Debt is a ticking-time bomb for the Chinese economy. In the past three years central government stopped local governments from financing through investment vehicles and set a cap for the issuance of bonds. But new forms of debt continue to be formed. Local officials appear not to care about borrowing more, as long as the money can be used in projects that may translate to political achievements. And with those achievements, officials will be promoted to a higher level–as will the debt burden. A more worrisome thought will be: can those additional government debts and investments support China’s long-term growth?
China’s economy is facing many problems that are cyclical and also structural. Some economists believe China reached the Lewis Turning Point six years ago, where the growth benefits of rural-to-urban migration dried up and wage costs started to escalate. The growth of the Chinese economy relied very much on its cheap labor—a competitive advantage that has been exhausted. Simply put, “China has come to the end of the period of easy gains in GDP.” It faces two possible paths ahead: the hard road of structural reform and painful consolidation, and the easy road of fiscal and monetary stimulus leading inevitably to further problems along the way.
Dating back to 1953, China’s system of Five-Year Plans has long been dismissed as anachronistic, but it remains crucial to guidance of the economy. Five-Year Plans occupy a central place in China’s complex system of governance. For just as China’s economy has reformed and adapted in the last 37 years, so too has the planning framework. There are clear signs that planning will remain an indispensable component of Chinese economic and political development for years to come.
Early indications show that the Chinese government’s efforts to prop up the economy might be able to steer clear of the risks of the 2009 economic stimulus
The CKGSB Business Conditions Index shows that companies are expecting the Chinese economy to encounter some difficulties in the coming six months.
The first quarter Chinese GDP growth may fall below the 7% target and the US has softened its stance on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The key takeaways from the 2015 Lianghui, the two annual meetings that set the agenda for the Chinese economy.
The Chinese economy is slowing and that has significant ramifications for things like capital and the Renminbi. Is there a silver lining in all this?
This week, Premier Li Keqiang lowered the China GDP growth target to 7% from 7.5% last year; US President Barack Obama voiced concerns over China’s proposed anti-terrorism law because of its likely impact on US technology companies; and Xiaomi entered GoPro territory.
This week, Shanghai brought the annual practice of fixing GDP growth targets into sharp focus by simply abandoning it; Alibaba and SAIC washed their dirty linen in public; and Apple posted record profits bolstered by Chinese fans of the iPhone 6.