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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

China's Pension Crises

I've linked to many an article discussing the pension crises in the U.S., as well as the impact of similar issues in Europe--basically, too few workers to pay the pensions of a rapidly expanding population of retirees (I can't say elderly, since in Europe and the U.S., many retirees are not). However, the "birth dearth" is not just limited to Europe or the U.S. or Japan. One of the biggest countries that will feel the impact is China. Commentators have noted that because of its one-child policy, China will become old before it becomes rich. It may have finally reached that point, according to this article:
Policy makers and economists have long been worried about the financial burden of China's expanding patchwork of pension schemes, but those concerns have recently escalated as its rural pension scheme took off in the past three years.

The funding shortage is daunting: economists say it could blow out to a whopping $10.8 trillion in the next 20 years from $2.6 trillion in 2010, towering over China's $3 trillion onshore savings, the biggest hoard of domestic savings in the world.

Time is not on China's side. Its fast-maturing society and economy -- thanks to a one-child policy and a rapid rise in living standards -- demand better pension coverage in future.

Yet China is already straining to hold things up.

Funding capacity is not keeping pace with swift growth in pension coverage as China sticks to safe but low-yielding investments for its pension funds.

To make bad matters worse, retirements are getting pricier on an ageing population, a shrinking work force, longer life expectancies, early retirements and generous pension payouts.

So pressing are China's pension problems that analysts say they can no longer be ignored. Xi Jinping, China's president-in-waiting, must raise retirement ages and supply pension funds with state assets for financing after he takes power next year.

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