Wednesday, August 26, 2015


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False Alarm on a Crisis in China

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor

False Alarm on a Crisis in China

Washington — CHINA, many believe, is in a financial and economic meltdown causing anxiety and panic everywhere. China’s stock market dive first dragged down other emerging markets and has now spread to the United States, slicing trillions of dollars off the value of stocks traded here and in other global markets. Since China is the world’s second largest economy and has growing financial ties around the world, developments there clearly have enormous potential implications for both developed and emerging markets.

But the popular narrative is not well supported by the facts. There is little evidence that China’s economy is slowing significantly from the 7 percent pace reported by the government for the first part of the year. Wage growth is running at about 10 percent annually; the pace of creation of nonagricultural jobs is stronger than in any recent year; both real disposable income and consumption expenditures of Chinese households are growing strongly. It is not the picture of an economy heading for a hard landing.
Services, not industry, are driving China’s growth, as has been the case for three full years. This is likely to continue since per capita incomes in China are reaching a level where a growing share of spending is on entertainment, travel and other services rather than on goods.
Naysayers question government economic data, continuing to focus on weakness in China’s industrial sector and the extremely slow growth of electric power output. But steel production, for example, is significantly more energy intensive than entertainment, so the demand for electricity has fallen sharply as the structure of the economy has evolved...

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