Economist Jim Walker was dubbed Asia’s “Dr. Gloom” in 1996, and his views about China continue to fit that bill.
Chinese fiscal and monetary stimulus have given life to many corporations that are in trouble below the surface, says Walker, whose one-man firm Asianomics is based in Hong Kong.
"There are an awful lot of companies that don't make any money in China, and they need to go," he told Forbes Asia.
Major manufacturing cities are suffering labor shortages, thanks to the real estate bubble that has drawn away workers and will ultimately burst, says Walker, formerly chief economist at CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia).
He’s skeptical that China is accurately reporting economic figures, such as its GDP growth, which totaled 11.9 percent in the first quarter.
China’s huge current account surplus, currency manipulation, accommodative monetary policy and soaring inflation will lead to big trouble, Walker maintains. He expects Chinese stocks to crash as soon as 2011.
"The people who think China is the answer to the world's problems are the ones who in 2005 said the U.S. housing boom could continue forever," Walker said.
Many other experts share his bearish views about China.
The problems already are boiling over, says Harvard economist Ken Rogoff.
“You’re starting to see that collapse in property and it’s going to hit the banking system,” he told Bloomberg. “At the speed (the economy) is growing, it’s going to have bumps.”
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