Pettis on Debt, Currency Wars, Commodity Prices and Capital Flight; China FDI Contracts 8.7% YoY, 8th Drop in 9 Months

The much-denied hard landing in China is now underway with weakening data everywhere one looks. Today there is More Bad News For China as FDI Falls.
Foreign direct investment in China fell to the lowest level in two years in July, fueling concern that waning confidence in the nation’s growth prospects may restrain any economic rebound.

Investment declined 8.7 percent from a year earlier to $7.58 billion, the eighth drop in nine months and the smallest inflow since July 2010. The Ministry of Commerce released the data at a briefing in Beijing today.

Chinese financial institutions sold a net 3.8 billion yuan ($600 million) of foreign currency last month, indicating capital is flowing out as property curbs and weakness in exports slow growth and the yuan weakens.

China’s slowdown may extend into a seventh quarter after export growth collapsed in July and industrial production and lending missed economists’ forecasts. The nation reported a $71.4 billion capital account deficit in April-through-June, the biggest quarterly shortfall in data going back to 1998.

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), the world’s largest maker of construction and mining machinery, shut its main excavator factory in China for much of July and had employees on shortened work weeks, Mike DeWalt, director of investor relations at the Peoria, Illinois, company, said in an Aug. 8 conference presentation, according to a transcript.

“The current sales level in China is quite depressed,” DeWalt said. “We’ve cut production there.”
Pettis on Debt, Currency Wars, Commodity Prices and Capital Flight in China

Via email, Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets has a few comments on debt, commodity prices, and capital flight in China.
Any sustained increase in the growth rate of Chinese consumption – if indeed this occurs, which in my opinion is very doubtful – will not only have to compensate for a reduction in the growth rate of Chinese investment, but might also have to compensate for a reduction in China’s current account surplus.  What is more, the crisis in Europe will only make the global trade environment tenser and nastier. 

Notice already what is happening in commodity-exporting countries like Indonesia.  According to an article in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal: Indonesia's Trade Gap Signals Tougher Times

Indonesia’s trade deficit hit an all-time high in June as exports from Southeast Asia’s largest economy fell sharply, a sign that weaker demand from China and the West is affecting some of the few countries still growing at a considerable clip.

A third straight month of trade deficits in one of the world’s biggest commodity producers bodes ill for Indonesia, which had become a darling of foreign investors looking for fresh opportunities, but has struggled to contain the damage from a sharp fall in its currency in recent months that has rattled investors.

Countries whose growth depends either on growth in Chinese investment or growth in European demand are going to see significant deterioration in their trade accounts.  This will almost certainly lead to even more trade intervention, currency wars, and all the other beggar-thy-neighbor polices typical of a global demand contraction. I think we should expect to see a lot more articles like this.

In addition China itself is seeing noticeable capital outflows as business owners and other wealthy people begin disinvesting and withdrawing deposits.  Capital flight from China began surging in early 2010, and it seems to be getting worse, with some monthly withdrawal estimates as high as $40-50 billion, and this can’t help but put increasing pressure on China’s ability to finance the infrastructure, manufacturing and real estate bubbles that have driven the economy. 

Over the long term, and in the name of rebalancing, this is probably a good thing for China.  The sooner liquidity-driven overinvestment stops, the less debt will pile up and the less painful the deleveraging process will be.  But in the short term it will aggravate the slowing down of the economy.

Rebalancing Effect on Commodities

If we assume that China will have no problem sailing through its economic rebalancing, the European crisis, and everything else, then clearly we don’t need to worry about anything.  But if China’s rebalancing is accompanied by a sharp slowdown in economic growth, or if it occurs during a worsening of the European crisis – both very likely scenarios – then we need to think about what the debt burden will be under those conditions.

So, for example, will commodity prices drop?  I think they will, perhaps by as much as 50% over the next three years, and to the extent that there is still a lot of outstanding debt in China collateralized by copper and other metals (and there is), our debt count should include estimates for uncollateralized debt in the event of a sharp fall in metal prices .  Will slower growth increase bankruptcies, or put further pressure on the loan guarantee companies?  They almost certainly will, so we will need again to increase our estimates for non-performing loans. 

Liquidity Pressures

Will capital outflows increase if growth slows sharply?  Probably, and of course this puts additional pressure on liquidity and the banking system, and with refinancing becoming harder, otherwise-solvent borrowers will become insolvent.  Will rebalancing require higher real interest rates, a currency revaluation, or higher wages?  Since rebalancing cannot occur without an increase in the household income share of GDP, and since these are the biggest implicit “taxes” on household income, there must be a net increase in the combination of these three variables, in which case the impact on net indebtedness can be quite significant depending on which of these variables move most.  Since I think rising real interest rates are a key component of rebalancing, clearly I would want to estimate the debt impact of a rise in real rates.

