Liquidity evaporates in China as ‘fiscal cliff’ nears

Unless China changes course, it is set to tighten fiscal policy by 5.5pc of GDP this year, five times Britain’s austerity dose annually since the Lehman crisis

Nobody can fault China’s leaders for lack of bravery. The Politburo has kept its nerve as the world’s most giddy experiment in credit-driven growth faces assault on three major fronts at once.

Real interest rates have rocketed. The trade-weighted rise in the yuan over the past two years has been spectacular. Fiscal policy is about to tighten drastically as the authorities clamp down on big-spending local governments.

Put together, China is pursuing the most contractionary mix of economic policies in the G20, relative to the status quo ante. Collateral damage is already visible in the sliding global prices of iron ore, copper, nickel, lead and zinc over recent months, as well as thermal coal, oil, corn and even sugar.

Zhiwei Zhang, from Deutsche Bank, says China faces a “fiscal cliff” this year as Beijing attempts to rein in spending. “This year, China will likely face the worst fiscal challenge since 1981. This is not well recognised in the market,” he said.

The International Monetary Fund says China’s budget deficit topped 10pc of GDP in 2014 if measured properly, including borrowing by the regions through “financing vehicles” as well as land sales – a patently unsustainable form of funding that makes up 35pc of local government revenue. This is the highest deficit of any major country in the world, and far above safe levels.

Full article: Liquidity evaporates in China as ‘fiscal cliff’ nears (The Telegraph)

Comments are closed.