Authored by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog,
The world economy is premised on a ludicrous idea – that Asia, then India, and then Africa will continue to drive economic growth.
So as not to turn this article into a book, lets consider this idea focusing on East Asia consisting of China, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, and minor others. This region consists of 1.6 billion persons or about 22% of earths inhabitants. However, since 2008, it is this region that is responsible for nearly 100% of the global increase in demand for oil (best proxy available for true economic growth) and having primarily driven global economic growth. My point in this article is that the growth in this region is entirely a credit driven supernova against collapsing populations which will never be able to fill the 100+ million newly added apartments or pay back the debt incurred to achieve the “growth”. Contrarily, from an investor standpoint, this weakness is the green light to “invest” as aggressively as possible because as long as central banks exist, they have your back.
Consider, since 2000, China’s debt outstanding has risen something like 14x’s to 17x’s or from about $2 trillion to something between $30 to $35 trillion presently. As for Japan, who knows Japan’s true debt as Japan’s central bank is buying much or most of the debt and essentially throwing it in a black hole, never to be seen again(…monetization with a capital “M”).
Why the massive debt creation and central bank monetization? Depopulation with a capital “D”. First off, consider the collapse in fertility rates for these nations (chart below). To maintain a constant, zero growth population, the childbearing population needs to produce 2.1 children in order to replace themselves (dashed line, below). However, as the chart below shows, E. Asian nations have seen negative fertility rates for decades (Japan turning negative in ’74, S. Korea in ’83, China in ’92, and N. Korea in ’96).
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.