Can China’s reforms keep pace with its mounting debt pile?

Held on Monday, June 26, 2017


  • Michael Taylor (Moody’s Investors Service)

  • Daniel Widdicombe (China Construction Bank)

  • Miranda Carr (Haitong Securities UK)



There are plenty of sceptics when it comes to China. Over a decade of high growth, an astonishing savings rate, an extraordinary trade surplus… surely that can’t go on forever. Increasingly, the sceptics are pointing to the mounting piles of corporate and shadow banking debt as evidence that the party will stop eventually – perhaps abruptly.

The Chinese regime seems sanguine. Strengthened market oversight, greater domestic demand, and less active industrial intervention from the state have long been promised, and are (slowly) being delivered. However, whether those reforms will arrive in time to save China from a serious correction remains a trillion dollar question.

For several years, Michael Taylor – an old friend of the CSFI, who is now an MD for Moody’s and chief credit officer for AsiaPac, based in Hong Kong – has been popping over to brief us on developments, and he’s been less bearish than many. In case you missed it, Moody’s just got a touch more bearish.

We are, therefore, delighted that Michael – who had a distinguished career at the BofE, the HKMA and the Central Bank of Bahrain before joining Moody’s – has agreed to talk us through the firm’s recent sovereign downgrade.

But are Moody’s and others right to fear that reforms are coming too slowly? To debate the issues we are pleased to welcome two more experts:

  • Daniel Widdicombe is the head of investment banking at the China Construction Bank in London. Before joining CCB in 2009, he spent 18 years in China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, including a spell as head of Asian equity research at Bear Stearns.
  • Miranda Carr is head of China thematic research at Haitong Securities UK, and a former head of China research at North Square Blue Oak.

China is the elephant in the room as far as global economic prospects are concerned, and it cannot be ignored. If you would like to join us (and, perhaps, share your own views/concerns), please let us know by emailing or by calling the office on 020 7621 1056. As usual, sandwiches and refreshments will be provided.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton