Dealing with financial risks has become a focus of China’s economic and financial policies. High leverage and structural imbalance of leverage are the main sources of risks in contemporary China, and the latter one is the core issue. According to the data from BIS, up to June 2017, China’s macro leverage (total debt/GDP) was 255.9%, which was above the emerging market average 190%, and the U.S. 249.5%. In terms of the structure, China’s non-financial sector exhibits a leverage ratio of 163.4%, which is ranked first among all major economies. This figure is well above the euro zone, Japan and the U.S. at 103.4%, 102.1% and 73.3% respectively. China’s ratio is also higher than that of emerging market economies such as India. The leverage ratios of China’s household sector and the government sector are 46.8% and 45.7% respectively. Although these figures are relatively low, the residential sector’s leverage is escalating rapidly. Therefore, macro-leverage and structural imbalance are serious challenges. It not only increases financial risks, but also drags down the real/tangible economy. Thus, reducing debt leverage while stabilizing economic growth at the same time is a focus of economic and financial policies. The innovation of this paper is embodied in methodology. In reality, the economy is often in " suboptimal equilibrium” rather than in " optimal equilibrium”, so correcting a " distortion” does not necessarily bring about efficiency. As a result, the local equilibrium analysis cannot fully depict the macro-economic operation. Due to assumptions such as profit maximization etc., mainstream methodology represented by the DSGE model is controversial after the 2008 financial crisis. Just like Koo (2003) pointed out, " debt minimization” is the objective of the economic agents in the " Yin” stage of the economic cycle. This study constructs a five-sector stock-flow consistent model to analyze heterogeneous effects on deleveraging and stabilizing the economic growth of various monetary policies, fiscal policies and enterprise micro-level measures (or portfolios of the measures). The SFC model integrates the transaction behavior of macroeconomic departments into a unified dynamic framework and considers the consistency of stock and flow, which is helpful to overcome the deficiencies of the local equilibrium analysis. Moreover, no optimization condition is required for the SFC model. Simulation results show that the contractionary monetary policy will increase the leverage of governments and enterprises, decrease household leverage, and exert a mild negative effect on macro-economy; the increasing growth rate of government expenditure and the decreasing personal income tax rate will both have a win-win effect on deleveraging and stabilizing economic growth, but with a more effective deleveraging result for former measure. The latter one can balance deleverage and economic growth in a more efficient way. Equity financing has an apparent effect on enterprise deleveraging with a mild negative effect on economic growth; transitioning from the investment-driven mode to the consumption-driven mode of economic development will in favor of deleveraging for the government and enterprise sectors while balancing economic growth depends on different portfolios of policies. For enterprise micro-level measures, decreasing the dividend payout ratio for example, will have different effects on deleveraging for different macro-sectors. Deleveraging is a comprehensive task. The leverage does not vanish out of thin air, so it needs to be analyzed both from the macroscopic and structural perspectives. The influence of the policies on the numerator and the denominator of the same equation needs to be considered at the same time. Taking monetary policies as an example, the tightening of monetary policies, on the one hand, will reduce debt growth, that is, to prevent the augmentation of leverage. Nevertheless, it will also affect the economic growth rate. Therefore, the combined influence does not necessarily reduce the leverage. The final effect depends on the relative changes in the numerator and the denominator. As the case for China, which has high debt stocks and leverage, tighter monetary policies would aggravate the interest burden on highly leveraged sectors and increase the probability of some companies conducting speculating and Ponzi financing.
Rebalance: Deleveraging and Stabilizing Economic Growth — Based on an Analysis of the Stock-Flow Consistent Model
Journal of Finance and Economics Vol. 44, Issue 10, pp. 4 - 23 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.jfe.2018.10.001
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Cite this article
Chen Dafei, Shao Yu, Yang Xiaohai. Rebalance: Deleveraging and Stabilizing Economic Growth — Based on an Analysis of the Stock-Flow Consistent Model[J]. Journal of Finance and Economics, 2018, 44(10): 4-23.
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