The sharp increases in investment that have driven China’s rapid economic growth for the past 30 years are not sustainable, and consumers can’t provide additional demand unless wealth is redistributed toward Chinese households. The most obvious consequence of rebalancing is that it will result in much slower growth over the medium term. While many economists now project that average annual economic growth will fall to between 5 and 7 percent a year during the next decade, I expect it to slow even more, perhaps to 3 to 4 percent a year. In modern history, no country that has experienced an investment-driven growth “miracle” has avoided a slowdown (such as Japan’s after 1990) that surprised even the pessimists, and it is hard to find good reasons to think China will be an exception.
As a result, many businesses in China and around the world will thrive, while others will be forced to make wrenching changes. Here are four predictions about the ways China’s rebalancing will affect the global economy:
- The price of hard commodities will drop sharply.
- Industries that profit from building infrastructure or manufacturing capacity will suffer.
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