By Chi Lo (auth.)
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Additional resources for Asia and the Subprime Crisis: Lifting the Veil on the ‘Financial Tsunami’
Beijing recognised the problem in 2004 and started addressing the risk of economic overheating. It adopted numerous restrictive industrial policies and relied mainly on administrative measures, such as lending quota controls, reserve requirement ratio hikes and investment curbs. But all these failed to deal with the fundamental causes of growth imbalance, excess capacity and underconsumption. Further, the emergence of the private sector in recent years has made corporate savings a main funding source for capacity expansion, reducing the effectiveness of Beijing’s tightening measures.
This makes the change of China’s growth model all the more urgent. The feeble economic environment in the post-subprime-crisis world has given the Chinese authorities a very good opportunity to boost social spending, both as a counter-cyclical policy and as a structural step towards a more balanced growth mix. A bigger domestic sector with higher consumption power is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for China to reduce its economic vulnerability and enhance long-term growth sustainability.
There would be two possible outcomes of the crisis – either a global financial meltdown or a full-scale government bailout. History and the government actions suggest the latter. Forced consolidation, with numerous bank failures, will last for some years in the post-subprime crisis period. In the US Savings & Loans (S&L) crisis back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, over 1,000 US banks failed. In this crisis so far, at the time of writing, only a couple of hundred US banks have failed. And the subprime crisis is a much bigger shock than the S&L crisis.
Asia and the Subprime Crisis: Lifting the Veil on the ‘Financial Tsunami’ by Chi Lo (auth.)