Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Financial Crisis 'Skyscraper' Indicator Points to China

In my blogs Worldwide Financial Bubbles Beginning to Burst? and Financial Crisis Coming to China?, I point out the fact that debt in China has rocketed to levels that preceded financial crises in other countries.  It's the rate of debt increase in China that's the truly amazing feat achieved through "central planning."

It's not just the debt level that tends to precede financial crises, but the country with the tallest skyscraper, interestingly, tends to have next financial crisis.  These grand projects are good indicators of easy money and high investor confidence that usually precede a bust. 

Here's a graphic from Forbes summarizing evidence for the skyscraper indicator (click to enlarge),

Right now that indicator is clearly pointing to a financial bust in China.  The article goes on to say:
Skyscrapers are inherently speculative ventures, in that they are rarely, if ever, built by their intended occupants or with committed tenants. “Build it and they will come” captures the prevailing spirit. Thus you can think of the world’s tallest skyscrapers as indicators of lofty overconfidence. Second, because speculators rarely build such structures with their own money, skyscrapers are powerful evidence of “easy money.” Accepting the importance of these two variables in creating a fertile context for bubble formation, skyscrapers are actually a spectacular indicator of bubbly conditions.
According to, five of the 10 tallest buildings now under construction are in China. By 2015 the website estimates that Chinese skyscrapers will occupy spots Nos. 2, 3, 5, 9 and 10 of the tallest buildings in the world. Might the booming Chinese economy be susceptible to a bust?

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