Russia’s terrible war generates headlines, but China’s growing debt crisis is mostly ignored. And yet, it will have profound negative effects on the global economy. In just three generations, Beijing built a middle class bigger than America’s entire population. But now Chinese many face ruination. China’s domestic real estate bubble, due to deregulation, is so gargantuan that much of its middle class has been damaged.
“China’s debt bomb looks ready to explode and many warning signs suggest that a debt reckoning is imminent,” warns Nikkei Asia.
A massive mortgage revolt is underway, and as banks fail, protests grow. Today, 50 million empty or unfinished units bought on “spec” in hundreds of urban areas may never be completed or paid for, equivalent to one-third of all housing units in the United States.
Besides that, Beijing itself is owed $1 trillion by struggling governments around the world that cannot afford to pay back loans for Belt and Road Initiative projects. The result of this domestic and foreign borrowing is that this year China’s debt is expected to reach the equivalent of 275 percent of its GDP due to massive borrowing and economic slowdown. The United States, by comparison, is expected this year to reach a debt level of 98 percent of its GDP.