|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as optimistically predicted his country’s growth in 2009. Image credit: worldeconomicforum at Flickr under a Creative Commons license.|
A story that stuck out at me came from the New York Times, which quoted Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, as optimistically predicting the country’s growth in 2009 at 8 percent. That’s pretty optimistic compared to many other economist predictions – some as low as 4 percent or less for the year.
From the Times article:
Eager to calm concerns that his country's economy would not avoid recession, Mr. Wen struck an unabashedly upbeat tone.
"I can give you a definitive answer," he said. "Yes, it will; we are full of confidence."
Mr. Wen, in a rare appearance by a top Chinese official at Davos, said that the Chinese government had set a goal of 8 percent growth in 2009, which he called "an attainable target through hard work." He reeled off statistics that showed bank lending and investment, after slowing sharply in the fall, picked up in December and January.
"The harsh winter will be gone and spring is around the corner," Mr. Wen said.
"Real retail sales growth was about 17.5% in both November and December. So, the Chinese consumer is a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy global picture. ...
The optimistic scenario is that the economy begins to accelerate from the second quarter on. The stimulus package begins to have significant effects on construction and hence manufacturing."