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IMF Stress Tests Find $280 Billion Black Hole In Chinese Banks’ Capital

IMF Stress Tests Find $280 Billion Black Hole In Chinese Banks’ Capital

The IMF released a new analysis on the instability stability of the Chinese financial system. Speaking to the media in an online briefing, some of the insights from Ratna Sahay, deputy director of the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department, hardly advanced our knowledge much.

Sahay noted that “Risks are large. Having said that, the authorities are really aware of risks and they are working proactively to contain these risks.”

That’s why the authorities are finally racing to contain the worst excesses of China’s insane credit boom following October’s Party Congress, for example overhauling the $15 trillion shadow banking and asset management sector. As we noted on the latter, the new measures don’t take effect until the end of June 2019, no doubt reflecting the enormity of the problems uncovered by Chinese regulators.

Sahay pointed to three main risks: credit growth, the complex and opaque financial system and implicit guarantees which “encourage excessive risk-taking” (think WMPs).

However, the IMF does a better job in explaining why a massive financial crisis in China is all but inevitable – the conflicting needs of social stability versus financial stability. According to Reuters.

But the near-term prioritisation of social stability seems to depend on credit growth to sustain financing to firms even when they are non-viable, it said. “The apparent primary goals of preventing large falls in local jobs and reaching regional growth targets have conflicted with other policy objectives such as financial stability,” the report said. “Regulators should reinforce the primacy of financial stability over development objectives,” the fund said.

Too late.

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