Michael Pettis

Nonresident Senior Fellow
Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Pettis, an expert on China’s economy, is professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets.


MBA, Finance, Columbia University
MIA, Development Economics, Columbia University


Michael Pettis is a nonresident senior fellow in the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. An expert on China’s economy, Pettis is professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets. 

From 2002 to 2004, he also taught at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management and, from 1992 to 2001, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a member of the Institute of Latin American Studies Advisory Board at Columbia University as well as the Dean’s Advisory Board at the School of Public and International Affairs.

Pettis worked on Wall Street in trading, capital markets, and corporate finance since 1987, when he joined the sovereign debt trading team at Manufacturers Hanover (now JPMorgan). Most recently, from 1996 to 2001, Pettis worked at Bear Stearns, where he was managing director principal heading the Latin American capital markets and the liability management groups. He has also worked as a partner in a merchant-banking boutique that specialized in securitizing Latin American assets and at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he headed the emerging markets trading team.

In addition to trading and capital markets, Pettis has been involved in sovereign advisory work, including for the Mexican government on the privatization of its banking system, the Republic of Macedonia on the restructuring of its international bank debt, and the South Korean Ministry of Finance on the restructuring of the country’s commercial bank debt.

He formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of ABC-CA Fund Management Company, a Sino–French joint venture based in Shanghai. He is the author of several books, including The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy (Princeton University Press, 2013).


  • Op-Ed Financial Times August 2, 2021
    Why It Might Be Good For China if Foreign Investors Are Wary

    The chaos in Chinese stock markets last week was exacerbated by foreign investors selling Chinese shares, leaving Beijing’s regulators scrambling to regain their confidence while they tried to stabilize domestic markets.

  • Global Capital Is the Tail That Wags the U.S. Economic Dog
    Op-Ed Foreign Policy September 29, 2020
    Global Capital Is the Tail That Wags the U.S. Economic Dog

    Although Wall Street would be ferociously opposed to policies that limit the unfettered flow of capital around the world, the right polices could sharply reduce the economic disruption wreaked on workers, producers, farmers, and the middle class.

  • Why China’s Recovery is Not What it Seems
    Op-Ed Financial Times September 18, 2020
    Why China’s Recovery is Not What it Seems

    The data also showed that industrial production was 5.6 per cent higher and the data left most analysts convinced that China’s recovery from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic was both solid and sustainable.

  • Why Trade Wars Are Inevitable
    Op-Ed Foreign Policy October 19, 2019
    Why Trade Wars Are Inevitable

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, today’s trade surpluses are not the result of exceptional manufacturing efficiency or unusually hard-working and high-saving workforces.

  • 5 Smart Reasons to Tax Foreign Capital
    Op-Ed Bloomberg August 1, 2019
    5 Smart Reasons to Tax Foreign Capital

    Today’s U.S. trade deficits are driven mainly by capital flow imbalances. Tariffs are less efficient and only work by distorting the real economy and rearranging bilateral imbalances.

  • China’s Best Option for Responding to a Trade War
    Op-Ed Barron’s July 27, 2018
    China’s Best Option for Responding to a Trade War

    The threat of trade conflict with Americans could be good for the Chinese economy if it encourages the government to accelerate the domestic rebalancing that has been occurring since 2012.

  • Even $200 Billion Isn’t Enough
    Op-Ed Bloomberg May 20, 2018 中文
    Even $200 Billion Isn’t Enough

    Simply having China buy more American goods would make little difference to overall U.S. trade imbalances, but addressing U.S. capital imbalances with the world could be a more effective approach.

  • Protectionism Can’t Fix Trade Imbalances
    Op-Ed Bloomberg January 25, 2018
    Protectionism Can’t Fix Trade Imbalances

    The United States has to address its role in absorbing global capital if it wants to resolve trade deficits.

  • Why Beijing Should Dump Its Debt
    Op-Ed Foreign Policy January 16, 2018 中文
    Why Beijing Should Dump Its Debt

    China must force through a deleveraging process to overcome local barriers and restrain its crushing debt.

  • Let China's Workers Roam Free
    Op-Ed Bloomberg December 17, 2017
    Let China’s Workers Roam Free

    China’s recent crackdown on migrant workers in Beijing would limit labor mobility, but would also threaten its ability to manage its debt.

  • CNBC August 9, 2021
    China’s Exports Are Doing ‘Reasonably Well’ Despite Slowdown in Growth in July

    The pandemic has distorted year-over-year economic data due to “enormous base effects.”

