While market watchers fixated on the debt ceiling in the United States, as the clock for raising the ceiling was again reset by Congress, debt issues in China likely pose a more significant threat to the global economy. It’s a risk not lost on Chinese policymakers, who are adopting new practices in order to wean their economy off dept dependence before the worst happens. But with the current levels of debt, economic imbalances and perhaps most importantly high debt inefficiency that clock is ticking. And unlike the U.S. Congress’ debt clock, this Chinese one is not going to be reset by a simple vote of politicians to borrow more. It is imbalances such as these not so easily addressed that pose the real threat to the stock market.
Prospects are excellent for a positive year in the stock market in 2011. Odds are good also for that strength to carry over into 2012, although it’s a bit early to prognosticate on next year. This bull market is still relatively young and should have further to run. Although I am no fan of the accommodative monetary policy of the Federal Reserve believing it led to the housing bubble and is fueling rises in commodity prices today, I am also quick to admit that in the near term it is a positive for the stock market. “Don’t Fight the Fed” is a popular saying among investors for good reason. The economy is growing, stock prices are rising and these trends will likely continue for a time.