International Monetary Fund September 16, 2016 The Long

International Monetary Fund September 16, 2016 The Long

International Monetary Fund September 16, 2016 The Long Shadow of a Fiscal Expansion By Chong-En Bai, Chang-Tai Hsieh, and Zheng Song Fall 2016 BPEA Discussion by Maurice Obstfeld Economic Counsellor Chinas role in the global economy has increased Contributions to global growth (percentage points) Rest of World Euro area United States China 7 Japan World 6 Compared with rest of world, relatively high growth rate 5 4 Increasing weight in world GDP 3

2 1 Multiple spillover channels 0 -1 -2 China has become increasingly central to global growth due to its: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 What happens in China does not stay in China Sources: CEIC Data Company Ltd.; and IMF staff estimates. 2 Storyline of this paper 1. In the face of the 2008-09 crisis, China unleashed a massive investment stimulus 2. To circumvent budget laws, local authorities were allowed to direct credit to centrally mandated and locally chosen projects through off-balance sheet LFVs 3. This mode of government borrowing was not reined in after the crisis was past 4. Economic efficiency and growth have deteriorated 5. These developments are a result of the financial reform, which crowded out better investments in favor of projects favored by local authorities

3 Agreement and disagreement 1. In the face of the 2008-09 crisis, China unleashed a massive investment stimulus Yes 2. To circumvent budget laws, local authorities were allowed to direct credit to centrally mandated and locally chosen projects through off-balance sheet LFVs Yes 3. This mode of government borrowing was not reined in after the crisis was past Yes 4. Economic efficiency and growth have deteriorated Yes 5. These developments are a result of the financial reform, which crowded out better investments in 4 Behavior of true versus official fiscal balance Unofficial fiscal deficit swelled in the crises and distance from official deficit has only recently narrowed a bit but big difference even before 2009 (percent of GDP) 3 Consolidated general government balance Augmented balance 1 -1 -3 -5 -7 -9 -11

-13 -15 2016 Proj. Source: CEIC Data Company Ltd.; and IMF staff estimates. 5 Private-sector profitability plummeting Sharp reversal since 2011 Level above SOE sector But has fallen sharply Consistent with other indicators of resource misallocation (assuming the data are accurate but caution warranted given price distortions) 10 Weak and deteriorating SOE profitability Industrial private enterprises Central SOEs (percent, returns on total assets) Local SOEs 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Source: CEIC Data Company Ltd.; and IMF staff estimates. 6 LFV borrowing part of larger credit boom story Domestic credit (percent of GDP) 250 LGFV borrowing Private sector credit (incl. external debt and equity) 200 But hasnt other domestic credit risen more? It has reached levels at which crises have occurred in other EM economies 150 100 Is it plausible LFVs explain everything?

50 0 LFV borrowing has risen (why was it never reined in?) 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Source: CEIC Data Company Ltd from NAO.; and IMF staff estimates. 7 Rebalancing process starts as stimulus is wound down GDP by production (percent of GDP) Secondary industry Tertiary industry

51 49 47 45 43 41 39 37 35 2011 marked a big shift in policies In Figure 1 investment peaks in 2011 Shift from I to C, from manufactures to services (with lower productivity growth) Pullback from construction, infrastructure surge Sources: CEIC Data Company Ltd.; and IMF staff estimates. 8 Where are we now? 1. Rebalancing has brought lower growth 2. For many reasons, some of which the authors describe 3. Including excess capacity in declining industries, and government efforts to support them not just via LFVs 4. NPL problem weighing on banks balance sheets 5. Recent macro stimulus: growth has fallen but would be even lower without retrograde fiscal, credit measures 6. But this just kicks the can down the road

7. Chinas financial stability is systemically important 9 Commodity prices: Base metals falling since 2011 Chinas Share of Global Consumption World Metals Prices (index; Jan. 2009=100) 500 Aluminum Copper Iron ore Nickel 450 (percent) 70 2000 2015 60 400 50 350 300

40 250 30 200 150 20 100 10 50 0 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/

1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 1/ 0 Iron Ore Aluminum Copper Nickel Sources: Bloomberg L.P.; Datastream; World Bureau of Metal Statistics; and IMF staff calculations. 6

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