Hugh Hendry, whose previous appearances have been well-logged by Zero Hedge, and who is currently raking the money thanks to long Treasury bet and his EURUSD short from when the pair was 20% higher, has never been a fan of China, and almost got into a fight with Marc Faber recently discussing the country's future prospects. In fact, Hendry uttered this memorable soundbite back in February, in which he mopped the floor with Goldman permabull Jim "BRIC" O'Neill: "I love Jim O'Neill. I love that Goldman Sachs guy. He says you either get it, or you don't. I don't get it. In the future there will be a Confucius saying: the wise man not invest in overcapacity. The flaw of the business model, at the center of it is a craving for power as opposed to profit." BusinessWeek reports that Hendry has now officially put his money where his mouth is and has bought puts on 20 companies that will profit from “a dramatic collapse” of China’s growth. With the Chinese stock market approaching 52 week lows, will Ecclectica soon become the next Paulson & Co. hedge fund iteration, even as the latter continues (allegedly) to bet on a US recovery, and thus stands to lose tens of billions if the thesis does not play out (although we are fairly confident Paulson's long stock positions are matched by even longer CDS hedges... but without additional data, we can never be sure).
More from BusinessWeek:
“There are striking parallels with Japan in the 1920s, when ultimately the whole system collapsed,” said Hendry, 41, whose firm manages $420 million in assets. “China could precipitate a much greater crisis elsewhere in the world.”
Japan’s export boom collapsed after the war amid excess global capacity, slashing growth and sparking a stock-market crash and bank runs.
Hendry’s flagship Eclectica Fund, a global macro hedge fund with $180 million in assets, may gain almost $500 million from its options if China’s economy plunges into a recession, he said. The options cost the fund about 1.5 percent of its net asset value annually, Hendry said.
China’s vulnerability to a crash comes from the “inherent instability” created by a lending binge for infrastructure projects that’s “unprecedented in 400 years of economic history,” Hendry said. The country is also exposed to exports to a U.S. economy that could shrink from $14.6 trillion at the end of March to $10 trillion within 10 years, he said.
“China’s at the mercy of a credit bubble,” Hendry said. “Once you’ve unleashed the genie it’s out there. They are ultimately unstable and it’s that instability that creates their demise.”
China’s bubble may burst within a year or it may take three years, as Citigroup Inc. economists Willem Buiter and Shen Minggao estimate, Hendry said.
The only thing that can save China, and the US for that matter, is the same liquidity glut that it has been gushing for the past several years. Alas, that particular last Keynesian defense mechanism will fail, but not before central banks in conjunction with the true rulers of the world, most of whom reside at 15 CPW attempt to create hyperinflation. Yes, there is a reason why Paulson has 30% of his $21 billion in gold-related assets.