WMP Debt Bomb Grows as Products Cross Invest

Earlier today: China's Default Bombs Haven't Been Defused

Bloomberg: China Default Chain Reaction Threatens Products Worth 35% of GDP
The risk of a default chain reaction is looming over the $3.6 trillion market for wealth management products in China.

WMPs, which traditionally funneled money from Chinese individuals into assets from corporate bonds to stocks and derivatives, are now increasingly investing in each other. Such holdings may have swelled to as much as 2.6 trillion yuan ($396 billion) last year, based on estimates from Autonomous Research this month.

The trend has China watchers worried. For starters, it means that bad investments by one WMP could infect others, causing a loss of confidence in products that play an important role in bank funding. It also suggests WMPs are struggling to find enough good assets to meet their return targets. In the event of widespread losses, cross-ownership will create more uncertainty over who’s vulnerable -- a key source of panic in 2008 when soured U.S. mortgage securities triggered a global financial crisis.

...The outstanding value of WMPs rose to 23.5 trillion yuan, or 35 percent of China’s gross domestic product, at the end of 2015 from 7.1 trillion yuan three years earlier, according to China Central Depository & Clearing Co. An average 3,500 WMPs were issued every week last year, with some mid-tier banks, such as China Merchants Bank Co. and China Everbright Bank Co., especially dependent on the products for funding.

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