China Has an Online Lending Crisis and People Are Furious about It

Matt Rivers and Jethro Mullen
CNN
The outcry shines a light on a murky corner of China's financial industry that authorities allowed to grow rapidly with little oversight. Promises of double-digit returns attracted people looking for more lucrative places to put their money...

China's Debt Levels Pose Stability Risk, Says IMF

Guardian
Fears that China risks being the cause of a fresh global financial crisis have been highlighted by the International Monetary Fund in a hard-hitting warning about the growing debt-dependency of the world’s second biggest economy.

China's $38 Trillion Off-Balance Sheet Binge Poses Little Risk: UBS

Bloomberg
The Chinese finance sector’s 253 trillion yuan ($38 trillion) of off-balance sheet items pose little risk because more than two-thirds of them are relatively harmless components such as custodial funds and untapped credit-card limits, said UBS Group...

Books

08.21.17

China’s Banking Transformation

James Stent
In this timely and provocative book, James Stent, a banker with decades of experience in Asian banking and fluency in Chinese language, explains how Chinese banks work, analyzes their strengths and weaknesses, and sets forth the challenges they face in a slowing economy. Without minimizing the real issues Chinese banks face, China’s Banking Transformation challenges negative media accounts and reports of “China bears.” Based on his 13 years of service on the boards of China Minsheng Bank, a privately owned listed bank, and China Everbright Bank, a state-controlled listed bank, the author brings the informed view of an insider to the reality of Chinese banking.China’s Banking Transformation demonstrates that Chinese banks have transformed into modern, well-run commercial banks, playing a vital role supporting the country’s extraordinary economic growth. Acknowledging that China’s banks are different from Western banks, the author explains that they are hybrid banks, borrowing extensively from Western models, but at the same time operating within a traditional Chinese cultural framework and in line with China’s governance model.From his personal experience working at board level, Stent describes the governance and management of China’s banks, including the role of the Communist Party. He sees China’s banks as embedded in ancient concepts of how government and society work in China, and also as actors within a market socialist political economy. The Chinese banking system today bears similarities with banking in Northeast Asian “developmental states” of recent past, and also pre-1949 Chinese banking.As the first account of Chinese banking by a Westerner who has worked in China’s banks, China’s Banking Transformation should be read by anyone interested in the political economy of contemporary China, in Asian development issues, and in banking issues generally. The book dispels misconceptions and provides insight into the financial aspects of China’s economic growth story. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Books

06.20.17

Shadow Banking and the Rise of Capitalism in China

Andrew Collier
This book is about the growth of shadow banking in China and the rise of China’s free markets. Shadow Banking refers to capital that is distributed outside the formal banking system, including everything from Mom and Pop lending shops to online credit to giant state owned banks called Trusts. They have grown from a fraction of the economy 10 years ago to nearly half of all China’s annual 25 trillion renminbi (U.S.$4.1 trillion) in lending in the economy today.Shadow Banks are a new aspect of capitalism in China—barely regulated, highly risky, yet tolerated by Beijing. They have been permitted to flourish because many companies cannot get access to formal bank loans. It is the Wild West of banking in China. If we define capitalism as economic activity controlled by the private sector, then Shadow Banking is still in a hybrid stage, a halfway house between the state and the private economic. But it is precisely this divide that makes Shadow Banking important to the rise of capitalism. How Beijing handles this large free market will say a lot about how the country’s economy will grow—will free markets be granted greater leeway? —Palgrave Macmillan{chop}

Some Global Investors See Fresh Worries in an Old Problem: China

Michael Schuman
New York Times
While investors have been preoccupied with President Trump and chaos in Washington, nerve-rattling elections in Europe and the uncertainty created by Federal Reserve policy and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, a once-familiar — and...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

China Shakes up Top Economic Team ahead of Major Power Shuffle

Lingling Wei and Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
President Xi Jinping is shaking up his economic team ahead of a major power shuffle as China battles rising financial risks at home and friction with its trading partners.

How China’s Dumping of Treasurys Will Affect U.S. Borrowing Costs

Jon Sindreu
Wall Street Journal
Foreign buyers are holding a smaller share of the debt of the some of the world’s top nations

China Banks Extend Record 12.65 Trillion Yuan in Loans in 2016 as Debt Worries Mount

Sue-Lin Wong and Lusha Zhang
Reuters
China’s banks extended a record 12.56 trillion yuan ($1.82 trillion) of loans in 2016 as the government encouraged more credit-fueled stimulus to meet its economic growth target

Road to Stagnation? China Inc Gets a Break From Lenders

Umesh Desai
Reuters
China may be in for a long period of Japan-like stagnation rather than a single event triggering a crisis

The China Delusion

Rob Johnson
Project Syndicate
The current exchange-rate anxiety is just a symptom of China’s transition from an export-led growth strategy to one propelled by domestic consumption proceeding less smoothly than hoped.

