The growing problems in the Chinese banking system could spill over into a wider financial crisis, one of the most respected analysts of China’s lenders has warned.
Charlene Chu, a former senior analyst at Fitch in Beijing and now the head of Asian research at Autonomous Research, said the rapid expansion of foreign-currency borrowing meant a crisis in China’s financial system was becoming a bigger risk for international banks.
“One of the reasons why the situation in China has been so stable up to this point is that, unlike many emerging markets, there is very, very little reliance on foreign funding. As that changes, it obviously increases their vulnerability to swings in foreign investor appetite,” said Ms Chu in an interview with The Telegraph.
Ms Chu has been warning since 2009 about the growth of a shadow banking system in China that has helped fuel the credit expansion seen in the country in the wake of the Western financial crisis.
However, fears are growing that the build-up of foreign borrowing by the Chinese, particularly in US dollars, is creating an even greater build-up of risk than that seen before the crisis of 2008.
“If the dollar were to appreciate it could cause problems for those banks that have borrowed in dollars. Anywhere you have a banking system that uses a non-domestic currency, there is a possibility of a mismatch that could cause issues when the value of your liabilities runs away from you,” said Mr Magnus.
The BIS figures show foreign-currency loans are already at a decade high, though the body said there was no reason this should mean there was a “currency mismatch”.
Full article: Currency crisis at Chinese banks ‘could trigger global meltdown’ (The Telegraph)