It feels like birthday week for Asia Unhedged. The tide is turning and it’s coming our way.
First Bloomberg concedes the Chinese stock market is doing well, despite all its Doomsday Predictions. Then, Ben Bernanke said there’s nothing to worry about in China’s economic slowdown.
We always liked this former Federal Reserve Chairman, what with him preventing the second Great Depression and all that stuff, but now that he’s agreeing with our view on China we really like him.
Speaking at a private-sector forum in Seoul on Wednesday, Bernanke said there’s no risk of a hard landing and that China’s economic slowdown shouldn’t worry the financial markets, Reuters reported. In addition, he said that the anticipated interest rate hike in the U.S. should be viewed as a positive sign for the world’s largest economy.
He said there would only be a minor negative impact on South Korea and overall, the whole thing will be “anticlimactic.”
“There may be some volatility. Countries like Korea are very well placed because it has very good policy, good institutions,” he said.
Bernanke’s take is that the rate hike means the U.S. economy is getting stronger. And that’s a good thing, so stop making it out to be a bad thing.
Bernanke, who now works at the Brookings Institution and advises bond giant Pimco and hedge fund Citadel, said the Chinese slowdown is part of the process the country needs to go through to find a long-term sustainable economy.
“China was growing 10% a year. And it was doing that through heavy capital investment, steel plants and so on. Very export oriented,” he said, according to Reuters. “As the country gets more rich and sophisticated that kind of growth is no longer successful.”
Bernanke also said positive things about Japan’s “three-arrow” policy.
“I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing in Japan. But they have slow population growth and fundamental problems that will be hard for them to overcome. They will not grow at the pace they did in the 70s but it will be better than what they’ve seen in the past 20 years,” he said.
Finally, he said the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), would create an opportunity for more useful projects around the world.
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