Gus Lubin | Dec. 27, 2010, 9:25 AM From BusinessInsider.com
Andy Xie’s latest sees the liquidity war getting worse in 2011.
America will continue to pump the financial system with liquidity via tax cuts and quantitative easing. China will keep the yuan cheap and avoid clamping down on inflation.
The tense equilibrium can’t last for long, as either sovereign debt or inflation gets too heavy to bear. Whoever lasts longer, wins.
The most likely candidates to trigger the next global crisis are the U.S.’s sovereign debt or China’s inflation. When one goes down first, the other can prolong its economic cycle. China may have won the last race. To win the next one, China must tackle its inflation problem, which is ultimately a political and structural issue, in 2011. If China does, the U.S. will again be the cause for the next global crisis. China will suffer from declining exports but benefit from lower oil prices.
On the other hand, if China has a hard landing, the U.S.’s trade deficit can drop dramatically, maybe by 50 percent, due to lower import prices. It would boost the dollar’s value and bring down the U.S.’s treasury yield. The U.S. can have lower financing costs and lower expenditures. The combination allows the U.S. to enjoy a period of good growth.
Xie notes that China may have the advantage here. While America has committed to a liquidity hose, Beijing still has the opportunity to crack down on inflation:
China’s inflation problem stems from the country’s rapid monetary growth in the past decade. That is due to the need to finance a vast property sector, which is, in turn, to generate fiscal revenues for local governments to finance their vast expenditure programs. Unless something is done to limit local government expenditure, China’s inflation problem is likely to get out of control…
There are two ways to limit local government expenditure. One is to cut their funding source. Their main revenue sources are land sales, property taxes, and bank loans. The last source is drying up a bit, as banks are saddled with high exposure to the sector already and are trying to decrease it. This change isn’t biting yet because local governments haven’t spent all the money they borrowed before.