China Economy Loses More Steam in April, Further Stimulus on the Cards

Kevin Yao
Reuters
China's money supply grew at its slowest pace on record in April and investment growth sank to its lowest in 15 years...

China’s March Exports Shrink 15 Percent Year-on-Year in Shock Fall

Koh Gui Qing and Kevin Yao
Reuters
The tumble could heighten worries about how a rising yuan hurt demand for Chinese goods and services abroad.

Why Beijing’s Troubles Could Get a Lot Worse

Anne Stevenson-Yang
Barron’s
Anne Stevenson-Yang: China, for all its talk about economic reform, is in big trouble. The old model of relying on export growth and heavy investment to power the economy isn’t working anymore.

China’s Migrants Thrive in Spain’s Financial Crisis

Tobias Buck
Financial Times
Laden with beer, liquor, soft drinks and snacks, the trucks are on their way to restock the thousands of Chinese-run corner shops and convenience stores that dot the Spanish capital. Business is good. It always has been, even in the worst moments of...

Books

03.19.14

Unbalanced

Stephen Roach
The Chinese and U.S. economies have been locked in an uncomfortable embrace since the late 1970s. Although the relationship initially arose out of mutual benefits, in recent years it has taken on the trappings of an unstable codependence, with the two largest economies in the world losing their sense of self, increasing the risk of their turning on one another in a destructive fashion.In Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China Stephen Roach lays bare the pitfalls of the current China-U.S. economic relationship. He highlights the conflicts at the center of current tensions, including disputes over trade policies and intellectual property rights, sharp contrasts in leadership styles, the role of the Internet, the recent dispute over cyberhacking, and more.A firsthand witness to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Roach likely knows more about the U.S.-China economic relationship than any other Westerner. Here he discusses:Why America saving too little and China saving too much creates mounting problems for bothHow China is planning to re-boot its economic growth model by moving from an external export-led model to one of internal consumerism with a new focus on service industriesHow America shows a disturbing lack of strategy, preferring a short-term reactive approach over a more coherent Chinese-style planning frameworkThe way out: what America could do to turn its own economic fate around and position itself for a healthy economic and political relationship with ChinaIn the wake of the 2008 crisis, both unbalanced economies face urgent and mutually beneficial rebalancings. Unbalanced concludes with a recipe for resolving the escalating tensions of codependence. Roach argues that the Next China offers much for the Next America—and vice versa.—Yale University Press{chop}

Infographics

08.12.13

Is China’s Massive Infrastructure Spending Wise or Wasteful?

China leads the world in infrastructure investment. The new roads, new railroads, new skyscrapers, even whole new cities that seem to spring into existence every day leave little doubt that investment has been ambitious. But has it been wise? This...

Caixin Media

08.05.13

County in Shaanxi in a Deep Hole as Mining Bubble Pops

A financial crisis triggered by falling coal prices is brewing in Shenmu County, in the northwestern province of Shaanxi.Construction projects have been halted, universal health care has run into payment problems and many private bankers have...

Reports

03.27.13

How Effective are Macroprudential Policies in China?

Bin Wang, Tao Sun
Luo Xiaoyuan
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
This paper investigates macroprudential policies and their role in containing systemic risk in China. It shows that China faces systemic risk in both the time (procyclicality) and cross-sectional (contagion) dimensions. The former is reflected as...

Reports

11.01.11

The Future of International Liquidity and the Role of China

Alan M. Taylor
He Jianan
Council on Foreign Relations
Financial crises in the 1930s and 1970s showed the world that economic instability results when demand for international liquidity allows a small number of countries to run up massive debts in their own currencies. Named for the economist who first...

Reports

11.20.09

China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

Kerry Dumbaugh
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is vitally important, touching on a wide range of areas including, among others, economic policy, security, foreign relations, and human rights. U.S. interests with...

Reports

06.03.09

China and the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for the United States

Wayne M. Morrison
Peony Lui
Congressional Research Service
Over the past several years, China has enjoyed one of the world’s fastest growing economies and has been a major contributor to world economic growth. However, the current global financial crisis threatens to significantly slow China’s economy...