Calculating China’s debt has been a major political game, and political analyst Victor Shih claims the country’s debt “around 328% of GDP in May”, writes Livemint. The central bank overcalculated banking assets, he says.
Prof. Victor Shih at the University of California at San Diego thinks that the PBoC estimates of banking system assets are overstated because there could be double-counting. He has come up with his own calculations in a new brief for the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany (Merics’ China Monitor: “Financial Instability In China: Possible Pathways And Their Likelihood”, 20 October). According to him, overall credit to the non-financial sector (including households, Central and local governments) from banking and non-banking channels (including shadow-banking channels) was around 328% of GDP in May. For comparison, the Bank for International Settlements puts this number at 257.8% as of March. Given this huge debt burden, China’s interest payments are rising much faster than its nominal GDP. He notes tersely, “China as a whole is a Ponzi unit.” That does not leave much room for doubt.
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