China’s economy has become the second largest in the world, but its rapid growth may have created the largest housing bubble in history.
During the global consumer credit bubble from 2002-2007, China received an unprecedented surge of cash flow from our “dumb” consumer levered-spending across the developed world. What did they do with all that suddenly found wealth? What most humans do in such circumstances: they made a bunch of bad and unproductive spending choices. In 2008 when the cash flow bubble from exports finally burst, the Chinese government responded with more bad decisions, levering up to try and reignite hyper-growth in the economy. Now 5 years later, western cash flow has not come back, and the Chinese economy is slumping neck deep in a domestic debt bubble of its own making. While it was the country that rolled out the relatively largest stimulus package during the 2008 Great recession, China is not now able to rescue the global economy in the next leg of the post-credit bubble recession.