Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Latest Warning from China about the U.S. Dollar and Debt

From an op/ed column by Professor Yu Qiao of the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, in the Financial Times this week ("Asia is the victim if the bond bubble bursts"):

Most of Mr Obama’s stimulus spending is devoted to social programmes rather than growth promotion, which may exacerbate America’s over-consumption problem and delay sustainable recovery. On top of this, the unprecedented fiscal stimulus, with the Federal Reserve’s move to inject money into credit markets, contains self-destructive seeds. The US risks ending the dollar’s role as the reserve currency, especially considering there is already $10,000bn (€7,535bn, £7,009bn) in US Treasury debt, and much more in liabilities from the costs of social security, healthcare and financial institution bail-outs.

The provision of stable, reliable and viable dollars may be subordinated to short-term US interests, posing a risk to global monetary stability. In the long term, America may seek to resolve its economic mess by devaluing the dollar at best and a default at worst. This is depicted in a Chinese proverb: “Drinking poisonous liquid to quench thirst”.

Professor Yu proposes an interesting alternative in his op/ed: essentially, for China and other Asian holders of our debt to work with the U.S. government to convert some of these holdings into preferred minority stakes in equities and infrastructure projects, since "equity claims on sound corporations and infrastructure projects are at less risk from a currency default".


Joe Six Pack said...

They also said.

"No tickee - no laundry".

Anonymous said...

True...and in chinatown they say " no pick - no taste"

I was just in Shanghai and I was amazed at how they'd build something fancy looking then leave it empty and let it decay. Rinse and repeat. Something aint right there.