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Power is shifting in the world economy

March 27th, 2009 · No Comments

China seemed to have stabilized it’s economy and is starting to throw it’s weight around while predictable lobby’s in the US scheme to derail the efforts to regulate financial markets. Funny, as unregulated financial markets have just completely blown up in our face..

China Chastises West in Leadership Bid Before G-20 Gathering
By Li Yanping and Kevin Hamlin

March 27 (Bloomberg) — China is scolding the world before the Group of 20 meeting next week, telling the largest countries to spend more on stimulus and fix their financial supervision.

Central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan yesterday lambasted governments that failed to emulate China’s “decisive” action to spur economic growth. Earlier this week he suggested creating a new international reserve currency to rival the dollar.

Evidence that China’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package is taking effect is emboldening the nation’s leaders to dictate their vision for a new world economic and financial order. Premier Wen Jiabao said this month he was worried about the value of China’s $740 billion in U.S. Treasury holdings and asked for a guarantee of their safety.

“China can stand up and say, ‘Our policies have worked, we have stabilized our economy first,'” said Glenn Maguire, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Societe Generale SA in Hong Kong. “China is positioning itself to have a much more significant role and influence at this G-20 meeting than it has at any other international forum in the past.”

Leaders of the 20 largest industrial and developing nations meet in London on April 2 to look for ways to alleviate the global financial crisis and strengthen international regulation. The World Bank this month said the global economy will probably shrink for the first time since World War II.

China Recovery?

China’s leaders, including Zhou and President Hu Jintao, will be able to justify their policy prescriptions by pointing to signs of recovery in their economy, which last year surpassed Germany’s to become the world’s third-largest by output.

Urban fixed-asset investment jumped 26.5 percent in the first two months from a year earlier, new bank lending quadrupled in February and vehicle sales rose 25 percent the same month. The 30 percent gain in the Shanghai Composite Index this year makes it the best-performing among 89 benchmark measures tracked worldwide by Bloomberg.

The government “has taken prompt, decisive and effective policy measures, demonstrating its superior system advantage when it comes to making vital policy decisions,” Zhou wrote in an article published on the central bank’s Web site yesterday.

“China’s taking the offensive,” said Jun Ma, chief China economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Hong Kong. “China needs to play a much more prominent role in the run-up to the G-20 because it is a critical moment to participate in the new design and architecture of the global financial system.”

20 Million Jobless

China’s 6.8 percent expansion in the fourth quarter from the same period a year earlier lagged behind its 9 percent growth for all of 2008 and 13 percent for 2007. Exports have dropped at a record pace, forcing thousands of factories to close and leaving about 20 million migrant workers jobless.

That hasn’t stopped a steady stream of instructions to the rest of the world in recent days. Governments need to step up economic stimulus to restore market confidence and fend off trade protectionism, Finance Minister Xie Xuren said in a statement yesterday.

The U.S. is injecting $787 billion into its economy while European stimulus totals 400 billion euros ($542 billion), almost all from individual nations rather than the European Union.

China’s central bank yesterday blamed the financial crisis on “complacency” and a conviction in the U.S. and developed economies that markets always correct themselves.

“Market forces, if unchecked, will lead to asset bubbles and ultimately a disastrous market clearing in the form of a financial crisis like the current one,” the research arm of the People’s Bank of China said in a separate article published on its Web site yesterday.

‘Advanced Countries’

A “lack of coordination among regulatory agencies and communications between regulators and central bankers and finance ministers in some advanced countries” hampered efforts for a financial rescue, the research arm said.

China’s lecturing comes after decades when leaders focused on their own economy and let the U.S. and its allies set the international norms on financial regulation, said Charles Freeman, a former top trade negotiator who covered China at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office in Washington.

“They’ve jockeyed for position, they’ve thought a lot about these things and they are making themselves be heard while the Europeans and the Japanese kind of navel-gaze and sideline themselves,” he said.

Some of Zhou’s recommendations jibe with those of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who called for a so-called systemic risk regulator to oversee big financial institutions and federal authority to seize them if they run into trouble.

Extraordinary Means

Zhou said yesterday that governments should consider giving mandates to finance ministries and central banks to use extraordinary means “in order to allow them to act boldly and expeditiously without having to go through a lengthy or even painful approval process.”

In another article this week, also published on the central bank’s Web site, Zhou urged the International Monetary Fund to expand the use of so-called Special Drawing Rights and move toward a “super-sovereign reserve currency.”

“Zhou is clearly trying to establish himself and China as taking a lead position in shaping the global response to the crisis,” said Mark Williams, a London-based economist at Capital Economics Ltd. “A more engaged China is something the world should welcome.”

Tags: Credit Crisis