Monday, March 16, 2009

China and the USA credit quality

China threw a cat among the pigeons as they voiced concerns about their holdings of US Treasuries and wanted assurances their investments are safe. Premier Jiaboa said "We have lent a huge amount of money to the US and I request the US to maintain its good credit, to honor its promises, and to guarantee the safety of China's assets."

A Chinese analyst commented that they are worried the US may solve its problems by printing money which would stoke inflation and if the US can make sure this won't happen, then China should continue to invest.

President Obama quickly responded to ease those concerns by saying in a press conference "Not just the Chinese government, but every investor can have absolute confidence in the soundness of investments in the US." Continued Chinese investment in Treasuries are crucial in financing the stimulus packages. I wouldn't think any type of a major sell off is likely but I could see them backing off a bit if they don't feel comfortable. It will be interesting to see if anything changes going forward, but I don't blame them for wanting some type of re-assurance.

Of course, even Obama is likely to be unable, read not really willing, to stop the coming inflationary rise in rates. The Chinese will have to adjust to the new reality but will do so I suspect with a lot more wailing.

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