Archive for the ‘treasuries’ Category

China cements role as top creditor to US

March 17, 2009

China consolidated its position as the top creditor to the United States, with 739.6 billion dollars in US Treasury bond holdings as of late January, US government data showed.

The US Treasury Department released the monthly figure at a sensitive time, less than a week after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed concern about the fate of Chinese investments in the United States.

AFP

It marked growth from 727.4 billion dollars of Chinese-held Treasury bonds at the end of December and was up from the 492.6 billion dollars China held in January 2008, according to the Treasury statistics.

While that year-on-year figure represents a sharp increase, much of it was down to big rises in September and October.

China has been the biggest holder of US Treasury bonds since September last year, when it overtook Japan for the first time ever, according to US data.

However, it issued its most high-level note of alarm yet last Friday when Wen admitted to being worried about China’s massive investments in US debt.

“We have lent huge amounts of money to the United States. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets,” he told a press conference here.

US President Barack Obama later responded with an assurance that “not just the Chinese government, but every investor can have absolute confidence in the soundness of investments in the United States.”

Lawrence Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, denied Sunday that US Treasury bonds might lose their “AAA” rating from credit agencies because of the economic crisis.

Japan remained the second-largest holder of US debt at the end of January, with 634.8 billion dollars, up from 626.0 billion at the end of December, the Treasury statistics showed.

US Treasury bonds are a preferred investment vehicle for China’s government as it seeks safe and reliable ways to place its nearly two trillion dollars of foreign exchange reserves.

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

February 13, 2009

Luo Ping, a director-general of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, explaining how China feels about having to continue to buy U.S. Treasuries:

“We hate you guys. Once you start issuing $1 trillion-$2 trillion… we know the dollar is going to depreciate, so we hate you guys but there is nothing much we can do….

Ping, “whose English tends towards the colloquial,” according to the Financial Times’ Henny Sender, also asked “Except for US Treasuries, what can you hold? Gold? You don’t hold Japanese government bonds or UK bonds. US Treasuries are the safe haven. For everyone, including China, it is the only option.”

So China will keep buying U.S. debt. Somehow this is not entirely reassuring.

Related:
Obama Team Gloats: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing
.
Blaming Republicans For Doubling The Debt; Obama Aims To Do The Same

From Salon:
http://www.salon.com/tech/htww/200
9/02/12/we_hate_you_guys/index.html

A Chinese customer shows off a handfull of hundred-yuan notes ...

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 Obama Caught Between World Leaders, Congress, U.S. Voters on “Buy American”

 Barack Obama: Credibility Lost?

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?
.
China Starts to Set Limits On Its Biggest Borrower: Barack Obama and The U.S.

 Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

Stimulus: “Buy American” Retained; Sure To Anger International Partners
.
China’s leader Hu Jintao cautioned President Obama about the “buy American” provision in the economic stimulus plan during a phone conversation….but a “Buy American” provision remains in the stimulus as passed….

China announced that President Hu Jintao, seen here in 2008, ...
President Hu Jintao of China (AFP/File/Louisa Gouliamaki)

A bank employee counts US dollar bank notes. The euro fell sharply ...

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By Belinda Cao and Judy Chen

Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) — China should seek guarantees that its $682 billion holdings of U.S. government debt won’t be eroded by “reckless policies,” said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to the central bank.

The U.S. “should make the Chinese feel confident that the value of the assets at least will not be eroded in a significant way,” Yu, who now heads the World Economics and Politics Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in response to e-mailed questions yesterday from Beijing. He declined to elaborate on the assurances needed by China, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields climbed above 3 percent this week on speculation the government will increase borrowing as President Barack Obama pushes his $838 billion stimulus package through Congress. Premier Wen Jiabao said last month his government’s strategy for investing would focus on safeguarding the value of China’s $1.95 trillion foreign reserves.

China may voice its concerns over U.S. government finances and the potential for a weaker dollar when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits China on Feb. 20, according to He Zhicheng, an economist at Agricultural Bank of China, the nation’s third-largest lender by assets. A People’s Bank of China official, who didn’t wish to be identified, declined to comment on the telephone.

Clinton Talks

“In talks with Clinton, China will ask for a guarantee that the U.S. will support the dollar’s exchange rate and make sure China’s dollar-denominated assets are safe,” said He in Beijing. “That would be one of the prerequisites for more purchases.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said yesterday that talks with Clinton would cover bilateral relations, the financial crisis and international affairs, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The dollar fell 0.6 percent to 89.96 yen today on concern that the U.S. government’s bank-rescue plan will fail to revive lending. Treasuries declined as investors prepared to bid for a record $21 billion sale of 10-year notes today. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note rose three basis points to 2.83 percent.

