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19 posts on "China"
November 9, 2022

A Closer Look at Chinese Overseas Lending

While considerable attention has focused on China’s credit boom and the rise of China’s domestic debt levels, another important development in international finance has been growth in China’s lending abroad. In this post, we summarize what is known about the size and scope of China’s external lending, discuss the incentives that drove this lending, and consider some of the challenges these exposures pose for Chinese lenders and foreign borrowers.

October 17, 2022
September 26, 2022

Is China Running Out of Policy Space to Navigate Future Economic Challenges?

Photo: Chinese shoppers lining up to buy shopping carts full of items within a store

After making progress slowing the pace of debt accumulation prior to the pandemic, China saw its debt levels surge in 2020 as the government responded to the severe economic slowdown with credit-led stimulus. With China currently in the midst of another sharp decline in economic activity due to its property slump and zero-COVID strategy, Chinese authorities have responded again by pushing out credit to soften the downturn despite already high levels of debt on corporate, household, and  government balance sheets. In this post, we revisit China’s debt buildup and consider the growing constraints on Chinese policymakers’ tools to navigate future economic challenges.

Posted at 7:00 am in Credit, International Economics | Permalink
June 2, 2022

Does China’s Zero Covid Strategy Mean Zero Economic Growth?

The Chinese government has followed a “zero covid strategy” (ZCS) ever since the world’s first COVID-19 lockdowns ended in China around late March and early April of 2020. While this strategy has been effective at maintaining low infection levels and robust manufacturing and export activity, its viability is being severely strained by the spread of increasingly infectious coronavirus variants. As a result, there now appears to be a fundamental incompatibility between the ZCS and the government’s economic growth objectives.

November 23, 2021

Is Higher Financial Stress Lurking around the Corner for China?

Despite China’s tighter financial policies and the Evergrande troubles, Chinese financial stress measures have been remarkably stable around average levels. Chinese financial conditions, though, are affected by global markets, making it likely that low foreign financial stress conditions are blurring the state of Chinese financial markets. In this post, we parse out the domestic component of a Chinese financial stress measure to evaluate the downside risk to future economic activity.

October 6, 2021

An Update on the U.S.–China Phase One Trade Deal

A Liberty Street Economics post from last summer by Matthew Higgins and Thomas Klitgaard contained an assessment of the Phase One trade agreement between the United States and China. The authors of that note found that, depending on how successfully the deal was implemented, the impact on U.S. economic growth could have been substantially larger than originally foreseen by many of its critics, as a result of the fact that the pandemic had depressed the U.S. economy far below its potential growth path. Here we take another look at these considerations with the benefit of an additional year’s worth of trade data and a much different economic environment in the United States.

Posted at 7:00 am in Exports, International Economics | Permalink
June 21, 2021

What Happened to the U.S. Deficit with China during the U.S.-China Trade Conflict?

What Happened to the U.S. Deficit with China during the U.S.-China Trade Conflict?

The United States’ trade deficit with China narrowed significantly following the imposition of additional tariffs on imports from China in multiple waves beginning in 2018—or at least it did based on U.S. trade data. Chinese data tell a much different story, with the bilateral deficit rising nearly to historical highs at the end of 2020. What’s going on here? We find that (as also discussed in a related note) much of the decline in the deficit recorded in U.S. data was driven by successful efforts to evade U.S. tariffs, with an estimated $10 billion loss in tariff revenues in 2020.

Posted at 2:00 pm | Permalink
August 5, 2020

Reconsidering the Phase One Trade Deal with China in the Midst of the Pandemic

It may be hard to remember given the pandemic, but trade tensions between the United States and China eased in January 2020 with the inking of the Phase One agreement. Under the deal, China committed to a massive increase in its purchases of U.S. goods and services, with targets set for various types of products. At the time of the pact, the U.S. economy was operating near full capacity, and any increase in U.S. exports stemming from the pact would likely have resulted in only a small boost to growth. The environment is now starkly different, with the U.S. economy operating far below potential. While the promised increase in Chinese purchases seems unlikely to be achieved, any appreciable increase in exports from the agreement could deliver a meaningful boost to the economy.

Posted at 7:00 am in International Economics, Pandemic | Permalink
November 25, 2019

Who Pays the Tax on Imports from China?

Tariffs , of little interest for decades, are again becoming relevant given the increase in the levies charged on Chinese imports. U.S. businesses and consumers are shielded from higher tariffs to the extent that Chinese firms lower their dollar-denominated prices. However, data indicate that prices on goods from China are not falling. As a result, U.S. firms and consumers are paying the tax.

August 14, 2019

Are U.S. Tariffs Turning Vietnam into an Export Powerhouse?

The imposition of Section 301 tariffs on about half of China’s exports to the United States has coincided with a fall in imports from China and gains for other countries. The U.S.-China trade conflict also appears to be accelerating an ongoing shift in foreign direct investment (FDI) from China to other emerging markets, particularly in Asia. Within the region, Vietnam is often cited as a clear beneficiary of these trends, a rising economy that could displace China, to some extent, in global supply chains. In this note, we examine the data and conclude that Vietnam is indeed gaining market share, but is too small to replace China anytime soon.

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