Just remember the finger wagging and the self-satisfied lectures on banking and debt given by senior Spanish government officials and bankers to US and European bankers as late as 2009.  No one thought Spain had a problem until debt suddenly emerged from every nook and cranny as a response to the adverse shock Spain was undergoing.  Some analysts will complain that it is very difficult to figure out all the contingencies in any country, so acknowledging the possibility adds nothing to the quality of our analysis.  But they are dead wrong.  An experienced balance sheet analysts can easily tell when overall a country’s balance sheet is more inverted or less inverted, and in the former case he must always assume that the potential for a debt crisis is much greater than the raw debt numbers suggest.

When the cost of capital is artificially repressed, economic entities tend to overuse capital as an input.  Perhaps that has not happened in China in the past decade, but if it hasn’t, China would represent a truly unique case in history.

Recognition of Losses

We need to be worried about debt, in Europe and the US of course, but we need also to be worried about debt in China.  The deleveraging process in any country always results in much slower growth than during the period in which debt was rising quickly, and what matters is overall deleveraging, not just government debt.  At some point we will see deleveraging in China, and this must affect growth.  Misallocated investment funded by debt means that losses have occurred and one way or another they will eventually be recognized.  The recognition of the losses can be postponed for a time, by the simple expedient of not recognizing non-performing loans, but at some point, and usually at the worst possible time, they will be recognized.
What to Expect in Deflation

Pettis did not use the word "deflation' in his email, but deleveraging, rebalancing, trade intervention, currency wars, falling commodity prices, and beggar-thy-neighbor polices "typical of a global demand contraction" are certainly synonymous with the word.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List


