Upside to the Chinese economic slowdown?

ImageCOMPELLING READ: CFR this week has published an interview with Patrick Chovanec, Associate Professor of Practice, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, which examines the Chinese economic slowdown from a number of perspectives. The interview is short and can be read quickly, but gives some useful insights.

What are the potential repercussions of China’s economic situation on the U.S. and global economies?

It depends where you sit relative to the Chinese economy. There are countries and companies that have been riding this investment boom that has been driving Chinese growth, but I would argue that is not sustainable and is now collapsing under its own weight. And for those countries–like Australia selling iron ore, Chile selling copper, Brazil selling iron ore, Germany selling machinery–they’re very exposed to this economic adjustment that’s taking place, this correction.

But if your goal over the long term is to sell to the Chinese consumer, and if you have an economy positioned to do that–if you’re a producer of finished goods or a producer of food–then this economic adjustment could be a good thing if it unlocks the buying power of the Chinese consumer. For any economy around the world that wants to sell more to China, that wants to have a more balanced trade relationship with China, a meaningful economic adjustment that resulted in a more balanced domestic economy in China would be a very positive thing.

If you have lower GDP in China, that doesn’t necessarily mean that China’s consumption has to fall. In fact, China has $3 trillion in reserve; that’s buying power. China has produced more than it has consumed for many years; China could afford to consume more than it produced. That would be a major growth driver for the rest of the world. It would provide a cushion for China to undertake this kind of economic adjustment that otherwise could be extremely painful.

This read was recommended by Councillor Shannon Barnes.


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