“Infrastructure, not speculation, explains China’s corporate debt”

 Ich habe mich öfter kritisch zur Entwicklung in China geäußert, vor allem mit Blick auf die stark gestiegene Verschuldung. Zurecht? Vielleicht nicht. Hier ein Beitrag aus der ASIA TIMES, auf den mich ein Leser hingewiesen hat:

  • “Corporate debt levels in China, to be sure, look huge by international comparison. But a detailed look at the country’s corporate debt shows that infrastructure spending rather than speculation explains most of the debt growth of the past ten years.” bto: wobei es auch Fehlinvestitionen seien können, die eine Krise auslösen.
  • “Manufacturing, healthcare, and other major corporate sectors actually show declining leverage. The bulk of corporate debt has built up in energy, power production, rail, and airlines – sectors that in many other countries would be funded directly via the state budget. China has been borrowing mainly to expand infrastructure.” bto: Auch in anderen Sektoren hat es in Folge dieses Infrastrukturbooms zu viele Investitionen gegeben. Stahl?
  • “Although long-term property fundamentals remain strong, some property companies may have borrowed too much to get in front of consumer demand. This doesn’t appear to be a systemic problem, however.”
  • “In fact, corporate leverage is falling. According to the Bloomberg consensus of earnings estimates, the ratio of net debt to earnings before interest and taxes will fall to 2.5 times in 2018 from 3.71 in 2016. This ratio was negative as late as 2013 (companies were net creditors), but the trend has turned around.”


  • Leverage is falling because profits are rising. In sharp contrast to price deflation and slumping profits in 2014-2015, China’s industrial profits are up 24% year-on-year, in line with rising industrial prices. Balance sheets are improving, leverage (as measured by the ratio of net debt to earnings before interest and taxes) is declining, equity prices are buoyant, and new equity issuance is at a record.” bto: Also löst sich das Problem durch Wachstum?
  • “According to Bloomberg, Zhou cited a concept known as a Minsky Moment, a plunge in asset values following unsustainable gains or the exhaustion of credit growth, named for Hyman Minsky.
    The central bank chief told Bloomberg: When there are too many pro-cyclical factors in an economy, cyclical fluctuations will be amplified. If we’re too optimistic when things go smoothly, tensions build up, which could lead to a sharp correction, what we call a Minsky Moment. That’s what we should particularly defend against. Zhou cited high corporate borrowing, as well as corporations’ use of local government financing vehicles.” bto: was durchaus ungewöhnlich ist für einen Zentralbankchef, noch dazu aus China.
  • “The net debt of the non-financial components of the Shenzhen 300 Index is heavily concentrated in a dozen or so companies, all of which contribute to basic energy or transport infrastructure. A full 10% of the net debt of non-industrial SHSZ300 companies is owed by Petrochina alone. The companies listed account for 2/3 of the net debt of the Shenzhen Index excluding financials, and they are almost all energy, communications infrastructure, shipping, airlines or metals companies.” bto: Das spräche in der Tat dafür, dass sich eine Krise verhindern ließe.



  • “Leverage has actually declined in some sectors while it has mushroomed in others. In the chart below we examine the ratio of net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of the sectors of the Shenzhen 300 stock index. For visual comparison the ratio is set to 100 as of September 1980.”


  • “In the past decade China has built a national high-speed rail network and vastly expanded other infrastructure. That is where the largest portion of “corporate debt” sits. The materials sector also shows a large increase in leverage. There, problems in the coal industry are mainly responsible for declining revenues relative to debt levels. Consumer Discretionary companies’ leverage has actually declined sharply over the past decade. The auto sector dominates this index. The Consumer Staples Index, by contrast, shows a big jump in leverage, but that reflects borrowing by a small group of companies.” bto: was sich als eine Vermischung von staatlichen und privaten Aktivitäten verstehen lässt.
  • “This analysis suggests that a great deal of Chinese corporate indebtedness should be viewed as “public works” investment by the Chinese state. Certainly, there are aspects of the increase in indebtedness that recall Japan’s dependence on public works spending as a channel for economic stimulus. There are inefficiencies to be made, for sure, but by and large the debt sits where the economy best can support it.” bto: Wir werden bald sehen, ob das wirklich so stimmt.

ASIA TIMES: “Infrastructure, not speculation, explains China’s corporate debt”, 20. Oktober 2015