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.
Tag: balance sheet
Credit underwriters pride themselves in their ability to cut lending when they sense that economic fundamentals have changed for the worse. For example one often hears bankers talking about passing on deals in 2007 because of “not liking the fundamentals” or “the markets looked stretched”. But historical data suggests otherwise.
ECB President Draghi suggested last week that the central bank was taking a fresh look at the deposit rate. There does not appear to be any economist that thinks it is a good idea. The reasons vary, but the two main reasons are that it would likely prove ineffective in boosting lending and would be potentially disruptive to the money markets and financial institutions.
Regarding Cyprus, recently I heard someone claim that depositors are not creditors of a bank despite the fact that deposits are bank liabilities. This is bollocks. Depositors are indeed creditors, particularly in Europe where they are legally pari passu with other unsecured creditors. Below is an extract from a presentation given by an ECB expert on bank resolution schemes addressing who gets preferential treatment in carving up the losses.
Many of the largest technology companies are making so much money that they are rapidly accumulating cash on their balance sheets. While on could argue that this cash should be stripped off the balance sheet for valuation purposes, I would argue that the cash is worth less than face value because having excess cash on the balance sheet is an invitation to wealth-destroying acquisitions. The excess cash should be returned to shareholders as quickly as possible in the form of dividends or share buybacks to prevent such an outcome.
On Christmas Eve, the Wall Street Journal had two interesting articles on the credit situation in the U.S., one from the banks’ perspective and one from the households’ perspective. In general, the data were positive but I believe the analysis was incomplete because it fails to consider net interest margins, which are coming down. The first analysis was about the […]
The banks are slowly admitting losses, but Bloomberg’s summary is of a slow recognition. Even so, writedowns have left the banks stranded: unable to make loans. Up until now, it appears, the banks and the government were able to carry the building gear manufacturers.
Sandy Weill repudiates his pre-crisis “financial supermarket” legacy in suggesting that banks were too big and too leveraged. He openly advocates re-instituting Glass-Steagall. He also supports mark to market.
I don’t want to be too glib here. I recognize that policymakers are in an extremely difficult position and that there is no longer any easy solution, but railing at the markets rather than trying to understand why they are doing what they do (which anyway makes them far more rational than if they responded to the pronouncements coming out of Brussels) is counterproductive. In fact this kind of pouting is just a part of the self-reinforcing downward spiral that I have described many times before. Policymakers are complaining that economic agents are behaving in ways that reinforce the crisis, even as they do the very same thing.
In China, the persistence of inflation pressure has brought “shadow banking” into a topic of hot debate recently. According to a study issued by the People’s Bank of China in 2010, non-banking sector lending has expanded to 63.3 trillion Yuan, ($10 trillion), 44.4% of total lending activities of China’s economy.
Speech by Janet L. Yellen, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business U.S. Monetary Policy Forum, New York, New York – February 25, 2011. Cross post from Global Economic Intersection. The U.S. Monetary Policy Forum has become an important venue for promoting an exchange of views among policymakers, academics, and financial market participants. […]