Dear readers, we tell you, it’s just never enough. “Gimme, gimme, gimme,” we hear over and over again from the rich, the poor and everyone in between. But when it came to headlines this week we got more than our fill of shortfalls and shortages.
To start with, word came round early in the week that China’s unyielding water shortage is only going to get worse despite attempts to pump water from the typhoon-laden south to the country’s parched provinces up north. Then we heard that banks couldn’t find buyers for their bad debt as asset management companies had found actual assets to manage elsewhere in the market. Meanwhile, port stockpiles of iron ore dipped below 100 million tons. Practically nothing!
Even local governments came up short in the search for property purchasers, it seems, and had to buy their own land to try and keep prices from plummeting. That’s not even the joke–which is why it’s so funny. Maybe they figured simply ignoring the laws of supply and demand would make them go away. (That was the joke. Sorry it’s not very funny.)
Speaking of supply and demand, authorities banned all import of eggs and poultry from the US on fears of avian influenza. We suppose you can’t make a food-safety omelet without cracking a few eggs, but even so, it’s probably best to watch out for Salmonella if this week’s developments are any indication: Turns out there was a shortage of everything but filth at 7,000 of mainland China’s food processing factories, nearly half of which failed to pass quality inspection.
And China’s poor, pitiful pensioners may soon see their fund get shafted out of millions of dollars as state-owned firms seek private stock issuance in Hong Kong, skirting the rules that require them to pay out of pocket from the funds they receive in a public listing.
Still, at least the State Council stepped in to take a whack at solving the pension fund’s truly horrific shortfall of cash flows. And, much to central bankers’ chagrin, it seems there’s plenty of nefarious shadow banking at hand for credit-hungry businesses in need of a quick loan.
Maybe we should talk to our shadow-banking man in Wuhan to see about setting up a deal between China’s pensioners and its thriving off-the-books financiers. Sure it might all go south as soon as the ink dries, but just think of the finder’s fee we’d get!