The Red Chip casino took another one of its patented 6.5% belly flops last night. In fact, more than 1,300 stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell by 10%—the maximum drop permitted by regulators in one day—–implying that the real decline was far deeper.
This renewed carnage was the worst since, well, the last 6% drop way back on January 29, and It means that the cumulative meltdown from last June’s high is pushing 45%. And all this red chip mayhem did not come at an especially propitious moment for the regime, as the Wall Street Journalexplained:
It comes at an awkward moment for the Chinese government, which is hosting the world’s leading central bankers and finance ministers starting Friday. China has been expected to use the G-20 meeting to address global anxiety about its economy and financial markets. Worries about China’s economic slowdown and the volatility of its markets have weighed on investment decisions around the world.
But if we are remarking on “awkward”, here’s awkward. The G-20 central bankers, finance ministers and IMF apparatchiks descending on Shanghai should take an unfiltered, eyes-wide-open view of the Red Ponzi fracturing all about them, and then make a petrified mad dash back to their own respective capitals. There is nothing more for G-20 to talk about with respect to China except how to get out of harms’ way, fast.
China is a monumental doomsday machine that bears no more resemblance to anything that could be called stable, sustainable capitalism than did Lenin’s New Economic Policy of the early 1920s. The latter was followed by Stalin’s Gulag and it would be wise to learn the Chinese word for the same, and soon.
The regime is in a horrendous bind because it has played out the greatest credit spree in world history. This cycle of undisciplined, debt-fueled digging, building, spending and speculating took its collective balance sheet from $500 billion of debt in the mid-1990s to the $30 trillion tower of the same that now gyrates heavily over the land.
That’s a 60X gain in debt over just two decades in an “economy” that has no honest financial markets; no legal system and tradition of bankruptcy and financial discipline; and a banking system that functions as an arm of the state, cascading credit down from the top in order to “print” an exact amount of GDP each month on the theory that anything that can be built, should be built in order to hit Beijing’s targets.
If an economy and its ruling regime were an animate being you could call it a “fatal addiction” and be done with it. These folks are on the deadliest strain of financial heroin known to mankind and have no chance of surviving; its a dead economy walking.
Look no further than the hideous debt gains reported for the month of January. Total social financing rose by 3.42 trillion yuan or a round one half trillion USD.
That’s right. On top of it tottering $30 trillion debt tower China has just piled on new debt at a $6 trillion annual rate or 55% of GDP per year!
By now China’s businesses—–especially the giant SOEs (state owned enterprises)—— are drowning in excess capacity and unpayable debt that amounts to upwards of 180% of GDP (compared to 70% in the US). But never mind. New loans to the business sector in January were up by 73 percent over prior year.
Worse still, it is evident that a high share of January’s lunatic rate of credit expansion was devoted to paying interest on the existing monumental debts of China’s businesses and so-called local government financing vehicles (LGFVs). Even the authorities concede that more than 60% of new debt issuance in recent years has been used to pay interest. They are chasing their tail ever more furiously; they are strapped on to a debt whirligig they can’t and won’t get off…….until it finally explodes.