  • How Financial Repression in China Helped Cause the Trade War
    Bloomberg September 30, 2019
    How Financial Repression in China Helped Cause the Trade War

    For years, China has experienced blistering growth. Driven by an investment-heavy economic model, this growth has limited household income while subsidizing business.

  • China Was Never Likely to Have a Debt Crisis
    CNBC February 28, 2018
    China Was Never Likely to Have a Debt Crisis

    While China is unlikely to have a debt crisis, it will face more difficulties when making the adjustment as debt accumulates. A strong leadership may then be required to implement necessary reforms.

  • On the Mechanics of Trade and the Chinese Economy
    Financial Times July 28, 2017
    On the Mechanics of Trade and the Chinese Economy

    Very large persistent surpluses and deficits are almost always the result of distorted policies in one or more countries.

  • Financial Sense February 16, 2017
    On Capital Flows and Debt Crisis

    Large concentrations of capital into a single market can eventually lead to a debt crisis and rising unemployment, making large infrastructure investment a necessity in both the United States and Europe.

  • CNBC July 15, 2015
    The Need for Slower Chinese Growth

    The high amount of debt, rather than the reported high amount of growth, should be the major concern of those watching China’s markets.

  • CNBC April 16, 2015
    Why the United States Shouldn’t Worry About the AIIB

    The reaction from the United States over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) translates into a victory for China.

  • CNBC November 12, 2013
    China Needs a Slow-Growth System

    The reforms necessary to rebalance China’s economy require the political resolve to reallocate resources and benefits from state elites to households.

  • Financial Times July 12, 2013
    Up Shibor Creek

    Overinvestment in China is creating debt problems, an experience that is similar to other historical investment-led growth miracles.

  • ABC News March 26, 2013
    Cyprus Banks Remain Shut

    The Cyprus banking crisis is an exaggerated version of the problems that persist throughout peripheral Europe.

  • Making China’s Economy Grow Again
    June 10, 2020 Live Online
    Making China’s Economy Grow Again

    Carnegie’s Yukon Huang and Michael Pettis will debate China’s growth prospects and economic policy trajectory, including the roles of the state and private sector and potential shifts in the growth model in a time of crisis.

  • More Turbulence Ahead? U.S.-China Relations After the Midterm Elections
    November 8, 2018 Beijing 中文
    More Turbulence Ahead? U.S.-China Relations After the Midterm Elections

    As frictions between the the U.S. and China rise, can leaders find ways to resolve security and trade disputes and establish a framework to manage competition in order to avoid zero-sum conflict?

  • October 2, 2017 Washington, DC 中文
    China’s Economy After the Party Congress

    As China’s 19th Party Congress approached, Carnegie scholars discussed the economic fundamentals that challenge China and the new leadership that will emerge from it.

  • May 12, 2016 Stanford, California 中文
    Inaugural Forum on Technology, Innovation, and International Affairs

    A discussion of the global geopolitical landscape, and the dramatic impact of technology and innovation as in shaping our world today and into the future.

  • January 14, 2016 Moscow 中文 English
    Asian Economy: Problems and Perspectives

    On January 14, Carnegie Moscow Center’s Russia in the Asia Pacific Program hosted a meeting between the Russian China experts and Michael Pettis.

  • October 27, 2015 Washington, DC 中文
    China’s Economic Rebalance

    Though China’s economy is rebalancing, some experts argue that Beijing waited too long to begin adjustments; debt levels are high and the economy still requires an unsustainably fast growth in credit to maintain high levels of economic activity.

  • April 24, 2013 Washington, DC 中文
    China’s First Steps Since the National People’s Congress

    China’s new leadership has taken shape since November and March but programmatic policy statements are not expected until around the time of the Third Plenum of the Central Committee in the autumn.

  • February 19, 2013 Beijing
    The Global Rebalancing

    The uncertain global economy and poor performance of economic giants such as Japan has led to doubts over China’s ability to maintain an eight percent growth model.

  • September 7, 2012 Washington, D.C. 中文
    How Can China Rebalance?

    Although China's government seems serious about rebalancing the country's economy away from its over-reliance on investment, historical precedents suggest that this will be very difficult.

  • September 22, 2011 Washington, D.C. 中文
    Rebalancing and Growth: The Arithmetic of Chinese Adjustment

    It is widely acknowledged that China must transform its growth model toward one more reliant on domestic consumption, and policy makers are warning that growth rates will slow sharply in the coming years to perhaps six to eight percent.

Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=444

Areas of Expertise

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