China’s collapse ‘will bring economic crisis to climax in 2012′

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
By Paul Martin

Leading City of London analyst says next 12 months will be one of ‘pain and disappointment’ if Chinese economy crashes

Larry Elliott
Guardian.co.uk
Wednesday 11 January 2012

A looming hard landing in China will bring the financial and economic crisis of the past five years to a climax in 2012, one of the City of London’s leading analysts has warned.

Albert Edwards, head of strategy at Société Générale and one of the UK’s leading “bears”, said the next 12 months would be the “final year of pain and disappointment”.

Predicting a sharp slowdown in activity in the world’s fastest-growing emerging economy, Edwards said: “There is a likelihood of a China hard landing this year. It is hard to think 2013 and onwards will be any worse than this year if China hard-lands.”

Although China emerged rapidly from the downturn of 2008-09, Edwards said the recovery had been the result of a massive reflationary package by the Chinese government. Beijing, he added, could not afford another big stimulus to offset a weakening of the economy. Falling imports have led to a widening of China’s trade surplus, but Edwards said exports were set to slow and a trade deficit was looming.

He added that despite the recent run of more upbeat economic news from the United States, the risk of another recession in the world’s biggest economy was “very high”. Growth had slowed to an annual rate of 1.5% in the second and third quarters of 2011, below the “stall speed” that historically led to recession. It was unlikely that the economy would muddle through, Edwards said.

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