Skip to comments.Why China's Stimulus Plan Will Change the World
Posted on 02/14/2009 8:02:17 AM PST by joeu01
By Tim Hanson February 13, 2009
Brazil's President Lula told his country in September, "People ask me about the [financial] crisis, and I answer, go ask Bush. It is his crisis, not mine."
Fifty days later, British Treasury Secretary Stephen Timms told a conference of G-20 nations gathered in Sao Paulo, Brazil: "We are in extraordinary times, the global economy is facing shocks which are wholly without precedent and we need a new approach. It is a global crisis. It therefore requires an international response."
In other words, what goes around, comes around. Global schadenfreude toward a stupid and greedy United States and its subprime mortgage meltdown has rapidly become global concern about how to rescue the world from an all-encompassing financial disaster.
Here's just a smattering of companies large and small that recently announced lowered outlooks: Hain Celestial (Nasdaq: HAIN), Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM), Kraft (NYSE: KFT), Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE), Hologic (Nasdaq: HOLX), and Diageo (NYSE: DEO). (Yes, in these tough times, even the outlook for alcohol is grim.)
And if that were not enough, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently lowered its outlook for the entire global economy.
One country's plan to step up Against that backdrop, China announced a four-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package for its domestic economy at the end of 2008. It plans to fund extensive infrastructure construction, aid poor farmers, and cut export taxes.
While China's plan has clear beneficiaries, and should help keep more laborers in their jobs and prop up domestic consumer spending, the most important (and underreported) aspect of the plan is how it will fundamentally change the economic relationship between the U.S. and China.
Here's how it was One of the big debates over the past half-decade was whether China had reached a point in its economic development at which its internal economic gravity would allow it to "decouple" from the global economy. If so, it could continue along its fantastic growth trajectory, even as growth in the U.S. or Europe ceased or reversed.
That may sound like gobbledygook, but it's important. The U.S. has a $20 billion monthly trade deficit with China. It's funded by China's willingness to hold U.S. treasuries in its Central Bank (essentially, we're borrowing the money). China manages the arrangement by pegging its currency (the yuan) to the dollar at an artificially low rate, and by not worrying so much about certain niceties like environmental regulation and labor protection.
It's a mutually beneficial arrangement -- a weak yuan supports Chinese exporters, helping the country industrialize and quickly integrate rural migrants into its urban workforce, with the salutary effect of keeping inflation and potential political unrest low. For its part, the U.S. has gotten dirt-cheap financing by virtue of China parking more than a trillion dollars in U.S. government securities. That has supported the dollar and allowed the Federal Reserve to fuel consumer spending by keeping interest rates low.
China's stimulus package heralds the unwinding of this relationship.
Here's how it will be This is why the decoupling argument matters. Many analysts have pointed to the thousands of factories that have shut down in China in these past few months as evidence that a slowdown in American spending will cause a depression in China -- potentially even leading to regime change. [This is still a strong possibility despite the China stimulus.. See the commment by Wei Jingsheng, imprisoned for many years for his activities in China, here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5512690.ece - joeu] But in fact, our trade imbalance with China is artificially preserved by the aforementioned currency peg, and by the decision of China's state-run banks to make uneconomic loans to businesses it deems worth propping up.
China has paid heavily for this relationship. Rather than invest its surplus cash in its own country, the Chinese poured money back into the U.S. to further spur our debt-fueled consumption. (Put less artfully, some poor Chinese guy in Shaanxi province was essentially helping you pay your mortgage.)
The announced stimulus package reverses that. Hundreds of billions of dollars that would have gone to propping up the greenback are now being reinvested in China, helping it to transition from its reliance on exports to a self-sustaining economy. So while China isn't yet decoupled from its export markets, this new spending plan will help it along that path.
