Billionaire Macro Trader George Soros: China Is Facing An Economic Crisis

Billionaire Macro Trader George Soros: China Is Facing An Economic Crisis


Photo: George Soros speaks at the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta)

China’s real estate industry has been hit by a series of defaulting developers and prices are falling on homes and land. The country is facing an economic crisis and its president may not be able to restore confidence in the troubled industry, says billionaire George Soros, a critic of Xi Jinping in recent years.

Soros joined a panel discussion on Monday, Jan. 31 at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution to discuss developments in China and how the U.S. should respond.

For 10 years, China’s growth story has revolved around construction and over-supplied real estate, Forbes reported. Real estate and related industries account for as much as 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. China’s economy expanded 8.1 percent in 2021, exceeding government targets. However, slower growth in the last months of 2021 suggested that the real estate crisis, new covid outbreaks and strict controls are taking their toll. Economic growth is expected to slow to 4.8 percent in 2022.

The collapse, starting in August, of China’s second-largest real estate property developer, Evergrande Group, signaled the end of the real estate boom. The company’s ballooning debt and inability to make interest payments raised fears that the potential fallout could have far-reaching implications outside China’s borders. China’s government loosened credit, opened up mortgages, and funneled money to bankrupt developers, but that only made the bust slightly less extreme.

The real estate boom was based on an “unsustainable” model that encouraged people to invest the bulk of their savings in property and benefited local governments, Soros said, according to a CNN report. Government policies designed to curb the boom made it difficult for Evergrande to pay its debts, he added.

A Hungarian-born Jewish investor who supports progressive and liberal political causes, Soros is the chairman and founder of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations. He became known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” after his short sale of $10 billion worth of pounds sterling earned him a $1 billion profit during the 1992 Black Wednesday U.K. currency crisis.

Soros formulated the General Theory of Reflexivity for capital markets, which he says provides a clear picture of asset bubbles and fundamental market value of securities, as well as value discrepancies used for shorting and swapping stocks.

He has donated more than $32 billion to his foundations as of March 2021, earning him Forbes’ designation as “most generous giver.” Soros has a net worth of $8.6 billion.

Soros was born in Budapest and survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary. He has become the poster child for reforming global capitalism and is credited with influencing the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in the 1980s.

He has also become a punching bag for Communist China.

In an Aug. 30, 2021 op-ed published in the Financial Times, Soros said that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on private enterprise is “a significant drag on the Chinese economy” and “could lead to a crash.”

The Chinese government responded on Sept. 4 with an ad-hominem attack in the government-controlled newspaper Global Times, describing Soros as a “global economic terrorist,” “the most evil person in the world” and “the son of Satan.” The attack was seen by some as part of the growing tensions in U.S.-China relations, the Standard and Asia Times reported.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?

Soros has criticized China over its surveillance policies. In September, he said that asset manager BlackRock was making a “tragic mistake” by doing more business in China.

The Chinese government isn’t the only enemy of Soros. He has been blamed by far-right U.S. groups for funding a migrant caravan from Honduras that made its way to the U.S, border with Mexico and for financing and orchestrating the neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville in August 2017. He’s accused of masterminding a plot for “white genocide”, in which white people are being replaced by immigrants and will ultimately be eliminated. That explains the neo-Nazi chant, “Jews will not replace us!” as they marched through Charlottesville, BBC reported. Conspiracy theories about Soros appeared in the early 1990s but multiplied after he condemned the 2003 Iraq War and started donating millions of dollars to the Democratic Party. 

Evergrande has more than $300 billion in liabilities, including $19 billion in offshore bonds held by international asset managers and private banks for their clients, CNN reported. The company has tried to raise cash to repay lenders and has asked for more time, but some lenders seem unwilling to wait. The Chinese communist government took over the company to restructure it, but there are no clear answers on what to expect.

READ MORE: Chinese State Media Calls George Soros ‘Son of Satan’: 3 Things To Know About Their Beef

Photo: George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, speaks during a forum “Charting A New Growth Path for the Euro Zone” at the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta)