09/28/2011, 00.00
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Chinese Banks Close to Collapse. Fears of zero growth

The Chinese Financial Index fell by 24%, more than that of European and American bank stocks. Chinese banks are plagued by insolvent debts due to loans to local governments and the stagnant property market. The country's growth, currently estimated at 9.5%, is at risk
Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The listings of Chinese banks have dropped to very low levels, raising fears that a collapse could wipe out the country's growth. This is what emerges from news announced today by Bloomberg, according to whom the MSCI index for the Chinese financial sector fell 4% this month, much more than all the European, American and Japanese banks.

The problem is very serious, even though in the last 12 months the index has recorded 104 billion in earnings. Chinese banks' troubles are being caused by insolvent bonds offered to local governments, as well as by loans made to support the building boom that has left 50 percent of newly-built houses unsold, and by slowing global economic growth, which penalizes Chinese exports to Europe and the United States.

In 2008, at the beginning of the U.S. credit crisis, China sustained its economy with a package of aid to banks, local governments and Chinese industry of about 4 trillion dollars. This has led to a major overexposure on the part of Chinese banks and high inflation in the country. Local governments have received funding, but in most cases it was only used to create jobs, without a real business plan, without hope of repaying the debt contracted.

According to Jim Chanos, of Kynikos Associates, the insolvent debts could cut China's growth to almost to zero (it is now estimated at 9.5%).The Chinese economy is also affected by the weight of sovereign debt in Europe and the stagnation in the United States. Both areas have diminished their purchase of Chinese products, undermining the volume of exports from Beijing.
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