Professor Morici hangs his hat at the University of Maryland.From the Baltimore Sun, August 31:
U.S. stocks have endured a lot of turmoil, but recent shocks have made apparent important facts about China and the shifting global economy long ignored by many analysts and investors. Those bode well for America and the bull market should soon resume.
Faulty accounting standards make it dicey to assess the true profitability of most publicly traded Chinese companies. Bond ratings, often a good first indicator of business health, are outright frauds in the Middle Kingdom — 97 percent of Chinese companies score AA or AAA, as compared to 1.4 percent for U.S. businesses.
Only 39 percent of Chinese shares are actively traded, with the balance held by government entities or company founders, whereas 94 percent of U.S. shares are in the active marketplace.
As of June 8, the Shanghai composite index was up 250 percent over the prior 12 months, then it plummeted 37 percent before stabilizing somewhat at the end of last week. However, that respite was accomplished after Beijing again flooded markets with liquidity.
Recently, Beijing opened the Shanghai and Hang Seng markets to selected foreign investors, but they have remained shy about jumping in and for good reason. Chinese company reports and stock market valuations are as fraudulent as China's GDP statistics.
The flood of cheap imports at Walmart and size of China's official U.S. dollar holdings testify to the heft of its economy, but official measures of GDP and growth are inflated and don't jive with indicators economists use to measure economies with dodgy statistics — for example, freight shipments, passenger travel, electricity use and property development.
Beijing reported 7 percent growth for the second quarter, but actual growth appears to have been about half that. If China's money losing zombie factories, propped up by government bank loans, were shuttered, the pace would be even lower....MORE