Why does anyone quote Blankfein on China?
Asia Unhedged can’t pass this one up.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was quoted by US financial media yesterday when he attended a briefing hosted by the Wall Street Journal. The gist is that Blankfein, who’s been “bullish on China for years,” is slamming Beijing’s handling of market forces as amateurish in the wake of a summer meltdown in Chinese stocks.
Business Insider quoted Blankfein as saying it was a “ham-handed way they dealt with the collapse.”
“They don’t have a lot of experience at this market stuff.”
Market stuff? Whoa! Isn’t this the same Blankfein who nearly seven years ago (along with other US investment honchos) helped trigger the subprime crisis — one of the worst financial disasters in world history? The same Blankfein who said variously after crisis: “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret … ” And: “I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer.”
So Asia Unhedged humbly asks the question: Who is Lloyd Blankfein to be criticizing Chinese regulators?
One could argue that Blankfein is a roaringly successful and hence, quotable banker. After all, he and Goldman Sachs (the investment house that Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi called “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”) cried all the way to the bank after Wall Street rebounded from the crisis.
But consider this: One major reason why China no longer trusts US financial leadership is due to the billions lost by Chinese banks who bought subprime securities peddled by Goldman and other Wall Street houses. China’s new stance on the yuan and launch of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank must be viewed in this context.
Blankfein also commented Wednesday on Donald Trump. He said at the Journal briefing that Trump’s rise in the polls could signal American voters’ preference for political dealmakers instead of ideologues. He also said that Trump having his “finger on the (nuclear) button blows my mind.”
It blows our minds too. All the same, a lot of things seem to have changed since the 2008 financial crisis if people are quoting Blankfein. Next, they’ll be quoting Henry Blodget, the failed guru of the Internet Bubble (and Business Insider cofounder), on his latest picks in Internet stocks.