Saturday, 7 May 2016

Weekend Update 07/05/2016 – China Reverts to Mean.

Brexit Countdown Clock.

Brexit Quote of the Day.
Dodgy Dave Cameron: He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

With apologies to Oscar Wilde.

This weekend we focus on China, the number two national economy in the world by most official measures. What’s not to like? A whole lot and it’s getting worse fast.  As the apparatchiks in Beijing fight a losing battle against corruption and a faltering malinvestment bubble economy, capital flight has turned rampant as anyone and everyone with any wealth thinks they see a massive devaluation coming. And coming before a President Trump arrives on scene to “Make America Great Again.”
Below, China reverts to mean, as in mean communist tyrant Mao style. It looks to me, from faraway safe almost summer-like Londonistan, that capital flight is about to turn manic.

“But it [the boom] could not last forever even if inflation and credit expansion were to go on endlessly. It would then encounter the barriers which prevent the boundless expansion of circulation credit. It would lead to the crack-up boom and the breakdown of the whole monetary system.”

Ludwig von Mises.

China’s debt problem is bigger than you think

Published: May 6, 2016 8:26 p.m. ET

Bad loans are 10 times as large as official Chinese data suggest, research firm says

China’s bad loans are many times worse than what the official data are claiming, and the Chinese authorities do not have a strategy to tackle the problem, according to the latest research from CLSA.

“Nonperforming loans will worsen with the slowing economy, but the government does not have a comprehensive plan,” Francis Cheung, head of CLSA’s China and Hong Kong strategy, said during a presentation Friday.

Cheung estimated that the country’s bad loans are actually around 15% to 19%, significantly more than the 1.6% announced by the government recently. At that rate, it will require at least $1 trillion, equivalent to 10% of the economy, to clean up the banking sector, he said.

That is in line with a study from the International Monetary Fund last month that indicated that loans at risk account for about 15.5% of total bank loans, or $1.3 trillion.

“The share of commercial banks’ loans to corporates that could potentially be at risk has been rising fast and, although currently at a manageable level, needs to be addressed with urgency in order to avoid serious problems down the road,” the IMF said in the study.

But Beijing’s hands are tied in part because of its focus on supporting the economy via stimulus measures, with restructuring taking a back seat for now.

China’s gross domestic product grew 6.7% year-over-year in the first quarter, the slowest since the financial crisis in 2009. However, its all-out effort to prevent a sharp downturn in the economy is having mixed results.
China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index, a gauge of factory activity, slid to 50.1 in April from 50.2 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week.

“Stimulus is becoming less effective, requiring four units of credit for each unit of growth,” said Cheung, who projected China’s debt-to-GDP ratio will hit 300% by 2020. Economists estimate China’s debt-to-GDP ratio at 200% to 250% as of 2014.

The analyst believes the recent spate of bond defaults is a prime example that nonperforming loans are rising more rapidly than expected.

Chinese companies defaulting on their bonds have surged to 22 so far this year, already matching the total for all of 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported. Many of them are by state-run corporations, suggesting that Beijing may not be so willing to prop up money-losing enterprises at all cost.

Cheung also estimated that bad loans in the shadow banking sector, used by financial institutions to circumvent regulations, at about $700 billion.

The CLSA presentation echoes what hedge-fund managers like Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital Management have been saying the past few months about the alarming rise in China’s bad debt.

Bass, who shorted the yuan on expectations that China’s economic woes will worsen when its “excesses come home to roost,” believes Chinese banks are not sufficiently capitalized.

Jim Chanos, founder of Kynikos Associates, has also warned over the years that China is hurtling toward its economic doom as it continues to feed its economy with borrowed money.

“New debt [is] increasingly paying off old debt and financing losses,” Chanos noted in a slideshow on China at an investment conference last year.

President Xi Jinping Instructs Chinese Entrepreneurs On Getting Ahead—-Love The Motherland, Love The People, Love The Communist Party!

by Bloomberg Business • 
China’s entrepreneurs shouldn’t simply make money. They must “love the motherland, love the people, love the Communist Party, and actively practice socialist core values,” President Xi Jinping told businessmen in March.

The latest to discover this is Ren Zhiqiang, a retired real estate tycoon who must serve aone-year probation for publishing “erroneous views” that “seriously violate the Party’s political discipline,” according to a May 2 statement by a Beijing party committee. A party member, he got in hot water after questioning the president’s call for tighter controls over the media.

Xi’s push for ideological purity—directed at journalists, lawyers, and academics—is now targeting business. It’s a big shift from the presidency of Jiang Zemin, who welcomed entrepreneurs to the party in 2002. Some Chinese have “unwittingly become trumpeters of Western capitalistic ideology,” which could lead to “disastrous consequences,” Xi warned in a speech in December at Beijing’s Party School, reported Qiushi, the party magazine. The speech’s contents were made public on April 30. Such delays are common; the timing signals the government wants Xi’s hard-line message out now.