News for factory,Allied Cash Advance,Photography,Beach Water Park,Educational Leadership,Vacation And Travel,Wedding Dress,Family Vacation Packages,Casino and Gambling,Health Insurance,Best Auto Insurance ( BAF ),Web Hosting Professional,Home Design And Remodeling,Information Property For Home,Wireless TV Networking,Business Plan Guide,Educational Guide,Custom Essay Writing Service,Plumber Service And Repair,Property House,Architectural House Plans,Car Auto Services,Computer service and repair,Computer Networking,Business Planning Strategies,Womens Giving,Healthcare and Medical Jobs,Retail Inkjet Solutions,Online Casino Games,Alcohol Drug Treatment,Web Designers,Apollo Amatuer Night,Public School Performance,Kanza Museum,Cap Inter Entereprises Emploi,Culinary Tourism,Business Traveller,Bridal Expo,Container Atlas Architecture,Culinary Tours - Packages and Travel,Dancing Ink Productions,Defend Automotive Group,Real Finance Group,Business Consulting Services,Home Design Audio,Health Projects International,Health Resources,Health Effects of Alcohol,History of education,Vietnam travel guide,Westland Foundation,Lighting Business,Networking Business Professionals,Housing Decoration,Future Business,Health and Beauty Tips,Hotel Cafe and Restaurant,Enhancing Education,Home Improvement Projects,Political Philosophy,Healthy Grieving Process ,Unique Weddings in New Orleans,Art Plus Science ,Advantage Business Media,Mutual Financial Services,Adventure Travel and Holidays,Alternative Medicine Treatments,Web Design and Marketing,Electronic Payment Solutions,Life Success in Business,Devium Car Interiors,Easy Divers Academy,Water Treatment Process,Software Development Company,MSDS Translation Language,Orion International Technologies,Refreshing Summer Wine Guide,Learn Technical Writing,Health Spa and Resort,Creative Book Publishing,Positive Business Mentality,Charter Healthcare,Discount Hotel Rates,United Industries,Warrior Insurance,County Tourism and Vacations,Wedding Ring Jewelry,Studio Design Decorative,Journalism Careers,Gaming Accessories Computing,Business Strategy Consultant,Cefori Technologies Information,Physics and Astronomy,News Fashion,Business Online,Michigan Apartments,Legal Information Institute,Guide Fashion Shipping,Home Insurance Quotes,Web Design Trends,Musical Instruments and Gear,Travel and Leisure,Importance of Education,Auto Financing Loans,Contractor Business Systems,Business Travel,Importance of Sex Education,Education Classroom,Creative Idea Laboratory,Luxury Paradise Vacations,Healthiest Alcoholic Drinks,Sports Betting,Business Environment,Business Directory,Internet Services,Top Styles,Architecture and Design,Discovery Travel and Tourism,Drug Abuse Treatment,Cheap Auto Financing,Business and Technology,Online Trading,Casino Gambling,Easy Online Shopping,Education Games,Social Media Networks,Online Dating,Luxury Honeymoons,Media and Entertainment,Home Decorating Ideas,Insurance Services,Payday Loans Online,Beechwood Travel Guide,Paradise Garden,Business Trends Consulting,Expert School Consulting,Latest Fashion Trends,Alternative Health Care,Technology Trends In Society,Health Technologies Resources,Island Wedding Services,Network Society,Gambling Experts,Medical Insurance Expert,Home Repair and Remodeling,Sexual Health Services,Education Resources,Automotive Solutions,Michigan Trade Associations,Luxury Fashion and Accessories,Theoretical Physics,Financial Advice,Adult Online Dating (Escorts),Pets Health Insurance,Better Homes and Gardens,Avastone Technologies,Discover Student Loans,Sports Authority,Vitamins and Supplements,Business Systems Online,Food Network Recipes,Business and Government,Smart Legal Strategy,Occupational Health Care,Music Education,Online Dating Tips (Expert),Online Marketing Lexikon,Citizens Council Network,Economics and Finance,Fashion Entertainment News,Luxury Travel Destinations,Online Auto Insurance,Home Improvement Loans,Building Business Foundation,Human Resource Consulting,Educational Media pay day loans
life insurance quotes
Credit Loans (finance)
Foreign Auto Parts
Health and Fitness
Drug abuse effects
Destination hotels and resorts
Professional Financial Marketing
Personal Finance
Computers and Technology
Auto Insurance
Real Estate Property
Computer Graphics Technology
Home Improvement
Arts music schools
Online Education Classes
Hotel and Travel
Security development program
Business auto loans
Medical And Public Health Organizations
Land and Homes
Better Health Kids
Engineered Heating
Trade Finance Services
Switzerland Tourism
Casa Travel
Clothing Accessories
University of Technology
Best Law Schools
Marketing Technology
Vacation Tour and Travel
Insurance Agents and Insurance Brokers
Construction Engineering
Healthy Home Economist
Masters Home Improvement
Michigan Web Design
Personal Online Banking
Health Education Foundation
Travel Pack
Real Estate and Home Ideas
Museum Vacations Travel
Free Statistical Software
Blog Free Statistical
Buying and Selling Real Estate
Educational Play
Big Top Business
Alternative Health
smooth skin
Products and Services
Construction Project Management
Northside Car Service
Online Essay Writing
France Health
Europe Program Modernization
European Travel Destinations
Science and Technology Project
Online Store Marketing
Law Society Consulting
Business Networking Company
Motivation to Study
Metropolitan Hotel
Technological Innovation
EAP Business
Travel Guide and Virtual Tours
The Business Partnership
Accessible Accommodation
Entertainment News
Medicines Agency
Carpet Cleaning
International House
VIP Shop
Online Clothing Shop
Institute Education Religion
Ford Escort Team
Shop Engine Part
Computer Hardware
Medical Career
Paris Construction
Professional Translation
Streaming Wizard
Alcoholism and Drug
Medical Laboratory
Commerce Business
Educational Kids Play
Space Education
Home Repair Volunteer
Fashion Talent
Health and Safety Executive
Play Web Games
Travel and Surfing
Property and Estate Agents
Technology Group Solutions
Student Service Center
Construction Industry
Media Center Computer
Teny Fashion
Home Remodeling Services
Inspector Network
Car Rentals
Leader Dogs
Rise Health Systems
Business Strategy Consultant
Personal Life Coaching
Company Business Coaching
Entertainment News
Physics and Astronomy
Science and Technology
Cheap Vacation Packages
World Business Academy
Planets Project
Travel and Leisure
Prevent Drug Abuse
Education Certified
Play Kids Games
Legal Defense Fund
Real Estate Strategies
Isolation Globale
Insurance Coverage Law
Rock Hotel and Resorts
Medical Insurance
Healthy Mind and Body
Marjahaan Autokatsastus
Free Sports Authority
Auto Insurance Coverage
Global Technics
Advitium Manufacturing
Professional Core Education
Special Finance Services
Bergen County Contractors
Great Children's Art
Health Supply Company
Social Media Power
Texas House Restaurant
Carbon Consultant
Carbon Expert
Low Carbon
Reset Carbon
Healthcare Commissioning
Virtual Job Tryouts
Ethos Academy (Education)
Intrinsic Schools
Attorney General
Technology Software
Business Plans
Digital Media
High School Resources
Adult Resources
Gamblers Anonymous
Ecuador Real Estate
Software Development
Festival Fashion
Drugs And Alcohol
Business Intelligence
Food Network Recipes
Journal Human Resources
Games and Technology
Technology Development
Web Resources Express
Payday Loans Bad Credit
Art and Craft
Business and Finance News
Ecological Sciences
Education Resources
Web Design
Music Education
World Resources Institute
Business Health Guide