These debt-related shocks will occur regularly for many more years, and each shock will advance or retard the rebalancing process so that it affects the way future shocks occur. There are only a few broad paths along which the Chinese economy can rebalance, and if we can get some sense of the China’s institutional constraints and balance sheet structures, we can figure what these paths are and how likely we are to slip from one to another. In order to get Chinas right I would argue that above all we must understand the dynamics of debt, and of balance sheet structures more generally.
Author: Michael Pettis
By Michael Pettis Last Tuesday the PBoC surprised the markets with a partial deregulation of the currency regime, prompting a great deal of discussion and debate about the value of the RMB. Part of the discussion was informed by a consensus developing in one part of the market that the RMB is no longer undervalued but is in fact overvalued. […]
By Michael Pettis originally written on 31 Jul 2015 I plan to post a new entry very soon but before doing so I wanted to say a few things about the stock markets, which continue to be insane (but not unexpectedly so) and then repost a blog entry that is nearly five years old. By the time I published my […]
By Michael Pettis I was recently asked by an Australian economics journal to write a review of a book I had already read, The Leaderless Economy, by Peter Temin and David Vines (published in 2013). Because the book is a great place from which to start a discussion on the links within the global economy, I decided to base this essay […]
By Michael Pettis Last week Derek Scissors, a think tank analysts at the American Enterprise Institute, published an articlein which he referred to an October, 2014, study by Credit Suisse that attempts to measure total household wealth by region and by country. Scissors argues that in the interminable debate about whether or not China will overtake the US as the […]
By Michael Pettis When Isaac, an editor at Foreign Policy, sent me an email two weeks ago asking if I could write a piece on the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), I quickly wrote back promising 1,200 words within a few days. I thought it would be pretty easy to come up with the points I wanted to make, […]
By Michael Pettis It is hard to watch the Greek drama unfold without a sense of foreboding. If it is possible for the Greek economy partially to revive in spite of its tremendous debt burden, with a lot of hard work and even more good luck we can posit scenarios that don’t involve a painful social and political breakdown, but […]
The euro crisis is a crisis of Europe, not of European countries. It is not a conflict between Germany and Spain (and I use these two countries to represent every European country on one side or the other of the boom) about who should be deemed irresponsible, and so should absorb the enormous costs of nearly a decade of mismanagement. There was plenty of irresponsible behavior in every country, and it is absurd to think that if German and Spanish banks were pouring nearly unlimited amounts of money into countries at extremely low or even negative real interest rates, especially once these initial inflows had set off stock market and real estate booms, that there was any chance that these countries would not respond in the way every country in history, including Germany in the 1870s and in the 1920s, had responded under similar conditions.
Deflationary pressures in China indicates that we probably need monetary tightening, not loosening. I know this sounds extremely counterintuitive, and so violates what we have learned about the world by assuming that the world looks a lot like the US, but there is both a logical argument behind it and what I think is overwhelming historical evidence. The convention that any economic variable that works one way in the US must work the same way in China is one of those assumptions that is implicit in so much that is written about the Chinese economy, and yet is made by foreign and Chinese economists who would indignantly reject the assumption were it ever made explicitly.
By Michael Pettis The Financial Times ran a very interesting article last week called “China: Turning away from the dollar”. It got a lot of attention, at least among China analysts, and I was asked several times by friends and clients for my response. The authors, James Kynge and Josh Noble, begin their article by noting that we are going […]
By Michael Pettis Two years ago it was hard to find analysts who expected average GDP growth over the rest of this decade to be less than 8%. The current consensus seems to have dropped to between 6% and 7% on average. I don’t think Beijing disagrees. After assuring us Tuesday that China’s economy – which is growing a little […]
Although I think China is clearly much more integrated as an optimal currency zone than Europe is today, it is probably less integrated than the US (I will use the US and Europe as the two extreme cases between which China falls). China of course does not have the problems of multiple sovereignty and taxation that Europe does, but there are still important frictional costs among provinces and regions that exceed those among US states and regions and that may make an adjustment to slower growth bumpier than expected.