China’s high national savings rate—one of the highest in the world—is at the heart of its external/internal imbalances. High savings finance elevated investment when held domestically, and lead to external imbalances when they flow abroad. Today, China’s higher savings, compared to the global average, mostly emanate from the household sector, due to demographic changes induced by the 1979 one-child policy and the reshaping of the social safety net in the 1990s. Housing reform and rising income inequality also contribute to higher household savings. Moving forward, rapid ageing will put downward pressure on savings. Still, policy efforts to strengthen the social safety net and reduce income inequality are needed to reduce savings further and boost consumption.
General Motors and Apple sold more cars and iPhones in China than in the US, but their sales were not counted as US exports to China, as these were made and sold in China. Policymakers should look at both trade and local sales by foreign firms (the FDI channel) to gauge bilateral economic balance. We estimate that US firms sold more goods and services to China than Chinese firms sold to the US in 2017, once the FDI channel is taken into account.
VoxChina welcomes views from industry reports and policy reports.This piece summaries the views about China’s financial risk from - Hao Zhou, the PBC School of Finance at Tsinghua University, Haibin Zhu, J.P. Morgan and Xiangpeng Chen, the PBC School of Finance at Tsinghua University.