|Although exports have slowed down, they contributed to China's GDP growth in 2008. But in this gloomy global economy, some factories will close and workers will lose jobs as it slows down further.|
The details of the third quarter report provided some good news. Exports are slowing gradually, but still contributed to the GDP growth in 2008. Retail sales growth hit its highest level in nine years and was at 18% in real terms in September. So far, Chinese consumption is holding up. And the easing of inflation to under 5% means that the government has scope to loosen monetary and fiscal policy. The government is planning to respond to the potential for further growth declines with accelerated spending on reconstruction of the earthquake-affected areas and with infrastructure projects more generally.
The World Bank released the China Quarterly Update —of which I’m the lead author, full disclosure here-- today at a press launch in our Beijing office. The economic journalists noticed that the Bank’s projection for GDP growth in 2008 is now 9.8 percent, more than 2 percentage points lower than the outcome in 2007.
Last week China reported its first quarter GDP data. Consumer inflation for the quarter was 8%, which is too high, but we already knew that. The main news was that GDP growth came in at 10.6% year-on-year. This is down from last year’s 11.7% rate, but higher than most forecasts for 2008 (including the Bank’
The year 2007 was an important milestone in modern economic history. While the U.S. grew well, China contributed more to global GDP growth than the U.S. did. That pattern is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Roughly speaking, the U.S. economy is about four times the size of China’s. If the U.S.