Moody’s Issues Stern Warning On China’s Pyramid Bank Recapitalization Scheme; Has CIC Entered A Funding Crisis?
by ilene - August 30th, 2010 10:58 am
Moody’s Issues Stern Warning On China’s Pyramid Bank Recapitalization Scheme; Has CIC Entered A Funding Crisis?
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Moody’s is out with a surprisingly frank appraisal of the Chinese banking system’s precarious capitalization trend, by looking at the recent RMB 54 billion capital raise in the interbank market by the domestic arm of the Chinese Sovereign Wealth fund (CIC), which was "the first part of an RMB 187.5 billion overall fund-raising program mainly to provide additional capital to the three largest state-owned banks, a policy lender, and a policy insurance company."
As Moody’s oh so correctly concludes: "Recapitalizing banks with bond proceeds from banks is credit negative because it increases the effective leverage of the banking system. The transaction’s impact on the system is limited in this case because the increased leverage is not significant, but it would be problematic if effective leverage continues to increase and China’s economic growth stalls." Moody’s stops one step short of calling this transaction what it is: using debt purchased by other banks to recapitalize deteriorating loans on the banks’ asset side: "the increases in assets and equity are artificial and without real economic substance: the increase in reported equity on banks’ balance sheets enables the banks to lend more and effectively leverages up the system. Assuming banks fully deploy the capital raised, the resulting increase in the risk-weighted assets would be RMB 187.5 billion divided by 11.5% (the minimum capital requirement)." What is also not said, but is glaringly obvious, is that the Chinese sovereign wealth fund is likely in a major need of recapitalization, courtesy of its extensive US financial sector equity holdings.
Last week, Huijin, the domestic arm of China Investment Corp (China’s sovereign wealth fund), raised RMB 54 billion in the domestic interbank market. It was the first part of an RMB 187.5 billion overall fund-raising program mainly to provide additional capital to the three largest state-owned banks, a policy lender, and a policy insurance company.
Recapitalizing banks with bond proceeds from banks is credit negative because it increases the effective leverage of the banking system. The transaction’s impact on the system is limited in this case because the increased leverage is not significant, but it would be problematic if effective leverage continues to increase and China’s economic growth stalls. Even without an official breakdown of the bonds’
by ilene - July 14th, 2010 3:15 pm
Courtesy of Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets
Since this is another long posting, it might make sense to summarize briefly its two parts. In the first part, expanding on an OpEd piece of mine published by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, I argue that China’s “nuclear option”, which has generated a great deal of nervousness among investors and policy-making circles in the US, is a myth, and what the US should be much more concerned about is its diametric opposite — a tsunami of capital flooding into the country. I try to discuss the economic implications and perhaps the implications for asset prices.
In the second part of this posting I discuss the slowing of the Chinese economy within the context of what I believe to be its stop-go approach to economic policymaking. The one-minute take: I think policymakers will soon be stomping again on the accelerator, although there seems to be a real debate going on about whether this would be the proper policy response.
An awful lot of investors and policymakers are frightened by the thought of China’s so-called nuclear option. Beijing, according to this argument, can seriously disrupt the USG bond market by dumping Treasury bonds, and it may even do so, either in retaliation for US protectionist measures or in fear that US fiscal policies will undermine the value of their Treasury bond holdings. Policymakers and investors, in this view, need to be very prepared for just such an eventuality
So worried have many been that last week SAFE even had to come out and calm people down. According to an article in the Financial Times:
China has delivered a qualified vote of confidence in the dollar and US financial markets, ruling out the “nuclear option” of dumping its huge holdings of US government debt accumulated over the last decade.
But the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which administers China’s $2450bn in reserves, the largest in the world, also called on Washington and other governments to pursue “responsible” economic policies. The statement on Wednesday, one of a series that Safe has issued in recent days in an apparent effort to address criticism about its lack of transparency, also played down the chances of China making major further investments in gold.
by ilene - July 3rd, 2010 3:35 pm
Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario
The G20 communiqué, released after the Toronto summit on Sunday, made it quite clear that most industrialized countries now have budget deficit reduction fever (see this version, with line-by-line comments by me, Marc Chandler and Arvind Subramanian). The US resisted the pressure to cut government spending and/or raise taxes in a precipitate manner, but the sense of the meeting was clear – cut now to some extent and cut more tomorrow.
