China’s economic bubble: Government guarantees and growing risks
China’s economy has achieved astonishing growth over the past three decades, but it may be undergoing its most serious test of the reform era. In his newly published book, “China’s Guaranteed Bubble,” Ning Zhu argues that implicit Chinese government guarantees, which have helped drive economic investment and expansion, are also largely responsible for the challenges the country now faces. As growth slows, corporate earnings decline, and lending tightens for small and medium-sized businesses, the leverage ratios of China’s government and its corporations and households all have increased in recent years. How desperate is China’s debt situation, and what can be done to avert a major crisis?
On July 11, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted Ning Zhu, deputy dean and professor of finance at the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, Shanghai Jiaotong University. Zhu presented key findings from his research into Chinese sovereign, corporate, and household debt, and also introduced potential remedies to return China to the path of long-term sustainable growth. Following the presentation, Senior Fellow David Dollar moderated a discussion with Zhu before taking questions from the audience.
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[On the ongoing trade negotiations] If we’re serious about resolving the core issues that the U.S. has with China, then this is going to be a way station that’s going to require a lot more continued focus by the administration for a number of months if not years.