Currency Reserves

“These comments are some sort of a threat but of course China can never get such a guarantee,” said Thomas Harr, a currency strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. The U.S. may assure China that it will clean up the financial system and that it “won’t push for a weaker dollar but they can’t promise not to increase the fiscal deficit,” he said.

U.S. government bonds returned 14 percent last year including price gains and reinvested interest, the most since rallying 18.5 percent in 1995, according to indexes compiled by Merrill Lynch & Co. Concern that the flood of bonds would overwhelm demand caused Treasuries to lose 3.08 percent in January, the steepest drop in almost five years, Merrill data show.

China’s loss of more than $5 billion from investing $10.5 billion of its reserves in New York-based Blackstone Group LP, Morgan Stanley and TPG Inc. since mid-2007 may increase its demand for the relative safety of Treasuries.

“The government will be a net buyer of Treasuries in the short term because there’s no sign they have changed their strategy,” said Zhang Ming, secretary general of the international finance research center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. “But personally, I don’t think we should increase holdings because the medium- and long-term risks are quite high.”

Fed Buying

Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., said on Feb. 5 the Federal Reserve will have to buy Treasuries to curb yields as debt sales increase. Fed officials said Jan. 28 they were “prepared” to buy longer-term Treasuries.

“The biggest concern for China to continue buying U.S. Treasuries is that if Obama’s stimulus doesn’t work out as expected, the Fed may have to print money to cover the deficit,” said Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist at China International Capital Corp., partly owned by Morgan Stanley. “That will cause a dollar slump.”

China’s foreign-exchange reserves grew about $40 billion in the fourth quarter, the least since mid-2004, as an end to yuan appreciation since July prompted investors to pull money out.

The world’s third-biggest economy grew 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace in seven years. Policy makers announced a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) economic stimulus plan in November to spur domestic demand.

Linking Disputes

Yu said China has no plans to channel its reserves toward stimulating its own economy because its trade surplus is sufficient to fund any import needs. China’s trade surplus was $39 billion in January.

China “should diversify its reserves away from U.S. Treasuries if the value of China’s foreign-exchange reserves is in danger of being inflated away by the U.S. government’s pump- priming,” he said.

China may try to link trade and currency policy disputes to its future investment in Treasuries, said Lu Zhengwei, an economist in Shanghai at Industrial Bank Co., a Chinese lender partly owned by a unit of HSBC Holdings Plc.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner accused China on Jan. 22 of “manipulating” the yuan to give an unfair advantage to its exporters. The currency has dropped 0.16 percent this year to 6.8342 per dollar, following a 21 percent gain since a peg against the dollar was abandoned in July 2005.

“China can also use this opportunity to get a promise from the U.S. not to make inappropriate requests on bilateral trade and the Chinese yuan,” Lu said. “We can’t afford more yuan appreciation as the economy is facing a serious slowdown.”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02
/13/the-house-dems-who-voted-no-
the-senate-vote-underway/

Can The U.S. Pay Back This Huge Debt?

January 11, 2009

In its battle against the financial crisis, the U.S. government has extended its full faith and credit to an ever-growing swath of the private sector: first homeowners, then banks, now car companies. Soon, President-elect Barack Obama will put the government credit card to work with a massive fiscal boost for the economy. Necessary as these steps are, they raise a worry of their own: Can the United States pay the money back?

By Greg Ip
The Washington Post

The notion seems absurd: Banana republics default, not the world’s biggest, richest economy, right? The United States has unparalleled wealth, a stable legal tradition, responsible macroeconomic policies and a top-notch, triple-A credit rating. U.S. Treasury bonds are routinely called “risk-free,” and the United States has the unique privilege of borrowing in the currency that other countries like to hold as foreign-exchange reserves.

Yes, default is unlikely. But it is no longer unthinkable. Thanks to the advent of credit derivatives — financial contracts that allow investors to speculate on or protect against default — we can now observe how likely global markets think it is that Uncle Sam will renege on America’s mounting debts. Last week, markets pegged the probability of a U.S. default at 6 percent over the next 10 years, compared with just 1 percent a year ago. For technical reasons, this is not a precise reading of investors’ views. Nonetheless, the trend is real, and it is grounded in some pretty fundamental concerns.

Related:
 Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis
.
 China Losing Taste for Debt From the U.S.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2009/01/09/AR2009010902325.html?hpid=opinionsbox1