Why China Is In Trouble

August 21, 2015

The course of an economy is determined by the course of that economy's money supply (broadly determined). The relationship between money growth and nominal GDP growth is presented in the accompanying chart. It is persuasive. Indeed, money, not fiscal policy, dominates.


As I listen to all the ad hoc conjectures about the state of China's economy and its near-term prospects, I am astounded to never hear anything said about the most important determinant of nominal economic growth: the money supply. The second chart tells the tale. The picture is not a pretty one. China's money supply growth rate has been slowing down since early 2012. It now is growing at an annual rate of about 10%, which is well below the trend rate of money growth: 17.06%. China is in trouble. Slower money supply growth means that slower nominal GDP growth is already baked in the cake.


Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. You can follow him on Twitter: @Steve_Hanke 

During 1500s the Spaniards had taken 16,000,000 kilograms of silver from Peru.