The Chinese Economy’s Secret Recipe

While most major economies in their early stages of growth suffered crises, China’s story seems abnormal (or accidental), and has elicited periodic predictions of an “upcoming crash.” But there is nothing more abnormal about China’s 30-year unbroken pattern of growth than effective macroeconomic intervention in boom times.

BEIJING – China’s GDP growth this year may approach 10%. While some countries are still dealing with economic crisis or its aftermath, China’s challenge is – once again – how to manage a boom.

Thanks to decisive policy moves to pre-empt a housing bubble, the real-estate market has stabilized, and further corrections are expected soon. This is good news for China’s economy, but disappointing, perhaps, to those who assumed that the government would allow the bubble to grow bigger and bigger, eventually precipitating a crash.

Whether or not the housing correction will hit overall growth depends on how one defines “hit.” Lower asset prices may slow total investment growth and GDP, but if the slowdown is (supposedly) from 11% to 9%, China will avoid economic over-heating yet still enjoy sustainable high growth. Indeed, for China, the current annualized growth rate of 37% in housing investment is very negative. Ideally, it would slow to, say, 27% this year!

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