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China’s Slowing Economy Could Stall Global Growth

Owing to Beijing’s “Covid Zero” policy, China’s economy may be facing slowed growth that mimics a recession, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s happening: “Millions of new graduates are struggling to find a job. Business confidence has fallen. Imports have plummeted, and nervous Chinese are socking away more savings.”

  • Purchasing manager indices released last weekend by China’s government showed contractions in factory and service-sector activity for April, the second straight month of declines.
  • Also dropping are cement production, smartphone shipments and intra-country sales of excavators.
  • Youth unemployment is reported at 16%.

Beyond lockdowns: Fallout from the war in Ukraine has increased costs for Chinese businesses and led to less demand for China’s exports.

  • Meanwhile, “[r]eal estate, a primary driver of the nation’s economy, went into free fall last year as developers buckled under heavy debts and home sales slumped.”

Why it matters: Long-term slowdowns in China are felt internationally.

  • “China was projected to account for a quarter of global economic growth in the five years through 2026, according to data released by the International Monetary Fund last year.”

How to fix it: Loosened “Covid Zero” policies, which have hamstrung supply chains and kept consumers home, would be likely to jumpstart a partial recovery, according to the Journal.

  • However, “Chinese officials are pledging to get the economy back on track, without abandoning their tough Covid-control policies. President Xi Jinping … has called for an all-out campaign to rev up growth through more infrastructure spending.”
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