Julie Crawshaw

To the growing number of China bears, add Kynikos hedge fund manager Jim Chanos, who is reportedly shorting the entire Chinese economy.

Chanos, among the first to see through Enron’s web of accounting tricks, told Politico.com he sees a similar situation evolving in China — starting with the fact that the $4.3 trillion Chinese economy is under-performing despite a $900 billion stimulus program.

Also, China seems to be cooking its books, making claims such as a huge surge in car sales while gasoline sales stay flat.

Finally, there’s a concern that China may have too much capacity to produce too many goods for too few buyers, notes financial journalist Ed Conway.

“China has grown to its current size, as do most ‘young’ economies, by exporting cheap goods to richer countries. . . (resulting in) the biggest trade surplus in history,” Conway writes in the UK Telegraph.

Chinese leaders, Conway points out, are doing whatever they can to keep the value of their currency low.

“Such a policy made sense when China had an economy that was relatively underdeveloped, and was trying to shield nascent exporters from volatility; but now, by keeping assets artificially cheap, it serves to exacerbate the bubble that is building up as a result of those low US interest rates,” Conway writes.

This, combined with trying to pump up the economy further by channeling cheap credit to companies, “could hardly be a more reliable recipe for an asset bubble,” Conway says.

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