Wednesday, September 24, 2008


How do such meme's replicate themself in light of obvious falsehood? Given the amount of foreign debt the paper dragon owns, its export customer base, the opacity of its banking system, the culture of cronyism and corruption, the paucity of real, enforceable property rights and a court system that enforces these rights with at least a semblance of objectivity, and of course a lack of domestic and regional demand.

Bond rates, debt spreads, and contingent asset pricing all confirm that this silly concept is dead.

Now we must move on to the geopolitical and enconomic implications of a destabilized Eastern Asia and what opportunities and risks will present themself.

"The collapse of emerging market economies will shake investors to the core. The great unwind has only just begun," said Albert Edwards, the bank's global strategist.

"The big surprise in store is what could happen in China. The potential for a deep recession in the US is already on the radar screen, but people will be stunned if China's economy contracts, as I believe it will. Investors could be massively caught out," he said.

"The consensus has a touching belief that emerging markets will prove resilient despite a deep downturn in developed economies. My view is that an outright contraction in global GDP is entirely possible next year."

"The emerging market boom is totally tied up with a decade of ballooning current account deficits in the US. Put that into reverse and you'll be surprised what pops out of the woodwork."

Mr Edwards said the vast accumulation of foreign exchange reserves – led by China with $1.8 trillion – had provided the "rocket fuel" of liquidity for frontier markets. This virtuous circle has now turned vicious as America tightens its belt. Countries in Asia and Latin America are intervening to prop up their currencies, causing reserves to fall.

"We could see monthly trade surpluses in the US within a year. The emerging market liquidity squeeze will intensify ferociously, and assets linked to the region will become toxic waste. That includes previously resilient banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Banco Santander," he said.

The gloomy forecast comes as Fitch Ratings warns of mounting distress for banks in China, where debt has been shunted off books to circumvent state limits on credit growth.

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