This makes some sense if you think that the global economy is in robust health and likely to grow at a rapid clip – say close to 5 percent per annum – for the foreseeable future. With high global growth, it will matter less that governments are cutting back and unemployment will come down regardless. Taking this into account, the IMF is actually predicting (as cited prominently by the G20) that budget “consolidation” actually raise growth over a five-year horizon.
There is no question that some weaker European countries, such as Greece, Portugal, and Ireland, had budget deficits that were out of control. Particularly if they are to pay back all their foreign borrowing – a controversial idea that remains the conventional wisdom – these countries need some austerity. But what about those larger countries, which remain creditworthy, such as Germany, France, the UK, and the US? If these economies all decide to reduce their budget deficits, what will drive global growth?The answer in Toronto was obvious: China. China is only about 6 percent of the world economy, measured using prevailing exchange rates, but it has a disproportionate influence on other emerging markets due to its seemingly insatiable demand for commodities. It also has a relatively healthy fiscal balance – and its fiscal stimulus, working mostly through infrastructure investment, did a great job in terms of buffering the real economy in the face of declining world trade in 2008-09.
Now, however, the Chinese government is trying to slow the economy down – there is fear of “overheating”, which could mean inflation or rising real wages (depending on who you talk to). Chinese economic statistics are notoriously unreliable, so reading the tea leaves is harder than for some other economies, but most of the leading indicators suggest that some sort of slowdown is now underway.
by ilene - June 24th, 2010 12:04 pm
Courtesy of Rohan of Data Diary:
Not quite a random walk, more like the one lurch forward, two staggers back, that is how the market has greeted the ‘news’ that China will be taking the yuan to a crawling peg. First, risk
The weight of money now seems to be gathering behind the notion that the Chinese are serious about slowing their economy – and that the crawling revaluation of the yuan is just another plank in this strategy. The clearest prognostication of the markets reception of these moves to reign in Chinese growth is provided by the Baltic Dry Index:
It’d be fair to say freight rates have collapsed over the last couple of weeks. When we read that capesize freight per tonne rates from Australia to
To place this in a little context, consider the following chart of world steel production:
The importance of China to global demand for iron ore and coking coal is self evident. But to make the point all the more clearly, consider this excerpt from the World Steel Association’s May report (here)
World crude steel production in May 2010 was 9.8% higher in comparison with May 2007, before the impact of the global economic crisis was felt. However, while China, South Korea and Turkey showed increased crude steel production in May 2010 compared to the same month 2007, the US, Italy, Spain and Japan are not yet back to pre-crisis production levels. The EU is -18%, North America -14% and Latin America -9.8% down on the five months to May total in 2007.
Now the point of this thinking is that the reaction of risk markets to the news about the revaluation is understandable. If we make the broad assumption that the downside risks around Europe have been essentially factored into the markets (for the moment), and that those relating to the US are in abeyance (for the moment), then those around China are to…
by ilene - March 23rd, 2010 9:28 pm
The world looks at China with envy. China’s economy grew 8.7 percent last year, while the world economy contracted by 2.2 percent. It seems that Chinese “Confucian capitalism” – a market economy powered by 1.3 billion people and guided by an authoritarian regime that can pull levers at will – is superior to our touchy-feely democracy and capitalism. But the grass on China’s side of the fence is not as green as it appears.
In fact, China’s defiance of the global recession is not a miracle – it’s a superbubble. When it deflates, it will spell big trouble for all of us.
To understand the Chinese economy, consider three distinct periods: “Late-stage growth obesity” (the decade prior to 2008); “You lie!” (the time of the financial crisis); and finally, “Steroids ’R’ Us” (from the end of the financial crisis to today).
Late-stage growth obesity
About a decade ago, the Chinese government chose a policy of growth at any cost. China’s leaders see strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth not just as bragging rights, but as essential for political survival and national stability.
Because China lacks the social safety net of the developed world, unemployed people aren’t just inconvenienced by the loss of their jobs, they starve; and hungry people don’t complain, they riot and cause political unrest.
by ilene - February 9th, 2010 2:24 pm
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Welcome to 1984, where outright propaganda and lies bombard you from current and prior administration officials each and every day. Here is the latest:
And here is our translation:
- Bush has good, fundamental understanding of markets – Interpretation: see here.
