In the first half of this two-part blog post, I discussed the problems affecting four rural banks in Henan and the subsequent mortgage boycott in parts of China. In the second half, I argue that these crises need to be seen not as isolated events but rather as signs of systemic problems that reveal a great deal about China’s finances and balance sheet.

China Financial Markets provides in-depth analysis of one of the world’s largest and most vital economies. Edited by Carnegie Senior Fellow Michael Pettis based in Beijing, China Financial Markets offers monthly insights into income inequality, market structures, and other issues affecting China and other global economies. A noted expert on China’s economy, Pettis is a professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets.

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  • What’s in Store for China’s Mortgage Market?

    August 12, 2022

    The Chinese economy has been wracked by rural bank defaults and boycotts over mortgage payments. In the first half of this two-part blog post, I will explain these events and what they reveal about the health of Chinese markets. In the second part, I will discuss some of the crisis’s systemic implications.

  • The Only Five Paths China’s Economy Can Follow

    April 27, 2022

    There is increasingly a consensus in Beijing that China’s excessive reliance on surging debt in recent years has made the country’s growth model unsustainable. Aside from the economy’s current path, there are only four other paths China can follow, each with its own requirements and constraints.

  • Changing the Top Global Currency Means Changing the Patterns of Global Trade

    April 12, 2022

    Giving up use of the U.S. dollar for global trade and reserve accumulation would be very difficult for U.S. adversaries and would require major economic adjustments, though it would be in the best long-term interests of the United States for the global use of the dollar to be more constrained.

  • How Does Excessive Debt Hurt an Economy?

    February 08, 2022

    Most economists have trouble understanding why too much debt may harm an economy, let alone how much debt counts as too much. To make matters worse, the common practice of comparing vastly different countries’ debt-to-GDP levels is not a useful tool for gauging how a particular economy is likely to manage its debt burden.

  • Will China’s Common Prosperity Upgrade Dual Circulation?

    5
    October 15, 2021

    Chinese leaders know that they want to discontinue the country’s existing growth model, but they haven’t yet landed on what the sustainable alternatives are. Beijing’s new common prosperity policy will only help shift domestic demand at the margins, but a full-fledged rebalancing will require a more radical transformation.

  • What Does Evergrande Meltdown Mean for China?

    23
    September 20, 2021

    The impact of Evergrande has caused financial distress to spread faster and more forcefully than Beijing’s financial regulators expected, putting pressure on them to move quickly to stop the contagion. But they cannot rescue Evergrande’s creditors without also undermining their fight against bad debt.

  • Why the Bezzle Matters to the Economy

    29
    August 23, 2021

    The bezzle, a word coined in the 1950s by a Canadian-American economist, is the temporary gap between the perceived value of a portfolio of assets and its long-term economic value. Economies at times systematically create bezzle, unleashing substantial economic consequences that economists have rarely understood or discussed.

  • How Trump’s Tariffs Really Affected the U.S. Job Market

    15
    January 28, 2021

    A recent study on U.S.-China trade concludes that Trump’s trade policies cost the U.S. economy nearly a quarter million jobs. But its obsolete understanding of trade flows ends up pointing trade policymakers in the wrong direction.

  • Foreign Saving Gluts and American Financial Imbalances

    15
    December 01, 2020

    The idea that trade imbalances are more likely to be the result of credit imbalances than of savings imbalances ignores the role of savings imbalances in creating credit imbalances. When a surplus country demands to be paid for its trade surplus with claims on American assets, the U.S. economy must adjust to create these assets—and one of the most common ways it does so is by expanding credit.

  • Why Foreign Debt Forgiveness Would Cost Americans Very Little

    9
    October 19, 2020

    It is easy to assume that sovereign debt forgiveness involves a collective transfer of wealth from the creditor country to the debt-owing country, but this is only true under specific—and unrealistic—conditions. In today’s environment, sovereign debt forgiveness mainly represents a transfer within the creditor country. It benefits farmers and manufacturers in the creditor country at the expense of the country’s nonproductive savers.

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The Carnegie
Podcast

President Trump has made it clear that he wants to reduce the U.S trade deficit with China. If he follows through on his campaign promises to impose tariffs, how would China react? Is a trade deficit with China necessarily a bad thing for the US? One of the most thought-provoking economists on China, Michael Pettis examines the trade relationship between Washington and Beijing, and explains how the Chinese growth model is facing unique challenges.

The Carnegie Podcast is an occasional series featuring commentary and analysis from Carnegie experts on critical global issues.

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