Agricole CIB.

China’s past development has created an “irrational economic structure” and “uncoordinated and unsustainable development is increasingly apparent,” said Vice Premier Li Keqiang in a June article in the government-owned Qiu Shi magazine. Long-term dependence on investment and exports for growth “will grow the instability of the economy,” he said.

Low Rates

Pettis computes the 1.6 trillion yuan in lost returns to savers by comparing the difference between China’s nominal deposit and growth rates to those in other emerging markets. That calculation indicates China’s deposit rates should be at least 4 percentage points higher, he said.

“The government maintains a cap on deposit rates, which helps prop up bank profits, but only by spreading the cost to households in the form of artificially low interest returns,” said Mark Williams, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London who worked at the U.K. Treasury as an adviser on China from 2005 to 2007.

China has left interest rates unchanged since December 2008, even as countries from Malaysia to Taiwan, South Korea and India raised them. The central bank sees little need for an imminent increase, the International Monetary Fund said in a staff report on July 29 after consultation with the Chinese government.

China’s inflation, near a two-year high of 2.9 percent in June, is also eroding household savings. That may cause people to spend less and save more to cover rising costs of healthcare, pensions and children’s education, said Pettis. The one-year deposit rate is 2.25 percent.

Lost Returns

In June 2009 savers earned a real return on one-year deposits of 3.95 percent. That slumped to a negative 0.65 percent in June this year, indicating lost returns to savers of 1.8 trillion yuan annually compared with a year earlier. Pettis estimates China’s household deposits account for 60 percent of total deposits, or about 40 trillion yuan.

Chinese investors have few appealing options. Capital controls inhibit citizens from investing overseas. A crackdown on property speculation may cause property prices to fall as much as 30 percent in the next 12 months, according to Barclays Capital. The Shanghai Composite Index, up 0.1 percent as of the 11:30 a.m. local time break in trading, has slumped about 20 percent this year.

Pettis said the 3.06 percentage-point spread between deposit and lending rates that is set by the central bank will help banks pay for potential bad loans after an 18-month lending boom that was almost as big as the U.K.’s gross domestic product.

Bad Loans

“Evidence is mounting that the lending spree not only has created bad loans but is now constraining monetary policy,” said Huang.

Concern about potential losses in the financial system may deepen after China’s banking regulator decided to conduct stress tests of the nation’s lenders. The tests include a worst-case scenario of property prices falling as much as 60 percent in cities where they have risen significantly, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Banks could be saddled with bad loans of more than $400 billion, said Jim Walker, chief economist at Hong Kong-based Asianomics Ltd.

Some economists argue that surging retail-sales figures and rising wages show China’s shift to greater consumer spending is on track. Dariusz Kowalczyk at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong estimates consumption will account for 47 percent of GDP within 10 years.

Retail sales rose 18 percent in the first half of 2010 to 7.3 trillion yuan. Citigroup Inc. says wages in the unskilled labor market may double over the next five years.

Middle Class

“Disposable income levels are growing, the middle class is growing and urbanization is alive and strong,” said Andy Mantel, Hong Kong-based managing director of Pacific Sun Investment Management Ltd.’s consumer-focused Mantou Fund, which invests mainly in Greater China equities. “That would be positive for the next five to 10 years.”

Mantou’s holdings include companies like Fujian-based fruit and vegetable producer China Green (Holdings) Ltd. whose new drinks line is “higher quality than has been available on the market,” said Mantel. “People these days are willing to pay a bit extra for better products.”

Hong Kong-based Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Emma Liu expects China Green’s stock to rise more than 20 percent over the next year to HK$10.8 ($1.4).

Investor’s Picks

Rising rural incomes prompted Shanghai-based River Fund Management to buy shares this year in Qingdao-based Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd. and Zhuhai-based Gree Electric Appliances Inc., two of China’s biggest makers of air conditioners.

“People nowadays are not only replacing their old air- conditioners, but upgrading from low-end to high-end ones,” said fund manager Zhang Ling. “This will continue over the next 10 years.”

Driven by government subsidies for consumer products including cars and refrigerators, retail sales rose 16 percent in 2009 after adjusting for consumer price changes, the most since 1986.

China supplanted the U.S. as the world’s largest auto market last year as vehicle sales jumped 46 percent. Households borrowed 2.5 trillion yuan, almost four times more than a year earlier.

Even as sales rise, the hope that China was at “a turning point” for the role of consumer spending in the economy may have been premature, said Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

‘More Unbalanced’

The economy is “still becoming slightly more unbalanced” toward investment, said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia Pacific economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. “Until consumption grows faster than fixed-asset investment for a sustained period, the economy will remain unbalanced.”

Urban fixed-asset investment surged 25.5 percent in the first half to 9.8 trillion yuan. Another 29.6 trillion yuan is needed to finish outstanding fixed-asset projects, said Sun Mingchun, an economist with Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong.

To achieve sustained rebalancing, China should allow a stronger currency that boosts household purchasing power, improve pension and healthcare coverage and gradually allow markets to determine interest rates, the IMF report said.

“I never believed the hype that China was turning the corner on rebalancing growth toward consumption,” said Huang. “The main political agenda is not to let GDP growth slip and that means continued investment growth.”

Mmm. Greater than 3% bank margins killing consumers? I wonder where we've seen that before.

