In case you missed it, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced yesterday that China is looking to spend its foreign exchange reserves. When Western politicians and economists called on China to bolster its consumption and demand, I don't think this is what they had in mind.
As part of its continued efforts to reduce exposure to the U.S. Dollar, China will use portions of its $2.132 trillion - yes, trillion - forex reserve chest to purchase tangible and corporate assets abroad. The announcement comes less than one week after China appointed Yi Gang as the new head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
Ostensibly energy and natural resources firms will be first on the acquisition list. Prepare for an uptick in xenophobia and anti-Chinese sentiment on Capitol Hill as China's state-owned companies take advantage of depressed asset prices to buy up U.S. companies and business units of multinationals with sensitive technologies.
One wonders which banks stand to gain from the underwriting and due diligence requirements coming in the months and years ahead, and whether outside consultants are advising SAFE on its investment strategy.
It will be interesting to see if/how this impacts Chinese demand for U.S. Treasuries. Without the Chinese government's continued purchases of U.S. debt, the costs of the Obama Administration's ambitious policy agenda will escalate further. On top of the declining support for his policies, an inability to acquire debt financing would leave his initiatives stillborn.