What you need to do to survive China's huge currency reserves are about to be put to use, and while there will be some real and perhaps severe bumps along the way, the China that comes out on the other side will be a heck of a lot stronger, more independent, and more decoupled than the one we've seen up to now.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao called his country's stimulus the "biggest contribution to the world." We don't know whether that's true, but we do know that China's ability to reach deep into its huge coffers to finance further growth gives it a significant advantage over the rest of the world's struggling economies. This is why we continue to believe in the Chinese miracle, and why we think more American investors should be taking advantage of this current temporary downturn to diversify their portfolios into previously expensive Chinese stocks.
We've recommended some Chinese companies at our Motley Fool Global Gains service that can help you do just that. A few of them are now poised to profit mightily from China's domestic bailout plan. You can read all about them by clicking here to join Global Gains free for 30 days.
This article was originally published on Nov. 12, 2008.
Interesting article from Motley Fool.
Incidentally, I was predicting something similar yesterday. My reasons were slightly different -
1. Chna is sitting on huge reserves and IOUs
2. The USA must borrow money from China to finance Osama’s multi-trillion $ pork and Wall St. bailout deals. He who lends the money, makes the rules.
3. After the presnt situation returns to normalcy, watch the ChiComs go on a arms-building/buying spree.
Will China implode from internal problems? Probably not. I think they’ll come out of this Wall St.-generated crisis as a stronger bunch of blood-thirsty maniacs.
While we’ve been crying about the chicom’s stealing our jobs, we let the socialists take over our country.
Now China is going to be more free than we will be.
Walden Bello | February 9, 2009
Editor: John Feffer
As goods pile up in wharves from Bangkok to Shanghai, and workers are laid off in record numbers, people in East Asia are beginning to realize they aren't only experiencing an economic downturn but living through the end of an era.
The Illusion Of Decoupling
"Even though China appeared to be a new driver of export-led growth, some analysts still considered the notion of Asia "decoupling" from the U.S. locomotive to be a pipe dream. For instance, research by economists C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, underlined that China was indeed importing intermediate goods and parts from Japan, Korea, and ASEAN, but only to put them together mainly for export as finished goods to the United States and Europe, not for its domestic market. Thus, "if demand for Chinese exports from the United States and the EU slow down, as will be likely with a U.S. recession," they asserted, "this will not only affect Chinese manufacturing production, but also Chinese demand for imports from these Asian developing countries."
Just went throuh that site, blam. It’s nuttier than DU or Daily Kos.
Lots of abortion- and socialism-on-demand articles.
I originally found the article posted on FR, here.
I didn't pay any attention to the site.
My interest was the 'decoupling' issue.
What do you think of this article, folks?
This Chinese official seems to disagree:
“Mr Luo, whose English tends toward the colloquial, added: We hate you guys. Once you start issuing $1 trillion-$2 trillion [$1,000bn-$2,000bn] . . .we know the dollar is going to depreciate, so we hate you guys but there is nothing much we can do.”
I think that's a fair guess.
I suspect our elites will get richer, the lib-elites will get even mooore rich...and our government will become weaker as viewed from our enemies.
BINGO - and to add insult to injury our "grifting elitists" think they should be rewarded with a bonus or two..
Not a pretty picture. Wonder how long it will take the globalistas to figure out the Chicoms are playing for keeps?
Good article. Two competing theories: China is heading to be the world Hegemon and China is heading for massive social unrest.
I’m leaning toward the social unrest outcome.
When it comes to economic prognosticators I'm not sure any of them know what they're talking about. But I certainly wouldn't blame China if they used whatever strategies they could to insulate themselves from the rest of the world's economic idiocy. Will their actions be any smarter than ours? Maybe. They would have to work at it to be any dumber.
As bad as China is in so many ways it can only help the rest of the world if they don't become an economic basket case IMO. Half the world's population starving to death in one hostile nation can't be a very stabilizing influence for the rest of the world.
China and other world powers (AKA Russia and the Former USSR, Iran, and Venezuela and its allies) will see war with the West as the only way out. This is what they have been dreaming of since 1945, and I don’t think they will pass up a golden opportunity to attempt to take us out.
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