A former Chinese central bank adviser says Global Crisis ‘Inevitable’ Unless U.S. Starts Saving.

Another global financial crisis triggered by a loss of confidence in the dollar may be inevitable unless the U.S. saves more, said Yu Yongding, a former Chinese central bank adviser.

It’s “very natural” for the world to be concerned about the U.S. government’s spending and planned record fiscal deficit, Yu said in e-mailed comments yesterday relating to a visit to Beijing by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The Obama administration aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to “roughly” 3 percent of gross domestic product from a projected 12.9 percent this year, Geithner reaffirmed today. The treasury secretary added that China’s investments in U.S. financial assets are very safe, and that the Obama administration is committed to a strong dollar.

It may be helpful if “Geithner can show us some arithmetic,” said Yu. “We need to know how the U.S. government can achieve this objective.”

The deficit is projected to reach $1.75 trillion in the year ending Sept. 30 from last year’s $455 billion shortfall, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The U.S. needs a higher savings rate and a smaller deficit on the current account, which is the broadest measure of trade, or “another financial crisis triggered by a dollar crisis could be inevitable,” the Chinese academic said.

Referring to the Federal Reserve “as the world’s biggest junk investor,” and to Chairman Ben S. Bernanke as “helicopter Ben,” Yu said the Fed has dropped “tons of money from the sky since the subprime crisis.”

“The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve not only has expanded like mad but is also ridden with ‘rubbish’ assets,” he said

Yu Yongding is not the only one questioning Geithner’s math. How about it Tim, can we see your scribbles?

In related news Geithner tells China its dollar assets are safe. The crowd laughed…

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday reassured the Chinese government that its huge holdings of dollar assets are safe and reaffirmed his faith in a strong U.S. currency.

China is the biggest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury bonds. U.S. data shows that it held $768 billion in Treasuries as of March, but some analysts believe China’s total U.S. dollar-denominated investments could be twice as high.

“Chinese assets are very safe,” Geithner said in response to a question after a speech at Peking University, where he studied Chinese as a student in the 1980s.

His answer drew loud laughter from his student audience, reflecting scepticism in China about the wisdom of a developing country accumulating a vast stockpile of foreign reserves instead of spending the money to raise living standards at home.

In his speech, Geithner renewed pledges that the Obama administration would cut its huge fiscal deficits and promised “very disciplined” future spending, possibly including reintroduction of pay-as-you-go budget rules instead of nonstop borrowing.

“We have the deepest and most liquid markets for risk-free assets in the world. We’re committed to bring our fiscal deficits down over time to a sustainable level.

“We believe in a strong dollar … and we’re going to make sure that we repair and reform the financial system so that we sustain confidence,” he said.

But Geithner said there could be no return to business as usual either for the United States or China: both must change their growth strategies as U.S. consumers pay down debt after years of living beyond their means.

So far Geithner is repeating the strong dollar policy of Snow and Paulson: Yapping about it while the administration does everything to destroy it.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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