Dalio is right, China crash is 'canary in coal mine'


Closely watched investor Ray Dalio is right to sound the alarm on investment in China, RBC Capital Markets' Jonathan Golub said Thursday.

Following China's stock market crash, long time-China bull Dalio wrote to his Bridgewater Associates clients, "Our views about China have changed. There are now no safe places to invest."

China's main stock index recently plummeted 30 percent after running up more than 150 percent in about a year. In response, the government imposed a series of restrictions to stem the fall, including a ban on new initial public offerings and a measure preventing large stakeholders from selling their shares.

"I think this is the canary in the coal mine of more weakness in China," Golub told CNBC's "Squawk Box." The U.S. markets strategist said business investment is still driving Chinese growth, and that investment must slow because the country has far too much excess capacity.

Chinese policymakers have been attempting to engineer a transition from investment and export-led growth to a consumer-oriented economy. "They know they need to rebalance that. They've tried to do that by playing around with markets. That doesn't make any sense," Golub said. "They've stopped buying ... foreign sovereigns because they don't have the capital to do it."

David Zervos, chief strategist at Jefferies, agreed that Dalio is right to be nervous but said the China story is just getting started. "I think the reason he's probably nervous, and I would hold this nervousness, is you just don't like to see officials come in and close half the market's stock and say, 'Hey, you can't sell them anymore.' That is going to be for a trader a very difficult period," he told "Squawk Box."

However, he added, investors should expect the Chinese stock market to experience growing pains, and thus far, Chinese officials have been methodical about bringing markets to a nonmarket-based economy. "At the end of the day, in 10 years, they're going to be a $20 trillion economy and they're not going to have a $4 trillion stock market," he said, referring to the capitalization of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

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