German fund manager worried about risk of Chinese crash
The head of DWS, the biggest German investment fund, feels a Chinese crisis is the biggest threat to the global economy at present, he said in an interview to be published on Friday.
"The biggest risk to global financial markets is an economic slump in China," Klaus Kaldemorgen told the magazine Capital.
"A crisis in China would be much more dangerous for the global economy now than a crisis in the United States," he added.
Many observers are carefully watching US economic indicators for signs of a possible slide back into recession in the world's biggest economy.
But Kaldemorgen said the Chinese real-estate market, which has boomed in recent years, was what worried him most.
"The Chinese are buying more real-estate assets than they need themselves, they are speculating," he explained, which could lead to a "wave of sell-offs" when the market peaked.
Kaldemorgen noted the poor quality of some Chinese buildings and forecast that in 12-15 years many would begin to show signs of wear, at which point there could be a rush to offload them.
The fund manager did not say how much his group had invested in China.
China, and Asia generally, has attracted huge and growing investment interest as the region has fared much better than the West through the global slump and financial crisis.
Many believe Asia offers sustained returns for many years to come but there have been other warnings that the speculative element in the Asian markets could spark trouble if allowed to get out of hand.
In 1997-98, Asia suffered its own financial crisis which resulted in massive International Monetary Fund bailouts for some countries along with several years of sub-par growth.
DWS, which manages assets for Germany' biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, has around 262 billion euros (350 billion dollars) under management, making it one of the biggest investment funds worldwide.
© 2010 AFP