By Chi Lo (auth.)
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Extra resources for Asia and the Subprime Crisis: Lifting the Veil on the ‘Financial Tsunami’
3 trillion foreign reserves in Asian central banks, combined with billions of petrodollars from the Middle East, provided the USA with enormous liquidity. This was mostly poured into US Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, suppressing US bond yields, inflating the housing bubble and encouraging excessive US household borrowing to fund consumption. Asia’s high savings also created ample liquidity and cheap credit for enhancing western banks’ and speculators’ leveraging power to fuel the global asset bubbles.
Source: CEIC. Diffusion index Exports as % GDP 40 Exports* (LHS) Capacity utilisation (RHS) 34 Asia and the Subprime Crisis However, processing exports do affect domestic investment and job growth via investment in assembling plants, machinery and logistic services and hiring of local labour to assemble the imported inputs into end products before exporting them. An expansion in processing exports has also been an effective channel for technological upgrading, a key engine for productivity growth.
For example, a fall in US consumption amounting to 5% of GDP (which is a low estimate, given the scale of damage from the subprime crisis) would require a rise in Chinese consumption amounting to 17% of China’s GDP. To achieve this, Chinese consumption growth would have to reach 40% a year: a clear impossibility. Implication 1 for China: fixing lopsided growth An obvious lesson from the subprime crisis for China is that it must change its growth model by boosting domestic consumption. The flipside of the US consumer bubble is China’s excess saving.
Asia and the Subprime Crisis: Lifting the Veil on the ‘Financial Tsunami’ by Chi Lo (auth.)