George Soros probably shouldn’t expect any warm invitations to Beijing — not with the much-reviled short seller warning of a giant Chinese crash.
The billionaire first shook a major government in September 1992, when he led an attack on the British pound. For his role in humiliating London and forcing John Major’s government to exit the European exchange-rate mechanism — essentially the euro — Soros reportedly netted $2 billion. Soros made a bundle off America’s subprime debt crisis as well. Here in Asia, his legend has loomed large since 1997, when then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused him, bizarrely, of heading a Jewish conspiracy to spark an Asian crisis.
Now Soros has his eye on China. In a Jan. 2 op-ed for Project Syndicate, Soros didn’t say whether he’s shorting China. But he did connect the dots in a way that can’t make President Xi Jinping happy. To Soros, the main risk facing the world isn’t the euro, the U.S. Congress or a Japanese asset bubble, but a Chinese debt disaster that’s unfolding in plain sight.
“There is an unresolved self-contradiction in China’s current policies: restarting the furnaces also reignites exponential debt growth, which cannot be sustained for much longer than a couple of years,” Soros wrote.
UNDER OBAMA, YOUTH MISERY INDEX HITS ALL-TIME HIGH
A Youth Misery Index that measures young Americans’ woes has skyrocketed under President Barack Obama and hit an all-time high.
The index, released Wednesday, was calculated by adding youth unemployment and average college loan debt figures with each person’s share of the national debt. While it has steadily grown over the decades, under Obama the figure has shot up dramatically, from 83.5 in 2009 to 98.6 in 2013.
The index has increased by 18.1 percent since Obama took office, the highest increase under any president, making Obama the worst president for youth economic opportunity, according to the nonprofit that released the figure.
“Young people are suffering under this economy,” said Ashley Pratte, program officer for Young America’s Foundation, which developed the index and calculates it annually using federal statistics. “They’re still living in their parent’s basements, unable to find full-time jobs that pay them what they need in order to pay back their debt.”
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“1930’s-Style” Debt Defaults Likely says IMF. ECB keeps Interest Rates Unchanged
Many advanced economies are likely to require financial repression, outright debt restructuring, higher inflation and a variety of capital controls, a new research paper commissioned by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.
The magnitude of today’s debt in Western economies will mean fiscal austerity will not be sufficient, Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff said in the report, as policymakers continue to underestimate the depth and duration of the downturn.
“It is clear that governments should be careful in their assumption that growth alone will be able to end the crisis. Instead, today’s advanced country governments may have to look increasingly to the approaches that have long been associated with emerging markets, and that advanced countries themselves once practiced not so long ago,” they said.
ECB Keeps Rates Unchanged Despite Record Low Loan Creation
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