Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Chinese stocks rise but surge in credit and house prices reminds of Japanese bubble

Markets were mixed on Monday.

The S&P 500 was little changed but the STOXX Europe 600 rose 1.0 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent.

China's stock market rose despite a report from the Bank for International Settlements that showed that China's credit-to-GDP gap hit 30.1 in the first quarter of 2016, up from 25.4 a year ago and way above the 10 threshold considered to be a sign of potential danger.

Among other things, the surge in credit in China has fuelled what many think is a housing bubble.

“The more immediate risk of a sudden and steep downturn in the economy comes from the threatened bursting of the property market bubble,” Pauline Loong, managing director at research firm Asia-analytica in Hong Kong, wrote in a report last week.

Indeed, China needs to beware of the lesson from Japan's bubble in the 1980s, dubbed the greatest bubble of all time by Ben Carlson.

Carlson wrote that from 1956 to 1986, land prices increased 5000 percent. In the 1980s, share prices increased 3x faster than corporate profits for Japanese corporations.

However, over the next decade, the Japanese stock market lost roughly 80 percent of its value and the economy has been struggling ever since.

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