- Chinese save too much – Interpretation: Come to America and buy your plasma screens in this country
- Americans borrow too much – Interpretation: Americans LTV is about 10E^TARP
- US will get back every penny put into banks – Interpretation: US will lose every penny put into banks
- Buffet was a "pillar of strength for Paulson." – Interpretation: Buffett’s multi-billion bet on the S&P never declining was a future pillar of destruction for BRK
- He couldn’t say no to his country on Treasury job – Interpretation: he couldn’t say no to the opportunity to cash out of his $700 million Goldman stock stash
- A faltering Chinese economy would be bad for U.S. – Interpretation: see here.
- Without TARP US would have had 25% unemployment – Interpretation: With TARP Lloyd Blankfein will be a trillionaire, as companies cut SG&A to 0, unemployment hits 100% and Net Income becomes Revenue.
- Chinese need to reform currency – Interpretation: We need to kill the dollar, those bastards over there are making it impossible.
by ilene - September 16th, 2009 2:25 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
Superb analysis out of SocGen analysts this morning. Dylan Grice says the Chinese economy has many similarities to the Japanese economy before it imploded in the 90’s. He cites 8 reasons why the Chinese economy is likely to be an even larger implosion than the Japanese economy:
Studying the lessons from Japan’s lost decade(s) is key for anyone seeking to understand today’s post-bubble world. But a closer reading of Japan’s financial history illuminates today’s China far more. In the early 1980s, on the eve of its financial liberalisation, Japan was the rising power from the East set to overtake the West. Younger and growing rapidly, it was still a decade away from its climactic and catastrophic bubble peak. This is where China is now.
- Japan’s deflationary experience since its bubble burst haunts policy makers and investors, who are confronted with a bewildering range of theories explaining what has gone wrong and how a similar scenario can or can’t be avoided.
- But the real cause of Japan’s deflation is probably more demographic than debt-related. If so, maybe we should be more worried about the side-effects of an ongoing stimulus overdose aimed at reviving the dead, rather than fighting a more ordinary bout of flu.
- Japan has been the first industrial economy to begin demographic contraction. Indeed, thanks to Deng Xiaoping’s 1979 one child policy, China will soon face the same problem.
- But it is unlikely China will suffer the same immediate fate. In fact, further reflection on the similarities between China and Japan leads one to realise that many of the challenges confronting China today have already been faced by Japan, demography being only one.
- From the strained currency diplomacy to the accusation of favouring exports over domestic demand, from the Western marvelling at Confucian capitalism to the sense of inevitability about the rising of a great power in the East ? all were as true for Japan 30 years ago as they are of China today.
- And Japan 30 or so years ago might be a more fruitful analogy altogether. There is a clear historic coincidence of manias and geopolitical shifts. In the 1980s, Japan’s developing financial bubble reflected a shifting of the balance of power in its direction.
- But the geopolitical shift towards China now underway dwarfs that seen in
by ilene - June 30th, 2009 11:59 am
Late last year, I predicted that China, as a major exporter to the West, would feel a huge impact from the meltdown in the global economy, taking it’s growth rate down to 2% (See Top ten predictions for the 2009 global economy). Forgetting about the fact that data are highly suspect in China, I see that prediction as very unlikely to come true due to huge fiscal stimulus in China. The Chinese government is very much wedded to it’s 8% growth target and will do whatever it takes to come close to that target – including flooding the domestic banks with a wall of money to lend.
However, preventing a downturn with easy money is a dangerous way to reflate the economy. The likely malinvestment will be large, something about which Andy Xie has recently warned. Moreover, despite the implosion in house prices and shares in the Chinese market during the acute phases through to November 2008, a bubble has re-asserted itself there. In a recent post, “Does Ben Bernanke blow bubbles too?,” I referred to research by James Montier, now at GMO, which indicated that large increases in liquidity can and will reinflate bubbles even in the face of investors who feel chastened by a previous downturn. This seems very much to the point in China, where equity prices have risen some 60-odd percent since the trough in November.
Of course, all of this can continue for quite some time. And the Chinese are pulling out all the stops as the recent note by Marc Chandler, Chief Currency Strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, attests.
There are several developments to note in China.
First, with deflationary forces still gripping the economy (year-over-year CPI has been negative by more than 1% since Feb), weakness in exports, Chinese officials are unlikely to allow the yuan to appreciate very much during the second half of the calendar year. The pricing of the non-deliverable forward implies expectation for less than 1% appreciation against the dollar over the next 12-months, the smallest expected gain in a couple of months. Next month will be the one year anniversary of the Chinese decision that in essence appears largely tantamount to re-pegging the yuan to the greenback. It has been