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02 February 2009

Walker's World: China's debts mount up

By MARTIN WALKER, UPI Editor Emeritus

The problem that has yet to penetrate the consciousness of the markets, let alone that of American policymakers, is that Chinese corporations have to roll over some $2.4 trillion of external debt this year. These are not easy times to find bankers who are willing to help.

China's 10 percent and 12 percent growth rates are plummeting down to zero. Russia's economy is shrinking. The worst is in Asia, where Singapore's economy is currently shrinking at an annual rate of 12 percent, where Taiwan's exports are down 42 percent and Japan's are down by 35 percent.

These are the kinds of collapse we associate with the Great Depression.

If China's companies face $2.4 trillion in debt repayments, when its total gross domestic product is only $3.5 trillion, the creditors are not going to be getting much of their money back on time.

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