A wide gulf separates the two most prominent views regarding China’s future. Faced with slowing economic growth, one side says its leaders will deftly navigate a soft landing, while the other claims it will face an implosion similar to those that befell Japan 20 years ago and the US in 2008. Count GMO, a firm that has built its reputation on its ability to identify a bubble about to pop, in the latter camp.
Edward Chancellor, who focuses on capital market research as a member of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo’s asset allocation team, laid out that negative forecast last week when he spoke in London at a research symposium hosted by Societe Generale.
Accusing the soft-landing camp of “uncritically accepting” China’s growth story and placing an “overblown belief” in the authorities in Beijing, Chancellor listed 10 tell-tale traits of an economy on the verge of collapse.
China, according to Chancellor, meets that classic definition of a bubble.
Let’s look at Chancellor’s historical examples and how China fits into his paradigm.