Chinese Bad Debt Worse Than We Think

Carson Block, the short seller who runs Muddy Waters LLC, said China’s bad-loan problem is more widespread than just local government debt and includes public and private sector borrowing.

Non-performing loan “figures greatly understate the potential scope of the problem of poor-quality loans,” Block said in an e-mail. “We believe that the PRC banking system will be hit hard by the unwind, and that the government will be forced to recapitalize a number of the banks.”

Chinese banks are grappling with rising defaults and slowing profit growth as regulators ease controls over loan pricing and deposits to spur competition. The country’s soured debt, which has risen for six straight quarters, in part prompted Block to bet against the bonds of Standard Chartered Plc, the U.K. bank that earns most of its profit in Asia.

Bad debt in China climbed to 526.5 billion yuan ($86 billion) in the three months through March, marking the longest deterioration streak in at least nine years, according to regulatory data released this month.


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Mingze Wu

Mingze Wu

Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Based in Singapore, Mingze Wu focuses on trading strategies and technical and fundamental analysis of major currency pairs. He has extensive trading experience across different asset classes and is well-versed in global market fundamentals. In addition to contributing articles to MarketPulseFX, Mingze centers on forex and macro-economic trends impacting the Asia Pacific region.
Mingze Wu