China’s Flawed Balance-of-Payments Position

The balance-of-payments figures that Chinese authorities released in April should have caused widespread alarm. The data adjusted China’s 2011 investment-income deficit from $26.8 billion to $85.3 billion – a massive revision that casts doubt on the reliability of official statistics and exposes the economy's flawed growth path.

BEIJING – The balance-of-payments figures that China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) released in April should have triggered serious concern, if not alarm. The data adjusted China’s investment-income deficit for 2011 from $26.8 billion to $85.3 billion – a massive revision that casts doubt on the reliability of China’s balance-of-payments statistics and exposes a flaw in the economy’s growth path. But few people seem to care.

According to SAFE, as of February 2012, China had accumulated $4.7 trillion in foreign assets through purchases of United States government securities and other investments, and more than $2.9 trillion in foreign liabilities through foreign direct investment (FDI) and borrowing. This puts China’s net foreign assets at roughly $1.8 trillion.

But, despite China’s position as one of the world’s largest creditors, its net investment-income balance is deeply negative. In fact, China has run investment-account deficits for six of the last nine years, with preliminary statistics suggesting a deficit of $57.4 billion in 2012.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/5E0YdGk;