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China’s Hot Money Outflows , Reduction in Forex Reserves May Indicate Coming Slowdown

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China has reported the first decrease in its forex reserves in a qtr since the 1998 crisis. The Chinese Foreign Exchange Reserves which are humongous at over $4 trillion has shown a $100 billion decrease in Nov and Dec 2012 .While the sharp decrease in the Euro may account for some change , there is also anecdotal evidence that the hot money is flowing out of China . Note earlier Hot Money was pouring into China given the potential of yuan appreciation but with the potential of a Chinese Hard Landing ,the opposite may be happening . China has a distorted economy heavily dependent on exports and investment for growth . However changed macro economic conditions make this model unsustainable . How China manages to transition out of this investment export fueled condition is an open question . That they must is in no doubt nor the fact that China’s 10% GDP growth days are definitely over.

Chinese Trade Partners USA and Europe can no longer manage the massive deficits and strains are rising with some goods already facing disputes .Most famous is the Solar Panels while other Goods like Wind Turbines, Cars etc. have also seen signs of a Trade War. China under huge pressure appreciated the yuan by around 8% in 2011 from the US. In the current scenario when the profit margins of the small industries in China evaporting and potential for unreset (already happening ) , the situation remains dangerous . A Hard Landing not out of the question and people betting on it have already made money in 2011 without any serious decline happening till now.

China also faces a major change in 2012 with the top leadership of the country going to new leaders and the old set will go away.This means new policies and directions amidst major challenges to the Chinse economy and society.

China faces multiple challenges in 2012

1) Slowdown in Europe and USA means that their exports are sputtering and manufacturing has already started contracting

2) Protests in cities and villages grows against rampant corruption and land grabbing by Communist officials.Lack of democracy means violent protests at times.

3) Debt is becoming a huge problem with local government vehicles facing trouble as they can no longer raise money from real estate sales which has fallen by 20-25%

4) Massive industrial overcapacity is being exported outside.This has made the other trading nations put duties and curbs.A big trade war with USA cannot be ruled out.Chinese solar and wind products faced countervailing duties and dumping charges.China has already imposed high duties on US car imports.

China will take measure to stabilize its exports and imports as slowing global growth creates a “grim situation” for trade, said Zhang Xiaoqiang, a vice chairman at the nation’s top economic planning agency.

“Downward risks for the global economy are increasing,” the National Development and Reform Commission’s Zhang said at a forum in Beijing today. “The difficult situation will make competition for product exports among countries fiercer.” China will take steps to stabilize and improve trade policy, including the lowering of import taxes for some consumer goods, helping smaller businesses get financing and keeping its currency “basically stable,” he said.

China FE reduction

China’s foreign-exchange holdings reached a record $3.27 trillion in October and then fell in the following two months, the central bank data showed, indicating a decrease of $92.6 billion in November and December.

Much of the decline may be due to a lower value of the reserves held in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, said Cui Li, a Hong Kong-based economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc who previously worked at the International Monetary Fund.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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