China really is looking like a basket case for the next 10-20 years, isn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the infrastructure stimulus lessens China is going to have to push harder on domestic consumption. Big strides have been made since the fall of 2008 on income in China.. but a lot more needs to be done. And in addition productivity growth has been so strong that it has nearly kept pace with the income growth. Leaving consumption about the same as a percentage of gdp.

If the slowdown that has emerged in the last couple months in China goes on and deepens.. I think we will see some dramatic actions by the Chinese leaders to get things moving again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't the Chinese have to save because there is no state pension etc....

How are they going to get around that?

No healthcare either. They can't save (for their lives) at <3% and then be expected to take up the consumer shortfall in the west.

Fighting on three fronts, and nowhere left to run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No.

Meanwhile in the real world.

Record profits at Rio Tinto thanks to Chinese demand

Rio has had to increase iron ore production to meet demand from China Rio Tinto's profits for the January to June period have reached a record first-half high for the firm, fuelled by Chinese demand for its iron ore.

The Anglo-Australian group saw its half-year net profits more than triple to $5.8bn (£3.7bn).

This compares with $1.6bn for the same six months last year.

Earnings from Rio's iron ore operation, the biggest part of its business, more than doubled to $4.1bn, up from $1.9bn a year ago.

Meanwhile, its aluminium arm returned to profit, with earnings of $313m, as overall metal demand and prices continued to rise as the global economy improved.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10877268

You didn't read the article did you Bardon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No.

Meanwhile in the real world.

Record profits at Rio Tinto thanks to Chinese demand

Rio has had to increase iron ore production to meet demand from China Rio Tinto's profits for the January to June period have reached a record first-half high for the firm, fuelled by Chinese demand for its iron ore.

The Anglo-Australian group saw its half-year net profits more than triple to $5.8bn (£3.7bn).

This compares with $1.6bn for the same six months last year.

Earnings from Rio's iron ore operation, the biggest part of its business, more than doubled to $4.1bn, up from $1.9bn a year ago.

Meanwhile, its aluminium arm returned to profit, with earnings of $313m, as overall metal demand and prices continued to rise as the global economy improved.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10877268

Raw materials for China's domestic or export market goods?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meanwhile in the real world.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10877268

Just screams "past peak" to me. Commensurate with 30% YoY loan growth in January and February - just insane. Was it Hendry who said that amount of lending sets a new historical precedent?

Oh - and stockpiling. Lots and lots of stockpiling, including 9.5 million barrels of oil a day averaged annually at the end of Q1 2010.

Hope you're not too leveraged Bardon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No healthcare either. They can't save (for their lives) at <3% and then be expected to take up the consumer shortfall in the west.

Fighting on three fronts, and nowhere left to run.

Plus the demographics will kill them stone dead in about 15 years (the one child policy will have serious consequences for future economic growth and real estate asset values-Japan x10, imagine the size of that carry trade)-Current fertility rate is 1.79 and falling. Both Ireland and france have higher fertility rates.

Edited by Jack's Creation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Export market then, paid for by the state taxes.

No - the article made reference to fixed asset investments - not inventories for export.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed_asset

The economy is “still becoming slightly more unbalanced” toward investment, said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia Pacific economist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. “Until consumption grows faster than fixed-asset investment for a sustained period, the economy will remain unbalanced.”

Edited by Alan B'Stard MP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=agagn6YHRQiA&pos=7

China Seen Robbing Consumers With Low Interest Rates (Update1)

By Bloomberg News

Mmm. Greater than 3% bank margins killing consumers? I wonder where we've seen that before.

China really is looking like a basket case for the next 10-20 years, isn't it?

The same theory can be applied to BoE action too:

(i) 0.5% interest rate kept zoombie Private equity, overleveraged instituition, borrowers from liquidating. These group can't spend, just ticking over.

(ii) Saver get no income, so not spending. Group (a) income may fall further.

(iii) Inflation erodes capital, so less capital to invest in the UK

Result-> Japan

Edited by easybetman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

who or what is the major domestic creditor in china. Is it Mr and Mrs Chan? Or the state government?

118 118 are doing rather well.

people keep winging the wong numbers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No - the article made reference to fixed asset investments - not inventories for export.

I know, could we not assume though that China’s infrastructure is paid for by the taxes taken from businesses that sell in the export market and that little of it is from home demand?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know, could we not assume though that China’s infrastructure is paid for by the taxes taken from businesses that sell in the export market and that little of it is from home demand?

We could also assume the moon is made of cheese.

I know nothing about either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus the demographics will kill them stone dead in about 15 years (the one child policy will have serious consequences for future economic growth and real estate asset values-Japan x10, imagine the size of that carry trade)-Current fertility rate is 1.79 and falling. Both Ireland and france have higher fertility rates.

I remember the mid eighties "Japan to take over the world" mantra. Look what happened there, people never learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We could also assume the moon is made of cheese.

I know nothing about either.

TBF with my analogy I am going round the whole money merry go round, but I do think that Chinese infrastructure is built by the state and that the only way they can do this is to tax the home market who happen to make profits due to export demand. I can’t back this up but it seems many articles say that Chinese internal demand is weak and cannot get stronger (which, in fairness I don’t believe). Seems Rio Tinto’s profits are indirectly being gained from the export market to me! :|

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Noodle

Plus the demographics will kill them stone dead in about 15 years (the one child policy will have serious consequences for future economic growth and real estate asset values-Japan x10, imagine the size of that carry trade)-Current fertility rate is 1.79 and falling. Both Ireland and france have higher fertility rates.

Same here, fertility rate of 1.64!!!

Peak people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 153 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.