These issues are not new to the readers of these pages. I identified them early on when I launched the blog.
Well it turns out that the Conference Board has released a report that essentially agrees with my points about slower global growth and China slowing down.
Haven’t read the report but here is an excerpt from a review:
“The report, well covered in the Wall Street Journal, is a sober read. Overall, world growth is expected to decline, with both China and India leading the decline. The advanced countries are expected to recover from the current slump, but growth will remain anaemic for years to come. In other parts of the developing world, growth could slow to a crawl, presumably reflecting poor demand for basic commodities in a slow growth world.”
That’s what I said. Here are my words, verbatim,on China for GoE.
The market is severely overestimating future growth from China.
The “Country Forecast China September 2011 Update” by the Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts Chinese growth at 8.2% in 2015. And yet China is primarily an export-driven and investment-fuelled economy. Consumption in 2010 was roughly 33% of GDP, nearly half the level seen in developed economies. Investment, on the other hand, represents an astonishing 45% of the Chinese total economy. If demand is set to be weak in Europe and the US over the next several years, who will buy Chinese exports? Professor Michael Pettis predicts growth will slow down to between 3% (or lower) by 2015.
When China slows down, there will be a disproportionate decline in investment. This decline in investment will invariably flow through as a decline in demand for non-agricultural commodities, including oil.
By keeping its currency fixed to the US dollar, China has been importing inflation and, as a result, has to contend with a real estate bubble of its own. As a second order effect, one might question how efficiently these investments have been for future consumption in China, as much of the growth has come through capital-intensive, state-owned enterprises and there is evidence of an overinvestment in real estate.
Since running a trade deficit means a country is borrowing internationally, China will be forced to modify its economic model as the US and Europe seek to close their trade deficits. The sooner China begins this process and the more gradually it implements change, the less likely it is to see social unrest."
You can contrast my thinking with McKinsey's, which this month, is warning business to prepare for a spike in oil demand.
Which risks are greater?
You be the judge.