China may be the buyer of last resort for automakers

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Ford (F) needs money and is almost certainly willing to sell Volvo to add cash to its balance sheet. A Chinese car company may be willing to oblige. According toThe Times, "Geely Automotive, a Chinese car manufacturer, has appointed NM Rothschild to advise on a possible bid for loss-making Volvo."

China is one of the few places with potential buyers of Western auto company assets. The central government can make capital available since China has built up a tremendous balance sheet of its own after having years of trade surpluses.

Because of the wealth of the Chinese government, it can afford to play a long-term game that other governments or private enterprises cannot. It may be willing to wait out the revival of the car markets in the US, UK, and EU and be one of the few that has enough capacity and capital to quickly meet the demand of an improving economic environment. Even if it takes two or three years, China has the time and the money.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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