China’s Renewed Drive to Tame Its Debt Pile Starts to Bite

From Bloomberg, 5 May 2017:

Signs are emerging that the Chinese government’s renewed drive to curb financial leverage is starting to bite.

The number of wealth-management products (WMPs) issued by Chinese banks slumped 39 percent in April from the previous month, while trust firms distributed 35 percent fewer products, according to data compilers PY Standard and Use Trust….

…The recent regulatory moves erased more than $300 billion of stock-market value and sent bond yields to the highest level in nearly two years as investors speculated the crackdown will curtail the amount of funds available for investment in financial markets.

It’s a valid concern: Chinese banks sold 5,989 wealth-management products last month, down from March’s 9,829, which was the highest since at least December 2015, according to PY Standard, a Chengdu-based financial data provider….

Retail Tenancy Mediation

In April 2017, Steve mediated a long-running dispute in a retail tenancy matter in a suburban shopping centre.

Negotiations between the Landlord and Tenant, to agree a new lease, had been protracted (some 18 months) and no agreement achieved. The tenant continued to trade under a periodic tenancy for a total of about 30 months before receiving notice from the Landlord to terminate the tenancy. The Tenant disputed the notice in litigation, which was pending at the time of the mediation.

The dispute was complicated by a third-party licensor who affected the retail trader’s business and that of other tenants in the same shopping centre.

In an extended one-day mediation conference, Steve facilitated the parties’ achieving agreement to a new lease for many years, subject to the approval of the third-party licensor, which is highly-likely to be given, thus settling this long-running dispute and enabling all parties to continue to trade.

Payment Claim Adjudications

In the first quarter of the 2017 calendar year, Steve was appointed by to adjudicate payment-claim disputes, each for amounts under $100k.

In two of the matters, Steve successfully encouraged the parties to settle the matter by mutual consent and the Applicant was able to withdraw the application (in accordance with the recently-amended Construction COntracts Act), thus reducing the costs and minimising the impact on the commercial relations between the parties.

Steve determined the other three matters in accordance with the Act.

Family Agribusiness Dispute Resolved

Steve recently successfully facilitated the resolution of a family agribusiness dispute by mediation.

The business is substantial, including many thousands of hectares of land, substantial stock holdings, and production of multiple crops. The dispute involved siblings and also crossed generations of the family. It involved issues of estate planning, succession and orderly separation of assets amongst the next generation.

The dispute had been extended over recent years. Communication between family members had been reduced to written exchanges via legal representatives of each party. A substantial financier of the business was threatening to foreclose on some mortgages.

The mediation outcome was a written, commercially-enforceable heads of agreement acceptable to all parties, which outlines other legal instruments and deeds that will be drafted by the parties to give effect to the heads of agreement.

As a result of this successful outcome, the farming assets, which were acquired over several generations in more than a century, will remain in the hands of the family, which is expected to successfully trade out of its debts in the long term.

Not a crisis, but a serious problem for the long haul


Testimony by Alice M. Rivlin, Senior Fellow – Economic Studies, Center for Health Policy, before the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress on September 8, 2016:

…..our national debt is high in relation to the size of our economy and will likely rise faster than the economy can grow over the next several decades if budget policies are not changed. Debt held by public is about 74 percent of GDP and likely to rise to about 87 percent in ten years and to keep rising after that.

This rising debt burden is a particularly hard problem for our political system to handle because it is not a crisis. Nothing terrible will happen if we take no action this year or next. Investors here and around the world will continue to lend us all the money we need at low interest rates with touching confidence that they are buying the safest securities money can buy. Rather, the prospect of a rising debt burden is a serious problem that demands sensible management beginning now and continuing for the foreseeable future.

What makes reducing the debt burden so challenging is that we need to tackle two aspects of the debt burden at the same time. We need policies that help grow the GDP faster and slow the growth of debt simultaneously. To grow faster we need a substantial sustained increase in public and private investment aimed at accelerating the growth of productivity and incomes in ways that benefit average workers and provide opportunities for those stuck in low wage jobs. At the same time we need to adjust our tax and entitlement programs to reverse the growth in the ratio of debt to GDP. Winning broad public understanding and support of basic elements of this agenda will require the leadership of the both parties to work together, which would be difficult even in a less polarized atmosphere. The big uncertainty is whether our deeply broken political system is still up to the challenge.

…..There are three necessary elements of a long-run debt reduction plan:

Putting the Social Security program on sustainable track for the long run with some combination higher revenues and reductions in benefits for higher earners.
Gradually adjusting Medicare and Medicaid so that federal health spending is not rising faster than the economy is growing….
Adjusting our complex, inefficient tax system so that we raise more revenue in a more progressive and growth-friendly way and encourage the shift from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources…..

Amristar moving forward

Amristar Solutions Pty Ltd (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amristar Pty Ltd – formerly iDelve Pty Ltd) have engaged Lieblich & Associates as business consultant to assist with special projects. Steve was formerly on the Board of both companies for over ten years, much of that time, as Chairman.

The Lieblich Superannuation Fund, which is a related entity of Lieblich & Associates, holds 20% of Amristar Pty Ltd.