John Ross: Pulse on China's Economy: Chinese economy to achieve steady growth in 2024 despite choppy waters, remain vital support for global recovery: economists


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John Ross: Pulse on China's Economy: Chinese economy to achieve steady growth in 2024 despite choppy waters, remain vital support for global recovery: economists


Source: GT Published: 2024-01-14

While the global economy faced significant recovery pressures in 2023, China's economy showed remarkable resilience. Analysts have taken stock of highlights in the country's economy and estimate that GDP growth would have exceeded 5 percent in 2023, noting that the world's second-largest economy will continue to forge ahead in 2024 despite choppy waters.

China is set to release its 2023 GDP figure on Wednesday. Ahead of this highly anticipated statistic figure, domestic and foreign economists reached out by Global Times reporters over the past week said that GDP growth last year probably would have exceeded 5 percent.

'My estimate for China's 2023 GDP data is 'above 5 percent,'' John Ross, a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China and former director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London, told the Global Times on Thursday.

'Growth was already 4.9 percent in the last quarter and momentum increased in the fourth quarter with industrial production rising 6.6 percent in November and retail sales rising by 10.1 percent in the same month,' Ross said.

'My estimate for 2023 GDP growth is 5.4 percent. Fourth-quarter GDP will likely be a surprise on the back of strong industrial production and the low base [in the previous year],' Xing Zhaopeng, senior China strategist with ANZ Research, told the Global Times on Thursday.

During a Friday interview with the Global Times, Yu Xiangrong, Citi's chief economist for China, highlighted bright spots in China's performance over the past year, including the accelerated recovery of the services sector, improvements in the export chain and the rapid development of high-end manufacturing.

On Friday, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) released China's foreign trade data for 2023, revealing trends that exceeded expectations. Total trade grew 0.2 percent year-on-year to 41.76 trillion yuan ($5.83 trillion).

GAC deputy head Wang Lingjun told a press conference that 'last year, China's imports and exports performed 'better than expected,' and it is expected to maintain its position as the world's largest goods trading nation for the seventh consecutive year.'

According to the World Trade Organization, the international market share of China's exports in 2023 was likely to have remained at a high level of about 14 percent.

Despite continuous attempts by foreign media outlets to paint a negative picture of China's economic recovery, economists have expressed confidence to reporters in the nation's ability to continue moving forward against the headwinds.

'In 2024, I anticipate China's GDP growth rate to be in the range of 5.3 to 5.5 percent,' Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Friday.

'The inherent strength of China's economic growth remains robust, especially with the emergence of new driving forces,' Cao said, adding that another factor is the high-tech industry, where unexpected surprises, such as in the automotive and new-energy sectors, might unfold in the coming year.

China is expected to set a GDP growth target of 5 percent for 2024, Xing said, stressing that 'potential growth should still be above 5 percent, and we see the drag by the property sector will likely diminish in 2024.'

Faced with a complex and challenging global macroeconomic landscape, China has ramped up efforts to build a new development paradigm, actively implement an innovation-driven strategy and accelerate the cultivation of new growth drivers to ensure stable economic growth.

Regarding the economic work in 2024, China's key annual Central Economic Work Conference held in Beijing in December 2023 called for efforts to pursue progress while ensuring stability, consolidate stability through progress, and establish the new before abolishing the old.

China should strengthen counter-cyclical and cross-cyclical adjustments of macro policies and continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy with strengthened innovation and coordination of policy tools, the meeting said.

Economists expect a more expansionary policy mix this year.

If the focus is on investment, the multiplier effect is relatively high. 'Our calculations indicate that fiscal stimulus targeting investment will contribute approximately 1 percentage point to this year's [2024's] GDP growth,' Yu said.

China has room to intensify policies aimed at driving economic growth. Simultaneously, China's growth remains a crucial force supporting the global economic recovery, Yu said.

As the new year begins, despite the continued turbulent international macroeconomic environment, various regions and industries across China have fully embarked on an economic recovery.

Bustling tourism in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, is propelling the rapid recovery of the national cultural and tourism industry, and the cold winter is nurturing a 'hot economy,' analysts said.

Major projects are being started across the country, targeting areas such as improving living standards, advancing infrastructure and urban renewal, and upgrading industries. Efforts are being made to achieve a robust economic start to the year.