There are about 73 million private enterprises and family businesses in China, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. They range from real estate and pharmaceutical giants to startup game designers and small eateries. Private-sector companies make up more than 60 percent of the economy. While their profits rose last year, those at state-owned enterprises fell.

Despite repeated government pledges to grant private companies equal access to credit and contracts, entrepreneurs have seen limited progress, says Hu Xingdou, an economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology. And they must deal with a newly harsh tone in official speeches and media. On March 10, China Daily wrote that tycoons colluding “with corrupt officials” have sparked “wide doubt over the private sector and its role.” Other state media chimed in. “Some businesspeople in the nonstate economy, especially some entrepreneurs, are having errors in their thinking.” They “lack faith in Marxism, socialism, and communism,” while imagining “China under capitalism would be better,” said party periodical Red Flag Manuscript on April 8.

----Still, the public rhetoric is dispiriting. “The earlier generation of leaders were much more open about private enterprise than most today,” says Beijing Institute’s Hu. He notes that Premier Li is an exception. “Private enterprises, for the government, are an indispensable part of the economy,” Hu says. “But if they develop too well, officials may knife them. A strong state can at any time bankrupt or eliminate them.”

In the first eight months of last year, senior managers from 34 companies went missing when they were picked up in connection with investigations, according to China’sSecurities Times. In January, Zhou Chengjian, head of apparel label Metersbonwe, disappeared, reappearing about a week later. The phrase “lost contact,” or shilian, has become shorthand for the practice.

Zhou wasn’t charged with any wrongdoing. Neither was Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun Group, a private conglomerate. He dropped from sight in December. Trading in Fosun’s Hong Kong-listed shares halted until Guo resurfaced a few days later. He’s “one of China’s biggest entrepreneurs, whether measured by taxes paid or revenues earned,” says Liu Xiujie, a pharmaceuticals entrepreneur. If Guo isn’t safe from shilian, no entrepreneur is.

It’s Not Random——The Global Economy’s At Stall Speed, Rapidly Loosing Lift

by David Stockman • 
South Korea’s exports tumbled to $41 billion in April, marking the 16th consecutive month of declining foreign sales. Last month’s result represented a 11.2% decline from prior year, and an 18% drop from April 2014. Moreover, within that shrinking total, exports to China were down by 18.4% last month, following a 12.2% drop in March.
The Korean export slump is no aberration. The same pattern is evident in the entire East Asia export belt. That’s because the Red Ponzi is in its last innings. Beijing is furiously pumping on the credit accelerator, but to no avail.

As can’t be emphasized enough, printing GDP by means of wanton credit expansion does not create wealth or growth; it just results in an eventual day of reckoning when the speculative excesses inherent in central bank money printing collapse in upon themselves.

China is surely close to that kind of implosion. During Q1 total credit, or what Beijing is please to call “social financing”, expanded at a $4 trillion annualized rate. This was up 57% over prior year and represented debt growth at a 38% of GDP annual rate.

Stated differently, during the first 90 days of 2016 China piled another $1 trillion of debt on its existing $30 trillion debt mountain, while its nominal GDP expanded by less than $175 billion.

That’s right. The Red Ponzi is generating barely $1 of GDP for every $6 of new debt. And much of the “GDP” purportedly generated during Q1 reflected new construction of empty apartments and redundant public infrastructure.

By now it ought to be evident that the Chinese economy is a brobdingnagian freak of nature that is destined for a collapse, and that its economic statistics are a tissue of fabrications and delusions. Even its export figures, which are constrained toward minimum honesty because they can be checked against Chinese imports reported by the rest of the world, are padded to some considerable degree by phony export invoicing designed to hide illegal capital flight.

Still, the implication of its export trends are unmistakable. When you aside the statistical razzmatazz of the Chinese New Year’s timing noise in the data, exports were down by 10% in Q1 as a whole. That is the worst quarterly drop since 2009 amidst the global Great Recession, and was nearly twice the rate of  decline during Q4 and Q3 2015.

Brexit Joke of the Week.

Pythagoras's theorem - 24 words.
The Lord's Prayer - 66 words.
Archimedes's Principle - 67 words.
The 10 Commandments - 179 words.
The Gettysburg address - 286 words.
U.S. Declaration of Independence - 1,300 words.
U.S. Constitution with all 27 Amendments - 7,818 words.
EU regulations on the sale of cabbage - 26,911 words.

Time to leave the EUSSR.

No comments:

Post a Comment