China’s Real Estate Crash

I had an article published today in the online version of Foreign Affairs, about the unfolding drop in China’s real estate market, why it is happening, and what it means for the Chinese economy.  You can access the original version here.  Those who are interested in the background to this story should check out my first article on this subject […]

Remembering Vaclav Havel (1936-2011)

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who was imprisoned under the Communist regime and later became the first president of a free Czechoslovakia, died today.  He was 75, and was at the very top of my list of people I would have liked to meet. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Havel was best known as a […]

China: Hard Landing in Sight?

Earlier this week, I appeared on Bloomberg, and the interview was posted online under the cheerful headline “Chovanec says China faces harder landing than expected.”  I know, I’m a bundle of Christmas cheer these days — but as I said at the Economist conference a few weeks ago (in an allusion to Game of Thrones), […]

China Data, Part 1: Real Estate Downturn

Last week, I promised to share some of the data points I’ve been collecting on the recent downturn in the Chinese economy.  The challenge I’ve faced is an embarrassment of riches — too much interesting information, rather than too little.  So I’ve decided to chop my presentation up into several smaller-size parts, for the reader’s […]

Initial Thoughts on PBOC Easing

Last night, the PBOC (China’s central bank) lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for Chinese banks by 50 basis points, down to 21% for large banks, freeing up an estimated RMB 400 billion ($63 billion) in new lending.  Here are my initial thoughts on why they did it, and what it means: The move is […]

Should We Sell Taiwan?

I’ve written numerous times about the widespread (nearly universal) misconception that China’s $3.2 trillion in foreign currency reserves are a pile of cash which the Chinese government “owns” and simply throw at any problem it sees fit (to bail out banks, for example, or provide domestic social benefits).  An op-ed that appeared in today’s New York Times illustrates this error in a new […]

Europe Squabbles, China Frets

This has to be one of the more hilarious summaries of the EU crisis I’ve seen (from the latest issue of BusinessWeek).  Click on the image to see it in full (readable) size. You might imagine that the schoolyard squabbling among European leaders, on the heels of the divisive debt ceiling showdown in the U.S., has further reinforced the conviction of Chinese leaders in the […]

Déjà Vu All Over Again

This weekend I was leafing through my copy of  The Ministry, a 1997 book by Peter Hartcher about Japan’s Ministry of Finance and the role it played in the 1980s bubble and its “lost decade” aftermath, and was struck by several passages that called to mind what has been happening more recently in China’s economy.  […]

Europe Looks to China

The news these past couple of days has been dominated, of course, by the efforts of European Union leaders to reach a bailout agreement — and the fact that, immediately after the outlines of such an agreement were reached, the first thing the EU did was dispatch an envoy to Beijing, to persuade China to help fund […]

China’s Slowdown

Yesterday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics issued the official economic figures for the 3rd Quarter of 2011.  The headline number, year-on-year GDP growth, came in at 9.1%, down steadily from 9.5% in the 2nd Quarter and 9.7% in the 1st. That morning, I went on Bloomberg TV to offer my perspective on what these numbers may mean.  […]