Harry S. Dent | Monday, November 5, 2012 >>
We’ve warned for more than two years now that the greatest bubble in the world is not in the U.S. or Europe.
It’s in China.
China continues to build housing for no one. It has ghost metropolises like Ordos that are 100% ready to contain one million people right now. Yet it’s totally empty.
China continues to build factories that have way more capacity than they need to satisfy domestic or export demand.
It continues to build roads, railways and bridges to nowhere.
It employs over half of the construction cranes in the entire world and dominates cement production as well.
Why is it doing this?
It’s doing it because those in power in China understand a secret that our research has uniquely revealed. That is, the greatest factor driving growth in emerging countries is NOT demographics or the peak spending of new generations like in the U.S. and developed countries (although that is the second biggest factor).
The greatest factor driving growth there is simply urbanization. Moving people from rural areas to cities where their incomes tend to triple.
China has done this faster than any country in history and it does it by creating massive jobs for these rural migrants.
China’s policy is simply growth for growth’s sake… to create jobs for migrant rural workers by massive government investment in infrastructures. “Build it now and we will worry what to do with such capacity later!” is the prevailing attitude.
It’s About Pride… and Mafia-Like Control
China doesn’t operate under an elected government. Its rule is still suppressive… even brutal at times… just like the Mafia.
And the best way for such a government to stay in power – especially over the second largest economy in the world – is to keep the people happy. You keep people happy by creating massive numbers of jobs and demonstrating high economic growth.
When people are employed and confident in their future, they can afford to be proud.
And pride is part of the Chinese way of life. The Chinese government and citizens strive to show the world how great and important they are… reporting growth numbers of 10% to 12% bring much gratification.
Of course, such numbers are typically overstated. China economy is reporting present growth rates at around 8%, but analysis of basic indicators like electricity use suggest China is growing at 4% to 5% at best.
The thing is, there must be a consequence of overbuilding infrastructures from housing to factories to roads. And there is. Overcapacity! When you have overcapacity, your fixed costs of operation are high, your sales are low in comparison and your profit margins are low or nonexistent.
Any business knows this.
On top of that China still has a large proportion of its key industries operating as state-owned companies. Let’s be honest. We all know how good they are at being accountable for profits and sound business operations.
China is nothing more than a mafia-like, top-down economy where nepotism is the main incentive. Local communist leaders get monopolies, capital and loan backing from the central government. Then they build all types of stuff to create jobs in their region and graft for the political elites and their business cronies.
In China, profits are not the motive. Growth for growth’s sake and political gain is.
And its stock market is the clear proof of this.
The Chinese stock market is what shows that China’s economy is just plain B.S.
China economy has seen the strongest growth of any major country in the world since the 2008 crash… yet its stock market has had the weakest bounce (it peaked way back in February of 2010) and the Shanghai Composite has now fallen back near its lows of early 2009.
Growth without profits is the story of China and that is not sustainable. Nor is it good business or political strategy in the long term.
Economists, in all of their academic delusion, often claim that the new economic model is state-driven capitalism. But anyone who has studied history knows that governments rarely make good choices in picking business strategies or technologies. They are only good, at best, at allocating capital and resources to key shared infrastructures and things like national defense that must be centralized to work.
We think China economy is heading for a hard landing ahead. China will prove this new state-driven capitalistic model to be dead wrong and down-right dangerous!
P.S. On Wednesday and Thursday, Rodney and I will host our Demographic School in Tampa, FL. This is where we give attendees the tools they need to put our research into practice in their businesses and investment strategies. Rodney will be reporting to you from the conference both days. We will also be making the audio recording of this conference available to you next week. Stay tuned.
Ahead of the Curve with Adam O’Dell
The Two Effects of Stimulus Packages
Here’s a look at China’s Shanghai Composite Index compared to the S&P 500. In picture form, it’s quite easy to see how the two diverge.