No bubble in China

Or perhaps a little local one in the luxury segment of the property market..

Cantor Fitzgerald: There’s No Bubble in China

Friday, 12 Mar 2010 09:02 AM
By: Julie Crawshaw

Cantor Fitzgerald’s chief economist and Asian strategist Uwe Parpart says there’s no bubble in China.

Parpart says that “the force of circumstances” brought on by the financial crisis pushed China to boost domestic demand and invest in infrastructure. “That kind of spending does not create overcapacity or create a bubble,” Parpart says.

Admittedly, there’s a bubble perhaps in the luxury property sector, but aside from that, I don’t see it.

So many people who have tried to short China recently, and I think they’ve all taken a bath.”

However, Parpart says that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s determination to keep the yuan stable is not realistic.

Behind the scenes, there’s a fight between the export lobby and the people who genuinely want to boost domestic demand,” he observes. “Strategically, some appreciation is the best way of controlling inflation at this point, and I think this point of view will win out.”

Parpart expects that China’s monetary policy will remain appropriately loose and that a government shift from investing in physical infrastructure to investing in social infrastructure will create “tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters.”

The Obama administration is boosting the budget of a government trade agency by 20 percent as part of its bid to double exports over the next five years, according to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

The International Trade Administration “will strengthen its efforts to promote exports from small- and medium-size enterprises, help enforce U.S. trade law, fight to eliminate barriers to sales of American products and services and improve the competitiveness of U.S. firms,” Locke told a congressional hearing.

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Very good article, we think. It might seem there is an overcapacity of housing, but one has to realize that even in the big cities, demand for housing is enormous as China has only recently embarked on the road to urbanization, and wages are rising fast.

When China starts to invest in ‘social infrastructure’, meaning free healthcare and pensions, the reasons for the enormous private savings will decline fast, and domestic consumption will rise even faster. At present, private consumption is only 35% of GDP, less than half of profligate US. People save for the proverbial rainy day (pensions, healthcare).

The inevitable currency appreciation (“when, not if”) will also do much to keep inflation in check and boost China’s spending.