From where this blogger is sitting WMPs do a pretty good job of summing up the different ways of looking at what is going in China at the moment. On the one hand you have those who see WMPs more as “off-balance-sheet deposit rate liberalisation, with a twist of risk” which are a useful tool on the liberalisation path, and on the other hand you have the Weapons of Mass Ponzi-focused brigade. Read more
Just when you think there’s nothing left to say about China’s debt dilemma up pop some more pieces to greet the new year. Two of the most recent saw Soros on the self-contradiction in Chinese policy boat saying that “restarting the furnaces also reignites exponential debt growth, which cannot be sustained for much longer than a couple of years” and Patrick Chovanec providing a touch more detail about what all that messy debt actually means:
To those who wrote off China’s first banking seizure in June as a fluke, this latest episode [interbank lending market spiked to near 10 percent again last week] appeared to come out of nowhere. They cast about for explanations: Perhaps some seasonal surge in cash withdrawals was to blame, or the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to taper its bond-buying policy. Optimists assumed the PBOC was tightening credit on purpose, as a warning to banks to rein in unsafe lending practices. With inflation at manageable levels, they reasoned, the People’s Bank of China had plenty of room to loosen monetary policy again and ease the cash crunch.
The muddy waters of this particular creek have been known to drive good men mad…
From the FT:
The seven-day bond repurchase rate, a key gauge of short-term liquidity in China, opened at 5 per cent, a four-month high and up 150 basis points from the end of last week.
But we also get this: Read more
We looked earlier on Thursday at whether the PBoC and other Chinese authorities have engineered the recent squeeze in China’s interbank markets (answer: yes) and why they might be choosing this moment to do so (answer: somewhat more complicated).
Chinese interbank rates according to Shibor are incredibly high — and yet, apart from the report of a special ‘targeted liquidity operation’ for the benefit of one, unnamed bank, the central bank appears to be resisting pleas to ease up on liquidity provision.
So, what gives? Read more
The Shibor spike continues, this time with the Wall Street Journal:
The Chinese interbank funding market has seen rates soar since early this month amid slowing foreign-capital inflows and banks’ needs to fulfill investor obligations, among other factors. The squeeze is pushing up banks’ funding costs and could impede a key source of funds for growth even as the economy slows.
Originally, there were suggestions that the increase in China’s interbank interest rates was down to the Dragon Boat Festival holiday season and a resultant search for cash. But rates have stayed elevated as rumoured defaults and auction failures got everyone nervous and liquidity pressures mounted as foreign-capital inflows slowed and those dang wealth-management products demanded feeding. Read more
Wonder why everyone is so scared about a possible Chinese slowdown? Here’s a stat for you: China is now forecast to contribute 28 per cent and 30 per cent of global growth in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
That’s an updated prediction from a concerned Citigroup note entitled “Is China all that’s left?”, and takes into account recent downward revisions to growth in the US and Europe. It’s an awful lot of weight to carry for a country that is showing several signs of homegrown stress. Read more
Shibor, shibor everywhere and not a drop of cash to spare.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch rate strategist Bin Gao has a short note out on Tuesday entitled “A possible funding crisis in China?” Read more