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Wednesday, October 07, 2009 12:48 PM

Competitive Currency Debasement - A Look at Rampant Monetary Expansion In China

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Given all the finger pointing at the US over monetary printing and the debasement of the US dollar, inquiring minds just might be asking "What is China doing?"

That's a good question, so let's look at monetary numbers translated from Chinese.

Chinese Money Supply in 100 Million Yuan

click on any chart for sharper image

Link For Chinese Money Supply

Balance Sheet Of Depository Corporations - Assets

Balance Sheet Of Depository Corporations - Liabilities

Link For Chinese Balance Sheet of Other Depository Corporations

The Chinese central banks' printing and respective Chinese bank lending make us look like amateurs. Chinese central bank assets and the money supply are up 25-26% annualized YTD. But this growth rate of money supply and bank lending is what is required to make up for the 8-10% net contraction in output from the collapse in exports and export-related production.

Meanwhile, back in the US, total bank credit is contracting while M2 is up 5% annualized YTD.

Total Bank Credit - Annualized Rate of Change

M2 - Annualized Rate of Change

M2 is actually down since May-August due to the decline in the rate of growth of bank lending over the summer.

If the May-June rate of deceleration were to persist, M2 could conceivably start start contracting by year end or early '10.

How Will China Handle The Yuan?

To understand what is happening, please consider How Will China Handle The Yuan?

In spite of record worldwide stimulus, a global recession is everywhere you look except perhaps in China. The reason is simple. When the Chinese government "suggests" banks should lend, banks lend. This is how command economies "work", using the word "work" loosely. Yes, the US has massive problems, but let's have an honest assessment of problems elsewhere.

Bottom line, China is busy ramping up production for consumers that don't exist: Not here, not in the EU, and not in China (not yet). This love affair with China, a country that will not float its currency or offer freedom of speech, and hides bank solvency issues even more so than the US, is way overdone.

Remind me to reconsider decoupling when China allows freedom of speech and floats the RMB instead of pegging it.
Yet in spite of all the above, nearly everyone is absolutely sure the Renminbi would soar if China allowed it to float. Conceivably it could crash.

Don't Mistake Printing For A Sustainable Recovery

It is a mistake to equate Chinese, US, and Japanese printing for any kind of sustainable recovery.

As noted in Gold And The Watched Pot Theory, "Every country wants to grow by ramping up exports in a world of decreasing consumer demand. To achieve that end, every country wants its currency to be weaker against every other currency. Of course that is logically impossible. Besides, the US consumer is tapped out. European consumers are tapped out as well. And tapped out or not, the Japanese consumer just does not want to buy."

Neither the G-20 nor G-7 did anything to address the massive global imbalances. Something critical is going to blow sky high, when and what remains to be seen.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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