World

China’s economy ‘in the duldrums’ and way behind UK and US | World | News

China’s Xi Jinping was left reeling after figures showed the country’s economy lagging well behind those of the US and UK.

Data shows that when the economy is measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, Chinese citizens are much less wealthy than their western counterparts – and are even worse off than their staunch allies the Russians.

UK citizens are almost four times as wealthy as their Chinese counterparts, and US nationals are around six times better off.

The GDP per capita in the UK is US$ 46,125, while in the US it is $76,329. For China the figure is $12,720 while in Russia it is $15,270.

For decades the Chinese economy expanded at a stratospheric rate, with official figures putting its GDP growing at an average of close to 10 percent a year.

On the way it overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy, with Beijing claiming that it had lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

However, ever since the pandemic, China has struggled to rekindle the spark in its economic growth.

It has been beset by persistent problems which threaten to undermine its stellar progress prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Among the main challenges it faces are the quadruple threat of a real estate sector in crisis, a shaky stock market, high youth unemployment and the threat of deflation as consumer prices continue to fall.

A major weakness is its property market, which accounts for roughly 20 percent of the economy, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund.

Regional banks also have a high exposure to real estate and would be seriously compromised if the sector was to collapse.

The spectre of such a scenario seemed to take a step closer last week, when the country’s biggest private developer Country Garden was hit with a winding-up petition in Hong Kong by a creditor.

It came just a month after debt-laden rival Evergrande was ordered to liquidate by a court in the city.

Beijing says that last year the economy grew by 5.2 percent, which even at that level is low for China.

However, some critics argue the real figure could be less than a third of that.

Andrew Collier Managing Director from China research firm Orient Capital Research told the BBC: “A lot of economists think the numbers are completely fabricated.

“The idea of 5.2 percent or 5.5 percent growth is much likely wrong. It’s more like 1 percent or 2 percent.”

He added that the next 10 years were likely to be difficult for China’s economy.

Last month Premier Li Qiang told deputies at the National People’s Congress that China was aiming for 5 percent growth in 2024.


Source link