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2013年7月 2日 (火)

中国金融リスク 「影の銀行」を野放しにするな

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 2, 2013
Chinese authorities must control nation’s shadow banking sector
中国金融リスク 「影の銀行」を野放しにするな(7月1日付・読売社説)

The volume of transactions in China’s shadow banking sector, in which financial transactions are handled outside the traditional commercial banks, is growing fast. The potential ill effects of this explosive supply of opaque money in the market are immense. We must remain on the lookout for possible disarray in the Chinese economy.

The Shanghai Composite Index plunged last week, falling below the 2,000 benchmark for the first time in about half a year. On June 24, it recorded the steepest single-day drop in four years.

The decline was triggered when the short-term interbank offered rate suddenly spiked to an all-time high, causing concerns over the worsening cash flow of banks and prompting the sell-off of stocks.

Despite the decline, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s equivalent of a central bank, did not expand its injection of cash into the market, an unusual case of not helping to lower the interbank offered rate.

Bubbles forming

For the time being, the bank will apparently allow some increase in the rate, an attempt to apply de facto monetary tightening.

Behind the bank’s reaction is the spread of various forms of shadow banking, causing economic bubbles in some sectors.

For instance, investment firms affiliated with municipal governments have been expanding their real estate development and public works projects by using a massive amount of funds borrowed at high interest rates outside the traditional banking institutions.

Many of those municipal governments are burdened with huge amounts of debt. Their inability to repay their debts could spark repercussions in the management of businesses that have extended loans to them.

It is also problematic that loans extended to such entities as local governments are refinanced by bundling them and repackaging them as “small-lot wealth management products,” by offering a much higher rate of return than bank deposits.These products have been massively sold to private business firms and individuals by nonbank institutions. In such cases, there is a risk of a loss of principle.

The current situation resembles the so-called subprime loan crisis that occurred in the United States, sending the world economy into disarray.

The size of the shadow banking sector is estimated at 30 trillion yuan (about 480 trillion yen). But the real scale of off-balance sheet financial transactions of the sector is hardly known. Even the Chinese authorities may not be able to grasp the reality.

A senior official at the People’s Bank of China said, “Imps must be punished,” suggesting the shadow banking sectors must be dealt with strictly. We can understand the authorities’ policy of curbing excessive growth of the money supply and accelerating moves to stamp out the economic bubble.

Slowdown continues

If the shadow banking sectors are left uncontrolled, the bubble will eventually burst, raising fears of major havoc triggered by China spreading the world over.

Meanwhile, the country’s real economic growth has fallen below 8 percent, and its economic slowdown continues. But it would be a mistake for the authorities to cause the country’s economy to further lose momentum by too rapidly curbing the shadow banking system.

It is indeed a difficult situation. The Chinese authorities must be very careful in steering the economy.

It would also be serious if the Japanese economic recovery were stalled by such factors as a decline in its exports to China. This is not someone else’s problem. We need to be watchful for any abnormality in China’s economy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 1, 2013)
(2013年7月1日01時35分  読売新聞)


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