The Chinese millennial generation has never known the hardships of their ancestors. Unlike them, they grew up (from 1995 till now) in a blossoming Chinese economy that has become the second largest industrial nation in the world. However, this has led to an adoption of what the Chinese call “Huo zai dang xia” (literally translated as “living in the moment”).
And thus, whereas the legendary saving skills of previous Chinese support today’s global financial system, the younger generation is piling up debt.
By 2021, it is predicted that household loans will double.
For this reason, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has now released a report in which it stated that China's debt is "very high by international standards" and has furthermore warned that there was "a high probability of financial distress."
Coming from the IMF, these words can be translated as: this smells of a bubble waiting to burst.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Since the global financial crisis in 2008, China's overall debt as a percentage of GDP has grown more than 10 percent a year on average, according to IMF estimates, which assessed the ratio had rocketed to 234 percent of GDP by 2016<a href="https://t.co/VSyArDzEVQ">https://t.co/VSyArDzEVQ</a></p>— AFP news agency (@AFP) <a href="https://twitter.com/AFP/status/973490226864717825?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 13, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The overall debt figure for China has grown to 234 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and it is predicted that figure will rise to 300 percent by 2022.
Ms Linda Yueh, who teaches Economics at the London Business School: "The IMF has highlighted two critical issues in China's financial sector."
"The existence of ‘shadow banking' loans outside the formal banking system, makes it challenging to assess the scale of private sector debt, and China's lagging regulatory system, which mirrors the slow reforms of its legal system, raises doubts over whether there is sufficient capacity to prevent and address a potential financial crisis that may drag the economy into a long slump."
Meanwhile, China's central bank alleged that the IMF report was inaccurate as to "a few descriptions and views."
"The descriptions of the stress testing did not fully reflect the outcomes of the test."