China Frets About Spreading EU Debt Woes

Yes, they want to support the euro with their fx reserves to support their exports to that region, but there is no equivalent of US Treasury securities that they can hold.

It’s as if they could only buy US state municipal debt, and not Treasury secs, Fed deposits, and other direct obligations of the US govt with their dollars.

So the only way they can support exports to the euro zone is to take the credit risk of the available investments.

Now add to that their inflation problems.

The traditional export model is to suppress domestic demand with some type of tight fiscal policy, and then conduct fx purchases of the currency of the target export zone.

The euro zone does the tight fiscal but can’t do the fx buying, so the policy fails as the currency rises to the point net exports don’t increase.

China does the fx buying, but has also recently used state lending and deficit spending to increase domestic demand, which increases domestic prices/inflation, including labor, which works to weaken the currency and retard net exports.

So China fighting inflation and the euro zone fighting insolvency both look to keep aggregate demand down for 2011.

And I don’t see the deficit terrorists about to take their seats in the US Congress doing anything to increase aggregate demand either.

So all that and the Fed still failing to make much headway on either of its dual mandates, 30 year 0 coupon tsy’s at about 4.75% (and libor + as well) look like a pretty good place for a pension fund to get some duration and lay low, at least until there’s some visibility from the new US Congress.

China Frets About Spreading EU Debt Woes

By Langi Chiang

December 21 (Reuters) — China urged European authorities to back their tough talk with action on Tuesday by showing they can contain the euro zone’s simmering debt problems and pull the bloc out of its crisis soon.

China, which has invested an undisclosed portion of its $2.65 trillion reserves in the euro, said it backed steps taken by European authorities so far to tackle the region’s debt problems, but made clear it would like to see the measures having more effect.

“We are very concerned about whether the European debt crisis can be controlled,” Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said at a trade dialogue between China and the European Union.

“We want to see if the EU is able to control sovereign debt risks and whether consensus can be translated into real action to enable Europe to emerge from the financial crisis soon and in a good shape,” he said.

Concerns that Europe’s debt problems will spread beyond euro zone’s periphery to engulf bigger economies such as Spain and Italy have weighed on global financial markets this year and taken a toll on the euro.

In part to protect its investments, China has repeatedly expressed its support for the single currency.

In October, Premier Wen Jiabao promised to buy Greek government bonds once Greece returned to debt markets, in a show of support for the country whose debt burden pushed the euro zone into a crisis and required an international bailout.