People with persistent anti-China bias should clear their minds and not be blind to China’s rise in a changing world, Ray Dalio, founder of the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates, wrote in an opinion piece for the Financial Times on Friday.
“Prejudice and bias always blind people to opportunity,” he argued, before suggesting China skeptics keep their minds clear to see what is actually happening in the country.
China’s economy grew in 2019 without monetizing debt, Dalio noted, adding that it also produces more than it consumes and achieves a balance of payments surplus.
When almost all countries are still struggling against the pandemic, China has achieved some of the world’s lowest COVID-19 case rates, the Bridgewater founder wrote, noting that “nearly half the world’s initial public offerings will be in China this year, including Ant Financial’s $30bn listing, the world’s biggest ever. Even Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 car may soon be made entirely in China.”
Dalio opined that many are missing China’s extraordinary performance, including its remarkable economic changes over the past four decades, due to a persistent anti-China bias.
“Since 1984, (China’s) per capita incomes have risen more than 30 times, life expectancy has increased by a decade and poverty rates have fallen nearly to zero,” he wrote.
He argued Chinese stocks and bonds are undervalued. “China’s fundamentals are strong, its assets relatively attractively priced … These currently account for 3 percent or less of foreign portfolio holdings; a neutral weighting would be closer to 15 percent.”
In his view, the discrepancy is “at least in part due to anti-Chinese bias” and is going to change. “Chinese markets are opening up to foreigners, who can now access at least 60 percent of them compared with 1 percent in 2015. Benchmark weights in major indices are rising.”
And Dalio projected that China will “enjoy favorable capital inflows that will support the currency, already at a two-year high, and financial markets too.”
Meanwhile, he held that the world will inevitably be affected by China-U.S. relations and contended that “time is on China’s side.”
“China’s economy is roughly the same size as the U.S.’s and expanding at a faster pace. It has a growing population of well-educated people, with around a third of the world’s science and technology university majors, three times the U.S. share,” Dalio explained.
China rivals the U.S. in advanced technologies, he added, and will probably take the lead in five years.