Friday, December 11, 2009

The Debts of the Lenders: Chinese Consumers Increase Spending

While the Western consumer - particularly in the USA and the UK - continues to save, his/her Chinese counterpart has increased spending. Of course a lot of this spending is fueled by a government debt bubble. Unlike their American, British, or EU counterparts, Chinese banks are being FORCED to lend by their government (one of the hallmarks of an authoritarian, semi-command and control economy is that officials can have their wishes implemented almost immediately).

The other interesting part of the equation which the article does not address is the potential for a US export boom. As the dollar continues to depreciate from fundamental factors like immense budget deficits and a lack of political will to control spending, US exports become more competitive in the global economy. But the shift from a manufacturing to a service based economy means immense financial and personal turmoil for the unprepared. The much vaunted service economy conceived by Ivory Tower academics has actually resulted in the stratification of society into the haves and have nots.

The Chinese market is “on full tilt — booming is an understatement these days,” said John Bonnell, the director of Asia vehicle forecasting at J.D. Power & Associates.

China is pulling ahead at this particular moment partly because Americans, debt-laden and worried about their jobs, are pulling back. After decades of gorging on consumption, Americans are saving. And the Chinese, whom economists thought were addicted to saving, are spending more.

Among China’s 1.3 billion people, rising incomes are finally making large numbers of Chinese prosperous enough to make big-ticket purchases.
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