Amid the growing number of cases of bank run and talks of an upcoming financial crisis, the Chinese government has put restrictions on large cash withdrawals. In the last few weeks, many local banks have been unable to pay back customers as a large number of people gathered to withdraw their deposits.
The rumours about the collapse of the Chinese economy and its financial systems have started a rush to withdraw the deposits. The local governments and the police in both Hebei and Shanxi provinces have pleaded with customers to not withdraw cash from banks on ‘unsubstantiated rumours’.
But, when the assurance from the local governments and warnings from police did not work, the government launched a pilot program in Hebei province requiring the businesses and public to seek approval from authorities to withdraw their own money. The two-year pilot program will be expanded to Zhejiang and Shenzhen provinces in October this year, encompassing 70 million people in three provinces.
As per the new regulation, from July 1 the businesses and individuals in Hebei province have to provide information about transactions exceeding 500,000 Yuan and 100,000 Yuan respectively.
Previously, after a group of depositors rushed to withdraw cash, Baoding Bank in the Baoding city of Hebei province said that people “should not believe in or spread rumours … and should jointly be safeguarding good financial and social order.”
Yangquan commercial bank in the city of Yangquan of Shanxi province has also released a similar statement after the depositors rushed to the local branch in anticipation of the bank’s inability to pay back.
After China brought the pilot program to limit withdrawals, Bloomberg reported, “Chinese lenders are facing a surge in bad debt with the economy set to expand at the slowest pace in four decades. Authorities stepped in last month to halt banks runs at two local lenders in Hebei and Shanxi. That comes on top of an already shaky situation last year, which saw China bailout and seize several struggling banks.”
Local police have started arresting people who talk about the collapse of the Chinese economy and the failure of the banks to pay back the deposits. The 40 trillion dollars banking system- arguably the largest in the world- is under strain due to growing defaults from companies and business, and this led to insecurity among the depositors.
The non-performing assets (NPAs) of China’s local banks have grown exponentially in the last few years as the artificial real estate boom went bust and a number of companies defaulted on loans.
A few days ago, a gold scam worth billions of dollars was reported in China. Kingold Jewelry Inc, China’s largest privately-owned gold processing and jewellery company headquartered in Wuhan, took a loan of more than 20 billion Yuan, that is, 2.8 billion dollars with pure gold as collateral. But, when the shadow banks claimed the gold after the company was unable to pay back, they found that what the company claimed as pure gold was actually copper.
This sent shockwaves in the Chinese shadow banking industry and the shares of shadow banks, known as Trusts in China, collapsed. In the latest developments, Sichuan Trust, one of China’s largest shadow banks, apologized to investors for missing the deadline for payments on financial products.
Apart from local banks, shadow banks which are a 3 trillion dollar industry in China, have also started to collapse. A few days ago, Sichuan Trust, one of China’s largest shadow banks, apologized to investors for missing the deadline for payments on financial products.
The distrust in the Chinese financial system grew after the Coronavirus pandemic which led to the closing down of many businesses. The increasing momentum for the boycott of Chinese goods in countries like India, the United States- which constitute some of the largest markets for Chinese companies- has added fuel to the fire. China’s aggression in the Himalayas and the South China Sea will result in heavy losses for Chinese companies which are dependent on exports for business.
The Chinese companies have lost the market worth trillions of dollars due to the Coronavirus lockdown and sentiment against Chinese goods in the last few months. This means that these businesses would be unable to pay back and therefore prone to default, which will fuel distrust in banks leading to panic withdrawal of deposits.
Therefore, the Chinese economy is set to suffer a big jolt in the next few days, shockwaves of which would be felt around the world. And as we have said before, China’s counterfeit culture and forced demand creation are to be blamed.