China’s resilient economic performance, supported by the government’s coordinated response to effectively contain the novel coronavirus in the country, could become an important lifeline for the global economic recovery, experts said in response to China’s latest economic data.
The world’s second-largest economy saw growth of 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, compared with 3.2 percent in the second quarter, according to data released on Oct 19 by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The nation’s GDP growth reached 0.7 percent over the first three quarters of 2020, after the economy contracted by 6.8 percent from January to March due to the national lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ben Cavender, managing director at China Market Research Group, said, “It’s clear that China has managed a remarkable recovery and that policymakers have done a good job of navigating a very uncertain economic climate.
“China’s strong economy should be seen as a good thing right now, as China is such an important export market for so many other countries,” Cavender said. “The fact that China is still buying and hasn’t seen an economic collapse is important for the world, as China right now is a lifeline for a lot of multinational businesses that have seen severe reductions in sales in their home markets.”
He added that “while there are still underlying weak spots in the economy that have been slower to recover, the overall story is very positive, and China will come out of 2020 in a very strong position economically”.
Jim O’Neill, a leading British economist and chairman of the international think tank Chatham House, said, “Unless something very peculiar happens in the fourth quarter, China’s recovery is going to be much stronger in 2020 than any other G20 country and certainly (with) positive real GDP growth.
“On current momentum, by the end of 2021, China’s GDP will be 10 percent stronger than that in 2019. Most other G20 countries, perhaps with the exception of South Korea, will have weaker levels of GDP by 2021 than 2019,” O’Neill said.
Doris Fischer, a professor of China business and economics at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany, also hailed China’s economic turnaround, saying this was aided by the country not having experienced a second wave of infections.
“All countries and regions that have been able to contain the virus will profit economically, but how lasting it will be depends on a number of factors, both domestically and internationally,” she said.
The Chinese government’s ability to launch a speedy and coordinated response is seen to have played a huge part in allowing the economy to function more normally.
Cavender of China Market Research Group said that compared with most other countries that have either not been strict enough in enforcing policy or have had difficulty in controlling the outbreak, the key to China’s success is its “ability to put in place a coordinated, aggressive early response, coupled with building out robust systems for contact tracing as well as identifying inbound cases coming from returning travelers entering the country”.
Chris Bovis, a professor of international business law at the University of Hull, said, “China has shown best practice to the world in the effort to eliminate the pandemic. An innovative system of screening and monitoring population has played a significant role in the dynamic planning of response measures by China’s health system, and public mobilization also has been crucial for the fight against the pandemic.”
China’s trade in September also represented a robust recovery, with imports jumping 13.2 percent to $202.8 billion and exports rising 9.9 percent to $239.8 billion compared with September of last year.
Assuming that recent trends are sustainable for China, O’Neill said that “with the fastest-growing consumer market in the world improving, this means more imports from all over the rest of the world, particularly to European countries, which are very good at exporting to Chinese consumers”.